NBA 2K Players Tournament Day 1 Recap

Trae Young Playing Against Knicks

For the first time in weeks, we finally got a taste of the NBA on Friday night…even if it was via a video game.

The much-anticipated (at least to this individual) NBA 2K Players Tournament kicked off last night. We got to see the first four matchups of the first round, with the other four first-round games being played on Sunday afternoon. Players were allowed to play as any NBA team, with no duplicates in a matchup.

Unsurprisingly, the seeding didn’t end up mattering AT ALL. Three of the lower seeds ultimately upset their opponent:

  • #16 Derrick Jones Jr. (playing as Bucks) beat #1 Kevin Durant (Clippers), 78-62
  • #10 Deandre Ayton (Rockets) beat #7 Zach Lavine (Heat), 57-41
  • #14 Patrick Beverley (Bucks) beat #3 Hassan Whiteside (Lakers), 84-54
  • #2 Trae Young (Bucks) beat #15 Harrison Barnes (Raptors), 101-59

Were there any major takeaways? Well, clearly the Bucks are a popular pick, with the players clearly showing some respect for Giannis Antetokounmpo. That ended up being the right choice, as each participant who played as Milwaukee ended up winning their game. However, it was the non-Bucks picks that were especially interesting.

With all due respect to the real-life Raptors, the 2k Raps lack the star power to compete with the top-dogs. That was pretty clear in Trae Young’s 42-point thumping of Harrison Barnes. You have to wonder if Barnes was simply showing some respect to the defending champs (or valuing their top-tier defense). If he wasn’t in the first year of a lucrative four-year contract, we’d wonder if he was angling for a move to Toronto.

Speaking of pushing for a move, Zach Lavine has been mentioned in trade rumors for some time (especially with the Bulls eyeing an organizational makeover). Therefore, at least this one writer was wondering if the former Dunk Contest champ was maybe telling us something with his selection. We’ve seen the Heat be aggressive with trades in recent years, and Lavine would provide the team with another high-profile player outside of Jimmy Butler and (to a lesser extent) Bam Adebayo.

Hassan Whiteside’s decision to pick the Lakers was most surprising, especially considering the Trailblazer’s hatred for the franchise. On the flip side, the center is set to become a free agent this offseason, and we’ve already see that Los Angeles is willing to roll with some unorthodox choices at center. Maybe Whiteside was sending a hint to the Lakers front office.

It was also a bit surprising that no one picked their current team, although maybe they were trying to avoid the potential embarrassment of a loss.

On Sunday, we’ll see the completion of the first round, including the following matchups:

  • #4 Donovan Mitchell (Jazz) vs. #13 Rui Hachimura (Wizards)
  • #5 Devin Booker (Suns) vs. #12 Michael Porter Jr. (Nuggets)
  • #6 Andre Drummond (Cavaliers) vs. #11 DeMarcus Cousins (Free Agent)
  • #8 Montrezl Harrell (Clippers) vs. #9 Domantas Sabonis (Pacers)

The quarterfinals will take place on Tuesday before Saturday’s semifinals and finals.

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