NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will get some draft practice on Wednesday afternoon in New York, announcing the first pick of the inaugural NBA 2K League draft. According to ESPN, it’s the first time the commissioner of a major U.S. sports league will be involved in an esports league draft.
Here’s what you need to know.
Time: 1 p.m. Eastern.
How to watch: NBA TV, Twitch.
Draft format: Each of the 17 teams — all owned by NBA franchises — will select six players from the 102-person draft pool. The order will go from No. 1 (held by the Dallas Mavericks) to 17, held by the Golden State Warriors, in Round 1 and all odd-numbered rounds. Then it will go from 17 to 1 in Round 2 and all even-numbered rounds.
How did the players qualify for the draft?: Anybody 18 years or older who has the NBA 2K18 video game on PS4 or Xbox One could qualify. Players who won 50 games in the NBA 2K18 Pro-Am mode — in which players create their own characters — were allowed to fill out an application in January, and ESPN reports that 72,000 people reached this threshold and advanced to the league combine in February, when the field was further winnowed down to the top 250 players. The best of those players — based on “deep analytics,” according to the league’s managing director — were entered into the draft pool.
What is the league format?: Teams will compete against one another in five-on-five matchups. Players will not be using their self-created avatars but rather will be given a character with a rating of around 90. League play will begin in May.
One issue facing the league is gender diversity. According to ESPN, only one female player reached the 250-person combine and that player is not among the 102 available in the draft. Silver would like to promote more diversity in the league and already has launched an effort to recruit and train female 2K League players.
What are the 17 NBA teams that will have 2K teams?: The Mavericks, Celtics, Jazz, Kings, Pistons, Trail Blazers, Heat, Magic, Knicks, Bucks, Raptors, Wizards, Pacers, 76ers, Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Warriors all have teams. That’s also the draft order.
How much will the players get paid?: Players drafted in the first round will make $35,000, while those taken in the ensuing rounds will earn $32,000. The league will also provide housing and standard benefits. All of that money will come directly from the NBA, not the individual teams.
Can the players be traded?: Nope.
Who was the No. 1 pick?: Dimez. Or, if you prefer his real name, Artreyo Boyd.
Will there be an Woj bombs?: Yup.
Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.
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