Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
Between some of my recent columns and the weekly “Our Week in Basketball Gaming” segment on the NLSC Podcast, I talk about 2K Pro-Am a fair bit. There are other topics that I’ll be touching upon in upcoming articles, but The X suggested this topic to me on Twitter, and it was too fun of an idea to put off for another week. Since this is the Friday Five, and there are five regulars in our 2K Pro-Am squad (NLSC THRILLHO), the format lends itself quite nicely to putting together a fun write-up about our crew.
The five of us started playing 2K Pro-Am together about six months ago, ultimately creating a couple of squads in NBA 2K16. Arcane and I were a little late to the party, but once the two of us joined in and we were getting in games with all five regulars, we had a lot of fun, and a few very satisfying victories. We’ve been doing a little better this year, though we’ve still got a long road ahead of us if we want to reach the Elite tier, and unlock logo importing (which shouldn’t be necessary, but that’s a topic for another time). Without any further ado, let me introduce you to the key members of NLSC THRILLHO!
Point Guard: Andrew
That would be me. After my experience filling in for an injured Ty Lawson in my NBA 2K13 MyCAREER game, I’ve decided that point guard is the position for MyPLAYER. It’s working out quite well in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER game, and since none of the other guys play the point in their games, it’s also been a good fit for 2K Pro-Am. Although I score a fair bit in MyCAREER, and have the occasional outburst in 2K Pro-Am as well, I often default to the more traditional distributor role of the Playmaker Archetype, especially when there are five of us. I’m currently averaging 9.1 ppg and 9.3 apg (or around 16 and 16, Per 36).
I do love racking up those glorious assists, though. Again, I like to score when the opportunities arise, but that’s not always easy with some of the cheesy 7’3″ centres patrolling the paint in 2K Pro-Am, not to mention the slight lag on the Shot Meter. Hey, I’d rather have six points and twelve assists than twenty points and two assists anyway, and I pride myself in distributing the ball and getting double-digit assist numbers whenever I can. I managed a 20-assist game in regulation a few weeks back, and had 29 points and 19 assists in our double overtime thriller. I don’t know if it’s possible to be selfish when it comes to assists, but arguably, I am. It’s what I do!
Shooting Guard: Arcane
Playing alongside me in the backcourt – except for a brief period where the game decided to switch him and Valor at the wing spots – Arcane does a little bit of everything. He scores most of his 12.8 points per game on vicious dunks and crafty layups, but he can also step back and make shots from beyond the arc. Arcane is also leading the team in offensive rebounds with 1.6 per game, cleaning up several of our misses with some angry dunks. He comes up with some big blocks quite often, and is currently second on the team in that category with just under one per game.
Arcane is also the creator of our squad this year, as he’s our resident designer, and undoubtedly makes the best courts and jerseys. Unfortunately, since we can’t import logos until we reach the Elite tier – again, not a good move at all, 2K – he’s currently more limited in what he can do compared to NBA 2K16. Having said that, I feel both our home and away jerseys in NBA 2K17 are very sharp. Arcane has a bit of a reputation for picking up fouls, averaging 3.1 per game, and he’s probably fouled out the most so far in 2K Pro-Am. However, you know what they say: if you’re not getting fouls, you’re not playing defense!
Small Forward: Valor
The Kiwi Mamba is definitely a player moulded in the image of Kobe Bryant, from his shooting form to his scoring flurries. Not unlike the Los Angeles Lakers great, Valor is certainly capable of playing good defense (“First Team All-Defense!”, as he so often reminds us), but is better known for being prolific in putting points up on the board. Currently second on the team in scoring at 17 points per game, he also has the best field goal percentage of the five regulars at 49.2%. He’s also tied with Kenny for the lead in steals with a shade under one per game. Like I said: First Team All-Defense!
Valor isn’t particularly prolific from three-point range, especially compared to NBA 2K16, but he does a tremendous amount of damage from the midrange. With his shooting off the dribble ratings, he’s able to knock down some tough leaners and fadeaway jumpshots from fifteen to eighteen feet out. In anyone else’s hands they’d be bad shots, but for him, they might as well be an open layup. Being such a pure scorer, he freely admits to having a mixture of pride and shame in averaging 4.3 assists per game, second only to my 9.3. Fortunately, those shameful assists are balanced out by several 30 point games, which are often punctuated by spectacular dunks.
Power Forward: The X
Without a doubt, The X sacrificed the most for the team when we played 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16. Playing at centre, he did a lot of the dirty work, but never seemed to get a lot of shot attempts. This year he’s playing small forward – though he’ll slide over to the four spot when we have five players – and he’s become one of our most reliable scorers. Currently third on the team with 13.6 points per game, he’s adept at finishing inside and out, shooting 46% overall and knocking down threes at a 39.8% clip with his quick release.
Being a family man, The X has more responsibilities than the rest of us, and therefore isn’t always able to join in our sessions, or stick around for all of the games when we play well into the early hours of the morning. As such, he’s only played in 70 of THRILLHO’s 157 games so far. Nevertheless, he’s certainly made his mark in the games he’s appeared in, with the best winning percentage of the five regulars. With The X in one corner, and Kenny in the other, I know that they’re going to account for quite a few of my assists every game, either on a pass from the backcourt, or after I penetrate into the paint. Drive, dish, and swish. It’s been effective for us.
Having spent a lot of time at power forward during our 2K Pro-Am games in NBA 2K16, Kenny decided to create a Stretch Four in NBA 2K17. When the five of us are all in the game, he moves over to centre as we play our own version of the Golden State Warriors’ small ball Death Lineup. Whichever position he’s playing at, however, Kenny has been able to put his skills to good use. He’s leading the team in scoring with 17.9 points per game, and has the team record with 64 points in a single game, including 37 in the first half. Whether he’s putting the ball on the floor or knocking down catch and shoot opportunities in the corner, he’s devastating on the baseline.
His shooting percentages have been steadily climbing, as he’s currently knocking down shots at a 46.2% clip, and converting on 78.5% of his free throws. Kenny is also leading the regulars in three-point shooting, at 42.2%. He’s our leader in rebounds (7.2), blocks (1.5), and hands out just under three assists per game for good measure. He’s hit game-winning shots, tallied the only two triple-doubles on the team so far, and on many occasions, has been our star player. There’s no question that I owe a lot of my assists to Kenny; the only question is will he get all those tattoos to match his MyPLAYER?
That’s our 2K Pro-Am Squad: The Brisbane Brethren, the Kiwi Mamba, and the Novocastrian Assassin! If you’re playing 2K Pro-Am, hopefully you’re having as much fun with the mode as we are. Our record isn’t quite as good as we’d like it to be, but we’re starting to get it together with a solid run as of late. No doubt we’ll be sharing more highlights of NLSC THRILLHO in the Forum, and tales of our games on the NLSC Podcast. In the meantime, that’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, have a great weekend, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.