TORONTO — Wins have been onerous to come back by this yr for Raptors Rebellion GC after making historical past by ending the common season 16-0 final yr.
At 5-15, the NBA 2K League esports staff is backside of the Jap Convention because it prepares for a two-game sequence Friday with the fifth-place 76ers GC (9-7).
The Raptors seemed to be discovering a rhythm earlier this month once they gained three of 4. However that run ended with a pair of losses to Celtics Crossover Gaming on Wednesday.
Nonetheless the staff stays optimistic, with eight video games remaining within the common season.
“I believe we’re getting higher for certain,” mentioned guard Joshua (TsJosh) McKenna. “Little errors we had firstly, we’re beginning to repair.”
Shane Talbot, esports supervisor at Maple Leaf Sports activities and Leisure, shook up his roster Tuesday by buying star guard Artreyo (Dimez) Boyd and a 2022 third-round draft decide from Mavs Gaming in alternate for guard Maurice (ReeceMode) Flowers and a 2022 second-round draft choice.
Boyd was the primary general decide within the inaugural 2018 NBA 2K League draft. The 27-year-old performed each level guard and capturing guard in Dallas, averaging 20.4 factors, 9.7 assists and 1.5 steals in 48 profession video games.
“He’s gained cash with gamers on this staff earlier than. I believe he’ll match proper in,” mentioned Toronto centre Xavier (Kind) Vescovi.
Raptors Rebellion took Flowers within the third spherical (forty second general) within the 2020 draft. This season, he averaging 12.2 factors, 4.3 assists and 0.8 steals.
The 16-week season runs by Sept. 4 with US$1.5 million in prize cash. Likelihood is the Raptors might should win the ultimate match of the season, known as The Ticket, to safe a playoff berth.
Vescovi says the staff bond continues to be robust and he expects a flip within the staff’s fortunes.
“We’ve been grinding the sport rather a lot. I’ll say we’ve been placing plenty of hours in, most likely greater than every other staff simply because we’re that desperate to get higher.”
After working the desk within the red-hot common season and successful two tournaments in 2020, Toronto exited the playoffs prematurely in a semifinal loss to eventual champion Wizards District Gaming. Raptors Rebellion completed the yr with a 28-1 document in all competitions. However that one loss was expensive.
This yr has been much more painful. This week’s commerce didn’t come as a shock to McKenna.
“Once you’re having a nasty season, something is liable to occur,” he mentioned.
Flowers was one in every of three gamers retained by Raptors Rebellion this season together with the star duo of league MVP and star level guard Kenneth (Kenny Obtained Work) Hailey and Defensive Participant of the Yr Trent (Timelycook) Donald.
Vescovi was obtained in an low season commerce whereas former Raptors Rebellion members Trevion (All Hail Trey) Hendrix and McKenna had been reacquired, through a commerce and the draft, respectively.
Hailey was additionally named a first-team all-star in 2020 whereas Donald was voted to the second staff. Hailey and Donald had been additionally chosen for the league’s all-defensive staff.
Vescovi, voted to the league’s all defensive staff in 2019, came to visit in a November deal that despatched all-star centre Jerry (Sick One) Knapp to Hornets Venom GT. Later that month, the Raptors reacquired Hendrix from Cavs Legion GC in alternate for a first-round draft decide (twenty first general).
McKenna, who spent the 2018 and ’19 seasons with Raptors Rebellion, returned within the third spherical of the NBA 2K League draft in March.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed July 22, 2021
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press