Ready for some NBA eSports action with real NBA players? The NBA and NBA 2K are hosting a special, 16-player, heads-up tournament on XBox One with a $100,000 first-place prize that will be donated to coronavirus charities and relief efforts. Kevin Durant and Trae Young are the top-two seeds, with the tournament seeding based upon their NBA 2K ratings.

NBA 2K Players Tournament Seeds
Sixteen NBA players will compete in a NBA 2K eSports tournament with all proceeds going to charity. (Image: NBA)

You can watch the action unfold starting tonight, Friday, April 3 on ESPN, and across social media platforms including Twitch. The first two rounds will be single-elimination games. The Final Four and championship will each be a best-of-three series.

A total of 16 NBA players will take part in this special event. Durant, Young, and Donovan Mitchell are among the participants.

Players will be able to select from eight different teams, but once they pick a team once, they cannot use it again.

“We are excited to tip off the first ‘NBA 2K Players Tournament’ in partnership with the NBPA and 2K, continuing an ongoing effort to stay connected with NBA fans around the world, while also giving back in this time of need,” said Matt Holt, NBA SVP of Global Partnerships.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the NBA and NBPA to bring basketball back to fans throughout the world and to help those in need during these uncertain times,” said Jason Argent, 2K Senior Vice President. “Entertainment, especially sports, has the ability to bring communities together, including athletes, fans, and families. We hope that everyone will enjoy the tournament.”

Durant, Young Top NBA 2K Seeds

In order to determine a bracket and seedings, the organizers referred to NBA 2K’s in-game rating system. The seeds would be based on each individual player’s rating. Kevin Durant, unstoppable in real life, is also unstoppable in NBA 2K, with a 96 rating. Durant, who tested positive for coronavirus and has since recovered, will be the #1 seed.

Young, who had been tearing up the NBA in only two seasons, will be the #2 overall seed, based on his 90 rating on NBA 2K.

Hassan Whiteside from the Portland Trail Blazers secured the #3 seed with an 87 rating.

NBA 2K TOURNAMENT SEEDING
1. Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) 96
2. Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks) 90
3. Hassan Whiteside (Portland Trail Blazers) 87
4. Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz) 87
5. Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) 86
6. Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers) 85
7. Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls) 85
8. Montrezl Harrell (LA Clippers) 85
9. Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers) 85
10. Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns) 85
11. DeMarcus Cousins (NONE) 81
12. Michael Porter Jr. (Denver Nuggets) 81
13. Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards) 79
14. Patrick Beverley (LA Clippers) 78
15. Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings) 78
16. Derrick Jones Jr. (Miami Heat) 78

Donovan Mitchell became the second NBA player to test positive for coronavirus after he caught it from Utah Jazz teammate, Rudy Gobert, who is the NBA’s patient zero and the first player to test positive. Mitchell earned a #4 seed with an 87 rating.

Devin Booker locked up the #5 seed with an 86 rating. Booker is well respected among his NBA brethren as the league’s top gamer. Booker has pro-level skills at Call of Duty, and now, the rest of the basketball world will get to see his NBA 2K skills in full effect.

How to Watch the NBA 2K Tournament

The first match features #1 Durant versus #16 Derrick Jones Jr. from the Miami Heat. ESPN will air the match live with a 7:30 pm ET tipoff. Coverage begins at 7 pm on ESPN. Matches are expected to last an hour each.

The coverage continues on Friday night but will switch from ESPN to ESPN 2 starting 8:30 pm ET and lasting until 11:30 pm ET.

The first round continues on ESPN2 on Sunday, April 5 between noon ET and 4 pm ET.

Fans without ESPN/ESPN2 access will have the option to stream these matches on social media, including both the NBA and NBA 2K’s feeds on Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

FIRST ROUND MATCHES
#1 Kevin Durant vs. #16 Derrick Jones Jr
#2 Trae Young vs. #15 Harrison Barnes
#3 Hassan Whiteside vs. #14 Patrick Beverly
#4 Donovan Mitchell vs. #13 Rui Hachimura
#5 Devin Booker vs. #12 Michael Porter
#6 Andre Drummond vs. #11 Boogie Cousins
#7 Zach LaVine vs. #10 Deandre Ayton
#8 Montrezl Harrell vs. #9 Domantas Sabonis

Kevin Durant will have the option to play with his own team in NBA 2K, the Brooklyn Nets, or he can choose one of seven other teams, including the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, LA Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, and his old Golden State Warriors squad.

Jones could pick his own Miami Heat team or select from the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, LA Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers, or Philadelphia 76ers.

Bookmaker lists Durant as a 2.5-point favorite over Jones. Booker comes in as a 3-point favorite over Michael Porter.

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