Just as the halfway point of the NBA 2K League Combine appeared to pass, the league added additional playing windows to accommodate players in various regions around the globe. More than a handful of opportunities remain for league hopefuls to prove themselves.
Many players locked in the required 40 combine games before the number of playing windows expanded on Monday. Others who are working their way toward the goal should now find ample opportunity to do so prior to the February 21 deadline.
That said, let’s break down what’s what in the combine. It’s time for a little fact or fiction.
Playing as many games as possible increases your odds of making the draft pool
FICTION. A player’s performance during their 40 combine games will serve as the evaluation from those scouting. But playing more than that in an attempt to pad statistics or improve a win/loss record is a no-brainer, right? Depends how you look at it. Anything that happens in those additional games, good or bad, is being monitored by scouts. So while players might be able to boost their averages, they also run the risk of potentially diminishing their chances. Even if it’s something out of your control, such as poor teammates. The bottom line: if you put in a solid 40 games with a resume that you think reflects your skillset and contributions, feel free to hang tight. In the wise words of Joel Embiid, trust the process.
Competing at one position is the most efficient use of time
FACT. Players are allowed to complete 40 games at multiple positions, if they so choose. The additional playing windows will likely only encourage more players to attempt it. However, that doesn’t mean they should. The league is evaluating players at their best position, regardless of how many positions players get in 40 games. If your game is strong enough at your main spot, you’ll be noticed anyways. Focus on dominating, not wasting your time going for 80 combined games.
Stats are the main criteria being evaluated, so get buckets!
FICTION. Stats are unquestionably a key indicator of success in basketball. So by all means, fill up the stat sheet. Just know that far more is being evaluated than simply a player’s ability to rack up huge numbers. Do you have a mic and are communicating with teammates? Are you displaying basketball IQ and making the correct reads on the court? Are you winner and not just padding stats on a losing team? These are the type of things that will factor into evaluations. You never know who is watching at a given time, so the best plan of attack is to treat each game as a personal showcase for all 17 teams. Put your best foot forward at all times.
Don’t be a quitter. No one likes a quitter
FACT. There are countless ways players might try to game the system during the combine. Even if it seems foolproof and undetectable, don’t do it. Everything is being tracked on the backend. So an innocent quit of a game, for instance, might not seem like a big deal, but it could be in the eyes of those doing the scouting. If you’ve been dealt a tough hand during a given game, stick it out. Attempting to make the best of the situation and overcoming the adversity will show a lot more about your character than restarting to find better teammates.
Your performance doesn’t matter, the 102 players have already been selected
FICTION. This seems to be the most recurring refrain of the combine. If that were the case, it wouldn’t make sense for the league to pour as many resources as it has just for an elaborate charade. It’s true that there are more visible 2K players within the community. It is also true that there are unknown players who possess the same skill set but lesser clout. That’s why the combine is set up to evaluate all players on a level field. The league is truly giving everybody a shot at rising to the top. Take care of your performance on the court and, just as importantly, your demeanor off it. Give the league a reason to have to include you among the top 102. It’s all in your control.