NBA Playoff Teams Ranked By NBA 2K21 Player Stats | Sportal

Summertime means hotter weather, longer days, and of course, the NBA playoffs. The playoffs are slowly returning to form with more and more arenas easing back attendance restrictions, inviting the high-intensity atmosphere that was absent last year in the bubble.

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The first round of the NBA playoffs officially wrapped up with the Los Angeles Clippers outlasting the Dallas Mavericks in seven games. The Clippers join the Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, and Philadelphia 76ers as the remaining teams heading into the conference semi-finals.

Although the Jazz and 76ers are the top-seeded teams in their respective conferences, neither team has extremely high-rated players based on NBA 2K21. So, how exactly do these teams stack up against each other through the lens of 2K?

8 Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young shooting

A bright young team in the association, the Atlanta Hawks are quickly turning into the darlings of the postseason. After ousting the surprising New York Knicks in the first round, the Hawks face a daunting challenge against the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.

Led by point guard Trae Young (87), center Clint Capela (86), and power forward John Collins (85) Atlanta hopes to continue its Cinderella story.

  • Young, at only 21-years-old, has rapidly evolved into one of the best shooters in the NBA. He’s labeled as an Offensive Talent with high offensive marks: inside (A+), mid-range (A-), and 3-point shooting (A-).
  • Capela is one of two players remaining with a perfect rebounding rating (A+) and has incredible interior defense (A-).
  • Collins, only 22-years-old, is a 3-level scorer with slightly better offensive ratings than Young: inside (A+), mid-range (A), and 3-point shooting (A-).

7 Utah Jazz

Rudy Gobert setting screen for Donovan Mitchell

Holders of the top-seed in the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz hope to finally cash in on that elusive championship. Utah hasn’t made the NBA Finals since losing back-to-back championship series’ to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in 1997 and 1998.

Behind the defensive juggernaut Rudy Gobert (88) and high-scoring Donovan Mitchell (88), the Jazz are set up to get back to the Finals after 23 years.

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  • Since being drafted in 2017, Mitchell has established himself as the top offensive option in Utah. Throughout this season, Mitchell’s been compared to future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade because of his all-around scoring ability. Mitchell can finish at the rim (A+) and knockdown both mid-range (A-) and 3-point (A-) shots.
  • In Gobert’s case, however, scoring isn’t his forte. While the 28-year-old center possesses incredible interior defense (A+), Gobert underwhelms with his inside offensive game (B+) and mid-range jump shot (C-).

6 Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic dunking

One season removed from the Western Conference Finals, the Denver Nuggets once again finished as a top-three team this year. Led by MVP-finalist Nikola Jokic (96), the Nuggets took care of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, and now, face off against the upstart Phoenix Suns.

Additionally, though initially projected as a top lottery pick, Michael Porter Jr. (85) slid down draft boards due to a back injury until the Nuggets selected him with the fourteenth pick. Luckily for Denver, Porter Jr. checks all the offensive boxes.

  • Jokic, the 25-year-old center, is a 3-level playmaker, making him extremely dangerous on offense anywhere on the court. Jokic can score efficiently inside (A+), mid-range (A+), and even from 3-point land (A).
  • Porter Jr. has A ratings across the offensive board, and the 22-year-old small forward can score from anywhere on the court. However, he struggles defensively in both interior (C-) and perimeter (C-), but still maintains a high potential rating (A).

5 Los Angeles Clippers

Kawhi Leonard dribbling

Unlike their inter-city rival, the Los Angeles Clippers haven’t had much playoff success. In the team’s 51-year history, the Clippers have never advanced to the Western Conference Finals.

Led by two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard (96) and seven-time All-Star Paul George, the Clippers look to upset the top-seeded Utah Jazz.

  • Leonard is one of the best players on the planet as a lockdown perimeter (A+) and interior (B+) defender and as an offensive maestro, scoring with ease from inside (A+), mid-range (A+), and from downtown (A-).
  • George is an exceptional perimeter defender (A+) in his right and also possesses similar offensive prowess to Leonard.

4 Phoenix Suns

Chris Paul layup

One of the biggest storylines of the regular season has been the resurgence of the Phoenix Suns. The Suns built off their impeccable 8-0 bubble run last year by adding the services of future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul (89). The Point God has delivered as advertised for the Suns this season, as the team secured its first playoff berth since 2010 and knocked off LeBron James and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

Joining Paul is young stars Devin Booker (89) and Deandre Ayton (85), who both performed extremely well in their playoff debuts. Paul, Book, and Ayton all have a perfect potential rating (A+), making the Suns one of two teams with three such players (Brooklyn Nets).

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  • Labeled as an All-Around 2-way player, Paul thrives offensively from mid-range (A+) and is an exceptional perimeter defender (A+).
  • 2K21 lists Book as a scoring machine with perfect ratings in his mid-range (A+) and inside (A+) scoring game.
  • Anchoring the interior defense (B+) and cleaning up offensively under the basket (A+), Ayton’s demonstrated why Phoenix selected him first overall in the 2018 NBA draft.

3 Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid dunking

For Philly fans, trusting the process has led to this moment. The 76ers finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference for the first time since the 2000-01 season, which ended in a Finals loss to the Lakers.

Philadelphia hopes for a different Finals outcome behind MVP-finalist Joel Embiid (96). While Embiid operates in the frontcourt, Ben Simmons (86) takes command in the backcourt. When healthy, Embiid dominates on both ends of the court.

  • Embiid’s rim-protecting defense (A+) might earn the big mane defensive player of the year honors, while his offensive skillset of scoring from inside (A+), mid-range (A+), and 3-point (A-) could make an MVP case.
  • Simmons, the 23-year-old point guard, has a unique skill set where he can score easily from under the basket (A+), but can’t shoot to save his life from mid-range (D-) or beyond the arc (D+). Simmons makes up for his lack of scoring ability by setting him players (A-) who do excel in that department, like Tobias Harris (87).
  • Harris has high ratings scoring inside (A+), mid-range (A+), and 3-point shooting (A).

2 Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo dunking

Aside from winning the whole thing, the Milwaukee Bucks have experienced tremendous success the past few seasons.

Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (96) won back-to-back MVP awards heading into this season, Khris Middleton (85) was named an All-Star back-to-back season, and the team upgraded the point guard position by acquiring Jrue Holiday (86). Holiday and Middleton complement Antetokounmpo both offensively and defensively in the point guard and small forward positions.

  • Antetokounmpo carves opposing defenses with his interior offensive game (A+) and playmaking (A) abilities. He’s also a fantastic defender in both the interior (A) and on the perimeter (A+).
  •  Holiday has above-average playmaking (B+) and can shoot the ball well all around the court (A-).
  • Similar to Holiday, Middleton can put the ball in the net from virtually anywhere and defends well on the perimeter (A-).

1 Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant cropped

The only team that has more than one 90 rated player, the Brooklyn Nets are downright scary with three 90+ players. The trio of Kevin Durant (96), James Harden (95), and Kyrie Irving (91) might be the best group of offensive players ever assembled on a team. Each of the players is labeled as Offensive Threats 2K21. The Nets also join the Suns as the other remaining teams with three players with A+ potential ratings.

While the famous saying is “defense wins championships,” the Brooklyn Nets follow a slightly different mantra: the best defense is a good offense.

  • Although Durant is coming off an Achilles injury, the 31-year-old has not missed a beat. Durant is the only player with a perfect A+ rating in all three offensive categories. Even though Harden and Irving can also shoot lights out, the two operate more as ballhandlers creating offense for others (A+).
  • While Durant excels on perimeter defense (A-), the same can’t be said for the two guards. Harden (C+) and Irving (B-) barely scrape by when it comes to guarding their man, but ultimately, their explosiveness on offense vastly makes up for any defensive deficiencies.

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