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NBA

NBA 2K Players Tournament: Takeaways from the first round of action

The first round of the NBA 2K Players Tournament is a wrap, with eight players advancing after earning victories.

Deandre Ayton, Patrick Beverley, Devin Booker, Andre Drummond, Rui Hachimura, Montrezl Harrell, Derrick Jones Jr. and Trae Young have each punched their tickets for the next round, which begins on Wednesday.

FIRST ROUND RECAPS: Day 1 | Day 2

Ahead of the next round of action, here are a few takeaways from the first eight games.

Patrick Beverley is must-see TV

I mean, this isn't really much of a surprise, but still. The tournament is honestly worth watching for Beverley alone.

Based on his activity and chatter during actual NBA games, it was to be expected that Beverley was going to bring the intensity and trash talk to this tournament as he opened up against Hassan Whiteside.

It was a quiet start for Beverley, who opted to play with the Milwaukee Bucks while Whiteside went with the Los Angeles Lakers. But he wasn't quiet for that long…

As soon as Beverley built a 10-point lead, the chatter began…

He provided us with the famous first words: "Up 10, now we can get busy…"

While using Giannis Antetokounmpo, Beverley asserted that "it's time to get freaky, now, Greek," an ode to Giannis' "Greek Freak" nickname.

The quote of the night, though, was Beverley's clever response to Whiteside calling Giannis a cheat code.

It ultimately resulted in Beverley's Bucks cruising to a 30-point victory over Whiteside and the Lakers.

There are blowouts…

…and then there's what happened to Harrison Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins.

On the first night of action, Barnes made a mockery of the Toronto Raptors title defence as he took on Trae Young, who opted to use the Bucks. It just wasn't really close. Like, ever.

Young and the Bucks pretty much made light work over Barnes and the Raptors to earn a 42-point win.

Trae was even taking charges out there.

"This is how you know I'm trash right now," Barnes said it himself, not me.

Just when you thought that would be the worst game we'd see, the promising battle between big men Andre Drummond (Lakers) and DeMarcus Cousins (Brooklyn Nets) got ugly fast.

Well, it was a tale of two halves.

The two went back-and-forth in the first half and Drummond took a seven-point lead into the break. From there, Drummond and the Lakers outscored Cousins and the Nets by 45 (!) in the second half to take a 52-point win.

It got so bad that they were just engaged in normal, casual conversation by the game's end.

With a few blowouts out of the way, it appears we'll get a ramped-up level of competition in the second round.

Selection, selection

Going into the tournament, players were given the stipulation that they must pick a pool of eight teams to choose from for the duration of the tournament.

They could only use each team once, meaning if they advance, their pool to choose from is down to seven.

Here's a breakdown of which teams were the most popular among the players:

Team Selections Record
Milwaukee Bucks 4 4-0
Los Angeles Lakers 4 2-2
LA Clippers 2 1-1
Brooklyn Nets 2 0-2
Houston Rockets 1 1-0
Indiana Pacers 1 0-1
Miami Heat 1 0-1
Toronto Raptors 1 0-1

Milwaukee was undefeated, adding validity to the notion that Giannis may in fact truly be a cheat code.

Montrezl Harrell and Domantas Sabonis were the only two players to select their own teams in the first round. It went well for Harrell:

While it was a bit more frustrating for Sabonis:

As for Devin Booker, he knew better beforehand and decided to spare himself the frustration, opting to play with the Bucks rather than his Phoenix Suns team.

It only gets better from here

As alluded to earlier, getting some of the blowouts out of the way means there are some promising matchups ahead.

Here's how the second round has shaped out:

  • No. 2 Trae Young vs. No. 10 Deandre Ayton
  • No. 5 Devin Booker vs. No. 13 Rui Hachimura
  • No. 6 Andre Drummond vs. No. 14 Patrick Beverley
  • No. 8 Montrezl Harrell vs. No. 16 Derrick Jones Jr.

The team-selection stipulation adds another dynamic that will separate some of the more casual players from the guys that know how to get wins in a number of ways with various teams.

Can 16-seeded Derrick Jones Jr. continue with the upsets? Is Ayton or Young the best player from the draft class of 2018? Does Beverley continue his chatter as he takes on the player that earned the most dominant win of the first round? (It's always safe to assume yes)

Stay tuned for a second round primer and more coverage as the tournament carries on.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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