Written by Braidan Lewis (Features Writer)
“Stop playin’ with me Andre, stop playin’ with me!” That’s what the Los Angeles Clippers’ vociferous point guard, Patrick Beverly, had to say when he defeated Cleveland Cavaliers Center Andre Drummond in the second round of the NBA 2K Players Tournament. Have you ever wondered if professional athletes’ personalities on the court are the same when they are off of it? Well, Beverly proved that to be true throughout the tournament, keeping NBA fans from around the world entertained. The tournament was created by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, to help fill the void while the season has been put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The winner receives a $100,000 charity donation of their choice. Many NBA superstars participated such as Kevin Durant, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, DeMarcus Cousins, and the eventual tournament champion Devin Booker. Booker divided his prize between two different charity organizations: #FirstRespondersFirst and Arizona Food Bank Network.
How the tournament worked was first every player selected eight current NBA teams, which they were only allowed to use each team once. The matchups were based on the player’s personal NBA 2K rating, the higher the players 2K rating the higher their seed was. The first two rounds were done by single elimination, however, the semifinals and finals were done by a best-of-three series. One of the biggest observations I made during this tournament was that the higher seeded players 2K talents weren’t equivalent to their talents on the hardwood. For starters, the whole tournament was won by a No. 5 seeded Devin Booker, and the tournament runner-up was a No. 10 seed DeAndre Ayton. It’s even more apparent when the No. 1 seeded Kevin Durant, No. 3 seeded Hassan Whiteside, and No. 4 seeded Donovan Mitchell all lost in the first round. That’s three of the top five seeded players! When you think about it the 2K players seeding was based on their 2K rating which is based on their on-court abilities. So that makes sense, the time being spent playing 2K is time not being spent training on the court. If the NBA decides to do another video game tournament, they may want to keep that in mind when they are organizing seedings.
Another big highlight from this tournament was simply just Patrick Beverly. When you look at the personalities that today’s athletes put on when they are in a game is sometimes very different from the people they are when they aren’t playing. And although the NBA has pioneered in somewhat giving their players freedom to express themselves however they like, there’s still this talk about stigma present in the league that you have to act and carry yourself a certain way when you’re out in the public eye. But this stigma doesn’t apply to Patrick Beverly. Beverly is known as being one of the toughest defenders in the league. He’s physical, fearless, quick, and a trash talker. And he takes all those traits to the video game world as well. Beverly was the most entertaining player to watch the whole tournament by far. He plays 2K the way that every normal person does. He talks a little trash, gets hyped on an alley-oop, and gets heated about a foul call just like he does in games. Which was refreshing, since most of the other players had at most mediocre reactions to the game. And the Championship series was pretty interesting as well, regarding the fact that both players, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, are both teammates on the Phoenix Suns. However, that’s as far as interesting got in the series, as Devin Booker crushed his fellow teammate by a combined total of twenty-two points from both games to be crowned as the tournament champion.