ORLANDO — Talent, system fit, team need, and group chemistry are all key criteria to examine when determining whether or not to add a player to an existing NBA 2K League roster.
On Monday, Magic Gaming executed a trade for a player who not just checks off one of the aforementioned boxes, but all of them.
Magic Gaming acquired guard Justin “Snubby” Stemerman from Hornets Venom GT in exchange for Orlando’s first-round pick – eighth overall – in the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft.
Snubby, Charlotte’s first-round selection in the 2020 draft, was a key contributor in Hornets Venom GT’s impressive inaugural campaign, averaging 24.1 points, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 56 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from distance. The dynamic scorer also holds Charlotte’s single-game franchise records in points – 44 against Hawks Talon GC on July 28 – and 3-pointers made – seven against Heat Check Gaming on August 6 – according to the team’s website.
“We look at the stats he provided for Charlotte last year and our mouth’s start watering at the idea of him giving even half that production to us,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “We’re going to be in an elite spot.”
The transaction fills the fourth slot of the six allotted roster spots for Magic Gaming. The team announced in September that it had retained point guard Brendan “Reizey” Hill, versatile forward Daniel “DT” Tlais and center Robert “May” May.
“We’re in what we think is an ideal position here,” Edwards said. “We don’t feel like we have anyone that can’t be a top-five player in their specific position, so obviously, we’re in a good spot. We really like where we’re at.”
Snubby is expected to slide over to shooting guard for Orlando. It’s the position he was originally selected by Charlotte to play before starting all of Hornets Venom GT’s games at point guard. However, the ability to have a secondary ballhandler on the floor along with backcourt versatility has been something Orlando has been searching for since its inception.
Reizey and Snubby should give Magic Gaming an explosive one-two punch as the pairing finished 16th and 17th, respectively, in the league in scoring.
“That duo is not only one that can score and (provide) elite-level playmaking, but both have that point guard ability and they both also have that shooting guard ability too,” Edwards said. “They feed off each other well. I think they have the potential to be the best backcourt in the 2K League next season.”
He’ll also assist Orlando on the defensive end, providing Magic Gaming with another strong perimeter defender.
“He’s been known as one of the better wing defenders in the league. He was an elite defender for the Hornets and obviously was just a great player all around.”
As an added benefit, there’s already an existing chemistry between Snubby and his new teammates. Reizey and DT have played with Snubby on the “Make It Happen” pro-am squad for a number of years and he’s also been a longtime friend of May.
“He’s a great culture fit for us,” Edwards added. “This is a guy who’s hardworking, a game head, which is what we love. We love guys who want to come here, work hard, practice a lot, figure everything out, and just go to work.”
After sending their first-round pick to Charlotte and sacrificing their fourth-round selection to retain three players, Magic Gaming is left with second and third-round picks in the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft. With those selections, Orlando will now likely look to add to its frontcourt to fill out its roster.
“We’re going to take those picks and add a couple of players who will fit in for us,” Edwards said. “Just look for best available too. That’s the luxury we have here.”
And that’s a nice luxury to have.