Chicago Bulls fans can’t watch Zach LaVine play in real life, but they can watch the team’s best player compete in a players-only NBA 2K Tournament on ESPN.
LaVine is one of 16 players chosen to participate in the first-ever event brought to fans by the NBA, NBA Player’s Association, 2K, and ESPN.
The Players-Only NBA 2K Tournament Bracket
The details of the event were made public on Tuesday, and the competition begins on Friday, April 3, and will last through Saturday, April 11.
Here is a look at the bracket:
The players were seeded in the tournament according to their in-game rating. As of the most recent rating update, LaVine is rated an 85 overall. Some fans might argue that’s a little low for a guy averaging 25 points per game, shooting 38 percent from three-point range and having his best overall season, but that is the case right now.
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Zach LaVine’s First-Round Matchup
Lavine will face Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton in the first round. LaVine probably won’t be playing with the Bulls in the first round, but it’s hard to tell. While they will be playing traditional, online head-to-head, LaVine will be able to choose one of eight NBA teams he’s chosen as his squads to play with during the tournament.
So far we know the selections the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant and the Miami Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. have made because their matchup will kick off the action. However, all of the subsequent team selections are likely going to be announced at a later time.
How 2K Ratings Are Generated
How does Lavine wind up with an 85-overall rating? Clearly, LaVine has one of the quickest first steps in the NBA, and he can still do things like this from a leaping standpoint:
As I mentioned above, LaVine also shoots the three-ball very well. So what is separating him from a higher rating? For LaVine, it’s all about the defensive ratings. He’s long had the reputation for being a below-average defender, and that label–along with the Bulls’ poor overall record are holding him back.
Yes, because the Bulls are one of the worst teams in the NBA, LaVine’s overall rating can only be so high. It’s all about balance. The higher LaVine, or any player’s rating goes, the better his team’s overall mark becomes. For the sake of mirroring real life, LaVine essentially can’t make the Bulls better in 2K than they are in real life.
Thankfully, LaVine won’t have to play with the Bulls exclusively in the tournament.