It’s not every day you can gloat about the winning ways of the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, the only gloating you can do in these times is via Twitter and other social media platforms. And the winning ways to which we speak aren’t occurring down at Talking Stick Resort Arena, rather, they are happening on the virtual hardwood floors of NBA2k on XBox One.
16 NBA players entered the NBA2k Players Tournament, which began last Friday, in an effort to provide some entertainment to a sportless world. Those players, which included Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, and Andre Drummond, have been filling some of the void left by the COVID-19 pandemic. Emphasis on some.
The tournament featured only two teams with multiple players playing: the Suns (Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton) and the Clippers (Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley). Organizers seeded players the best way they knew how: by the players’ overall rating on the video game.
Both of the Suns participants carried high odds to win the tournament seeing as they both are quite well known for their gaming chops.
Devin Booker has become a gaming celebrity for his Twitch channel. He is a competitive gamer, and reps 100 Thieves (a lifestyle brand and gaming organization) on his Twitter (with ‘100T’ in his bio). The Suns star wasted no time providing us something to talk about as he faced off against Denver’s Michael Porter, Jr:
Booker chose to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks rather the play with his own team. He quickly informed everyone (18 minutes later, to be exact) as to why he chose not to play with the NBA2k20 version of himself:
What was NBA2k’s response? The next day they released a 99 overall Devin Booker card for players to obtain via packs. Granted, Booker continues to have an 86 overall rating when you play with the Suns, but still...well played Booker; way to move the needle!
Devin, who began the tournament as the odds on favorite to win the entire thing, has defeated Porter (85-75) and Washington’s Rui Hachimura (71-55) en route to the semi-finals.
The other player to represent the Suns is second-year center DeAndre Ayton. His overall player rating of 85 slotted him in the 10th seed to begin the tournament. He too is in the semi-finals, having defeated Zach Levine (57-41) and fellow 2019 draft pick Trae Young (73-66).
If you are a follower of NBA2k Reddit then you know plenty about Ayton’s affinity for playing video games, going back to his U of A days. Yes, he even had a notorious NSFW meltdown after losing on NBA2k18. Rest in peace to his red controller:
What makes this tournament compelling is that the two non-Suns players left are from the Los Angeles Clippers. Both Harrell and Beverley have advanced through the ranks as well. The NBA2k Players Tournament semis are like an old Western Conference rivalry that has never existed.
Booker will face off against Harrell; Ayton takes on Beverley. Will it be an all-Suns 2k final? Or will the virtual results reflect the reality of the Phoenix Suns, one that knows success but avoids ultimate victory? Tune in to find out!
The semi-final rounds will occur on Saturday, April 11 at 2:00pm MST on ESPN.
The 2k Championship Game will follow the semi-finals.
Go get ‘em D. Book and DA!