Everything You Need to Know About the ‘NBA 2K’ League Draft

ONE37PM recaps all the surprises and stories from the biggest draft in Esports

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By the end of the second annual NBA 2K esports league draft, 75 esports players were selected to 21 different teams in order to finalize their rosters for the popular game league’s second season. More than 150 draft-eligible players were either at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn or at home waiting for their name to be called after going through a grueling tryout process. There were 48 unretained players who participated in the inaugural season as well as six new players who qualified for the draft thanks to the first-ever NBA 2K League APAC Invitational that was recently held in Hong Kong.

As esports and 2K League experts correctly projected, the first overall pick of this year’s draft was Spencer Wyman, who games as Ria. He was chosen by the Jazz Gaming franchise. He was followed by Samuel “Gradient” Salyers, who was selected by the Warriors Gaming Squad with the second overall pick, and Michael “Bp” Diaz, who was chosen by Kings Guard Gaming with the third overall pick.

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Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets have entered the mix as they were introduced to the 2K League as an expansion squad for this year’s upcoming NBA 2K League season. The newly formed Nets Gaming Crew selected four more players to go with the rosters they already formed from last fall’s expansion draft. The squad’s first pick was Isaiah “Wavy” Hancock, a point guard out of the Bronx, New York.

Meanwhile, the 2K League’s defending champions—the Jerry Ferrara–run Knicks Gaming—delivered what many considered to be the steal of the draft. With the final pick of the first round, they selected Malik Hobson, aka “OriginalMalik.” Malik was one of the league’s top scorers and is considered to be a substantial asset to play with their superstar “Goofy757.” The addition opened the eyes for many diehard 2K League fans and experts as it opens the door for Knicks Gaming to become the league’s first dynasty.

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Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images

Another notable selection occurred during the fourth round. With the 56th overall pick, Warriors Gaming Squad selected Chiquita Evans, who is known as “Chiquitae126.” The former college/semi-pro baller becomes the first woman to be drafted into the NBA 2K League. When selected, she had this to say about the monumental accomplishment:

“It feels surreal. It’s an amazing experience,” said Evans. “I’m very glad to be here, excited to be here. It’s a very humbling experience. Women actually got me through this—a lot of my friends who play 2K with me. They’ve been pushing me to get through everything, especially when I found out that I made the draft pool. I’ve had amazing support, both male and female, and I’m just very, very excited to be in the position that I’m in.”

The future of esports and NBA 2K is looking brighter than ever as more fans will be paying attention to the team play as well as individual performances during the upcoming season. With four international players being selected as well as the inclusion of Chiquita, this season is bound to draw in many new fans as diversity will be a big part of an epic story line. Will the defending champs, Knicks Gaming, establish themselves as a dominating force, or was their Cinderella run to become inaugural champs just a fluke?

As the sport grows in popularity, 2019 will serve as a showcase for why the league should be on casual sports fans’ radars.

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