The NBA 2K League: The final 102 players are selected, applicants question selection process
The NBA 2K League has selected the final 102 players that will be eligible for the inaugural NBA 2K League draft on April 4th. Many in the community have questions about why certain players were selected over others.
The NBA 2K League has taken on the arduous and admirable challenge of hosting an open tryout, essentially allowing any 2K player over the age of 18 the opportunity to play in this league. Players had to win 50 Pro-Am games to qualify for the Combine, which over 72,000 players were able to do. This group was narrowed down to the top 250 with the final 102 being determined by a player’s game data, online application, and virtual live interview. The final 102 have been selected and Brian Mazique of Forbes is keeping an active list that you can see here. According to this tweet from NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue, players were evaluated on the following areas:
- Advanced Statistics: Deeper player metrics that 2K players were not privy too that further analyze player style (dribble move count, block efficiency, etc.)
- Consistency of Gameplay: Focused on the average of a player’s performances instead of peak outliers
- Matchmaking ranking: A system to evaluate the quality of wins a player received
- Drop Rates and Stats from Dropped Games: Statistics for all games were tracked even if a player quit or was dropped from a game
Despite this transparency, there was some controversy around this selection process and many players claiming it was “rigged” specifically Brendan Donohue reaching out to certain players directly to gather additional information for their applications. Many saw this as the league showing favoritism towards specific players or already having players pre-determined for the league.
I think the NBA 2K League could have done more to provide more clarity and explain the evaluation process but I don’t think there is anything nefarious going on here. The NBA and 2K have gone out of their way (hiring an outside data analytics firm, conducting live interviews with players, extending application deadlines) to give players the best opportunity to succeed while sufficiently looking after their own interests. If the league judged players off raw data alone, they could end up with teams that don’t get along and don’t offer the very best of NBA 2K.
It is understandable for players to be frustrated by not making the final 102, especially if they played on teams that went deep into any of the previous NBA 2K tournaments (Road to the Finals). However given the NBA’s plans to use this league as the ground work for an infrastructure that can adopt any game to create a competitive league, I highly doubt they would ever compromise this long-term goal to manipulate the rosters for their first season of 2K.
The NBA 2K League: Official Draft Order and date announced
The league announced their first NBA 2K League draft will take place on April 4th at the Hulu Theater as Madison Square Garden. The draft will consist of 6 rounds with a snake draft order for rounds 2-6. They plan to announce where to watch the event in the coming weeks.
2018 NBA 2K League Draft Order:
1: Mavs GG
2: CLTX Gaming
3: Utah Jazz Gaming
4: Kings GuardGG
5: Pistons GT
6: blazer5 gaming
7: HeatCheck Gaming
8: Magic Gaming
9: Knicks Gaming
10: Bucks GG
11: Raptors GC
12: Wizards DG
13: Pacers Gaming
14: 76ers GC
16: Cavs LegionGC
17: Warriors Gaming
Player drafts for new leagues of any kind are rare so it will be very exciting to see each team being built live. Some additional questions I have:
- Will GMs draft for player archetype or take the best player available regardless of position?
- Will GMs be allowed to package and trade draft picks? (i.e. My 3rd and 4th round pick for your 2nd round pick)
- Will GMs be allowed to draft a player and then trade them during the live draft?
- How large of a role will agents have in the live draft?
- Will most of their work be done in the weeks leading up to the draft like traditional sports agents or will they be able to sway GMs at the last minute?
- Will there be a ‘green room’ where top players will be invited to attend and view the draft, similar to the NBA and NFL drafts?
- Will the draft next year also be 6 rounds or will that only be for the inaugural season?