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NBA 2K League begins tonight with Pistons GT at 5 p.m.

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NBA is first major sports league to bet big on eSports

Detroit Pistons

Video games are already a $91 billion dollar industry, and esports, the world of professional, competitive gaming was valued at $1.5 billion. This is no fly-by-night venture. If you’re skeptical it’s only because you’re not really paying attention.

The NBA is certainly a believer, and their big bet, the NBA 2K league kicks off tonight at 5 p.m. on Twitch with The Tipoff tournament. The tourney will consist of pool play from May 1 to May 4 and the top eight teams advancing to a playoff round on May 5. The final four teams will split a $100,000 prize pool.

The Pistons Gaming Team is part of Group A with a 5 p.m. game against Bucks Gaming. They will then play Kings Guard Gaming at 8 p.m. and the Cavs Legion GC. If the Pistons move on the Saturday tournament goes from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The games will be held at the NBA 2K League Studio in New York City.

Here is a primer on the Pistons GT.

Team

Aesthetics

Official Logo

Let’s make one thing very clear — Detroit Bad Boys heartily endorses embracing the skull and cross bones of the official Bad Boy era.

Detroit Pistons

Court

NBA 2K League Pistons GT court design

Zach Lowe of ESPN, connoisseur of all things court design in the NBA took a crack at ranking all the NBA 2K teams’ courts and logos and came away impressed with Detroit, eliciting both a “bad ass” and “hell yeah” from Mr. Lowe:

My god, that logo is badass -- way better than the real Pistons generic “name-over-ball” logo. It is similar to an alternative logo the Pistons commissioned from Mark Fox, a Bay Area designer, in the 1990s, before they chose a flaming horse head instead.

Back then, Fox used car parts to nod at the Pistons nickname and mimic skull-and-crossbones imagery. Pistons GT has dropped the pretense and incorporated a straight-up skull crisscrossed with churning pistons. Hell, yes.

The red-on-blue contrast is a little harsh, but this would work as a real court. The red “GT” along each baseline also provides some symmetry. Using smaller pistons as the “IS” in “Pistons” along the baseline is neat.

Uniforms

Today’s Games

Tipoff:

  • 5 p.m.: Pistons GT vs. Bucks Gaming
  • 8 p.m.: Pistons GT vs. Kings Guard Gaming
  • 10 p.m.: Pistons GT vs. Cavs Legion GC

Watch: TwitchTV/NBA2KLeague

How good is Pistons GT?

We’ll find out, but in the interim armchair prognosticators are decidedly split. Forbes.com published a breakdown of every team’s draft by Brian Mazique who was not impressed with Pistons GT’s haul.

Only one of 17 league teams received a lower grade. Mazique writes:

It’s easy to see Lets Get it Ramo is the team’s best player, but where is the leadership? Ramo may have the ability to lead, but it’s not anything he’s had to show consistently in the past. In fact, most of the players on the team have played somewhat of a secondary role on their Pro-Am teams, from a vocal standpoint. This team will need I’m So Far Ahead to be so much better than his draft slot would indicate.

Meanwhile, The Ballgamer on his titular website gave the Pistons the second-best draft grade, writing:

Pistons GT’s draft was surprisingly very good, considering going into the league I didn’t expect much from them. With the fifth pick, they selected Ramo, who is the best PF in the game and the #5 ranked player on my big board. Getting a PF is a questionable pick that early in the draft, but the Pistons executed their strategy perfectly. They got iiNsaniTTy in the second round who’s a great leader and a great two-way SF. Then later in the draft, they got a sleeper PG in Im So Far Ahead, and, in my opinion, the most underrated C in NeNe. Great overall draft.

One of those analysts is Chad Ford and one of them is Kevin Pelton. I know who I’m hoping is right, but only time will tell.

More about the Pistons GT