The NBA 2K Players Tournament is officially in the books, as the final two rounds were played and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was crowned champion. He defeated Suns teammate DeAndre Ayton in the final round after both defeated Los Angeles Clippers in the semifinal, as Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley were both defeated in the final four. 

The tournament was played on the Xbox One console and the winner, Booker, was not only crowned the ultimate NBA 2K20 champion, but received a $100,000 charity donation in their name to support coronavirus relief efforts. Booker plans to split his winnings between two different charities: #FirstRespondersFirst and Arizona Food Bank Network

Before the tournament got underway, each player chose eight of today's NBA teams, which could only be used once during the tournament. If both players in a given matchup select the same teams, the away team is awarded the first choice of the team. The seeding was determined by the players' 2K rating and tenure. While the first two rounds were single elimination, the semifinals and finals were a best-of-three series. With the tournament now concluded, here are our biggest takeaways as well as the tournament's game-by-game results. 

The Phoenix Suns are really good at video games

Considering the very real chance that this NBA season does not produce a champion, it could be argued that this tournament provided the closest thing we'll get to the NBA Finals this season. And, just as we all expected, this season's pseudo-NBA Finals featured the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Suns. 

In all seriousness, the Suns had something of an unfair advantage in this tournament. Their teams have been so young for so long that 2K has likely been a part of their culture for years now. Booker is only 23-years-old. Of course the geriatric Lakers weren't going to produce this tournament's winner. They've almost all aged out of gaming. The Suns have barely won anything on the real court in recent years. It's only logical that their competitive needs were met on the 2K floor.  

We don't appreciate Patrick Beverley enough

We've learned in the past week that trash-talk has to be organic. It can't be forced over a video screen. For the most part, the interactions between players in this tournament were dull. This tournament's entertainment value was salvaged only by Patrick Beverley. 

Beverley was the only person to play this video game the way that we non-NBA players play video games. He talked trash. He got heated. He reacted and enjoyed himself and put on a show, just as he does in every real game that he plays. The NBA doesn't have an award for showmanship, but if it did, Beverley would win it every year. 

There is no correlation between real-life and virtual basketball skill

This tournament was won by a No. 5 seed. Already, we have history on our hands, as no No. 5 seed has ever won the NCAA Tournament or NBA Finals, but things get much weirder from there. His opponent in the final round was No. 10 DeAndre Ayton. The No. 16 and 14 seeds won their first-round battles, and Booker, at No. 5, was the highest remaining seed in the final four. 

Seeds were based on a player's 2K rating, which is, in turn, based on their actual playing ability in the NBA. Clearly, there is no correlation between a player's rating and how good he, himself, is at playing the game. That makes sense. Time spent playing video games is time not spending physically training. Given the seeding methodology, we may never see a tournament of any kind produce such anarchy. 

NBA 2K Players Tournament results:

Friday, April 3 (Round 1 results)

Sunday, April 5 (Round 1 continued)

Thursday, April 9 (Quarterfinals)

  • Devin Booker (5) beat Rui Hachimura (13), 71-55
  • Montrezl Harrell (8) beat Derrick Jones Jr. (16), 71-66
  • DeAndre Ayton (10) beat Trae Young (2), 73-66
  • Patrick Beverley (14) beat Andre Drummond (6), 69-62

Saturday, April 11 (3-7 p.m.)*

  • Semifinal 1
  1. Devin Booker (5) beats Montrezl Harrell (8), 68-54
  2. Devin Booker (5) beats Montrezl Harrell (8), 65-62
  • Semifinal 2
  1. DeAndre Ayton (10) beats Patrick Beverley (14), 75-69
  2. DeAndre Ayton (10) beats Patrick Beverley (14), 74-67
  • Semifinal 3
  1. Devin Booker (5) beats DeAndre Ayton (10), 72-62
  2. Devin Booker (5) beats DeAndre Ayton (10), 74-62

*best of 3 series