With VBA closing it's doors, many were left looking for the right place to take their talents and continue the dream of owning and operating a sports franchise. One of these owners was Knight J Wright, who has found immediate success in the Swoops Universe.
Since the January 6th launch of Season 0 it has been a mad dash from teams to see how their players perform. Owners have played over 13,000 games so far as they test and try new things on their quest to figure out the ins and outs of the Swoops Simulator; trying to beat the competition and win as many games as they can while they're at it, of course. J Wright and the Knight Jays have been no exception in that regard, but their dominance has made them exception to what many expected to be the rule.
Knight J Wright established the Knight Jays in December of 2022 and quickly went to work fill out their roster in anticipation of Season 0. The Knight Jays were not only able to fill out an entire 15 man roster, but did it without spending over .21 ETH on any single player. In fact, only three Knight Jays ended up costing the team over .120 ETH to acquire.
While many owners anticipated that all of the best teams in Swoops would need to be loaded with top-end talent, J Wright's relatively low budget team has been one of best performing squads during this initial Season 0 period; continually proving that you can be a Swoops powerhouse without needing to break the bank.
On January 13th the Knight Jays picked up their 100th win, totalling only 52 losses along the way. Since then they have gone 68-39 and as of the publication date of this article sit at 168-91--a remarkable 64.86% win percentage. To put that into perspective, among all teams with 100 or more games played, the Knight Jays rank 3rd in win percentage. Only the Metacourt Miners (65.71%) and The King and the Duck (69.20%) have better records so far.
In that same sample size of teams, the Knight Jays are the only team with a win percentage of 55% or better to not have multiple players with a greater than two-star prospect rating.
It seems that Moneyball has made it's way over to the Swoops Universe and J Wright may be our Billy Beane.
So how have the Knight Jays been able to pull this off?
It starts with their leading scorer and two-star wunderkind Arvirus Sabonis, who has racked up an outstanding 130-53 record in games they've played in.
This 4th season forward/center was highlighted on the Swoops twitter earlier this week for their formidable three-level scoring. A 72 3PT rating is very good for a frontcourt player and coupled with a >80 midrange shooting rating, has resulted in Sabonis becoming one of the premier stretch bigs in the Swoops Universe.
Additionally, a >80 OREB rating results in Sabonis consistently providing secondary possessions on offense off misses. Arvuris's 5.03 offensive rebounds per game would be tie Steven Adams for the NBA lead this season, and rests at 7th in Swoops Season 0 among qualified players who have 40 or more games played. All of that combined has Arvirus Sabonis sitting at a 26.1 PPG average, the 8th highest average in the league.
His solid defensive rebounding (6.25 DRPG, 7th in the league) and great interior defense (11th best among revealed ratings) make him no slouch on the defensive end either, allowing Sabonis to protect the paint and average 1 block, 1.5 steals, and only 3.5 fouls a game.
Not too shabby for a two-star prospect who cost .2 ETH!
Sabonis' partner in crime on offense has been Dot Matrix who has accumilated a 118-45 record in games they have played in for the Knight Jays.
Matrix is a one-star (!!!) forward who is putting up 24.6/8/5 averages, adding nearly a steal and a block per game on 46/38/79 (58% TS) shooting splits. Matrix's PPG is good for 13th in the league among all forwards and they rest just outside the top-20 in threes taken per game at 8.48. Keep in mind that's top-20 among 1500 players!
The third head of the Knight Jays hydra has been Swoopster-1015, a defensive specialist who is awaiting a proper name and has a 125-47 record with the team so far.
This two-star guard comes with physicality, perimeter defense, and interior defense as their three top ratings. Feels like the kind of player you'd want to put on the opposing teams best scorer night in and night out. In their role they're snagging 1.2 steals and block a night, over three assists a game, and chipping in a ridiculous 7.5 rebounds from the guard position, all while boasting an unbelievably low 2.5 fouls a game. They are excelling at being whatever the Knight Jays need on a game-to-game basis. Kind of like a mashup between younger Shane Battier and Josh Hart. A rock-solid complimentary player to fill in the gaps and do the dirty work. Not that the 18 points and 6 FTAs a night are anything to sneeze at.
The rest of the Knight Jays roster is full a ton of intriguing choices to choose from. Whether that's someone like one-star Swoopster-244 who has averaged 11 points and 12.4 rebounds a game through 36 games, one-star Swoopster-23 who is averaging 20/5/2.5/2.1/1 through nearly 80 games, or Gallo Chromine who stuffs the stat sheet to the tune of 13/6.5/5/1.7/.8 a night and sports a 76-28 record, J Wright has given the team a plethora of options to try and counter whatever they run into.
The Knight Jays performance in Season 0 has positioned them as a team to look at for theorycrafters trying to understand how to maximize players and manage usage, for everyone (us included) to learn about what different types of effective roster construction can look like, and a the gold standard for how to get the most out of a team given a certain budget.
Not to mention they're definitely a team worth scouting and planning for should you run into them in a potential tournament scenario down the road. 👀
You can find the Knight Jays on Twitter and in the Swoops Discord, where we'd love for you to join the community, talk shop, ask questions, provide feedback, and become part of the Swoops Universe so we can feature your team in an upcoming article just like this one!