Why aren’t the Rockets being used more in the NBA 2K tourney?

Houston Rockets James Russell Westbrook (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Russell Westbrook (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

With the NBA 2K tournament heading into the semifinal round, the Houston Rockets have only been selected once in the entire tournament.

In case you missed it, the NBA’s players-only NBA 2K tournament has been underway, as the quarterfinals just wrapped up on Thursday. Unfortunately none of the Houston Rockets’ players were in the tournament, which would have made it alot more interesting for Rockets fans.

In spite of the league’s never-ending hiatus, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has found innovative ways to re-engage basketball fans. This started with the 2K tournament and has expanded outward to the the H-O-R-S-E competition, which also doesn’t feature any current Rockets players.

Although an NBA 2K tournament isn’t necessarily the same thing as the product we’ve grown accustomed to seeing on the floor, it’s provided us with an opportunity to watch NBA players get as close to NBA games as possible, not to mention the commentary they’ve provided, which has been golden in the case of Patrick Beverley.

The tournament rules allow a player to select a list of eight teams, and they can only play with each team once. But the Rockets haven’t really been used all that much as the team of choice.

In fact, the Rockets have only been selected by a grand total of one player, which was DeAndre Ayton during his first-round matchup against Zach LaVine. This means Ayton can’t choose them again, which is unfortunate because they delivered for Ayton, as they propelled him to a 57-41 victory over LaVine.

But there have been a total of nine other players who had the Rockets on their list of teams, yet none of them have picked them to play with in the tournament. Unfortunately, six of the ten players who had the Rockets on their list of teams have already been eliminated, which include Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, Zach LaVine, Hassan Whiteside, Trae Young, and Michael Porter Jr.

This means the only remaining chances of us seeing the Rockets in action is if Pat Bev, Montrezl Harrell, and Devin Booker choose them. This isn’t exactly a surprising list, as Beverley and Harrell formerly played for the team.

The semifinal matchups have Harrell and Booker facing off on one side of the bracket, and Ayton and Beverley facing off on the other side of the bracket. This means if the Rockets aren’t selected during the next round, we’d only have the championship game to hope to see them in action again.

But why exactly aren’t they being selected? This is easy to understand, considering the playing style of the game. Having a traditional big man is extremely beneficial in the game, as it leads to offensive rebounds and easy put-back opportunities.

The Rockets don’t exactly have that, which is something Ayton mentioned when he was using them. For this reason, Ayton played Tyson Chandler quite a bit when he faced off against LaVine.

On top of that, the strategy which has been displayed by a large number of contestants has been feeding the ball into the post or running pick-and-rolls, which the Rockets don’t exactly have the ability to do either.

But what the Rockets do have is two of the top 17 players in the game, as James Harden has a rating of 97 and Russell Westbrook has a rating of 89. Harden has the highest rating in the game, and is a walking bucket, just like in real life.

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Interestingly enough, one of the most commonly used teams has been the Milwaukee Bucks, and they were 4-0 before Beverley defeated them in his quarterfinal match against Drummond. It’ll be interesting to see when the Houston Rockets are used again, but hopefully it’ll be in the semifinals, which take place on Saturday.