NBA 2K21 Releases Ratings And They Stink

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Players and fans of 2K basketball often anticipate the release of ratings for their newest installment. Unfortunately, this year’s player ratings are a complete abomination. We’ll start with the game’s best players and then work backwards to show just how bad things have gotten.

LeBron James

Recency bias strongly impact 2K ratings, and this year is no exception. At 98, LeBron James should still be the game’s best player, but wait til you see some of the stars they insist “made a jump” from last year’s ratings.

Jimmy Butler

Rated just 86 last year, Butler of the Miami Heat made a significant jump this year to 93. NBA 2K determined that leading his team to the NBA Finals deserved recognition, but they should have found some middle ground. He may have done well, but this new rating puts Jimmy Buckets among the NBA greats. Butler is good, upper 80s/low 90s kind of good. He’s just not great.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Though he bumps up one spot from his 2020 rating, going from 96 to 97, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was also taken down a notch down when compared with King James at 98. Season-long arguments over whom should be crowned the “best player in the NBA” have now been settled by the folks at 2K Sports. Playoff struggles for the Milwaukee Bucks tainted an MVP-DPOY season for the Greek Freak. Don’t worry, Giannis. Second best isn’t bad.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard’s rise to 95 is a breakout moment of such magnitude that perhaps only Justin Timberlake’s move to leave N’Sync can match it. His 95 rating is a five-point jump from just two years ago. NBA 2K now puts LoveStoned Lillard in the conversation with top 5 players in the game. No problem with that. He deserves it.

The Splash Brothers

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were expected to be highly rated, but at 89, Thompson lags behind. He’s still recovering from a torn ACL, so this adjusted rating makes sense. In the new age of medicine, there shouldn’t be much doubt that Thompson will earn himself a mid-season rating boost into the 90s.

Curry (95) is the best shooter ever to play the game, so it’s easy to defend the respect he’s been given. He’s also the 2K player used most often, which helps.

James Harden

It’s surprising to see the 2K Sports franchise double down on James Harden, giving him a 96 rating. Momentum for Harden is beginning to fade as his style of play has failed when it matters most. Giannis lost an edge to LeBron for his failing playoff performance, and Harden should have as well.

Kevin Durant, Kyrie

KD and Kyrie are very respectable ratings coming off injury. Durant returns from a torn Achilles, making a 95 pop off the screen. Though ranked 90, Kyrie is a real question mark because there’s no way to tell how good he is. Outside of his performance alongside LeBron James, he hasn’t been the same player. Regardless, 2K gave him his flowers by cracking the 90-club.

Devin Booker

Here’s where 2K goes wrong. Very, very wrong.

Booker dropped 70 points in a game before his 21st birthday and still only gets an 88. He lead the Phoenix Suns (come on) to an 8-0 record inside the NBA bubble. He’s a walking bucket in an era that emphasizes scoring above all else, and 2K still pats him on the head and tells him to wait until next year.

He did jump from 87 to 88, but that’s not substantial enough. The 23-year-old shooting guard is exactly what all teams want: a scoring machine. If Kyrie Irving leaves a team that then goes on and makes the Eastern Conference Finals without him, then Devin Booker deserves at least the same ratings respect.

NBA 2K21 has given us plenty of star rankings to dispute, but some of these secondary player ratings are hysterically bad. Here’s some comparisons to give you a reference:

Danny Green

They call Danny Green a “shooting guard,” but he shot under 30% from deep this year in the postseason. These are wide-open looks off double-teams of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Green was given a 76 rating.

His teammate, Alex Caruso, was given a 75. Caruso received votes for all-defensive teams in 2020 and was praised post-game by James and Davis for setting the tone for the team. He’s clearly the third-best player on the Lakers, but 2K rated him like an end-of-the-bench Joker. That’s a shame.

Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker

Brown and Kemba apparently earned themselves an 86 rating. But they share a court with Jayson Tatum (91) and still average under 20 points/game with no double teams. Meanwhile, Devin Booker manages nearly 27/game and carries his team almost by himself. Booker deserves a little more love, Brown and Kemba, a little less.

These ratings might not seem bad on an individual basis, but they’re brutal when stacked side by side. 2K Sports should consider these ratings as a way to compare players. If anything, it would be a great idea if they had an algorithm to determine skillsets for next year’s game. Instead of guessing what they think a player will do in 2021, they could rank a player based on what he actually did at the the end of 2020.

These are just ideas to consider, but yet again, NBA 2K21 underwhelms with this year’s player ratings. Players will continue caring about them because they serve as propaganda for Generation Z. People who actually watch basketball know they’re a joke.

Just kidding, we had to save the ***** *** white boy for last.

With a 94 rating heading into the 2021 season, Luka is officially on the map. Last year he was like Michael Jackson with the Jackson 5: clearly a talent, but a 94 rating is the equivalent of grabbing when MJ finally dipped his glove in diamonds. Of course, he had a rating of 96 last year, but he used mid-season boosts to get there. This time, he steps on the scene a baller. Well done, white boy.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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  1. Overall ratings don’t mean much without knowing the attributes that got them there. A guy may be amazing at some things but if he’s atrocious at other elements then it’ll drag his overall down. At least when I played video games, some attributes weighed heavier than others.

  2. Harden (96) over KD (95) is the most ridiculous thing mentioned in the article. Sure, Harden is amazing…. but he’s not KD. However, I would give Jamal Murray the edge for being the most poorly rated player on the game. An 87? Get outta here.

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