It’s about as real as it gets for the second NBA 2K League Draft, the NBA’s eSports affiliate.
In its inaugural season, the Bucks were among 17 teams competing. This year that number has expanded to 21 teams.
“The goal is to have the full NBA represented,” said Colin Hayes, Co-Managing Director of Bucks Gaming. “Another story you’ll definitely hear about is we’re going to have international franchises. You’re going to see this across the world. We’re going to have different countries playing against different major cities in the U.S. as well.”
The amount of detail, planning and scouting of players is top-notch.
Just like real NBA draft war rooms, team leaders are huddled around a table with laptops, tablets and phones in hand, intently watching the draft live on a big screen television. Behind them, a whiteboard that mapped out each team’s selections.
As Bucks Gaming went on the clock with the 17th overall selection, they wasted little time selecting a local player from Milwaukee known as “Slay Island.”
“He’s a guy who we’ve had a relationship over the years,” said Hayes. “He does a lot of streaming, great live personality, does great stuff with the community. We really liked what we saw.”
With a year under their belt, team leaders are confident they’ll be able to take what they learned from last year, which is that a successful team isn’t always about talent.
“Chemistry is essential,” Hayes said about success this season. “Last year we had one of the most talented drafts out of any of these teams, but we had guys that couldn’t get along. We’re looking for guys who already know what they’re doing, want to play the same play style, want to work hard and want to never give up.”
As the NBA 2K League prepares for its second year, Bucks Gaming, along with the league’s other affiliates, hope to capitalize on a growing eSports industry that’s expected to generate more than $1 billion in revenue sometime this year.