Ahh, the hardwood, where the crappy fall into obscurity and the greats live on forever as legends of the game. Greats like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and the great Michael Jordan are just some of the most remembered and revered players in the history of the game and it is with good reason. They each surpassed what anyone else in the league could do and they are without a doubt some of the most decorated players of all time in terms of career achievements. Someday, many years in the future we may look back on some of today’s players with that same reverence, but they have to earn it.
One very surprising metric of measurement for a player’s abilities and proficiency can be found in none other than a video game. NBA 2K is one the gaming industry's most beloved franchises and puts the gamer in control of their favorite players and puts the game on their shoulders. Which is super awesome, right? Of course it is, except for when the players that your put in control of aren’t given the credit they're due when it comes to their capability and skills.
Obviously if you clicked on this article then you know where I’m heading with this one. I’m talking about the players we love (or hate) not getting the 2K rating they deserve. For some it seems like their ratings are too low, but there are still those select few who are given way too much credit and trust me, you’re going to see some on both ends of the spectrum.
15 Joel Embiid: 86
The league seems to be filling up with talented young players who will soon rise to inherit the league and the Philadelphia 76ers are at the forefront of the up-and-coming game. Their shining beacon of hope this past season was none other than “The Process” himself, Joel Embiid! He had a spectacular season averaging over 20 PPG and 7.8 RPG, which is ridiculous for a rookie player, especially one coming off of 2 years-worth of injuries!
I will flat out say that Joel Embiid is a player with a bright future ahead of him, that’s why it hurts to say this but it has to be said! He has not earned this rating in the slightest; YET! His great stats are overshadowed by the fact he was only able to play 31 games this season. That’s it. Just 31. He may work his way up to this rating anyway but for now, it’s just too small of a pool of games to warrant that rating.
14 Lonzo Ball: 80
It’s pretty difficult to argue that there was anybody else in the 2017 Rookie Class with more hype around their name than the eldest Ball brother, Lonzo Ball. This kid has definitely got some of the best skills in the rookie class and may very well be the one to lead the Lakers to their first post-Kobe Championship. Now for the same reasons as Embiid and for the next player on this list, he doesn’t deserve this rating. YET!
While Ball tore it up in the Summer League averaging over 16 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 9.3 APG, you have to remember it was against players who have spent at the most one year in the NBA already as well as guys he had played against a few months earlier during March Madness. This are most likely not going to be the numbers he puts up once he is going up against the greatest basketball players in the world.
13 Markelle Fultz: 80
This may be the year that the 76ers’ patented “Process” may finally pay off. It has allowed them to pick up Embiid, Ben Simmons, and now the 2017 1st overall pick, Markelle Fultz. Provided that the Sixers curse of injury doesn’t come for Fultz, this may be the year we see Philly make their first post-season appearance since 2012.
That being said, I have the same reservations on Fultz’s rating as I do for the previously mentioned Lonzo Ball. He hasn’t played against anybody in the league that would really put a challenge to him. He has yet to prove himself for this rating and he will most likely improve this rating throughout the season, but it doesn’t make sense to give a rookie who hasn’t played yet a higher rating then a certain former MVP…
12 Derrick Rose: 78
The great D-Rose has fallen from grace. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody who follows Basketball. The once All-Star Point Guard’s devastating ACL tear has put a seemingly permanent limit on the stat productivity of the former Knick guard.
He finished this season with 18 PPG, 4.4 APG, and 3.8 RPG. Not his greatest numbers but still numbers worthy of at least an 80 overall. His athleticism is tremendous and his court vision is also pretty good. Not saying he deserves anything in the 90s but a 78 is pretty disrespectful. Especially when you have rookies with higher ratings.
The former MVP is sure to make a big impact either off the bench or playing the 2 this coming season with the Cavaliers, provided that they don’t trade away Kyrie Irving. I bet his rating goes up once he starts balling out all over Cleveland.
11 Dwight Howard: 81
I’ll be honest here, I’m not the biggest Dwight Howard fan out there. I believe a lot of it is because I didn’t see him at the peak of his game and while it is more than obvious that the once top 3 player has fallen off his game in recent years, the talent of Howard is more than still on display! He ended the 16-17 season with 13.5 PPG and 12.7 RPG and more than deserves a higher rating.
He also had a FG% of 63% landing him 4th among the qualified players. His defensive capabilities, while not what they were, are still excellent and his work in the post is still top-tier among the league’s premier big men. His largest fault is more of a chemistry issue as he has had a hard time finding a place to fit in since leaving Orlando back in 2012. Hopefully the Hornets will serve as a better fit for one of the last true pure centers!
10 Patrick Beverley: 79
One of the best defensive pieces to Houston’s 2016 – 2017 “Beard” centric team composition. He finished up the season with 10 PPG, 6 RPG, 4 APG and 1.5 SPG, all while committing only 1.5 turnovers a game this season. The problem is that his rating downplays his usefulness and defensive pressure that he is capable of, and he was without a doubt an incredibly importance factor in the Rocket’s regular season and playoff run.
Beverley will seek to add some pretty quick and agile defensive moves and quick-paced offense to the almost unrecognizable Los Angeles Clippers this upcoming season. He will no doubt add some great depth to the bench or may take up the starting Point Guard position if Milos Teodosic doesn’t work out. The Clippers definitely came into a great two-way player who may be able to help them make it past the first round of the playoffs.
9 Nicolas Batum: 78
One of the best French players in the league and he plays a vital part in the Charlotte Hornets plan. Batum along with All-Star Kemba Walker and new addition Dwight Howard, may be able to make another playoff appearance. Batum just finished one of the best seasons of his career and his numbers are that of a pretty good all-around player. He is one of the most elite, no, but does he deserve at least a low 80 rating yea, I would say so.
He finished the 16-17 season with averages of 15 PPG, 6 APG, 6 RPG while adding 1 steal per game. He is a teammate that the Hornets can always rely on to show up and play his part. Batum is a very underrated player and it shows in his 2K rating.
8 Harrison Barnes: 81
In case you aren’t aware, this is the man who will be taking over the Dallas Mavericks (depending on the play of Dennis Smith Jr.) from Dirk Nowitzki. He is quickly becoming the leader of a team that consists of young talent like Smith Jr., Nerlens Noel, Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell. His stat totals are climbing pretty quickly and his impact can be felt on both sides of the court.
He isn’t the best defender in the league, but he has the potential to be even bigger in the league. He finished the 16-17 season and his first season away from Golden State with a career year in overall performance. He capped the year off with 19 PPG, 1.5 APG, 5 RPG, 35% from deep, and a very respectable 47% from the field. I can definitely admit that it may be a little too early to give him a higher rating but I can guarantee you once the year gets going, his rating will be climbing up.
7 Hassan Whiteside: 87
Look, I don’t know how many times I can say this in my life. Hassan Whiteside is so underrated even though he is highly rated. He is without a doubt, a top 3 PURE Center, and the case can be made for the best depending on your thoughts on DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond.
Looking at his career as it has taken shape, he was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the same draft that they took DeMarcus Cousins in. He was doomed to be overshadowed. After being dropped by the team, Whiteside went overseas where he would develop and return to the NBA a changed man and became one of the league’s best glass cleaners. He finished this season with averages of 17 PPG, 14 RPG, 2 BPG, and even a fantastic 55% from the field. He is a defensive monster and if he can take his game just a few steps further, we could be looking at a future Defensive Player of the Year.
6 Devin Booker: 86
The former Kentucky Wildcat has been an impressive presence in the league during his short tenure so far. The 3rd year baller has been setting Phoenix on fire and has given hope to a relatively uninteresting franchise (sorry if you’re a Suns fan). He is one of the most promising young players in the league and he has already set a few records.
Now, time to talk about the rating, it's way too high for him. I'm sorry, I know everybody loves Booker, I do as well, but aside from his incredible range and slashing ability he offers little else outside of that. He isn’t much of a playmaker, he isn’t a very aggressive presence and his defensive abilities leave much to be desired. I have no doubt he will be a tremendous All-Star one day, but he isn’t there yet.
5 Dennis Schroder: 79
I get that many people will probably be confused by Schroder’s inclusion on this list, but his numbers and his presence are the new focus of the rebuilding Atlanta Hawks. He is the highest rated player on the team and I believe that he should be in the low 80s. He is a good playmaker and he is dependable on both ends of the floor.
Schroder finished this past season with averages of 18 PPG, 1 SPG, 6.3 APG, 3 RPG, 45% from the field. A great set of numbers for someone who shared the floor with Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard. Now with the departure of both Millsap and Howard, Schroder is set to take over the reins of the team and perhaps lead them well in the future.
4 Draymond Green: 88
I know what this looks like. You don’t know me, I don’t know you, so there is no way that you could know that I’m not a Golden State fan. But you would have to be blind to not see the overwhelming talent that the Warriors big man has and you have to acknowledge that this rating is just too low for the 2 time All-Star.
This past season was by far the best one of his career as he averaged 10 PPG, 1.4 BPG, 2 SPG, 7 APG, 8 RPG, and 41% from the field. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year also managed to record the first ever Triple-Double without points. While he is known for his defensive play, Green is still very much capable of going off on offense if needed but with Steph Curry and Kevin Durant sharing the floor with him that is very rarely required.
3 Klay Thompson: 90
Alright, so now we are onto the next Golden State Warrior, starting Shooting Guard Klay Thompson. I have felt for quite a while that Klay Thompson is criminally underrated when it comes to the Big 4 of the Warriors. Klay is the best two-way player on the team and I believe he is probably the best two-way Shooting Guard in the league.
Klay is a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the court as he ended his season with averages of 22 PPG, 2 APG, 3.7 RPG, and 41% from deep. He is definitely more use to the defensive side of the team as Pachulia is nothing short of garbage and KD and Steph are more offensively focused. Klay should definitely have a higher rating and he deserves more recognition for his talents and versatile skill set.
2 James Harden: 95
Now, here we are. The one that everyone will inevitably whine and complain about how James Harden is the greatest shooting guard in the league, and he is already a Hall of Famer despite the fact that he will likely never repeat the year he had with actual future Hall of Famer Chris Paul.
The Beard finished his season with averages of 29 PPG, 11 APG, 8 RPG, 44% from the field, and a damaging 6 turnovers per game. My biggest reason that his rating should go down is that these numbers were achieved playing the 1 and with Chris Paul on the team he will definitely be going back to the 2. He was also the player with the highest number of turnovers, which is definitely not a sign of a strong guard.
1 Kyrie Irving: 90
And we’ve finally arrived at the promised land. The player who finds himself at the top of the list is none other than NBA 2K18 cover athlete himself, Kyrie Irving. Let’s get right down to it, alright: Irving is one of the best scoring Point Guards in the game. He just finished a career year while still being in the shadow of LeBron James and now he has left for Boston where he will be THE guy. He has some of the deadliest handles and lethal crossovers in the league and the man knows how to take care of the ball.
He finished off the season with great numbers that he may very well be able to replicate and surpass. His averages were 25 PPG, 1 SPG, 6 APG, 3 RPG, 90% from the line, 40% from deep, and 47% from the field. Even if his rating doesn’t change before the season starts, I can almost guarantee that it will once the season begins.