NBA basketball might be months away from resuming, but that isn’t stopping players from competing against each other. The catch? They’ll be playing on the virtual hardwood instead. Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell will be among the 16 NBA players competing in the “NBA 2K players-only tournament” starting Friday, April 3. The tournament will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2. There is sure to be trash talk and loads of tension between some of the NBA’s best gamers, just like the NBA would be supplying us right now.
The field of the NBA 2K players-only tournament
The NBA 2K tournament will feature 16 competitors from different teams around the league. Kevin Durant is the No. 1 seed in the bracket, followed by No. 2 Trae Young, No.3 Hassan Whiteside, and No. 4 Donovan Mitchell.
The seeding was based on the player’s current NBA 2K rating. Durant is a 96 overall in the latest version of the video game, NBA 2K20. He will face off against the reigning slam dunk champion and No. 16 seed Derrick Jones Jr. in the first round on Friday.
Other players involved in the tourney include Devin Booker, Andre Drummond, and DeMarcus Cousins. The past two NBA 2K cover athletes, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis, will not be competing.
How will the NBA 2K players-only tournament work?
Durant and Jones Jr. will kick off the tournament on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The first-round games will go through Sunday. The quarterfinals will then be played on Tuesday and the semifinals and finals will be held on Saturday, April 11.
Every game will be played from the comfort of each player’s homes, and the entire tournament will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, and NBA.com. Twitter, Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube will also have streams of the event.
The first and second rounds will be played in a single-elimination format on Xbox One, and the semifinals and finals will be best-of-three series’. Every player will choose eight teams to use throughout the tournament. Each team can only be used once by a single player.
The winner of the tournament will receive $100,000 from 2K, the NBA, and the NBPA, to donate to a charitable organization of their choosing.
Yes, you can even bet on the NBA 2K tournament
There is nothing in the sports world you can’t place a wager on nowadays. Virtual sports are no exception. SportsBettingDime released odds on the tournament Wednesday, so you can make your bets now.
Kevin Durant is the betting favorite to win it all at 5/1 odds. Durant isn’t just the best player in the 16-man field, but he’s also had months to recover from his Achilles tendon injury. There’s no doubt he’s been putting in some work on 2K during his extended time off. Durant should be the freshest video gamer in the field.
Deandre Ayton is the surprise in terms of odds. Ayton is the No. 10 seed in the tournament, but he has the third-lowest odds at 6.5/1 behind Durant and Young. Sportsbooks must know Ayton is a seasoned veteran in the 2K world.
You can also bet on each individual game, but those lines vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. Who is your best bet to win it all?