There is no real NBA action to watch, but NBA 2K, the NBA, NBAPA, and ESPN are attempting to pick up the slack.
On Monday, news broke on a players-only NBA 2K Tournament. On Tuesday, the bracket for the tournament was released and it is packed with stars and recognizable faces. The format is also interesting and different than most NBA 2K tournaments.
Also, it is important to note, the winner will be crowned the ultimate NBA 2K20 champion and there is a cash prize that goes to a worthy and relevant cause.
The player will select a charity beneficiary to receive a $100,000 donation from 2K, the NBA and the NBPA in support of ongoing coronavirus relief efforts.
The Bracket for the Players-Only NBA 2K Tournament on ESPN
Here is a look at the bracket highlighted by Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine, and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.
The tournament will begin and air on ESPN on Friday, April 3, and it will run until Saturday, April 11.
Which Teams Will the Players Use in the NBA 2K Tournament?
In case you are wondering about the format and mirror matches, tournament organizers have that covered. Per a press release provided to me, here are the details:
Based on players’ seeding – which is determined first by NBA 2K rating, second by tenure – players will go head-to-head online in NBA 2K20. Prior to the tournament beginning, every player will choose eight of today’s NBA teams, each of which can only be used once. If a mirror match is set, the away team is awarded first choice of team. Rounds one and two will be single elimination, with the semifinals and finals running best of three.
In this NBA-news-starved time, it will be interesting to see if there are legit conversations hatched about player-movement that are born from something that happens during this tournament.
Kevin Durant vs. Derrick Jones Jr. Will Start it Off
The first matchup pits Durant vs. Derrick Jones Jr. In accordance to the rules, here are Durant and Jones Jr’s choices of teams for their matchup, and their entire participation in the tournament should either of them make it to the finals:
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- Dallas Mavericks
- L.A. Clippers
- L.A. Lakers
- Miami Heat
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Chicago Bulls
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Utah Jazz
Increased Focused on NBA 2K and Other Sports Games
During this tough time without real sports, games like NBA 2K are taking on an even greater significance. Even before COVID-19, the NBA 2K franchise has sold upwards of 10 million copies annually. It’s already a major aspect of hoops and pop culture. These kinds of events are only going to further engrain the franchise into the consciousness of basketball fans.
Marrying real-life ballers with the virtual experience is nothing new.
As someone who has attended countless NBA 2K events, the presence of NBA players is common. Because of that, we might just see some strong gameplay in this event.
While the field looks strong, I can’t help but wonder where guys like the Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis, and the New York Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina, are in this event?
All three are avid and skilled 2K players who would have potentially had a chance to perform well. Perhaps there will be multiple events like this with the future of the actual 2019-20 season in question.