In Brief

NBA 2K League: how the inaugural draft will work

Mavs Gaming will get first pick at the NBA 2K League Draft on 4 April

The world’s best NBA 2K League gamers will find out which teams they will play for next month when the first ever draft takes place in New York.

NBA’s new professional esports league starts in May and will run until August. Featuring 17 franchises - including the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers - the search has been on to find the world’s top NBA 2K players.

In January the qualifying process started before the second stage of try-outs were held last month. A total of 102 players will now go forward to the NBA 2K League draft day on 4 April in The Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York.

NBA 2K League managing director Brendan Donohue said: “The NBA 2K League Draft is going to be incredible as we watch dreams become reality for our players.

“We cannot wait to introduce the world to the first-ever NBA 2K League professionals and, most importantly, we are eager for our players to meet their teams and team-mates for the first time. This will be a milestone moment for our league.”

After the conclusion of the trials and combine, the top 102 gamers were being contacted by the league offering them a spot for the 2018 season. According to the NBA 2K League website, all players have to successfully complete a background check and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If a player chooses not to accept the league’s offer, does not pass the background check, or does not meet all other eligibility requirements, the league will make an offer to another eligible candidate from the top 250.

First NBA 2K League Draft Lottery is held 

The first NBA 2K League Draft Lottery has taken place and Mavs Gaming will get the No.1 overall pick in the draft on 4 April.

“We are very much looking forward to putting together the best possible team and organisation for the first game in May,” said Mark Cuban, owner of Mavs Gaming and the Dallas Mavericks. “We think the NBA 2K League is going to have an incredible first season.”

Mavs Gaming will have the first overall pick, the last pick of the second round, the first pick of the third round and so on.

NBA 2K League draft order (first round)

  1. Mavs Gaming 
  2. Celtics Crossover Gaming 
  3. Jazz Gaming 
  4. Kings Guard Gaming 
  5. Pistons GT 
  6. Blazer5 Gaming 
  7. Heat Check Gaming 
  8. Magic Gaming 
  9. Knicks Gaming 
  10. Bucks Gaming 
  11. Raptors Uprising GC 
  12. Wizards District Gaming 
  13. Pacers Gaming 
  14. 76ers GC 
  15. Grizz Gaming 
  16. Cavs Legion GC
  17. Warriors Gaming Squad
How the NBA 2K League draft works

According to an NBA statement, here’s how the draft works:   

  • the draft will consist of six rounds with each team selecting six players. It will be done in “snake order”, with the order of picks reversing after each round.
  • the team with the first overall pick (Mavs Gaming) will have the last pick of the second round, the first pick of the third round and so on. The team with the 17th and last pick of the first round will have the first pick of the second round and the last pick of the third round. 
  • the 102 players available in the draft will have been selected by the league following an extensive tryout process that began in January.

NBA 2K League at a glance

  • When: the 2018 season runs from May to August  
  • Number of teams: 17 in year one
  • Number of players: 102 (six on each team)

Season schedule

  • 4 April: NBA 2K League player draft 
  • May 2018: start of the season

Participating teams

  • Boston Celtics 
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 
  • Dallas Mavericks 
  • Detroit Pistons 
  • Golden State Warriors 
  • Indiana Pacers 
  • Memphis Grizzlies 
  • Miami Heat 
  • Milwaukee Bucks 
  • New York Knicks 
  • Orlando Magic 
  • Philadelphia 76ers 
  • Portland Trail Blazers 
  • Sacramento Kings 
  • Toronto Raptors 
  • Utah Jazz 
  • Washington Wizards


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