As fast as a player can breakout and get his 2K rating up, the opposite is just as true. Sometimes, it just takes a single season for an NBA player to completely fall off and end up a much worse player than before, whether it’s due to injuries, suboptimal team fit, or just poor play.
NBA 2K provides a way to quantify this: its rating system. Although flawed, NBA 2K more or less stays updated with players’ performances, whether they stay consistent, get better, or get worse. These ten NBA players got worse so quickly, that their 2K ratings took a nosedive in the span of just one year.
10 Gerald Wallace – 7 Points
Gerald Wallace had a long, solid NBA career, even making an All-Star game in 2010. However, his career ended fairly quickly thanks to injuries.
Crash started feeling the effects of his deteriorating health after he was traded to the New Jersey Nets. Once hailed to be a very good supporting piece next to Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, Wallace’s first full season with the team was riddled with injuries. While he was still a decent defensive player, his offense disappeared, averaging just 7.7 points a night at a 39.7% clip. That, in turn, caused his 2K rating to flag, going from 81 in NBA 2K13 to just 74 in 2K14.
9 Chris Bosh – 7 Points
The NBA saw its poles shift in 2011 after LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat. However, the season ended in disappointment, with a failure to win a championship. Part of the reason why was Chris Bosh failing to find a consistent role for most of that year.
After being the go-to option as a Toronto Raptor, Bosh had to settle for third fiddle to James and Wade. He put up 18.7 points a game, which was good, but well below his 24.0 per game the season prior. As a result, the folks over at 2K found it appropriate to give him a significant rating drop, from 87 in NBA 2K11 to just 80 in 2K12.
8 Ty Lawson – 8 Points
Ty Lawson is an unjustly forgotten name, being one of the best players of his era to not make an All-Star team. Perhaps the reason why he isn’t talked about is that his fallout was so brief and meteoric.
After spending six fruitful seasons on the Denver Nuggets, Lawson was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2015, charted to be a secondary ballhandler next to superstar James Harden. Unfortunately, he never came close to reaching those expectations. He was benched early into the year after being a liability on both ends, and didn’t even finish the season a Rocket; he was cut midway through. The disappointment showed in his 2K rating, which bottomed out from a solid 81 in 2K16 to a 73 in 2K17.
7 Kyle Kuzma – 8 Points
Once touted as the steal of the 2017 NBA Draft, Kyle Kuzma was a part of the Lakers’ young core alongside players such as Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram. Then, that all changed when the King himself, LeBron James became a fellow Laker.
While he had a good first season next to LeBron, the Lakers immediately set up shop and traded away most of the Lakers’ young core for superstar Anthony Davis. Being the only true young guy left, Kuzma couldn’t get it going in an offense that didn’t really cater to him. As a result, he got significantly less playing time to show his scoring chops. That resulted in a big rating drop, from 84 in 2K20 to just 76 in 2K21.
6 Joakim Noah – 8 Points
Joakim Noah was one of the best centers in the league once upon a time. Unfortunately, this former Defensive Player of the Year had a hard time maintaining his all-star level 2K rating since then.
While he was a great fit next to fellow center Pau Gasol, he got less playing time thanks to the presence of another all-star center. He only played 30.6 minutes a game compared to 35.3 the prior year, and also only played 67 out of 82 possible games thanks to a few nagging injuries. His stats dropped across the board, and that reflected in a drop in 2K rating, from 87 in 2K15 to 79 in 2K16.
5 Mike Conley – 8 Points
While he’s proven to be very useful for the Utah Jazz, Mike Conley didn’t have a great first season there. That was a bit of a surprise, considering how much hype there was surrounding his transfer.
After spending most of his career as a seeming Memphis Grizzlies lifer, Conley was traded to the Jazz in 2019. While he was supposedly a great fit for his backcourt-mate Donovan Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert, he couldn’t get it going on offense, dropping to 14.4 points a game after achieving a career high 21.1 points a game the prior year. While he’s found his groove since then, his rating drop from 87 in 2K20 to 79 in 2K21 is still among the biggest in recent 2K history.
4 Gordon Hayward – 8 Points
While Gordon Hayward’s managed to fully regain his mojo after his horrific leg injury in 2017, it certainly ruined his time as a Boston Celtic.
That was particularly true the season after his injury, where he didn’t even start games most of the time. The once-excellent small forward was always missing the pep in his step that made him a one-time All-Star before he donned the green jerseys, and that resulted in averaging a mere 11.5 points a game. He couldn’t show out well enough to get the approval of the people in charge of 2K ratings, and he dropped to an underwhelming 80 in NBA 2K20 after reaching 88 just the previous year.
3 DeMarcus Cousins – 9 Points
Ever since he tore his Achilles in 2018, DeMarcus Cousins’ road to recovery has been rocky. That road forked the very next offseason, when he joined the ever-so dominant Golden State Warriors.
While fans maligned him for supposedly strengthening an already-overpowered team, Cousins wasn’t spectacular in Golden State. His presence made the other stars around him better, but he wasn’t the offensive star he used to be without the athleticism that made him a threat. While he had a few good games in the NBA Finals that year, he couldn’t get the injury-riddled Warriors over the hump. All this caused his 2K rating to take a significant hit, from the star-level 90 in NBA 2K19 to a mere 81 in 2K20.
2 Rajon Rondo – 10 Points
Rajon Rondo has had one of the strangest careers in recent NBA history. While he’s still considered to be a very good point guard, he’s had a hard time finding a long-term role on a team. That trend started when he was first traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
With his nine seasons with the Boston Celtics in mind, Mavericks fans had high expectations for Rondo, but they never panned out. He was a total headcase in Dallas, constantly clashing with coach Rick Carlisle to the point of getting next to no playing time in the playoffs. His reputation took a huge hit, and it certainly didn’t help his 2K standing, dropping 10 points from 87 in NBA 2K15 to 77 in 2K16.
1 Brandon Roy – 10 Points
Of all the “what if” career stories in NBA history, Brandon Roy’s is one of the most heartbreaking. Roy was one of the most talented young players of his time, but injuries completely ruined his trajectory before he even had a chance to improve.
The 2010-11 NBA season, just his fifth, was the beginning of the end of his career, as he only played 47 games and didn’t even start in half of them. His knees were giving out, and his performance plummetted as a result. As sad as that was, NBA 2K promptly took note of his decline, dropping his rating to a mediocre 78 in NBA 2K12 after achieving an 88 just the previous year.
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