Cavs’ Andre Drummond will play in ESPN NBA 2K20 tournament

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond handles the ball. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond handles the ball. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

ESPN has begun to address programming with no live sports at the moment being able to be in competition due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and one such way is them airing a NBA 2K20 tournament. In that competition, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be represented, and by center Andre Drummond, who has been plenty of the national spotlight lately.

On top of past NBA Finals games airing every Wednesday night, ESPN will air a NBA 2K20 tournament beginning Friday night, per Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, and as was initially announced by ESPN’s “The Boardroom.” The tournament will feature 16 NBA players, seeded based on their ratings in the game, and the Cleveland CavaliersAndre Drummond will be in the competition.

The tournament will be spread out until the final, set to take place on April 11th, and per Haynes’ report, because of social distancing needing to be exercised due to COVID-19 concerns, participants will be “competing against their peers in the comfort of their own homes,” and the competition should be fun to see for NBA fans.

According to an ESPN release, here is the schedule leading up to that point, for your reference:

  • Friday, April 3, ESPN, 7-8:30 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 3, ESPN2, 8:30-11:30 p.m. ET
  • Sunday, April 5, ESPN2, 12-4 p.m. ET
  • Quarterfinals: Tuesday, April 7, ESPN2, 7-11 p.m. ET
  • Semifinals/Finals: Saturday, April 11, ESPN, Time TBD

The event will include a chance for fans to view a new event with well-known players. The top eight seeds in order are Kevin Durant (96), the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young (90), the Portland Trail Blazers’ Hassan Whiteside (87), the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell (87), the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker (86), Drummond (85), the Chicago Bulls’ Zach Lavine (85) and the LA Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell (85).

The final eight seeds in order are the Indiana Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis (85), the Suns’ Deandre Ayton (85), and DeMarcus Cousins (81), who was last with the Los Angeles Lakers but was waived. From there, there’s the Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. (81), the Washington Wizards’ Rui Hachimura (79), the Clips’ Patrick Beverley (78), the Sacramento Kings’ Harrison Barnes (78) and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat (78).

Moreover, the winner of the event will receive $100,000 to donate to a charity of their choice related to helping COVID-19 relief efforts. Teams are well-represented, the event will be a good test for ratings, and charity is the center of everything, which is nice to see.

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It’s been great to hear that Mitchell, who was the second NBA player/member of NBA personnel to test positive for COVID-19 (after his teammate, Rudy Gobert was the first, leading to the league’s suspension), has since been cleared of the virus by the Utah Department of Health, per a Jazz team statement.

Coupled with that, Durant, who was one of four Brooklyn players to test positive for the novel coronavirus, has not experienced any symptoms, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. It was a pleasure to hear that now all of those Nets players that tested positive are now symptom-free, too (one reportedly had them previously), per Sean Marks, the Nets general manager, and h/t Bleacher Report.

Swinging back to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ perspective, Andre Drummond continues to appear in the national media, playing in the tournament as the sixth seed, and he’ll face off against Cousins, and potentially others from there. Drummond appeared on Bleacher Report’s AMA last month, will be in this NBA 2K20 tourney in coming days, and could see more national spotlight during free agency.

Despite a looming player option decision on whether or not he’ll opt into that $28.8 million option, Drummond continues to be seen as a member of the Wine and Gold. Thus far with Cleveland, in eight games active since being traded here by the Detroit Pistons, Drummond’s had 17.5 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per outing, as noted by Basketball Reference.

Anyhow, while live video game streaming is not conventional for ESPN, it shouldn’t be seen as far-fetched. The streaming of video games continues to grow each year.

The popular streaming site, Twitch, has 2K20 as it’s 41st-most viewed game. This means sponsored gamers playing the game live, capture an average of 4,536 viewers on Twitch, per their metrics.

At any rate, the NBA expanded on video game viewership and now has a video game league of it’s own. The Cleveland Cavaliers are represented by Cavs Legion Gaming Club.

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The event will be telling as to if 2K game play can be nationally shown regularly or if fans want streams where they are. While 2K is a popular game, it’s not a top streaming game. ESPN may not hold big-time viewers over two weeks, even with no live sports.