To help offset the lack of sports in our lives, ESPN and 16 players have decided to put on a players-only NBA2K tournament. All the participants were announced this afternoon via Kevin Durant's The Boardroom. Seeding is determined by the players' video game rating, and tiebreakers are determined by tenure in the league.
If you, like so many others, are desperate enough for sports that you plan on watching a simulation come Friday night, here's a breakdown of each participant's video game resume and their likelihood of making a deep run.
Durant appears to have organized the tournament, so we can safely assume he'll be coming prepared and should come away with at least one win. However, the one video of Durant playing 2K out there from 2018 isn't terribly encouraging; he missed enough shots to become ice cold and struggled with spacing, as can be seen below. He's a risky bet to win it all, but should handle Derrick Jones Jr. in Round 1.
Trae Young is, well, young, but didn't play many video games before the quarantine forced him to stay indoors if this tweet is any indication. He's also going up against Harrison Barnes, who was on an episode of Player vs. Gamer back in 2014. He's a vet. I'd be surprised if Young made it past the opening round.
Hassan Whiteside vs. Patrick Beverly is the most intriguing Round 1 matchup. Whiteside spends a good chunk of his time broadcasting everything he does on his SnapChat, and video games are a large part of his everyday life based on that. Beverly claimed to be the best Call of Duty player on the Clippers last week, so he clearly knows how to handle the sticks. He's also obscenely competitive, while Whiteside... isn't quite that. Beverly could make a run in this tournament with that combination of factors.
Donovan Mitchell may end up being the man to beat here. He beat Ronnie 2K, the face of the video game franchise, only last week playing as the Utah Jazz. Rui Hachimura has no history of video game streaming, even if he is a few years younger. My money is on Mitchell to easily handle Hachimura in Round 1 and has a serious chance to win the whole thing.
Devin Booker has spent his quarantine playing video games as the Suns and adhering to their actual NBA schedule, so he's all warmed up and ready to go. Michael Porter Jr. is one of the youngest guys in the tournament, though, and that matchup could have the making of the classic 12 over 5 upset. Still, Booker's experience should push him over the top and allow him to make a solid run.
Andre Drummond-DeMarcus Cousins will be a blast for trash-talking, and Cousins presumably hasn't had much to do outside of rehab even before the quarantine. Drummond has his own Twitch streaming account, but appears to mostly play Fortnite instead of 2K. This one is a toss-up.
Zach LaVine will take on DeAndre Ayton in the final matchup of the first round. LaVine is a regular streamer of a variety of video games, including 2K. Ayton has been playing the Suns' regular-season games with Booker since the season is postponed. I also found this wonderfully NSFW video of Ayton after losing a game of NBA 2K18 and breaking a controller. You can't teach that kind of drive to win. Ayton is a bit of an underdog as a 10-seed, but has solid upset potential.
So there it is. Your primer for the only "live" sporting event we'll get to enjoy for the time being.