Weeks of planning and a near flawless execution at the NBA 2K League’s season two draft landed MavsGG the number one spot on the 2019 team-by-team grades list.
Mavs Gaming: A+.
After a record-setting regular season, the team finished with the second seed for playoffs, where the story would end in a first-round exit against Celtics Crossover Gaming.
Despite the loss, a winning culture became solidified in Dallas. Coaches LT Fairley and Lance Sessions reflected on “a decent season” that left them hungry to improve.
Fairley and Sessions took a break from the board to discuss the NBA 2K League Draft, qualities of top prospects, how the team will adjust, and more.
Q: It’s a new year and a new game now. In your opinion, how has the current Mavs Gaming roster been able to adjust to NBA 2K20 after 2K19?
LT: It’s the new animations. Everybody was big on the behind the back this year and then the new patch 10 hit. But, a lot of it’s not just tailored to the game; it’s also the progress they have made as people in the offseason. At the end of season two, we reassessed the good and the bad with our entire team. They’ve made strides in the right direction.
Q: Keeping progress in mind, the team’s message for this year is Something to Prove. What went into the decision of selecting this theme for season three?
LT: Honestly, the goal once we selected that was not to be complacent. If we keep that mindset, it will keep the team hungry. I could be saying the same thing if we win the championship next year: ‘why win one when we can win five?’ That will give us the grind, grit and hunger to move and to keep making progress.
Lance: The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Something to Prove is always internal. With the theme, it’s more to prove to yourself; you can be your best on or off the court. It’s just taking the extra steps this year with the guys that we brought back on what else can they improve, and I think in doing that they will prove to themselves that they can achieve anything that they set their mind to.
Q: With four players returning this season, how has the preparation changed going into the season three draft, as opposed to when the team only had one player in season two?
LT: Last year we had to create an identity and what exactly we wanted Mavs Gaming to be. We did that and had a decent season. In season three, we’ve got to keep building on that same identity, but the foundation was laid in season two. Now, we know what to expect, so we’ll just draft based on that.
Q: With those expectations in mind, what has stood out to you about this group of draft prospects?
Lance: This season there’s a lot of hidden stories with these prospects. A lot of these players missed out the last two seasons. They have been teammates with top prospects in season one and season two, so we’re really seeing that fulfillment. Some of them have really put in a lot of time and effort to make the NBA 2K League. I think you’re really starting to see prospects take this to another level with their preparation for interviews to how they are playing in tournaments and scrimmages. These players are legitimately playing the game 12 hours a day trying to make the League.
Q: MavsGG has two picks in this Saturday’s draft. What specifically are you looking for in these new players?
LT: We value the interview in this process very highly. To put it frankly, this is the first impression. We are really looking for somebody who can buy-in and be that versatile piece we need. Offseason preparation says a lot about players; you should be consistently playing at a high level. There are prospects that we have interviewed that work eight hours, play the game eight hours and sleep eight hours. We are looking for that type of commitment.
Lance: As each season goes on, it is very important to consistently see you play against the best of the best. That is one unique thing in our space and esports. In the NBA, you can’t see Luka Dončić play against amateurs every day, but I can see guys go against Pete, Dimez, Mo and Sherm. If you can get out there and show that you can play on the same level as them, you’re going to force us to watch you.
Q: Creating a winning culture and environment is not easy. How have you been able to accomplish that here at MavsGG?
LT: Accountability. That’s one thing. It takes a lot to be an NBA 2K League pro, and we just have to rise to the occasion. We’ve all just got to be better. Be accountable and live and learn from your mistakes.
Lance: We talk about progression, and there’s a lot of facets to that. You have your on-court things that you need to get better at, but what we’re trying to build – whether that’s off-the-court nutrition, how you handle life, or schooling – are just all-around better people. If we keep doing that consistently, we hope that translates to wins on the court.
The NBA 2K League Draft takes place this Saturday at Terminal 5 NYC. Fans can tune into the weekend’s excitement on twitch.tv/nba2kleague.