Wizards District Gaming (DG) went from having the number 1 pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft to winning the 2020 NBA 2K League Championship. By building through the draft (selecting Jack “JBM” Mascone) and playing elite defense, they showed that you can quickly reverse your fortunes. It’s also worth nothing that they were the third member of Monumental Sports to win their league’s championship.
Team Manager Patrick Crossan has been one of the architects of that turnaround. Crossan joined the Bleav in Wizards podcast this week to discuss how they’ve been able to have that level of success and their recent additions in the 2021 draft.
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For the nuances of the league’s draft process and its lack of free agency, I would encourage you to check out the whole episode as Crossan gives a very detailed explanation. Essentially, Wizards DG was able to retain everyone from last year’s championship squad except for small forward “ReeseDaGod.”
Through the draft, the team added power forward Alexander “xoLebron” Lebron. Lebron (no relation to the other LeBron) is another strong defensive player that Crossan believes will fit in well with the culture the organization has worked hard to establish.
In addition to providing an easy-to-understand overview of the league and how gameplay actually works, Crossan shared some really interesting insights into how Wizards DG works in collaboration with the other parts of Monumental Sports. For example, he shared an anecdote about Tommy Sheppard being involved in their draft process. Wizards DG was able to leverage what the Wizards and Mystics have learned about drafting players who have certain qualities that tend to indicate future success.
Ted and Zach Leonsis have made a commitment to being ahead of the curve when it comes to esports. Based on that, it really shouldn’t be surprising that their 2K League team has already won a championship just a few years into the existence of the league. This seems like a smart investment considering the global esports audience is in the neighborhood of 450 million and is expected to continue to generate over a billion dollars in yearly sales, per the Newzoo Global Esports Market Report from 2019.
“Leonsis is also a co-chairman and owns a stake in aXiomatic, a global esports powerhouse with professional teams in 14 games. AXiomatic invests in Epic Games, a creator of the wildly popular game Fortnite, and China’s Tencent also holds a stake in epic,” according to Reuters.
Adam Silver has continued to stress that the 2K League is the fourth official league under the NBA umbrella, along with the NBA, WNBA, and G League. The 2K League consists of 23 teams, 22 of which are sponsored by NBA organizations. The remaining team, the Gen. G Tigers of Shanghai, are a gaming team based out of China.
Given the growing popularity of esports, this seems like a great time to get on the Wizards DG bandwagon. Doesn’t hurt that they are proven winner either!
Also, in this episode, Larry Hughes and I also discussed the Wizards trade deadline prospects, the recent play of Rui Hachimura, possible 10-day contract additions the Wizards could explore, the Wizards’ strength of schedule, and Hughes told some fun stories about playing against AAU teams loaded with future NBA All-Stars.