If you’re anything like me, you’ve been playing a lot of NBA 2K lately. Maybe it’s because you wanted to bring basketball back to Seattle.
Perhaps you wanted to rebuild the Trail Blazers into NBA champions.
Our @BryantKnox continues NBA 2K week on OSN with how the @trailblazers should rebuild to win the NBA championship. What do you think? #ripcity #blazers https://t.co/2H82WmElDY pic.twitter.com/FLWW4H23n6— Oregon Sports News (@oregonsportnews) March 31, 2020
Or possibly you’re just tired of watching The Office for the 37th time in quarantine. Personally, I’ve always found the 38th run-through is when the show really comes back around. But to each their own.
Regardless of your motive, you’ve played NBA 2K lately, and you’ve played a lot of it to make up for a lack of live sports.
ESPN is giving us a chance to combine the best of both worlds with its televised 2K20 players-only tournament, and Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside will be competing in the socially distant competition against the likes of Trae Young, Rui Hachimura, Kevin Durant, Andre Drummond and more.
The irony here is kind of fun if you think about it. Who did Neil Olshey trade for this past summer to, ideally, trade once more before the February deadline? Who do you trade every single time you take over the Trail Blazers in Franchise Mode, sometimes immediately, for a bigger name or a smaller contract?
We’ll remove the elephant in the room in this case. Whiteside survived the trade deadline and he was a productive, crucially important part of any success Portland did find throughout the year. Although none of these guys wants to be stuck in their homes, Whiteside is a fine rep for Rip City.
The question here is whether Whiteside can hold his own on the digital court. Is he going to be straight out of 1996 drawing up plays, running the clock and using his bigs to attack the rim each possession? Will he embrace his shooters early in the clock and instead trust his bigs to crash the boards?
I’m going shooters all the way. That, and pick-and-roll lobs at the rim. This guy wants to be a guard and this is his chance to live it out.
Side note in all of this: Watching live trash talk between actual NBA players over a video game will be gold. I just wish that ESPN wouldn’t restrict profane language (it will, so we’ll wait for HBO to pick up the next tourney) and I hope players get petty enough toward the platform itself to call out the basketball glitches we common hoop folk would never, ever think of—the intricacies that only the pros and those closest to the game day in and day out can appreciate.
Other side note in all of this: The field is 16 players and before a single one of them had been announced, I wanted to ride with Pat Beverley in this tournament. I didn’t know if he’d be playing—you kind of have to assume that the first person you think of in a 30-team league won’t be. And yet, he made the cut and I think he’s going to be an absolute psychopath on the sticks in the best possible way and watching him will instantly hit like the jolt of adrenaline and competitiveness some need right now to lift their spirits.
Whiteside will be fun to watch as the goofball to Pat Bev’s psycho, and the two may ultimately represent each side of the competitive spectrum in this 16-player showing.
It also just so happens that the two will face off in Round 1 on Friday.
Whiteside vs. Beverley. Single-elimination.
Who ya got?
It’s NBA 2K Week here at Oregon Sports News. Throughout the week, OSN will simulate hoops scenarios we’ve dreamed up in the absence of IRL sports, plus spotlight previous simulations others have completed and preview the upcoming players-only tournament on ESPN.