The calendar has rolled to April, and we should have had our fill of brackets — mostly busted ones that are crumpled or torn up.

Well, that’s not the case this year. 

Yeah, it’s been fun to watch the classic games of yesteryear during the weeks of the quarantine. However, instead of replaying more 30 for 30 films, ESPN, BetMGM and the NBA will offer fans a respite: the NBA2K Players Tournament.

Claim your Risk Free Bet with BetMGM
$500
Risk-Free Bet
MGM Sportsbook Review
  • Up To $500 Risk-Free Bet
  • Free $10 Weekly Bet
  • Use Bonus Code: PLAYBONUS

NBA2K Players Tournament

nba2k players tournament

Nope, it’s not for the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but it is for your share of $20,000!

This is NBA2K20, the league’s signature video game.

BetMGM will also be matching the $20K win with a $20K donation to New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF).

Since betting on esports is restricted in New Jersey, BetMGM has a plan for players:

  • A freeroll bracket challenge to follow the tournament that starts Friday.
  • Pits 16 top stars against each other for digital supremacy.
  • Get the most picks right to split a $20,000 pot.

NBA2K Players Tournament bracket

nba2k players tournament

Here are the 16 participants, seeded by their NBA 2K20 rating (in parentheses): 

  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 (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)

Before the tournament begins, each contestant will select eight NBA teams.

  • Each team may be used only once.
  • Given the 15 games, it’s plausible a team may play itself.
  • Durant and Jones Jr. each selected the Nets in their eight-team pools, so that might happen right out the gate.
      • (Of course, if Durant selects the Warriors, expect to see a lot of Twitter hate and gnashing of teeth from the sheltering-in-place Bay Area).

The first round begins Friday night and concludes Sunday afternoon.

  • The quarterfinals will be Tuesday night with the Final Four happening on Saturday the 11th.
  • The first two rounds are single-elimination, the final two rounds are best-of-three.

BetMGM has your action

  1. Sign in to your account using this exclusive link (Hopefully, you took advantage of one of the many special offers.).
  2. Click the links.
  3. Fill out the bracket.
  4. Picks lock on Sunday.

Advice on strategy: Not sure any really work. If you know players who do a lot of gaming from social media or Twitch, go ahead.

Maybe Durant and Cousins have been putting in hours during their injury rehab. Like most video games, I’m partial to go with younger competitors like Trae Young. 

Hey, I’m sure I’m like many who aren’t completely sold on the idea of watching people play video games on television as a sufficient substitute for traditional entertainment.

However, this event supports needed relief work and looks like fun. Give it a shot and hopefully, no one gets injured.

NBA2K Players Tournament schedule:

Round 1

Friday, April 3: ESPN

  • 7-7:30 p.m. EST: NBA 2K Players Tournament Preview Show
  • 7:30-8:30 p.m. EST: Derrick Jones Jr. (16) vs. Kevin Durant (1)

Friday, April 3: ESPN2, 8:30-11:30 p.m. EST

Sunday, April 5: ESPN2, 12-4 p.m. EST

Quarterfinals

Tuesday, April 7: ESPN2, 7-11 p.m. EST

Semifinals and finals

Saturday, April 11: ESPN, Time to be announced.

Marco Cerino

About

Marco Cerino is a 2007 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and a 2017 graduate from the Masters program at Temple University. A freelance writer based in South Jersey, he's worked in sports at the minor and major league levels. He now covers the NJ online gambling industry.