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Breaking down “Players-Only” NBA 2K Tournament pool

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NBA superstars are taking it to the sticks with an NBA 2K tournament featuring Kevin Durant and Trae Young. We break down the pool on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker reacts against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA returns on Friday. Well, sort of. In an attempt to raise money for coronavirus relief, the NBA is teaming up with The Boardroom and NBA 2K to host a “Players-Only” tournament. This will be 16 NBA players going 1 vs. 1 in NBA 2K in a bracket style tourney to see who has the best 2K skills.

At the top, we have Kevin Durant, Trae Young and Devin Booker — plus a ton of other notable NBA stars. Here’s the full bracket. DraftKings Sportsbook is hosting a pool for the competition, which begins on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, running on ESPN until switching to ESPN2 from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. ET. We’re going to break down the pool for you, going question by question. It’s important to know the rules of the tournament, so here’s a useful link:

Head-to-Head matchups

(1) Kevin Durant vs. (16) Derrick Jones Jr.
(8) Montrezl Harrell vs. (9) Domantas Sabonis

(4) Donovan Mitchell vs. (13) Rui Hachimura
(5) Devin Booker vs. (12) Michael Porter Jr.

(2) Trae Young vs. (15) Harrison Barnes
(7) Zach LaVine vs. (10) Deandre Ayton

(3) Hassan Whiteside vs. (14) Patrick Beverley
(6) Andre Drummond vs. (11) DeMarcus Cousins

The first part of the pool is picking each matchup in the first round. The matchups are highlighted above. Honestly, it’s difficult to shed any light on who has an edge in these matchups. I have completely no idea the skill level of these NBA players on 2K. For all we know, Airplane Mode is a 2K fiend and is going to wipe the floor with KD in the first round. I realize each player is playing as himself inside the game, so ratings will obviously become a factor and which team that particular player is using factors in as well.

Will any player score 30+ points with themselves

  • Yes
  • No

This is pretty straight forward and I’d lean “Yes” considering the type of personalities in this contest. I mean, is Kevin Durant going to take a shot with anyone but himself? If I’m Devin Booker I’m trying to break my real life record and go off for 80 points with myself, let’s be real.

Highest team total points — First Round

  • Kevin Durant
  • Trae Young
  • Harrison Barnes
  • Donovan Mitchell
  • Derrick Jones Jr.
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • Patrick Beverley
  • Rui Hachimura
  • Multiple Players Tie

Again, this has more to do with skill, but if we can gather anything from the teams in 2K, we can get a sense of what players are working with. Young has the Hawks and their offense should be fast-paced on 2K. I’ve got a hunch guys like Spida and Barnes know how to operate 2K. Just a hunch though.

Lowest team total points — First Round

  • Kevin Durant
  • Trae Young
  • Harrison Barnes
  • Donovan Mitchell
  • Derrick Jones Jr.
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • Patrick Beverley
  • Rui Hachimura
  • Multiple Players Tie

Same deal here, just who do you think will be the lowest scoring. I don’t think we get any ties, that seems like a long shot with 16 players in the field. Again, not really sure of the skill level of all these guys in 2K.

Highest team total points — First Round

  • Devin Booker
  • Michael Porter Jr.
  • Andre Drummond
  • Deandre Ayton
  • Zach LaVine
  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • Montrezl Harrell
  • Domantis Sabonis
  • Multiple Players Tie

This is the other side of the group with the other eight players. I like Booker since the Suns should be fast-paced and he’s got a lot to work with. I also think Booker is totally going to hog the ball and chuck 3s with himself the entire time, so that should be fun. Sabonis is my sneaky pick here. He could either be miserable at this game or an absolute stud.

Lowest team total points — First Round

  • Devin Booker
  • Michael Porter Jr.
  • Andre Drummond
  • Deandre Ayton
  • Zach LaVine
  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • Montrezl Harrell
  • Domantis Sabonis
  • Multiple Players Tie

Porter is one of the youngsters here and I think he’ll be pretty decent at 2K. With that said, he’s working with the Nuggets in 2K and I know it isn’t a video game, but Denver can’t score really. Drummond working with the Pistons potentially would also be a spot I look for the lowest total.

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