Sometimes, it takes just one season. There have been cases in sports where players seemingly got good out of nowhere. How that happened varies, whether it was increased playing time, different team situations, or just year-to-year improvement. It happens very often in the NBA, considering how many variables there are to dictate a player’s performance throughout a year.
That performance is replicated in NBA 2K, where certain players that were household names at one point had to settle for very low ratings. Sometimes it was unjust, and sometimes it was deserved. Regardless, they managed to show enough improvement to get a drastic increase in the span of one year.
10 Nikola Vucevic
Players that come into the league as mid-level draft picks aren’t necessarily given ample playing time. That was the case for Nikola Vucevic, 16th pick of the 2011 draft, and he only averaged 5.5 points per game for the Philadelphia 76ers. As such, he was given a mere 60 overall in NBA 2K13.
However, he was traded to the Orlando Magic, as part of a trade where his incumbent team lost superstar center Dwight Howard. That gave Vucevic more minutes, and he averaged a double-double (13.1 points and 11.9 rebounds a game) as a result. Thus, he was given a better 74 overall in his next appearance in NBA 2K14.
9 Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver was always a terrific three-point shooter, but there was a time when his skills weren’t as valuable in team offenses. He spent a few years on the Chicago Bulls, a period during which he stayed around the low 60s range as a role player that was useful but expendable.
That changed when Korver joined the Atlanta Hawks in 2012. He was granted a starting spot and became one of the most important players for their offense. His shooting, in particular, reached a whole new level, and he broke the record for most consecutive games with at least one three-pointer made. That newfound respect as an offensive cog gave Korver a huge 2K overall boost, from 64 in NBA 2K14 to 78 in 2K15.
8 Damian Lillard
The life-long Trail Blazer was far from the most popular rookie of his draft class. Damian Lillard played for Weber State, a mid-major college, prior to entering the pros, and he wasn’t highly touted in most mock drafts despite being the only high-level point guard of the bunch. He was drafted relatively high, but that only granted him a 70 overall in his first appearance in NBA 2K13.
Not many expected Lillard to have the explosive rookie year he had. He instantly became the Blazers’ offensive leader and most potent scoring threat, having some incredible scoring nights and even breaking the single-season record for most three-pointers made by a rookie. For his unanimously given 2013 Rookie of the Year award, he was granted a much more generous 84 overall rating in NBA 2K14.
7 Lance Stephenson
Throughout the early years of his career, Lance Stephenson was barely a rotation player. It made sense, for the most part, considering he was a second-round pick who had other strong wings such as Paul George and Danny Granger in front of him on his team’s rotation. As such, he was given a 58 overall on his first real appearance in the 2K series, being 2K13.
Then, Danny Granger succumbed to injuries. That gave Stephenson more playing time as a starting shooting guard, and he made the most of it, being a key player for the Indiana Pacers’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. His importance to his team was noted by those in charge of 2K ratings, and he was given a 74 overall rating in NBA 2K14.
6 Draymond Green
Another second-round pick, Draymond Green experienced a similar situation coming into the league as Lance Stephenson. He didn’t even appear at first in NBA 2K13, even though he managed to become a sporadic rotational player in his rookie year. Still, he was only given a 61 overall rating in NBA 2K14.
That would quickly change, as Green gained much more playing time his sophomore year. He would play a substantial role, coming off the bench and even occasionally starting, and providing a nice defensive spark as a combo forward. Green’s rating thus skyrocketed to 77 overall in NBA 2K15.
5 Steven Adams
As a rookie from the 2013 NBA draft class, Steven Adams was an incredibly raw prospect and reached his 12th overall pick status mainly for his potential rather than his immediate skill. Consequently, he was rated at a mere 57 overall in NBA 2K14.
Adams proved to be more useful than expected, though, throughout his rookie year with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He played backup center for Kendrick Perkins and had some key games, providing a good defensive and rebounding presence when needed. His importance to his team was rewarded with a 74 overall the very next year, in NBA 2K15.
4 Avery Bradley
Another mid-first round pick, Avery Bradley barely did anything during his rookie year. That made sense, considering his Boston Celtics were still stacked with talent, especially with Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Delonte West, and Nate Robinson taking most of the minutes at both guard positions.
That changed when a few of the said guards left, and Allen started to get fewer minutes due to his dwindling performance. That left more time for Bradley, and he proved to be a capable offensive player and feisty defensive player. He increased from a 61 overall in NBA 2K12 to a whopping 79 in NBA 2K13.
3 Rudy Gobert
Much has been said by avid 2K players about Rudy Gobert’s rise in the 2K ranks. He was yet another mid-first round pick to get the short end of the stick in terms of overall, but he probably had it the worst, being 52 overall as a rookie in NBA 2K14.
Gobert quickly proved that to be an oversight, proving his worth with his incredible height and length that helped him become a suitable defensive center in 45 games with the Utah Jazz. His subsequent 71 overall rating in NBA 2K15 still wasn’t great, but it was a far cry from his rating as a rookie.
2 Michael Carter-Williams
Being the 11th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, Carter-Williams was highly-touted to an extent, though his laundry list of expected flaws gave him a 61 overall rating in NBA 2K14. That made his rookie campaign all the more shocking, instantly becoming the best player on the miserable Philadelphia 76ers that year.
Carter-Williams was said to be the future of his franchise, showing off excellent playmaking skills and using his height as a point guard to his advantage. His career would fall off a cliff since that explosive year, but he can still say he was once an 80-overall player in NBA 2K15 – a whopping 19-overall increase from the previous year.
1 Hassan Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside spent most of the beginning of his career on the fringes of the NBA, and that showed in his 2K rating from NBA 2K11 to 2K12. After what looked like a failed NBA career, he took some stints in the NBA D-League and other leagues overseas.
Whiteside would return to the NBA to fill out a roster spot for the Memphis Grizzlies, and he would be added late into 2K15 as a 59-overall. He would then go on to have an absolute breakout 2014-15 campaign, signing with the Miami Heat and making waves as a defensive center. He’d been quoted in saying he was “trying to get his NBA 2K rating up”, and he did so in 2K16, jumping up to 81 overall by the game’s launch.
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