We've already seen the cover athletes for this upcoming NBA 2K21 edition and the game is going to be released on schedule despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Obviously, we can't wait to try it out.
The previews and teasers are just too exciting and promising. NBA 2K continues to evolve and that's one of the main reasons why it's one of the most popular videogames sagas all across the globe.
However, player ratings are always a matter of controversies around NBA fans. Thus, judging by what we've seen from the greatest hoopers in the league thus far, we're going to predict the NBA 2K21 rating for the best players in the league:
Bonus: Zion Williamson 88 - (Was 81)
Stats: 23.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.2 APG
Zion is one of the cover athletes featured in this edition so he's a no-brainer to be one of the highest-ranked players this time. Moreover, he looks like a guy that came out of a video game in real life so he's definitely going to be the ultimate cheat code.
Zion Williamson is a generational talent and there's absolutely no doubt in that. His athleticism, strength, raw power, and basketball IQ make him one of the most exciting prospects to watch. Hopefully, he'll be fully healthy in 2021.
20. Pascal Siakam – 90 (Was 88)
Stats: 23.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.6 APG
A couple of years ago most basketball fans didn't even know who Pascal Siakam was. Now, he's the best player on a Championship contender and all the hard work he's put on his craft must show in the NBA 2K21 saga as well. He deserves a bit of an upgrade.
Siakam has the skill set to dominate on both ends of the floor and has embraced his leadership role with the Toronto Raptors right away. He's still pretty young and has all it takes to win another NBA Championship even if he's not surrounded by another superstar.
19. Karl-Anthony Towns – 91 (Was 91)
Stats: 26.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 4.4 APG
Karl-Anthony Towns didn't do anything this season that could make us think that he's going to get an upgrade on NBA 2K21. Don't get me wrong. He balled out when he was healthy but he was pretty much the same player he's always been.
Towns is going to have plenty of motivation this season following the passing of his mother and thanks to the addition of his lifelong friend D'Angelo Russell, so perhaps he'll take that 91 rating up at some point of the season. Hopefully, that'll be the case.
18. Jayson Tatum – 89 (Was 86)
Stats: 23.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.9 APG
Jayson Tatum should eclipse the 90-mark at some point next season. He continues to break out as one of the most promising two-way players in the league and has now become the ultimate leader for the revamped and renewed Boston Celtics.
Tatum can do it all on both ends of the floor. He's the perfect player to build a franchise around, both in real life and in videogames. The only reason he's not a 92-93 kind of player is because of his youth but we're expecting a breakout season in 2021.
17. Ben Simmons – 87 (Was 88)
Stats: 16.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 8.2 APG
If Ben Simmons could shoot, he'd have a 96+ rating in real life and in NBA 2K21. But, until further notice, he's going to be an 88. He lacks one of the most important skills in modern basketball and he's still a top-tier player, that's just how good he is.
Simmons has the ability, size, athleticism, and strength to play and guard all five spots on the court. He's already one of the finest playmakers in NBA history and if he starts knocking down shots consistently, he's definitely got that MVP potential in him.
16. Bradley Beal – 89 (Was 88)
Stats: 30.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.1 APG
The disrespect is real. Bradley Beal just became the player with the highest points-per-game average not to make the All-Star Game in NBA history, as well as the only player to average 30+ points-per-game and not make the big game this season.
Playing on such a bad team and a small market has taken a toll on the media's input on Beal but make no mistake, he can flat-out ball. He's one of the most unstoppable scorers in the world and should get way more credit than he's getting right now.
15. Jimmy Butler – 90 (Was 89)
Stats: 20.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.1 APG
Considering how Jimmy Butler turned the Miami Heat around with his leadership on and off the court, he definitely deserves an upgrade on his NBA 2K21 rating, even if his points-per-game average took a major dip since his arrival at South Beach.
Butler continues to be one of the peskiest, most suffocating defenders in the league and he continues to blossom as a creator. His hard-nosed leadership meshed perfectly with the Heat's personnel and he turned them into a dark horse in the Eastern Conference.
14. Kyrie Irving – 92 (Was 91)
Stats: 27.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.4 APG
Kyrie Irving was clearly on a mission when the season started. He was extra motivated by playing for his hometown team and was balling before going down with an injury. That motivation will be even higher once the 2020-21 season comes.
Irving is eager to silence his critics and lead a team to Championship contention. He's also going to have Kevin Durant by his side, which is only going to make things easier for him on both ends of the floor. He's going to be on revenge mode.
13. Nikola Jokic – 91 (Was 91)
Stats: 20.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 6.9 APG
Nikola Jokic put a lot of work during quarantine and is clearly slimmer and in better shape. Hopefully, that'll translate to better performances in the playoffs and an ability to endure the physical demands of a full 82-game season.
Jokic is one of the best passing big men in NBA history, if not the best. He's a walking triple-double threat and has turned the Nuggets into perennial contenders. However, he's not up for an upgrade until he starts putting more work in the defensive end.
12. Russell Westbrook – 91 (Was 89)
Stats: 27.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.0 APG
Russell Westbrook faced a lot of criticism entering the season. People doubted his ability to coexist in the backcourt with James Harden and thought the Houston Rockets were a time bomb. Needless to say, that wasn't the case whatsoever.
Westbrook somehow continues to be underappreciated. He's one of the most skilled, talented, and athletic players in basketball history. He's embraced his new role with the Rockets and should be in for an upgraded rating for the 2K21 version.
11. Joel Embiid – 92 (Was 91)
Stats: 23.4 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.1 APG
Joel Embiid is one of the most talented players I've seen. He didn't even start playing basketball until he was a teenager and his game continues to develop as years go by. He's just getting started and that's a terrifying thought for the rest of the league.
The only two things holding Embiid back from being the ultimate superstar are his lack of durability and his - alleged - poor food habits. He's one of the best two-way big men in the world and NBA 2K21 should take his rating slightly up.
10. Paul George – 91 (Was 90)
Stats: 21.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.9 APG
Paul George was dealing with a nagging shoulder injury for most of the season. He also took a step back to Kawhi Leonard as the Los Angeles Clippers' go-to-guy. But even at 70%, George was one of the best two-way players in the league before the hiatus.
Now that PG is back at full strength and the Clippers continue to be a Championship contender, we'd expect his rating to go up at least one point. Hopefully, he'll go back to being an MVP candidate and he can eclipse the 95 mark at some point in the season.
9. Luka Doncic – 96 (Was 96)
Stats: 28.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 8.7 APG
Luka Doncic is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of player. He turned the Dallas Mavericks into a playoffs team right away and looks like the kind of player that can be the face of a franchise for many years to come. He's the real deal and he proved it.
That being said, we tend to think that his current NBA 2K rating is a bit high. Even so, we expect him to take his game up a notch next season and be worthy of that 96 rating. He's a fan favorite, so he's likely to go even higher at some point.
8. Damian Lillard – 95 (Was 94)
Stats: 28.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 7.8 APG
It took him some time but finally, Damian Lillard is getting the recognition and praise he's been worthy of for years. Lillard is one of the three cover athletes for the NBA 2K21 edition, which means he's likely to be a cheat code in the videogame.
Lillard has become one of the most unstoppable and dominant scorers in the world. He can consistently knock down shots from the logo and is a prolific offensive threat at all three levels. The only thing holding him back is his - lack of - defense.
7. Anthony Davis – 96 (Was 96)
Stats: 26.7 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 3.1 APG
Anthony Davis was struggling on a small market team. He forced his way to the Los Angeles Lakers and has made the most of the opportunity of playing next to LeBron James and leading a Championship contender to the best record in the Western Conference.
Skill-wise, talent-wise, Davis is one of the top-tier players in basketball history. He's poised to have yet another Defensive Player of the Year - Most Valuable Player kind of campaign next season, thus being worthy of that high ranking.
6. James Harden – 97 (Was 97)
Stats: 34.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 7.4 APG
James Harden continues to be the same player he's been for years. He's an offensive juggernaut that can torch opposing defenses, finish through contact, go to the line 12 times a game, and pile up video game-ish stat lines any given night.
Harden is a unique talent and that's pretty clear. However, he hasn't done anythign that could make us think that his rating should go up (or down) next season. He's the same old Harden, for better or worse, a Scoring champion with MVP-caliber seasons.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 98 (Was 97)
Stats: 29.6 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 5.8 APG
Giannis Antetokounmpo is en route to winning his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award and is also reportedly the frontrunner to win the Defensive Player of the Year award, which means his rating should go even higher.
Giannis has proven to be one of the best two-way players on earth. In fact, it seems like the only thing preventing him from having a 99 rating is his - lack of - a consistent shooting stroke from beyond the arc. The league hopes he never does that, tho.
4. Stephen Curry – 94 (Was 95)
Stats: 20.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.6 APG
Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter of all time and he's been doing video game kinds of things since he entered the league. However, he only played 5 games this season and that's likely to take a toll on his NBA 2K21 rating, even despite his talent.
Curry is also reportedly going to be on a minutes restriction next season, thus making it even tougher to keep his current rating or take him up. Hopefully, the Warriors will go back to Championship contention and Curry's rating will only get higher.
3. Kawhi Leonard – 97 (Was 96)
Stats: 26.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 5.0 APG
Kawhi Leonard is the best defender in the world. He's also a top-tier scorer and his game continues to get better as years go by. The only thing that made people doubt him was his nagging load management trend, as people claimed he was a part-time player.
A part-time player or not, Kawhi Leonard is finally back at full strength, and that's terrible news for the rest of the league. He can lock down your favorite player and then score 30 on him on the very same night, both in real life and NBA 2K.
2. Kevin Durant – 95 (Was 96)
Stats: 26.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.9 APG (2018-19)
The game truly misses Kevin Durant. He's your favorite players' favorite player and the ultimate real-life cheat code. He's a 7-footer with the handles and shooting stroke of a guard, and he's now even turned into a dominant defender and rim protector.
Durant is likely to start the season with a slightly lower rating this time because of all the time he's missed. There may be some rust at the beginning of the season but he's a superstar and will go back to his former level in no time, you can be sure of that.
1. LeBron James – 98 (Was 97)
Stats: 25.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 10.6 APG
It always seems like LeBron James' rating is too low. It seems like we're just taking him for granted at this point in his career but he continues to prove that you just can never count him out. He's looked father time to the eyes and beat him.
James turned back the clock this season. He's leading the league in assists per game and is a legit MVP candidate. There are just no signs of him slowing down at age 35 and there's no reason to think next year will be different, especially if he wins the ring in Orlando.