Throughout the years, NBA 2K has tried to be as realistic as possible when it comes to simulating the feel of real basketball and the NBA season. With game modes such as MyCareer or MyNBA (formerly MyGM or MyLeague), player ratings and stats are crucial. NBA 2K21 frequently updates the ratings of its players throughout the season to match player performances. Player rating changes take everything into account, from poor off-season performances (which can cause ratings to plummet) to the latest NBA matches.
From the launch of NBA 2k21 on current-gen consoles up to the last few games of the NBA season, NBA 2K developers have had to adjust the overall ratings of rookie players and breakout All-Stars alike. Although the rating system is not always perfect (and sometimes makes no sense), the ratings are adjusted to attempt to properly resemble the players’ real-life counterparts and what kind of seasons they’re having. The system has treated some players far better than others.
10 Stephen Curry: 95-97, Up Two Points: The Joint-Best In The Game?
Stephen Curry has only gone up by two points in his overall rating, but that small increase ties him with Lebron James for the title of best player in the game. Curry started off by shattering his career-high in points, later having a historic streak of games in which he made over ten three-point shots in each.
His 99 Three-Point Shot stat and his multiple Gold and Hall Of Fame Badges guarantee that almost all of his shots are going in. This increase gives Stephen Curry back the same rating he had during his 2015-2016 Warriors form, a team that broke the fantastic 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls’ Record for the most games won in a season. The increase was only two points, but those two points are some of the hardest to get in the game.
9 Zach Lavine: 85-88, Up Three Points: Dunking On Expectations
Averaging 27 points with amazing efficiency, Zach Lavine has secured his spot as an All-Star player. The load he has had to carry for the team has been lightened with the introduction of fellow All-Star Nikola Vucevic, who received a big increase in overall ratings a few games ago. This has all increased the Chicago Bulls’ tier in Play Now Online, and has made them a better choice than in previous years.
Lavine is one of the best scorers in the game, with great scoring stats and worthy Athleticism ratings to accompany them (along with a flashy dunk animation package that you can equip on your MyCareer character and blow the competition away). A well-deserved three-point jump.
8 Christian Wood: 80-84, Up Four Points: A Gamble That Paid Off
Christian Wood went undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft, before joining the Houston Rockets in the NBA Summer League later that year. Going forward, Wood would spend most of his career in the Development League before being given a chance.
After joining the Houston Rockets again, Wood averaged 21 points on good efficiency excluding his free throws, which is reflected in his 2K rating. Christian Wood can score at close range, rebound the ball, or shoot it beyond the perimeter, all while having the ability to effectively draw fouls. The Rockets gambled with Christian Wood and it paid off. With the four-point boost, he stands as the 52nd best player in NBA 2K21.
7 Zion Williamson: 86-90, Up Four Points: Earning His Spot On The Cover
Zion Williamson has the honor of being the cover athlete for the next-gen version of NBA 2K21, and he certainly earned it. Williamson’s field goal percentage sits around 60 percent while still averaging 27 points. The developers of 2K21 made sure to reflect that in his ratings, which have risen by four points.
His close-range stats are all in the 90s, with some of the best Athleticism in the game. His Badges only further solidify this, as he has 14 Finishing Badges and ten of them are Gold or higher. His incredible Strength, Stamina, Speed, and Acceleration attributes make him an unstoppable force when playing.
6 Nikola Jokic: 90-96, Up Six Points: The Most Valuable Player?
With an unexpected playoff performance in the 2019-2020 season, Nikola Jokic then had an MVP caliber season. NBA 2K21 has made sure to give Jokic his credit by slowly increasing his overall stats throughout the season and giving him up to 42 Badges.
With some of the best Inside Scoring, Outside Scoring, Playmaking, and Rebound ratings in the game, Jokic is a 3-Level Playmaker that solidified himself as one of the best centers available. Jokic was already one of the highest-rated players in 2K21 at launch, and his rating was increased to 96 (up from 90), where very few other players stand. No matter what you need, Jokic can do it all.
5 Jerami Grant: 77-83, Up Six points: Motor City’s Number One Option
The Detroit Pistons had not been having the best season. Their star player, Blake Griffin, was bought out and their lottery pick in Killian Hayes suffered from a devastating injury early in the season. As such, Jerami Grant had to step up and become the key player on the team.
Thanks to Grant’s solid Inside Scoring stats and high Stamina and Hustle ratings, the Detroit Pistons perform well in a very unlucky season for the franchise. As with Christian Wood, Grant may not be your first choice, but his ratings as a Slashing Four can give you some buckets as you take advantage of his sudden improvement (and six-point boost).
4 Robert Williams: 74-81, Up Seven Points: Time Lord Stops All
Robert Williams, also known as Time Lord, is the starting center for the Boston Celtics. He won’t blow you away with his scoring or playmaking, but his rebounding stats in 2K are excellent. Although he doesn’t have the Badges to back it up, Williams does not have much difficulty cleaning the glass, with a 91 Offensive Rebound rating and an 87 Defensive Rebound rating. His rating has increased by an impressive seven points.
As a center, his presence in the paint is not something to brush off either. His 93 Close Shot rating and 90 Standing Dunk can punish opposing teams on one end of the court, while his Block rating of 97 can take care of any player who isn’t careful on the other end.
3 Immanuel Quickley: 71-79, Up Eight Points: Has He Cooled Down?
Immanuel Quickley would have been the most improved player of the year (in terms of NBA 2K overall increases) a bit earlier in the season, but he settled at a rating of 79 (up from 71).
Starting at a 71 overall after being drafted and reaching an 80 overall in his peak, Quickley has surprised Knicks fans and 2K21 players. Quickley is a Deep-Range Shot Creator that helps everyone else on his team get the best looks possible and knock down shots from beyond the perimeter.
2 LaMelo Ball: 77-85, Up Eight Points: The Best Rookie In The Game?
As the third overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2020-2021 NBA draft, LaMelo Ball had a lot to prove as a rookie coming into the NBA. His experience playing professional basketball overseas (and with high school teammates that have also made it into the league) helped prepare him.
Ball now has the honor of being the highest-rated rookie of his draft class after stellar performances. If you need a playmaker with good Outside Scoring stats, look no further than the youngest Ball brother. Another eight-point jump.
1 Julius Randle: 80-89, Up Nine Points: The Most Improved Player?
As the Knicks are one of the best teams in the East, Randle is now the 19th best player in the game. To reflect that, he has jumped up by nine points, one of the highest boosts since NBA 2K21’s release.
As with Zach Lavine, he broke out and became an All-Star player. Randle can score anywhere on the floor as a 3-Level Scorer and get the defensive rebounds too. With a 98 offensive consistency alongside his high stats, you can succeed with Randle in any game mode. Whether it’s alongside him in MyCareer or simulating the season in MyNBA, The Knicks’ success could be largely attributed to the improvement of Julius Randle.
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