The NBA 2K video game series is one of the most highly anticipated games of every year. It’s success has enabled it to come up with 19 installments, with the latest being the NBA 2K18 which is due for release this coming September.
But it’s not only the gamers and the fans who are excited about the upcoming 2K game. The players themselves are equally excited with the ratings that 2K Sports gave them.
We all know these are just virtual ratings and have no bearing on the actual season or even in signing player contracts. Still, the reactions of the NBA players to their ratings are pretty interesting. Let’s just say that they’re very competitive by nature and want to be the best among the rest, even just in video games.
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is the cover athlete for the U.S. version of the NBA 2K18 video game and it was but fitting that he was one of the first players who were asked about their player ratings.
When Irving was asked what he thought his numbers would be, he had high hopes for himself:
“I think my rating should be. If we’re adding in a few factors, cover athlete, cover athlete, cover athlete, then I should at least be like a 95-plus.”
Of course, Kyrie was kidding about the few factors but when he learned that he was ‘just’ a 90, he mused:
“I love it. It’s motivating me now. By the end of the season, mark my words, I will be a 93-plus. You guys are going to stop playing me with my overall rating.”
Regardless of the rating, Irving must be proud of himself for being the cover athlete. That just proves that he is one of the best players in the game today.
A Durability Issue
Kyrie Irving wasn’t the only player who felt he deserved a 95. Not surprisingly, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid felt he also deserved the high mark:
"Well, it’s kind of hard to rate me because I felt like last year, when I was on the court, I was the best defender in the league, and then as a big man I can do everything — shoot threes, post up, handle the ball, be a playmaker — so I’ll be honest: I should be at least 95."
But when told that his rating was 'just' a modest 86, Embiid protested:
“What? That’s bullcrap. I’m not going to curse. I just got fined, so I’m not going to curse, but 86? I’m definitely going to bump it up to 95 during the season."
Embiid was recently fined by the NBA for using vulgar language on social media. This was in relation to his war of words against Lonzo Ball's outspoken father Lavar. The $10K fine was justified and so may be Joel's 86 rating.
While Embiid is as good as he claims, he has never been healthy enough to prove that. After missing his first two NBA seasons with injuries, Embiid played just 31 games in 2016-17 and was shut down in the latter part of the year because of well, injuries. Since his initial protest, it appears that Embiid has come to terms with his initial 2K rating.
My Durability rating must've not allowed my 2k rating to be at least 95🤔🤔!!!! Gotta work on that #TheProcess— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 18, 2017
Trust the process Joel. Just trust the process.
Trust The Process
One player who thinks that Embiid should 'trust the process' on his 2K18 rating is the Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl Anthony Towns. The NBA's top rookie from two years ago poked fun at Embiid's complaint about his 2K18 rating:
"I can't wait to tell Joel I've got nothing to complain about. I do trust the process on that one. I do trust the process."
KAT then ‘bragged’ about his player rating on Twitter:
9⃣1⃣ @NBA2K— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) July 19, 2017
Of course, KAT did not complain. His 2018 player rating is 91, a good improvement from the 88 he had a season ago. We know that Towns hasn't missed a single game in two NBA seasons so yeah, health and durability seems to impact the ratings. Plus, let’s not forget too that KAT has averaged in a double-double in back to back seasons. He improved his scoring average from 18.3 points per game during his rookie season to 25.1 last season. And he did that with the same 54.2% field goal accuracy as the previous year.
Room For Improvement
Like Karl Anthony Towns, the Toronto Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan was good with the rating 2K gave him. Before he was told of his rating, DeRozan said:
“I’m trying to leave room so I can try to improve during the season.”
DeRozan has steadily improved his scoring average and field goal percentage in each of the previous three seasons. Last season, DeRozan averaged a career best 27.3 points per game, fifth best in the NBA during the 2016-17 season.
When told that his new 2k18 rating is 89, DeRozan said:
“I’ll take that. I’ll take that. I’ll take, I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen better”
Of course you think DeRozan won’t disagree. After all, he is the cover athlete for the Canadian edition of 2K18. But that’s not the reason. DeRozan knows he can still improve on his 89:
“But with the updates, we can work to something.”
89 is an upgrade from the 87 which he started last season with at 2K. But given that the video game updates player ratings as the actual season progresses ( based on actual performance), there is definitely room to improve one’s ratings. Fair enough for those who want to prove 2K18 wrong.
Got Work To Do
The Phoenix Suns’ sharpshooting guard Devin Booker agrees with DeMar DeRozan about having a season to work with to improve his player rating. When told that his new rating was an 86, the incoming third year man from the University of Kentucky replied:
“Got some work to do. I’ll take it, though. It’s an improvement. At least I’m going forward so that’s good.”
Like Joel Embiid, he thought he deserved higher. An 88 said Booker but unlike Embiid, he didn’t complain because the 86 was still higher than the 83 he had at the beginning of last season.
Last season, Booker averaged 22.1 points per game and had a 70 point performance against the Boston Celtics. His scoring average increased by 8.3 points per game versus his rookie year so the 86 is justified.
What We Know So Far
So here’s a summary of what we know so far:
Paul George - 91
Karl-Anthony Towns - 91
Kyrie Irving - 90
Isaiah Thomas - 89
Damian Lillard - 89
Devin Booker - 86
Joel Embiid - 86
D’Angelo Russell - 80
The NBA 2K18 is scheduled to be released on September 19, 2017. So expect more ratings to be released in the coming weeks. And expect more of these reactions too.
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