To seed its players-only video-game tournament, the NBA settled on using each player’s own rating in NBA 2K.
It turns out, however, the rating isn’t much of a gauge of a player’s ability in the actual game.
One round into the 16-team, ESPN-televised tournament, 14th-seeded Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is now the betting favorite to win, slightly ahead of Phoenix’s Devin Booker, according to multiple oddsmakers.
Beverley is one of four double-digit seeds to advance, joining 16th-seeded Derrick Jones Jr. of Miami, who beat top-seeded Kevin Durant by 16 points. Washington rookie Rui Hachimura, seeded 13th, beat fourth-seeded Donovan Mitchell of Utah and 10th-seeded DeAndre Ayton of Phoenix upset seventh-seeded Zach LaVine of Chicago, as well.
Beverley, 31, is the Clippers’ go-to irritant defensively while making 39% of his three-pointers since he arrived via trade from Houston in 2017. And his standing as one of the locker room’s essential voices is a product of contributions that go beyond what is captured in box scores, teammates and coaches have said in praise of the Chicago-raised guard. He also has a way of controlling games virtually, even beating teammate Paul George — a renowned gamer who was on the cover of NBA 2K in 2017 — at George’s own tournament in November.
What works in real life, though, isn’t necessary reflected in a video game, and Beverley was seeded 14th because of his 78 overall rating.
Beverley disagreed with his seeding before the tournament began, touting his experience.
“I guess people forgot I was overseas for five years,” he told ESPN on Friday, “and every day I played 2K, all day.”
Later that day, Beverley beat Portland’s Hassan Whiteside by 30 points in the first round in what was somehow a classic Beverley performance: At one point during the ESPN broadcast, which was filming from Beverley’s house in Houston, the guard screamed for his virtual player to jump on the court to grab a loose ball.
Beverley and Clippers teammate Montrezl Harrell could be on a crash-course for the tournament championship April 11, which awards $100,000 to a charity of the winner’s choosing in support of coronavirus relief efforts. The eighth-seeded Harrell beat Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis by 18 points on Sunday to advance to Tuesday’s quarterfinals on ESPN2, where he will face Jones.
Beverley will face sixth-seeded Andre Drummond of Cleveland.