ORLANDO — It’s impossible to construct a strong building upon a weak foundation. The initial groundwork always plays a pivotal role in any construction project.
Team roster development is no exception.
Magic Gaming hopes they’ve selected a strong base for their 2021 NBA 2K League roster foundation after choosing to retain Brendan “Reizey” Hill, Daniel “DT” Tlais and Robert “May” May on Monday.
Orlando wasted no time in making the decision after the league opened up its retention window earlier in the day. All NBA 2K League teams were permitted to retain up to three players from their 2020 roster starting on Monday, September 21 through Monday, September 28.
“Consistently all around, those three were the most talented players on our roster,” Magic Gaming Jonah Edwards said. “Not only that, but they pair together nicely.”
After a disappointing 4-9 start to the season, Magic Gaming closed out their 2020 campaign with three straight regular season wins and one in THE TICKET tournament before ultimately being eliminated. Over the course of the season, Orlando (7-9) defeated Bucks Gaming, Kings Guard Gaming and Warriors Gaming Squad – all playoff teams. They also took down T-Wolves Gaming and 76ers GC, the two teams that played in last year’s Finals.
Reizey played a significant role in all of those victories. The 2019 Rookie of the Year averaged 25.1 points and 6.8 assists per game during his second season in the 2K League, while shooting 51.8 from the floor and 41.9 percent from 3-point range.
“When he’s at his best, he’s not just facilitating, he’s calling out the offense, he’s playing quarterback, he’s designing plays for us,” Edwards explained. “He’s getting to his shots, he’s not letting the defense dictate where he goes, and he’s an electric shooter too. He’s been one of the top assists guys over the last two years. He’s an aggressive scorer too and he’s improved so much from when he was just a shooting guard. I think he’s really able to do it all in a lot of ways.”
DT displayed positional versatility for Magic Gaming over the course of the season, playing mostly in power forward and center roles for Orlando. Known throughout the league as an intense competitor, DT averaged 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
“DT’s value a lot of times isn’t necessarily in the box score,” Edwards said. “He’s an incredible leader at times, his game IQ is insanely high — he understands NBA 2K at a high level. As far as ceilings go in the NBA 2K League, he has one of the highest ones.”
In his first year with Magic Gaming since being acquired from Pistons GT, May made his impact felt on and off the court. Always willing to play whatever role was carved out for him, the versatile big ranked top 15 in the league in rebounds (10.4) and blocks (1.9) per contest, while also averaging 8.4 points and 1.4 steals per game.
“I don’t think I can (overstate) how much Robbie has meant to Magic Gaming,” Edwards said. “This season was really tough for us and Robbie was our rock in a lot of ways.”
Franchises were required to retain at least two players, but if a team – like Magic Gaming – decided to retain a third, it came at the expense of a 2021 fourth-round draft pick. Teams will have the option to retain additional players (for a total of four) during a retainment period later (TBD) at the cost of additional 2021 draft picks.
Thus, it remains possible that Brandon “ToXsiK” Raudenbush, Alex “Profusion” Snowden or Daniel “djbama” Burge still get retained at a later date.
“I only think highly of those three,” Edwards said. “I’d love to have them back in different circumstances, so we’ll reevaluate and see when that window comes what we want to do. But I can’t say enough about those three. I think all three of those guys belong back in the league and will probably find a home somewhere else if not here.”