Portland's NBA 2K League video game team, Blazer5 Gaming, has an entirely new lineup.
The names might not be as recognizable as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but the NBA 2K video-game set knows all about the players. The names: shooting guard Rashan "Scretty" Petty; point guard Matthew "Bash" Robles; small forward Marquis "Randomz" Gill; power forward Christopher "BreadwinnerLA" Lafanette; center Dayvon "GOOFY757" Curry; center Joel "JoelLazu" Lazu.
The players play 5-on-5, just like the real game, against other teams affiliated with NBA franchises. The Blazers are looking to return to the playoffs when the regular season starts in May.
New players on Blazer5 Gaming? No problem, Curry said.
"You bond through the game and away from the game," Curry said. "Chemistry does not take long."
Curry should know. In 2018, NBA 2K League's first season, he helped Knicks Gaming win the championship.
"That experience was life-changing," he added. "It was fun. I felt like I was on top of the world. It's a feeling I want again. It was chemistry, we got along and everybody knew their roles — everybody wasn't trying to be LeBron James."
The Blazer5 Gaming crew "knows a lot about winning. 'Bash' made it to the playoffs. 'Scretty' had two good seasons. 'Randomz' is coming off making the playoffs. They know what it takes to win. It's all about putting it together."
Said Lafanette, of an all-new roster: "I think it's a big deal in a good way. We all know each other. We all know how to play — no rookies on the team. It's going to be crazy this year."
It should be a balanced Blazer5 Gaming scoring roster, although one player can typically score a lot of points in NBA 2K League.
The team went 8-8 and made the playoffs in 2020, but failed to reach its goal of winning the championship.
It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and consistency to be good in NBA 2K League, Curry said. Meaning it takes a lot of hours playing the game.
Lafanette said he and other players put pressure on themselves to perform, just like regular athletes.
"Now that the league is better and everybody has their own opinion, I try to go out and see what people think and use it as motivation," he said. "There's definitely trash-talking involved."
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