Raptors Uprising protect 2 players ahead of Season 3 Expansion Draft

Raptors Uprising GC announced today that the NBA 2K League team has protected second-year players Kenneth “Kenny Got Work” Hailey and Gerald “Sick x 973” Knapp ahead of the Season 3 Expansion Draft.

Kenny Got Work will return to Toronto for a third-straight year after the Memphis-native led Raptors Uprising to a .500 record or better in each of his first two seasons — including earning the franchise’s first-ever playoff berth in Season 1. Over the course of his two-year career, the 29-year-old has led all Raptors Uprising players in scoring (17.9 points per game) and assists (6.8 per game), to go along with an average of 2.0 steals through 30 career contests.

“It’s tough to be in this league,” said Kenny Got Work, who considers Toronto to be his second home. “And for me, to be a part of all three seasons with Raptors Uprising shows me how much they believe in me. I’m just looking forward to building on that in one of the best cities in the world.”

Originally selected by Raptors Uprising as a point guard in the first round of the inaugural NBA 2K League Draft, Kenny Got Work, whose widely considered to be one of the better players in the league, will return to his roots in Season 3 after appearing at four different positions in 2019, and the expectation is that the natural PG will further elevate his game.

“Protecting Kenny had little to do with where we drafted him, he’s simply earned it,” said Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Esports Manager Shane Talbot. “He’s an incredibly versatile player with a skill ceiling at point guard that I don’t think we have truly seen him hit yet. I’m excited to see him lock in at PG this off-season and bring it for us in Season 3.”

Talbot isn’t the only one excited to see Kenny Got Work focus on mastering the point in NBA 2K20. His main on-court beneficiary is also looking ahead to the possibility of forming a dominant duo alongside Raptors Uprising’s leader.

“In Season 3, I’m really looking forward to seeing Kenny Got Work at PG the entire year because he consistently got better at it last season,” said centre Sick x 973, who joined Raptors Uprising partially through the year via trade. “More importantly, I’m looking forward to building on our chemistry last season and forming that connection early.”

On May 13, 2019, Sick x 973 was acquired by Toronto from Cavs Legion GC in exchange for Season 1 protected player All Hail Trey, and the New Jersey-native hasn’t looked at all out of place since his arrival. In fact, since the trade, the big man led all Raptors Uprising players in rebounds (7.5 per game) and steals (2.0 per game), while still chipping in as the team’s second-leading scorer to a tune of 14.7 points per contest.

“I am thrilled to be coming back to the 6ix,” said Sick x 973. “I didn’t want to play anywhere else. As soon as I arrived here in Season 2, the team and management made me feel right at home. Toronto will do anything to help their players be the most successful they can be. I truly hope to be a part of Raptors Uprising for the rest of my career.”

After being selected in the second round of the inaugural NBA 2K League draft by Cavs Legion GC, Sick x 973 has gone on to put up solid numbers as one of the most consistent frontcourt players in the league. In 48 career NBA 2K League games, the New Jersey-native has averaged 16.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.1 steals. And while many fans see the talented centre making an elite impact on the court, as Talbot tells us, its what people can’t see that truly makes Sick x 973 the full package.

“Jerry’s in-game ability speaks for itself, but he also brings a ton to our team off the virtual court,” said Talbot, who emphasized that the PG/C duo is the most important dynamic to team building. “He’s got his finger on the pulse of what’s going on around the league — almost playing an assistant GM role for me at times — and from the moment he got here, he’s been providing constructive feedback.”

Looking ahead, Sick x 973, Kenny Got Work, Talbot, and the rest of Raptors Uprising will keep a close eye on the expansion draft as they look to round out their roster heading into Season 3. As per NBA 2K League rules, Raptors Uprising’s remaining four players from last season — KingQuai614, Doza, TsJosh, and OOC Slim — will all be eligible to be selected in the expansion draft. However, after the draft, Toronto does retain the right to retain up to two additional players who were not selected in the draft by forfeiting NBA 2K League Season 3 draft picks.

“We had six legitimate starters on our roster this season,” wrapped up Talbot, in reference to some of the tough roster decisions he had to make. “There are many factors that go into team building, but the off-season isn’t over yet. The new league guidelines mean teams can protect a third player for a 4th round draft pick after the expansion draft, and I expect we’ll see a lot of teams do that.”