NBA 2K18 has arrived, with 2K Sports once again looking like the leader in the industry when it comes to sports video games.
For most, one of the more interesting elements of an annual release is the player ratings built from the ground up by the developers based on the real-life happenings on the court.
Ratings aside, 2K18 innovates in key areas, with a new "Neighborhood" feature acting as an open-world hub for MyCareer. MyGM: The Next Chapter is a new layer of depth to a game mode that extends well after the Finals have run their course.
When it comes to player ratings, though, the top names at each position always drum up the most controversy. Let's take a look.
- James Harden, 95
- Jimmy Butler, 90
- Klay Thompson, 90
- Anthony Davis, 94
- Draymond Green, 88
- Blake Griffin, 87
- DeMarcus Cousins, 92
- Karl-Anthony Towns, 91
It is an interesting list, to say the least.
For Irving, ranking a step below names like Russell Westbrook is a source of motivation:
While on the topic of guys making moves, former Indiana Pacers star Paul George now suits up for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Fans can see this new wrinkle live in NBA 2K18 already. George said he would have rated himself higher after the way he sparred with LeBron James in the playoffs:
Not everyone was thrilled. When it comes to missing names up there, one that might stick out to many is Philadelphia 76ers breakout big man Joel Embiid.
The man known as The Process didn't exactly hold back on his 86 rating:
Embiid wasn't alone in the tone of his reaction based on Dwyane Wade's tweet:
Nobody seemed to get as irritated by his rating as Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, though:
One of the game's more underrated point guards, Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies, went the other direction with his reaction while providing a look at some gameplay:
At the least, almost every player can expect to have a realistic digital counterpart as 2K Sports continues to refine its superb system, which features the realistic graphics and animations that helped the game sit atop the sporting realm in the first place.
One of the biggest highlights in this area for 2K18? The odd-looking jumper from Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball:
The rating process is something fans of the series have wondered about for years. As expected, it isn't as simple as slapping a rating on a player based on his performance.
Bleacher Report's Jordan Zirm spoke with the man behind the ratings, Mike Stauffer: "We rate all the individual attributes, and whatever we put through our formulas that we constantly tweak gives us an overall value. I'm proud of what the results are. I think we get a pretty accurate representation of how good these players are and their different skill sets."
This sounds complicated for a video game, but the 2K series prides itself on being the best sports simulation on the market.
And just take a look at how big of an event the release of the player ratings is—to both fans and those being rated.
As always, the team at 2K Sports will update player ratings on a regular basis as the NBA season progresses. As Irving noted, it is a little bit of extra motivation.
For now, the out-of-box ratings have determined player hierarchy at each position, and it's up to those players dissatisfied with their score to change it on the hardwood once the season begins.