The Los Angeles Clippers are the best team in the NBA's Pacific Division, at least according to the initial rankings from NBA 2K14. This is thanks in large part to the team's super duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
They are ranked sixth overall, which is one spot above the Golden State Warriors. Here's how the teams are ranked.
- Miami Heat
- San Antonio Spurs
- Indiana Pacers
- Chicago Bulls
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- LA Clippers
- Golden State Warriors
- Brooklyn Nets
- New York Knicks
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Houston Rockets
- Denver Nuggets
- Dallas Mavericks
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Portland Trail Blazers
- LA Lakers
- Detroit Pistons
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Boston Celtics
- Atlanta Hawks
- Washington Wizards
- Toronto Raptors
- Charlotte Bobcats
- Sacramento Kings
- Phoenix Suns
- Orlando Magic
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Utah Jazz
Did you ever imagine seeing a year where the Clippers and Warriors would be the teams to beat in the Pacific Division?
That's not just fantasy folks; it's a reality. The NBA 2K14 ratings are pretty true to life. I can't find many instances where I take major exception, but there are a few.
Thanks to Dynamic Living Rosters, per 2K Sports on YouTube, the updates should come fast and furious throughout the season. Ideally, this will lead to the most authentic online experience for gamers.
In this slideshow, I have sectioned off the teams by divisions. There are a total of nine videos, with each displaying the player ratings for every player on every team in that division.
You may be saying, "There are only six divisions, what are the other three slides for?" NBA 2K14 also includes 14 Euroleague teams. I've given the international squads a slide, as well as the classic teams and free-agent pool.
Take a gander at the ratings and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
All images from NBA 2K14
Highest-Rated Player(s): Chris Paul, Clippers; Kobe Bryant, Lakers—93
In my eyes, Paul is still the best point guard in the NBA. No other lead guard balances the ability to score (16.9 PPG) and distribute (9.7 APG) like him. His rating is legit.
The Black Mamba could possibly be slowed by his Achilles injury, but then again, this is the Mamba. Does anything really slow him down. He averaged 27 points, 5.6 rebounds and six assists per game last season.
If that isn't worthy of a 93 overall, then I don't know what is.
Best Three-Point Shooter: Stephen Curry, Warriors—91
If you factor in how much Curry handles the ball and the amount of shots he takes, his shooting percentages are remarkable. Curry shot 45 percent from the field and beyond the arc.
He also made 90 percent of his free throws. Simply put, he's a beast.
Best Dunker: Gerald Green, Suns—93
Green is about the only guy in the NBA whose dunking prowess will allow me to accept the fact that Griffin isn't here. Griffin's dunk rating is just one point lower than Green's.
The Suns swingman's ability to do stuff like this speaks for itself, though.
The Pacific Division is likely the most aerially dynamic. Not only does it feature Green and Griffin, but there's also the Warriors' Andre Iguodala, who also has a 92 dunk rating. Take a look at a few of the slams I've thrown down with Iggy in my early play with the game.
Best Ball-Handler: Stephen Curry, Warriors; Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford, Clippers—99
Dunking isn't the only thing on full display in the Pacific Division, as three of the game's slickest ball-handlers also reside out west. You'll have a ball with the new Pro Stick playing with these guys.
Best Passer: Chris Paul, Clippers—94
It seems pretty clear that 2K Sports believes Paul is the best point guard in the NBA as well. He tops almost every point-guard related category. Only Rajon Rondo of the Celtics has a higher mark in this category.
Best Rookie: Ben McLemore, Kings—72
My favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year is McLemore. He should have a good opportunity to be one of the team's best perimeter scoring threats, as his shooting stroke and athleticism ensures he can score on the NBA level.
He has an 81 three-point shooting rating, but his dunk number could be a little higher. He was given only a 74, which seems a little low.
Most Overrated Player: Eric Bledsoe, Suns—82
The man they call mini-LeBron, per Greg Esposito of Suns.com, is certainly a physical specimen, but his 82 overall rating is based on potential and athleticism only.
He's never averaged more than 8.2 points per game, he shoots just 43 percent from the field in his career and 31 percent from three. Furthermore, Bledsoe is a point guard who averages only three assists per game.
He may have a breakout season, but he's done nothing to warrant such a high rating yet.
Most Underrated Player—None
No player in this division stands out as underrated.
Highest-Rated Player: Kevin Durant, Thunder—94
Only LeBron James of the Heat is rated higher than Durantula. The Thunder star is one of the four best offensive players in the game. His perimeter defense is a little high for my tastes, but overall you can't dispute Durant's rating.
Best Three-Point Shooter: Kevin Martin, Timberwolves; Brandon Rush, Jazz—88
Seeing Rush here was a bit of a surprise, but the numbers do support him having a high rating from beyond the arc. He only played in two games last season, but he's a career 41 percent shooter from three. In the 2011-12 season, Rush made 45 percent of his attempts from deep.
Durant and a few others are rated 87 from three.
Best Dunker: Jeremy Evans, Jazz—95
Evans doesn't play much (just 5.8 minutes per game during the 2012-13 season). But when he does, he throws down some nasty slams. Ask Gerald Wallace:
Evans also won the 2012 Slam Dunk title.
Best Ball-Handler: Russell Westbrook, Thunder—96
It is important to understand the definition of each rating. Some may look at this and reference the fact that Westbrook had the fifth-most turnovers committed in the NBA last season. The thing is, the ball-handling rating in NBA 2K14 is defined as the "ability to perform dribble moves," which makes more sense as it relates to Westbrook.
To balance out Westbrook's propensity to turn the ball over, his pass rating (which is defined as "ability to throw accurate passes") is only a 73. So there, simmer down people.
Best Passer: Andre Miller, Nuggets; Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves—90
Seeing Rubio here is no surprise, but Miller may raise a few eyebrows. He is one of those guys who hangs around the league because of his basketball IQ and fundamentals. He's 37 years old, but he handles the ball well, even though he's not flashy.
He's also a very efficient passer.
Best Rookie: Trey Burke, Jazz—73
It is odd that the Jazz have three players that are either the best or tied for top honors in these categories, yet they are the lowest-rated team in the game. That basically means they have some promise and specialists on the roster, but overall they lack talent.
Burke just edges the Blazers' C.J. McCollum, who is rated a 72. Apparently, the summer league performances weren't given a ton of weight. Burke shot just 13-of-54 from the field and 1-of-19 from three-point range, per NBA.com.
McCollum wasn't great on defense, but he showed he could score. The Lehigh alum scored 21 per game in five contests. We'll see whose ratings stick once the season starts.
Most Overrated Player—Trey Burke, Jazz
Burke is the Naismith Award winner from the 2012-13 college basketball season, so I understand the hype. However, as an unproven player who struggled mightily in summer league play, it seems he should have been rated closer to a 69.
Most Underrated Player: Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder—70
Three-point shooting used to be a weakness in Sefolosha's game, but he's shot 44 and 42 percent, respectively, in the last two seasons from deep. He's also still one of the best perimeter defenders in the game.
Thabo's speed rating is a little low at 69. Raising that would likely make him a better defender. He deserves a 74 or 75 overall.
Highest-Rated Player: Dwight Howard, Rockets—91
D12 isn't the most-liked player in the league, but he is still the best center in the NBA. Take him for granted all you want, but in a down year last season, he still averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game.
Best Three-Point Shooter: Jose Calderon, Mavericks—90
Props to 2K Sports for not overreacting to Calderon's three-point numbers from last season. He did lead the league in three-point percentage, knocking down 46 percent of his attempts. That said, he only took 282, which is 132 less than the Hawks' Kyle Korver and 318 less than the Warriors' Curry.
Calderon's percentage is less than one point higher than Korver and Curry's. He deserves a 90, but his rating is correctly positioned lower than the Hawks and Warriors sharpshooters.
Best Dunker: Dwight Howard, Rockets—92
There are a few good dunkers in the Southwest Division, but none more prolific or potentially devastating than Howard.
Best Ball-Handler: Devin Harris, Mavericks; Austin Rivers, Pelicans—96
Rivers has some serious shake-and-bake to his game, but I wonder about the rating for Harris in this category. Perhaps they got him mixed up with Stuart Tanner, the guy that hustled him in this video from a few years back:
Best Passer: Jrue Holiday, Pelicans—90
New Orleans' new point guard immediately becomes one of the best playmakers in the division and in the Western Conference. He averaged eight assists per game last season for Philly.
Holiday made his first NBA All-Star game, but the rebuilding Sixers still sent him packing in a draft-day deal that landed them Nerlens Noel, per NBA.com.
We shall see how that works out.
Best Rookie: Shane Larkin, Mavericks—70
After showing off his amazing athleticism at the NBA combine, per Michael O'Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times, Larkin can surely compete with the athletes in the NBA. He was a proven winner at Miami during the 2012-13 season, but he is part of a logjam at point guard in Dallas behind Calderon and Harris.
Per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, a broken ankle suffered in July could slow him in training camp and the preseason.
Shane Larkin, the Dallas Mavericks' 1st-round pick, broke his ankle in summer league practice, sources told Y! Could be out 2-3 months.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 12, 2013
We'll see how much he actually plays as a rookie.
Most Overrated Player: Manu Ginobili, Spurs—86
Ginobili had the worst statistical year of his career in 2012-13 since his rookie season. In addition to that, he looked like a shell of himself in the NBA Finals. He's been a great performer throughout his career and he's a borderline Hall of Famer, but there is no way he should be rated an 86.
A 78 is far more appropriate. His 95 rating in runners and spinning layups are a tribute to his lifetime accomplishments, not an accurate reflection of what we saw from him on the court last season.
In my opinion, Ginobili is the most drastically overrated player in the game.
Most Underrated Player: Chandler Parsons, Rockets—76
I know they play two different positions, but it is impossible to see how Ginobili is 10 ratings points better than Parsons. The Rockets' underappreciated small forward averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and a steal per game.
He also made 38 percent of his threes. His numbers are comparable to the Bulls' Luol Deng, who is rated 79 overall.
Parsons should be rated at least that.
Highest-Rated Player: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks—91
After leading the NBA in scoring this past season, it is no surprise Melo would be one of the highest-rated players in the league. Offensively, there isn't much he can't do—in real life or in the game.
Best Three-Point Shooter: Steve Novak, Raptors—90
The former Knick doesn't do a lot of things well, but he can definitely shoot the three. He made 42 percent of his shots from beyond the arc last season. He should help to spread the floor for Kyle Lowry and Rudy Gay this season.
Best Dunker: Terrence Ross, Raptors—96
The reigning slam dunk champion deserves this rating. After putting on this display at the 2013 All-Star Weekend, you can't argue with the 23-year-old's dunk mark.
Teamed with Gay (90) and DeMar DeRozan (90), the Raptors are perhaps NBA 2K14's most high-flying roster.
Best Ball-Handler: Deron Williams, Nets—98
Don't worry about D-Will's ability to chain together sick dribble moves in NBA 2K14, as he has nearly the full gamut of crossovers and hesitations at his disposal. The Celtics' Rajon Rondo is high on the list at 95, but no other Atlantic Division point guard is breaking ankles like Williams.
Best Passer: Rajon Rondo, Celtics—99
Rondo led the league in assists per game last season and he's known for his ability to set his teammates up. If the feisty Celtics floor general ever improves his jump shot, he'll be the best point guard in the NBA, and will probably stop hearing his name in trade rumors every season.
Best Rookie: Nerlens Noel, 76ers—72
With Noel out for the first portion of the upcoming season, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, it'll take a while before we know how well his overall rating fits him. Those who play online will have to do without him until he returns from injury once the first update hits.
He's a very good athlete. His block (86), offensive (81) and defensive rebounding (77) ratings will make him a force early on.
Most Overrated Player: Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks—82
I've always appreciated Stoudemire's game, but he just isn't the same explosive player he was before. In NBA 2K14, Stoudemire's dunk rating is an 88. That's like Phoenix Suns Amar'e, not the current version. Based on what we've seen in the last season and a half, Stoudemire should be rated a 79.
Most Underrated Player: None
I couldn't find any player in the Atlantic Division who appeared to be short-changed.
Highest-Rated Player: LeBron James, Heat—99
No explanation required.
Best Three-Point Shooter: Kyle Korver, Hawks—92
Who has the highest three-point rating in NBA 2K14? It's Korver, and he's earned it. Not only did he knock down 46 percent of his attempts last season, but Korver has also shot less than 40 percent from three only once in his 11-year career.
Best Dunker: Jared Cunningham, Hawks—93
You thought it was LeBron didn't you? It probably should be, but Cunningham does have some impressive hops. Take a look at this slam from his days at Oregon State.
Best Ball-Handler: Dwyane Wade, Heat—96
This may be another lifetime achievement rating. Wade can still muster up an impressive performance, but I'm not sure he can still put together the types of dribble moves that would warrant a 96 rating here.
The knee issues may have reduced him to more of an 88 in this category and that could even be the respectful fan in me talking.
Best Passer: LeBron James, Heat—87
All things considered, James could very well be the best passer in the NBA. He averaged 7.2 assists per game last season and has never averaged less than 5.9 in his career. Remember, he is a small forward.
If you're frowning right now, you're hating.
Best Rookie: Victor Oladipo, Magic—76
The rookie from Indiana isn't just one of the highest-rated rookies in the game; he's also the highest-rated player on the Magic roster. If you're looking for a challenge, pick Orlando in your Association.
Most Overrated Player: Dwyane Wade, Heat—91
Flash really stepped up at points during the NBA Finals, but until we've seen what he can do this season, he isn't worthy of a 91 overall rating anymore. He has a 92 speed mark, which is just one point lower than LeBron's.
Wade may never be that fast again.
Most Underrated Player: Gerald Henderson, Bobcats—74
Obviously, 2K Sports isn't alone in undervaluing Henderson. He didn't have many takers as a restricted free agent this past offseason, so it would seem I may be the only one high on him.
Here's what I see: For the second straight season, Henderson averaged 15 points per game. He also upped his three-point shooting to a career-high 33 percent. He's probably worthy of a 77 or 78 overall rating.
Highest-Rated Player: Derrick Rose, Bulls—92
Some may really cry foul with this because Rose missed all of the 2012-13 season recovering from a torn ACL, but can he really be penalized for that? It's not as if he's 34 years old and this injury could mean the end of his career.
Rose is two years removed from his MVP year during the 2010-11 season, and he averaged 21.8 points and 7.9 assists in 2011-12. This rating is spot on.
Best Three-Point Shooter: Ersan Ilyasova, Bucks; Mike Dunleavy Jr., Bulls—88
Just think: If the Bucks had held on to Dunleavy Jr., they would have had the two-best three-point shooters in the division. Wait a minute. They had them last season and still barely made the playoffs.
Best Dunker: Josh Smith, Pistons—95
Smith no longer calls the Highlight Factory home, but he'll take his talents to Motown. Teamed with Andre Drummond (86) and rookie Tony Mitchell (89), the Pistons can really throw it down with the best teams in the game.
Best Ball-Handler: Kyrie Irving, Cavs—99
No one has flashier handles than Uncle Drew. There are a few other players who are also maxed out in this area; but once you get a good grip on the Pro Stick, opponents will be at your mercy with Irving.
There are a heavy assortment of dribbles, hesitations and crossovers to explore.
Best Passer: Derrick Rose, Bulls—88
There aren't a lot of elite passing point guards in the division. Most of them are more scorers than distributors—as is Rose—but he's the most accomplished from an assist standpoint. Thus it makes sense that he would have the highest passing rating in the division.
Best Rookie: Anthony Bennett, Cavs—76
Along with Oladipo, Bennett is the highest-rated rookie in the game. He has a 69 three-point rating, which won't make him much of a perimeter threat, but his low-post scoring numbers are a little more promising.
He has a 75 in low-post offense. At just 20 years old, he could develop in the second or third season of your Association.
Most Overrated Player: Chauncey Billups, Pistons—81
Billups was never an elite athlete. But at 37 years old and recovering from major injuries the last two seasons, his mobility may be even less impressive.
It is hard to argue with his 83 mark in three-point shooting, but an 82 in speed is generous for Mr. Big Shot at this stage of his career.
Most Underrated Player: Carlos Boozer, Bulls—77
Boozer is easily the most underrated player in NBA 2K14. After averaging 16.2 points per game and being the most consistent scoring option for the Bulls last season, he got tagged with a 77 overall rating.
Boozer also grabbed 9.8 rebounds per game. Everyone knows he isn't a stellar defender, but Serge Ibaka (84) of the Thunder and Marcin Gortat (80) of the Suns shouldn't be rated higher than Boozer.
His numbers and impact on the floor are as big—if not bigger—than Ibaka's and Gortat's.
It should be noted that the rosters for NBA 2K14 are accurate only up to Aug. 3. We'll have to wait on the first update to see the free-agent moves and such accurately reflected.
Out of the players who are still available, Stephen Jackson is the highest rated at 79.
What Ever Happened To...
As you look through the rosters of the Euroleague teams, you may find yourself saying, "So that's where he is now." Many of the American players on the rosters had successful college careers and some even spent time in the NBA.
Panathinaikos Athens' Jason Kapono is one example. He had an esteemed career at UCLA and bounced around the NBA before heading to Greece.
Preview of the Future
Some teams like the Chicago Bulls have prospects playing in the Euroleague. Many Bulls fans are anxiously awaiting the arrival of talented forward Nikola Mirotic. If fans are interested in 2K Sports' preview of Mirotic's talent, you'll notice he's rated 79 overall.
He also has the clutch signature skill.
At 6'10", his three-point rating is an 83 and his dunk is an 80. He's only 22 years old, so the future could be bright for him in a Bulls uniform.
Best Foreign Player: Dimitris Diamantidis, Panathinaikos Athens; Viktor Khryapa, CSKA Moscow—84
Khryapa spent four seasons in the NBA and never averaged more than 5.8 points per game, but he's doing well in his homeland. In 2012-13, he averaged 10.3 points per game in Euroleague play, per Euroleague.net.
Kapono's teammate Diamantidis is a 6'5" sharpshooting point guard. He isn't a great athlete, but his size and 84 rating in three-point shooting makes him a factor.
Best American Player: Jamon Lucas, Anadolu Efes Istanbul; Ricky Hickman, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv; Kyle Hines, Olympiacos Piraeus—83
Hines and Hickman hail from UNC Greensboro. Hines is a 6'5" center. Having a game best-suited for the pivot at 6'5 will certainly make it hard to play in the NBA. Despite his lack of height, he has a 75 rating in low-post defense. Think of him as a poor man's Chuck Hayes.
Hickman is a pure scorer. He has an 81 in three-point shooting, his ball-handling rating is 86 and he's also a bit of a ball hawk with a 90 steal rating.
Lucas isn't a great shooter, but he's an effective slasher. All his layup ratings are at least an 83.
There aren't any new classic teams added this year. The 2001-02 Sacramento Kings team was removed, which wasn't that big of a deal because contractual issues prevented Chris Webber from being added.
I would have loved to see an Indiana Pacers team with Reggie Miller, a 76ers squad with Charles Barkley or Julius Erving and a Lakers team with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but it wasn't in the cards this year.
Hopefully 2K Sports won't abandon the idea of classic teams. It really does add something to the overall package. I loved the use of the filters in NBA 2K12, but continually getting individuals to agree to have their likenesses used is not an easy task.
It looks like I'll be creating and sharing the greats that weren't included via 2K Share. See you online.
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