For two days in a row, the folks at 2K have given us a super early sneak peek at some of its player ratings for the 2018-19 NBA season – and one of the Green’s young guys in particular is already receiving quite a bit of love!
Though “NBA 2K19” isn’t set to hit stores until September 11 (September 7 if you pre-order), we already know that LeBron James will presumably be the game’s highest-rated player. The first renderings of the King in purple and gold were released on Monday along with the news that his overall rating would be a 98, one point higher than where he sat at the beginning of last season. (Wouldn’t it be great if Harden or Durant came in at a 99, though? Oh MAN, that would chap LeBron’s ass!)
Most expected that 2K would follow that up with some of the game’s other premier talents – a la the aforementioned Harden, Durant, or maybe even someone like Steph – but instead they chose to focus on one of the league’s future superstars by going with Celtics second-year stud Jayson Tatum!
I could sit here and wax poetic about Tatum for hours. (Seriously, ask my girlfriend about my incessant “TATUM IS GONNA WIN IT FOR US TONIGHT” ramblings in the hours leading up to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Sure, the Memorial Day Weekend beers may have had something to do with it that day, but, COME ON, the kid is nasty!)
Apparently, the developers at 2K agree with me, as they gave the 20-year-old an 87 overall rating, the rating he actually finished with by season’s end in “NBA 2K18” after roster updates.
At least he’s getting the respect he deserves after getting robbed of last season’s Rookie of the Year award – which ultimately went to Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons (who finished last season with an 85 rating, mind you) – and I have no doubt that Tatum will continue to ascend the rankings and improve upon the already impressive 13.9 points and 5.0 boards he averaged last season.
2K is expected to continue releasing ratings in similar fashion, but we’re not likely to receive a glimpse at another Celtics player for at least a few weeks. So, while you wait, here’s a look at where we think some of the other guys on the team might land in this year’s rankings.
After starting off last season as a 90, Kyrie actually finished higher in the rankings by season’s end with a 93, even though he missed the final month and entire postseason due to injury.
Based upon his talent, a 93 is certainly not unmerited – in fact, it should probably be higher – but durability concerns could lower him a bit heading into the fall. Last season marked the second time in three years in which Kyrie failed to play more than 60 games, and the fourth time in seven career seasons that he failed to play 70 games.
Except for a minor dip in points per game and free-throw percentage, Kyrie remained pretty consistent across the board from a performance standpoint when he was on the floor last season. And even with all the talent brimming throughout the Celtics roster, Kyrie is still THE guy on this team.
(NBA 2K19 ratings prediction: 92)
Setting aside the fact that Al Horford’s salary this season may be a bit high (seriously, $30 MILLION for this guy?), the 86 rating he finished with at the end of last season seems about right.
I might be a little harder on Al than others, but even though his overall numbers don’t pop off the stat sheet (12.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in 2017-18), he was a Second Team All-NBA defender last year and is a key facilitator in the team’s offense due to his elite passing ability and high basketball IQ. The guy never seems to be out of position and does the little things that make it easier on the more skilled guys around him.
Prone to complete disappearing acts every now and then (i.e. Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals), Horford is about as reliable and consistent, albeit unspectacular, as they come. Therefore, I doubt his ranking changes very much at all and may even get a boost from the team’s success last season.
(NBA 2K19 ratings prediction: 88)
Hayward started and finished last season with an 88 rating, as it’s a bit difficult for one’s score to change very much after playing a total of five minutes all season.
Before last season’s gruesome opening-night injury, however, Hayward had continued to improve in pretty much every single offensive category, every single year, since he came into the league eight years ago – including four-percent and five-percent increases, respectively, in field-goal percentage and three-point percentage between his last two years in Utah.
Hayward is a true all-around talent who is still only 28 years old and ever-improving, and I am GIDDY to see him in action this year. While I truly believe he’ll be worthy of a low-90s rating by season’s end, I predict he’ll stay put right where he’s been, as the 2K crew will give him time to prove his worth before making any changes.
(NBA 2K19 ratings prediction: 88)
It may be surprising to hear that Jaylen Brown finished with just an 81 rating at the end of last season. But outside of an April in which he averaged over 20 points per game, he didn’t really take off until the postseason, after ratings stopped being updated on the game’s online servers.
Besides a mediocre performance in the Conference Semifinals against the Sixers, Brown dominated throughout the playoffs for the Celtics, playing well beyond his years and shouldering the load for the C’s along with Tatum. (Brown averaged a few ticks under 20 points per game in the Conference Finals, including notching four 20-plus-point performances.)
Furthermore, Brown continued to play dominant defense all year while also taking a HUGE leap in a lot of other areas of his game, improving his three-point shot by almost six percent and displaying confidence not often seen from most second-year players.
Now about to enter his third year in the league, the only thing that could hinder Brown’s further development is a dip in playing time with Hayward back in the fold. But for now, the guy deserves a little bump.
(NBA 2K19 ratings prediction: 86)
While many are still riding high from “Scary Terry’s” performance in the first two rounds of the playoffs, they may be overlooking some of the clunkers he produced against LeBron and Crew in the Conference Finals.
Besides an epic 28-point affair in Game 6 – during which he made six three-pointers and shot an ABSOLUTELY SILLY 62 percent from the field – Rozier shot less than 40 percent overall in the series. Besides continuing his hard work on the glass, he truly may have been more of a detriment than he was a help. (He shot 20 percent on 15 shots in Game 5. Woof!)
Rozier was also a bit inconsistent throughout the regular season as well; after breaking out in February and March, increasing his scoring average by over five points per game from previous months, Terry saw his points per game plummet by over 10 points in April (which, to be fair, consisted of only six games, but he still shot below 30 percent from the field over that stretch).
Now before you all think I’m the president of the “Terry Really Ain’t So Scary Fan Club,” you’d have to be blind to not see a lot of positive improvement in his overall game last year. Especially if Marcus Smart does end up going elsewhere – along with the fact that there are really no other point guards to compete with on the roster besides Kyrie – we could see Rozier completely take over the second unit in 2018-19.
For now, though, I think we see him take a slight hit in the rankings until we see a bit more consistency.
(NBA 2K19 ratings prediction: 77)
And while I certainly don’t want to disrespect any of the other guys on the roster (especially my boy Aaron Baynes!), here are my quick-hitter ratings predictions for some of the other important rotation pieces:
- Marcus Morris: 79
- Aaron Baynes: 77
- Semi Ojeleye: 69
- Daniel Theis: 68
Regardless of how 2K ranks everyone this year, this team is locked and loaded for another serious run in 2018-19.
All previous “NBA 2K18” rating information courtesy of 2kratings.com.