NBA 2K19: Player Ratings for Top Stars at Each Position

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 16: San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) rests during the Los Angeles Clippers 115-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs at the Staples Center at the Staples Center on December 16, 2013 in Los Angeles, 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. (Photo by Chris Elise/Getty Images)
Chris Elise/Getty Images

NBA 2K19 promises plenty of upgrades on the tried-and-true formula of a series that has climbed the sports-game totem pole and challenged Madden. 

But like Madden, the run-up to the global September 11 release is headlined by player ratings. 

The affection for player ratings makes sense. Players themselves obviously comment on the process and final numbers. As a fan, how the athletes on screen get graded when receiving a digital recreation is naturally a major point of interest as well. 

Written another way, the player ratings are always polarizing. There has been a sampling of ratings released so far, so let's take a look at some of the known top players at each position, with Jordan Greer of Sporting News providing the numbers.

      

Top Stars at Each Position

Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder, 93

Damian Lillard, PG, Trail Blazers, 90

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Spurs, 89

Donovan Mitchell, SG Jazz, 87

Kawhi Leonard, SF, Raptors, 94

Paul George, SF, Thunder, 89

LeBron James, PF, Lakers, 98

Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Bucks, 94

Anthony Davis, C, Pelicans, 94

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Timberwolves, 91

     

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Spurs, 89

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26:  DeMar DeRozan #35 of the United States talks with head coach Gregg Popovich during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

DeMar DeRozan offers a bit of a double-whammy for fans.

Not only is he one of the best players in the game outright, he's got some new threads on this year after his trade from the Toronto Raptors to the San Antonio Spurs.

These are two facts that often make a player one of the most popular in the gaming landscape—especially because users can get their hands on them before the season tips. 

And DeRozan, all of 29 years old, is a joy to play with in the 2K series regardless of locale. He's a mid-range assassin who a year ago not only averaged 23.0 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game on 45.6 percent shooting from the floor, but also upped his three-point percentage to 31.0. 

Even better, DeRozan will have plenty of interesting new looks in the Spurs lineup, especially with guys like LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol spacing the floor so his jumper can go to work. 

DeRozan ending up as the best-rated player at his position isn't a surprise at this point, and neither is his booming popularity. Even before the trade when he was merely a minor chip and was forced to leave where he wanted to be, his story of continued improvement is relatable. 

      

Donovan Mitchell, SG Jazz, 87

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Donovan Mitchell will have a faster ascent to stardom than DeRozan, to say the least. He won't need to have a new jersey on his back anytime soon, either. 

Mitchell took the NBA by storm a year ago after quietly coming off the board 13th overall. He put up 20.5 points with 3.7 assists and rebounds on not only 43.7 percent shooting from the floor, but 34.0 percent shooting from range. 

The honors predictably followed: 

Did anyone mention Mitchell reeled in more immediate popularity by winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest? 

Everyone loves a good underdog story, so the fact Mitchell is a likable guy with huge on-court upside for a team not exactly getting the same love and attention as the Los Angeles Lakers is going to make him one of the most popular players in 2K. 

The only way to go from here is up—and even then, this rating doesn't feel wrong. 

        

Kawhi Leonard, SF, Raptors, 94

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 13:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
Mark Sobhani/Getty Images

The major piece of the DeRozan deal and another guy in new threads, it's hard to forget about Kawhi Leonard.

Yet the rating above might surprise some. It shouldn't, but Leonard only appearing in nine games a year ago before a lengthy bit of drama ultimately ending up in his trade didn't help the perception or memory of those who likely at one point called him one of the game's top superstars. 

It's easy to forget Leonard is one the Association's best two-way players, and over the course of his last full season in 2016-17 he averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists on 48.5 percent shooting and a 38.0 percent conversion clip from range. 

Leonard is doing himself some favors from a public relations standpoint as well after arriving in Toronto. According to Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News during an appearance on TSN Radio's OverDrive (h/t Carlan Gay of Sporting News), Leonard is keeping an open mind about sticking with the Raptors. 

That's one way to win over fans around the league in the face of constant super teams forming. If Leonard is healthy, his play on the court will reflect the rating here, offering a reminder of sorts for those who let him slip from the mind. 

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