Bash shows he belongs on Kings Guard Gaming through heroics, hot start

Matt Furtado
NBC Sports BayArea

It all came down to one possession in Kings Guard Gaming's 60-58 win over Grizz Gaming on Friday. 

Kings Guard trailed by one point with 1.1 seconds remaining in the second game of a best-of-three series. They had the ball, and a chance at a game-winning -- and series-clinching -- shot.

Bash, the point guard, stood at the top of the arc and ran right. Drawing his defender into a screen, he cut back in the opposite direction, received the in-bound pass and pulled up for a 3-point shot.

A perfect shot.

A game-winning shot, the first of his NBA 2K League career.

His controller didn't stay in his hands much longer.

You probably wouldn't believe it if someone told you last season that Matt Robles, aka Bash, would come up clutch.

After all, he wasn't even drafted last season. Seventy-five selections were made across four rounds, and Robles' gamer tag wasn't called.

Now, he's out to prove them all wrong.

"I use it as motivation," he told NBC Sports Bay Area in an interview Thursday, prior to his game-winning heroics. "I was undrafted last year and I feel like I, 100 percent, could've helped a lot of teams last year that needed point guards. I feel like I could've been that person. So this year is my year to show people you missed out. I could've helped your team."

Kings Guard wouldn't make the same mistake twice. They drafted Bash with their second first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in February's draft.

"I feel like a lot of people doubted me, people slept on me from before the league," he said. "The day I heard my name get called people were like ‘Who's that? Why is he being drafted so high?' "

With his game-winning shot Friday and impressive numbers through the first three weeks of his rookie season, Bash is answering all the questions.

The point guard is averaging 20.7 points in 12 games over five separate series, leading Kings Guard to a 3-2 record.

Bash has always been known as a scorer. Even before he was drafted, people familiar with his game knew Bash as a shooting guard with an elite scoring touch.

What people and teams weren't sure about was if he could run the point.

"People knew my name before the League, they thought, 'he's gonna score the ball, make him pass. If we make him pass, that's where he's not as comfortable,' " Bash said. "So coming into the league, now it's like, I'm drafted as a point guard, so I can't be known as that guard that's just like, 'Alright, he's just gonna score the ball and that's it.' What I did was I watched a lot of other PGs play, to see the certain things they would do to break down defenses."

That studying seems to be paying off for Bash, who's averaging just over six assists per game.

Kings Guard Gaming has a lot of room to grow with Bash and two other rookies, Crush and Nasthetic, filling out half of the six-player roster. They've had an up-and-down start to the season, alternating series wins and losses over the first two weeks as a result.

They blew teams out, but they also have been blown out. Kings Guard have pulled off huge comebacks, but they've also given up big leads.

That's par for the course for a team with so many rookies. Mix in the the fact that all these games are being played remotely, which the league has never done before, and Kings Guard's 3-2 series record over the first three weeks is really solid.

With all of that said, Bash isn't settling for the way the team is playing right now. He believes they can, and will, get better as the season goes on.

"I feel like right now we're not playing bad, but we're not playing like ourselves," he said. "We're not playing at the level we all know we can play at. I feel like we're a top team, championship contender top team. As long as we limit our turnovers and keep trusting each other on defense, the way we do, I like our chances."

There's still a lot of season left to play. The NBA 2K League will continue to be played remotely through Week 6, but what happens next is still unknown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether they're playing together in-person or online, Bash and Kings Guard will aim to continue developing into one of the NBA 2K League's best teams.

Bash shows he belongs on Kings Guard Gaming through heroics, hot start originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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