ORLANDO — Magic Gaming is aiming to take the next step as a franchise when they tip off their 2020 NBA 2K League regular season against Bucks Gaming at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday with remote gameplay.
Orlando has posted winning campaigns in each of the league’s first two seasons, but now it’s hoping to achieve both playoff and tournament success.
In the offseason, Magic Gaming built upon their core of reigning Rookie of the Year Brendan “Reizey” Hill, small forward Brandon “ToXsiK” Raudenbush and big man Daniel “DT” Tlais by acquiring Robert “May” May from Pistons GT and selecting Daniel “djbama” Burge and Alex “Profusion” Snowden in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft.
While all the aforementioned players bring different qualities to the court, there are common threads among the members of Magic Gaming: the group’s dedication to winning and commitment to communication.
“When we are locked in and focused, we’re as good as ever,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards explained. “It’s even better than last season, our overall communication with each other. Especially on defense, because we do rotate a lot, it’s important to communicate effectively.”
Effective communication will be of the utmost importance this season with the league making adjustments to game structure. New this year, each matchup will be played in a best-of-three format with one series victory representing one win in the standings.
That will give each team the opportunity to make lineup changes, switch player archetypes and adjust their game plan in between contests. That could play into Orlando’s favor with a squad that’s composed of hard-working individuals.
“These guys have played so many games of 2K that they just know the adjustments to make when they see what another team does and they instantly know the counter to it,” Edwards said. “That’s just a credit to how much work they put in.
On top of the change to matchup formatting, with each season, there are also updates to the league build of the game. One of the most significant adjustments that fans will notice is the quicker pace of play.
“Last year, a lot of the games felt slow, looked slow, played slow, I don’t think you’re going to see many games played slow,” Edwards said. “I think the game is going to be a little faster and more volatile in general – lots of runs, lots of loose balls and (forced) turnovers – I just think the game is going to be a lot different than what people expect to see.”
Magic Gaming believes that their squad is well equipped to handle whatever the 2020 NBA 2K League season throws their way.
In the backcourt, Orlando is led by Reizey, who led all rookies in assists, dishing out 9.8 dimes per contest, and finished 13th in the entire league in points per game, posting 17.3 per clip.
“I’m looking forward to him having a big season,” Edwards said. “I have no doubts in my mind that he’s going to perform and produce for us at a high level.”
At the shooting guard position, Profusion and djbama offer Orlando versatile options.
A two-year player for Celtics Crossover Gaming, Profusion averaged 16.6 points per game during the 2019 regular season, while shooting 59.3% from the floor, and gives Magic Gaming a sharp-shooting option at the two spot.
Djbama, meanwhile, has impressed Orlando over the course of the offseason with his relentless work ethic and stellar showing in the NBA 2K League’s “Three For All Showdown.” In games where Magic Gaming opts to roll with the rookie, he can provide secondary ball handling as well as playmaking from the shooting guard position.
“The tournament definitely helped show my name a little bit more and (gave) me confidence going into the season whenever I do get the chance to play,” djbama said.
ToXsiK, who won the NBA 2K League’s 2019 Fan Engagement award for his ability to communicate with the community, also gives Orlando a secondary coach on the floor. With at least the first six weeks of the regular season being played remotely and coaches unable to physically be with players during game play, his veteran leadership at small forward could prove to be invaluable. His defensive tenacity and commitment to that end of the floor is widely respected throughout the league.
DT and May are both exceptionally versatile at the power forward and center spots on the floor. Both are willing pick-and-roll defenders at either spot and can effectively score as well.
DT, the team’s 2019 second-round selection, posted 14.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game in his inaugural campaign and delivered lock-down defense, coming up with 2.7 steals (ninth in the league overall) and 0.8 blocks (19th in the league) per contest.
May switched between center and power forward during his tenure with Pistons GT, averaging 11.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.6 blocks per game.
“We want to make sure we’re putting the best product on the court every single day and that’s what we’re going to aim to do,” Edwards said. “We know what we’re capable of and we’re going to try and reach it.”
Over the course of the first six weeks, Magic Gaming will play a total of eight matchups that will count towards its regular-season record.
The games will be held Tuesday through Friday, with four matchups each day beginning at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted on ESPN2, the ESPN app and ESPN.com as well as the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.
2020 Magic Gaming Schedule (First Six Weeks):
May 6 vs. Bucks Gaming 7 p.m. ET.
May 8 vs. Wizards District Gaming 9:30 p.m.
May 12-15 BYE WEEK
May 22 vs. Jazz Gaming 7 p.m.
May 26 vs. NetsGC 7 p.m.
May 27 vs. Cavs Legion GC 7 p.m.
June 4 vs. 76ers GC 7 p.m.
June 9 vs. Knicks Gaming 7 p.m.
June 12 vs. Kings Guard Gaming 7 p.m.