Every year the world of gaming and professional sports work together to create the most realistic versions of football, soccer, and basketball video games that technology can offer. Athletes willingly travel thousands of miles to each company’s headquarters and wear funny looking suits that mold virtual versions of themselves for millions of people to play.
Thanks to these professional athletes, games such as 2K, Madden, and Fifa have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.
When it comes to basketball video games, the 2K series is a consensus frontrunner, but NBA Live tries its best to keep up. The creators at 2K keep it real and every year they give each player a rating based on their real-life skills and attributes on the court.
It’s always interesting to see how each NBA player is ranked and it’s fair to say that practically no player feels that they’ve been given an accurate rating. As a basketball fan, there are constantly players that you’ll feel are rated too high, or too low.
The NBA season started last week and it’s fun to look back and assess how each of the top players is performing through their first few games. Here are 2K’s top five rated players and how they’re stacking up to their ratings so far:
Giannis Antetokounmpo – 94 Overall
Yes, this is a real name. Giannis, also known as the “Greek Freak” is, as his nickname surmises, an athletic freak of nature. He’s a 6’11”, 220-pound forward, with a 7’3″ wingspan that can play any position on the court. Last season he averaged 26.9 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game while dishing out 4.8 assists. The scariest thing about him is that he’s only 24 years old.
So far this season Giannis is averaging 27.3 points, 5.7 assists, AND 16.0 rebounds per game. Obviously, that rebound average is going to go down as the season goes on, or maybe it won’t and he’ll just defy the laws of what basketball players should be able to do. Either way, the Greek Freak is continuing his evolution of dominance and looking like a prime contender for ‘King of the East’ now that LeBron has moved West.
His Bucks are currently 3-0.
Stephen Curry – 95 Overall
Already widely considered the greatest shooter of all time and the best point guard in the league, Stephen Curry is one of the five All-Stars on the Golden State Warriors. It wasn’t long ago that Steph was the back-to-back unanimous MVP and the most unguardable player that we’ve ever seen.
Last season Chef Curry was often injured but still averaged 26.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game and won an NBA championship, so you can chalk his season up to a success. This season Steph seems absolutely determined to silence any doubt that the Warriors are his team, already averaging 30.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 7.8 assists.
The Warriors are currently 3-1.
James Harden – 96 Overall
Personally, it’s hard to imagine how you can be a fan of the way that James Harden plays basketball, but it’s also hard to debate that he’s a great player. Harden feeds off of off the dribble isolation play. He always leads the league in dribbles per game and on almost every Rockets possession you’ll see him display a series of elaborate moves before finally driving to the basket.
Last year Harden’s Rockets were arguably the best team in the NBA, finishing 65-17 in the regular season, battling their way into the Western Conference Finals and ultimately losing in a tough Game 7 against the Warriors with their superstar point god, Chris Paul, sidelined with a hamstring injury. Harden won the Most Valuable Player award for the season and had an incredible stat line of 30.4 points, 8.8 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game.
So far this year Harden’s Rockets are off to a rocky start, going 1-3 thus far, but Harden is still putting up big numbers of 28.3 points, 9.7 assists, and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Kevin Durant – 97 Overall
As much as the internet hates to admit it, Kevin Durant is the second-best basketball player in the world. He’s always been one of the best scorers in the league, but since joining the dominant Golden State Warriors Durant has turned himself into an unstoppable 7-foot point-forward who can score in every way imaginable and lock you down on the defensive end.
Last year the Warriors finished 58-24, but it’s never really about the regular season when you’re as good as Golden State is. KD averaged 26.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game and coasted into the playoffs. When he got there he absolutely dominated the competition and led his team to back-to-back championships.
So far this year the Warriors are off to a 3-1 start and KD is taking a back seat to Steph, but don’t let that fool you, he definitely deserves his 97 overall rating. He’s currently averaging 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 5.8 assists.
LeBron James – 98 Overall
LeBron James, King James, The Chosen One, LAbron, it doesn’t matter what you want to call him; he is the best player in basketball and arguably the greatest to ever play the game. Last year was his 15th season in the NBA and he turned 33 in the middle of the season; it was his best year yet.
Bron averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists last year for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the numbers don’t fully do him justice. Every performance last year was legendary, from beginning to end. He stuffed the stat sheet in every way possible, hit game winner after game winner and dunked on too many people to count. LeBron’s season of excellence was culminated by a 51 point performance in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but it was unfortunately for naught as JR Smith managed to make the most boneheaded play in basketball’s history.
The Lakers are predictably off to a rough start, going 0-3 so far, and LeBron is clearly adjusting to his new role on his new team. I’ve watched every game so far and there’s no arguing, it’s messy. That hasn’t stopped him from putting up 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game.
Photo Credit: NBA, Sporting News, Yahoo Sports