Predicting NBA 2K23 Player Ratings That Will Rise and Slide the Most

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 5, 2022

Predicting NBA 2K23 Player Ratings That Will Rise and Slide the Most

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA - MAY 12: James Harden of Philadelphia 76ers reacts during NBA semifinals between Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
    James Harden (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

    With NBA 2K23 set to release on September 9, gamers and basketball fans all over the world are already clamoring for individual player ratings.

    Before they start rolling in, we'll predict who'll have the biggest change from their final mark on 2K22.

    It's an exercise that can be a little tricky, since modern gaming allows for steady updates throughout the season, but there's still a handful of ratings that feel like safe bets to change.

    This isn't necessarily a recommendation of what should happen, but rather, what will happen.

Riser: Jalen Brunson

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 24: Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks arrives to the arena prior to the game against the Golden State Warriors during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals  on May 24, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

    Last 2K22 Rating: 81

    Jalen Brunson is headed to the mecca of basketball, where he'll almost certainly be the New York Knicks' best player (since they didn't trade for Donovan Mitchell).

    As of the most recent update, RJ Barrett was an 85. Expecting Brunson to get to there seems like a relatively easy call.

    And the jump wouldn't be without merit, either.

    During the regular season, Brunson averaged 23.0 points and 7.7 assists per 75 possessions when Luka Doncic was off the floor. Then, in the playoffs, he put up 21.6 points in 34.9 minutes overall.

    Scoring average seems to have a pretty good hold on the minds of the ratings makers, and predicting that he'll be in the high teens or low 20s is plenty reasonable.

    Something in the 85-86 range feels about right.

Slider: T.J. Warren

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN -  DECEMBER 23:  T.J. Warren #1 of the Indiana Pacers looks on during the game against the New York Knicks on December 23, 2020 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

    Last NBA 2K22 Rating: 82

    T.J. Warren didn't play a single game in 2021-22. He managed just four appearances in 2020-21.

    That he maintained a rating in the 80s is either an indictment on the developers or an awful lot of faith in his bubble run and nearly two-year-long injury recovery.

    In six bubble games prior to the 2020 playoffs, Warren averaged 31.0 points and 3.7 threes while shooting 57.8 percent from the field and 52.4 percent from three.

    It was a heck of a run, but it probably doesn't warrant his staying power at 82.

    At this point, there's really no way to know what kind of player Warren is. And it's fair to wonder if the kind of foot injuries that could cause him to miss this much time could have a long-term effect on him.

    With an offseason to dive into all the ratings, the developers will surely catch this one and slide him down to the 70s.

Riser: Scottie Barnes

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 25: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during Round 1 Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2022 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

    Last NBA 2K22 Rating: 82

    Concocting the ratings for this game always requires an element of prognostication. The developers are essentially predicting how players will perform over the next nine or 10 months. It's even more of a shot in the dark for rookies and second-year players.

    But there's reason to believe a jump is coming for Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.

    After averaging 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks in 2021-22, Barnes is forecast to total 7.8 wins above replacement by FiveThirtyEight's projection system. Only 18 players in the league are projected to have more.

    Of course, 2K doesn't base its ratings on FiveThirtyEight, but Barnes' multipositional defense, point forward abilities and high-end slashing are worth a two- or three-point bump for 2K23.

Slider: Kyle Lowry

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 29: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Miami Heat warms up before Game 7 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals on May 29, 2022 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

    Last NBA 2K22 Rating: 82

    Kyle Lowry is entering his age-36 campaign after averaging 13.4 points this past season. It was his lowest scoring average since 2012-13.

    Given his age and injury history, it's fair to expect the decline to continue.

    On top of missing 19 regular-season and eight playoff games in 2021-22, Lowry averaged just 52 appearances over the course of the two prior years.

    Now, durability doesn't seem to weigh too heavily on overall rating in the game, but compounding injuries can slow a player down.

    And as he nears his 40s, Lowry's rating should probably be in the 70s.

Riser: Desmond Bane

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    San Francisco, CA - MAY 13: Desmond Bane #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies look on during Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 13, 2021 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

    Last NBA 2K22 Rating: 84

    This is one of those tricky ones.

    In-season updates pulled Desmond Bane up to an 84, which is well above average for the game's 2-guards. It still just doesn't feel quite high enough.

    Bane is tied for 23rd in the league in the aforementioned FiveThirtyEight projections, and he's one of the most dangerous floor-spacers in the NBA.

    Last season, he averaged 3.0 threes and shot 43.6 percent from deep. There are only seven other players in league history who matched or exceeded both marks in a single season: Stephen Curry (four times), Klay Thompson (twice), Bogdan Bogdanovic, Joe Harris, JJ Redick, Duncan Robinson and Peja Stojakovic.

    That, in concert with Bane's switchable defensive ability and improving playmaking, should make him one of the best shooting guards in 2K23.

Slider: James Harden

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 12: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the third quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center on May 12, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
    Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    Last NBA 2K22 Rating: 92

    Again, this is more of a prediction of what will happen rather than what should happen.

    Much of the narrative surrounding James Harden's demise felt overblown. Yes, he looked a bit slower than he did during his best days with the Houston Rockets, but Harden still averaged 21.0 points and 10.5 assists as a Philadelphia 76er last season. He dropped to 18.6 and 8.6 in the playoffs, but the team was still significantly better when he played.

    Having said all that, narratives can be tough to overcome. And expecting the slow-down to intensify in his age-33 season isn't exactly disrespectful. He's officially post-prime. This happens to everyone.

    Harden can still be one of the game's better passers and point guards. He can still help the Sixers, but his days of being in the 90s on 2K may be behind him.

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