Going into Jazz Gaming Media Day there was a consistent feeling of excitement and purpose as the team prepares for its third season in the 2K League. After finishing 8-8 last year Jazz Gaming is on the verge of a break through year.
During last season, because of illness, Jazz Gaming missed starters for multiple games. In a 16-game season, and with the parity in the 2K League, that alone can be enough to knock you out of the playoffs. But with their starters last season Jazz Gaming had a playoff record. If Jazz Gaming can stay healthy all season, playoffs are a real possibility.
The other reason Jazz Gaming struggled last season was defense. By the end of the season Jazz Gaming had a bottom-5 defense in the league. Scoring wasn’t an issue, but getting stops was. Can they fix that? It appears they have plan to.
I was able to sit down with multiple players at Media Day. The biggest story to come out is a position change for the team. One of the veterans and team leaders, Shaka “Yeah I Compete” Browne is switching from point guard to lock. He’ll be completely changing mentalities from scoring to defending the opposing team’s best player. Obviously on offense he’ll still get chances to score, something he’s definitely able to do, but now he’ll be calling defensive plays to lead the defense. If everything goes to plan, the defense could become a strength.
Sitting down with Compete it’s clear he’s a strong presence for the team, a real leader. Before Media Day, Jazz Gaming was able to scrimmage for the first time. The players showed excitement about what they had seen and done in just one scrimmage. But hearing Compete talk it was all about what they needed to do to improve.
Knowing that they needed to make that improvement on defense, there was no doubt for Compete to sacrifice his position. In the 2k League the point guard position is the main scorer for a lot of teams. It’s flashy and gets a lot of the accolades. To see Compete be willing to give that up without question shows a lot of character.
To make up for that position change, Jazz Gaming drafted Kimanni “Splashy” Ingram. Compete told me that Splashy can really shoot the ball which makes him a perfect fit for what Jazz Gaming can do.
The other reason Jazz Gaming can afford to have Compete change position is what Spencer “Ria” Wyman is going to do this season.
Last year Jazz Gaming picked Ria with the #1 overall pick in the draft and he had a solid rookie season. This season “Ria is going to get to be Ria.”
One of the most respected big men players in the league, Ria has a legitimate shot at getting votes for MVP. He’s a dominant big man and commands respect from every team he goes against. He’s a ble to score on anyone in the low post while also playing high level defense on the other end. Combine that with shooting from Splashy and defense from Compete and Jazz Gaming has a chance to have a special season.
You won’t want to miss out on an exciting season for Jazz Game. Game 1 is on April 3rd at 5 PM MT. All Games are broadcast on Twitch and Youtube. It’s going to be a lot of fun.