NBA 2K19 ratings: early overrated players and snubs

While we are still more than a month away from the actual release, our friends over at 2K Sports have already begun the process of revealing player ratings.

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(Photo Credit: 2K Sports)

It’s hard to predict which players and in what order they will be released, but loyal fans are sure to be following along as 2K Sports provides an early look at player ratings on Twitter (@NBA2K). 

Each year, player ratings have easily been the most controversial topic for debate amongst gamers. Comparing past, present and future growth of every player in the video game world has led to hours of discussion on how well the 2K Sports team performed with that number. To be fair, there is no perfect number any player in the game can be given that will not be debated by gamers. That being said, I still feel the need to provide my VERY subjective insights on some players they got right or wrong amongst the player ratings revealed so far. 

Player Ratings are determined based on several attribute categories. These attribute categories exist to emulate the NBA player’s real world performances in a video game world. While all the ratings are surely justified to some extent, I refuse to take these ratings on their face value and view them in a vacuum. Below are my thoughts on the ratings released by 2K Sports so far.



LeBron James (OVR 98)

2K Sports
LeBron is 33 years old. While there are many arguments in favor of his greatness, I believe the player rating should reflect his age and a decrease in physical abilities. After averaging 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, some might call me crazy for calling him overrated. I still believe he is the greatest player on the planet, but father time defeats all, eventually. The fact that 2K Sports decided to bump him up from 97 to 98 after aging one more year seems off to me. 

Kawhi Leonard (OVR 94)

2K Sports
I feel like Kawhi Leonard’s rating is a lose-lose situation for 2K Sports. Last season, Leonard averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals in only 23.3 minutes per game. While the small sample size of only 9 games played might be somewhat misleading, fans still got a small taste of what he is capable of pulling off. Leonard has many accolades to his name, but I have a hard time placing him on level footing with Giannis and ‘The Brow’. He has only once put up stats similar to what these guys pulled off last year and we don’t know which direction his season is headed as he joins a new team, new coach and new supporting roster.

DeMarcus Cousins (OVR 90)

2K SportsCousins is another tough player to rate due to the unknown status of his future. Last year, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game in MVP-like fashion before his season was cut short due to an achilles injury. When he likely returns to full speed, Cousins will join a team that is likely hitting its playoff stride and not seeking to rush him back as a number one or two option — a role he’s enjoyed with every other team in his career. Whether or not fair, I think you have to hit Cousins’ rating hard due to the severity of his injury.

Jayson Tatum (OVR 87)

2K Sports
Many might forget that Tatum was considered a tier lower than Ben Simmons in the rookie rankings since he comes in the 2K19 with an identical rating to these players. Tatum was great in the playoffs with averages of 18.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. However, his regular season averages of 13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game fall short of the numbers Ben Simmons put up.

In addition, it’s not certain that Tatum will even be a starter on the deepest team in the eastern conference with Gordon Hayward returning. One would also think that Hayward’s rating will drop from last season (88 at NBA 2K18 release), but should still be ahead of Tatum. 

D’Angelo Russell (OVR 83)

2K Sports
Russell has a few seasons under his belt now and has shown flashes of brilliance and incredible athleticism. However, his averages of 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists are nothing special to write home about. While most starting point guards in the NBA generally post field goal averages somewhere between 44% and 50%, Russell came up short with a field goal average of 41.4% last season. In a league where the point guard role has gained so much traction over the years, having a subpar performer at the position makes it extremely difficult to compete. 


Giannis Antetokounmpo (OVR 94)

2K Sports
The ‘Greek Freak’ is an absolute video game monster. Just looking at his physical traits and basketball skills, I have a hard time seeing him as an equal player to Kawhi Leonard. After all, the guy posted averages of 26.9 points, 10 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. As a player that was deep in the MVP conversation for a good portion of last year, Giannis should easily be rated 95 or higher.

Kemba Walker (OVR 86)

2K Sports
While we don’t know where many of this year’s point guards will come in at as far as rankings go, Walker was given a rating reflective of a tier 3 point guard. It would be hard to classify him as an equal talent to guys like Curry and Westbrook, but I believe he is far superior to point guards like Mike Conley and Eric Bledsoe. Walker averaged 22.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game but his overall rating number leans too closely to the latter mentioned guards than I would like.

Ben Simmons (OVR 87)

2K Sports
After missing the entirety of what would have been his ‘true’ rookie season, Simmons showed up last year in a big way. Apparently, winning the Rookie of the Year Award and finishing 2nd all-time for triple-doubles in a rookie season (12 total) is still not enough to earn the respect of 2K Sports. With averages of 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game, you would think Simmons deserves to be rated higher than the other top rookies in his class (Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell). Simmons should undoubtedly be bumped up above his peers.

Andre Drummond (OVR 87)

2K SportsDrummond is the latest player to be revealed and his overall rating immediately comes with some controversy. Last season, Drummond finished with a rating of 87. Let’s see how his stats compare between the two seasons: 

Season Points Rebounds Assists Blocks FT%
2016-2017 13.6 13.8 1.1 1.1 38.6%
2017-2018 15.0 16.0 3.0 1.6 60.5% 

 With all these improvements moving up, it seems reasonable for his rating to slide up as well.  Either the entire league is moving up, or Drummond just got snubbed. 

Anthony Davis (OVR 94)

2K Sports
The argument for Davis as a ‘snub’ is reflective of how strongly I disagree with the rating of Kawhi Leonard. In no world should Davis be considered an equal to Kawhi Leonard. Even prior to Leonard’s disaster of a season last year, I find it hard to argue that the two players belong on equal footing based on the load Davis has been forced to carry each season. Davis was rolling last season with averages of 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.6 blocks per game.

Raise Davis or drop Leonard – your play 2K Sports.


Early Player Ratings (as of 8/2/18)

Player Team Rating
LeBron James Lakers 98
Kawhi Leonard Raptors 94
Anthony Davis Pelicans 94
Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks 94
Karl-Anthony Towns Timberwolves 91
DeMarcus Cousins Warriors 90
Damian Lillard Trail Blazers 90
DeMar DeRozan Spurs 89
Paul George Thunder 89
Jayson Tatum Celtics 87
Donovan Mitchell Jazz 87
Ben Simmons 76ers 87
Andre Drummond Pistons 87
Kemba Walker Hornets 86
D’Angelo Russell Nets 83