Mid-August. That beautiful time of the year when there’s so little going on in the basketball world that some of the most provocative content is when video game series NBA 2K releases player ratings and renderings.
As an avid 2K player myself, I thought it would be fun to speculate about what the Knicks might be rated in this season’s NBA 2K18. And I’m joined by none other than Stingy himself, Jonathan Schulman, to do just that!
So the first, most obvious Knick has actually already had his rating revealed—Kristaps Porzingis will start the year as an 86 overall:
Not bad! It also looks like they fixed his hair, proving that Christmas miracles do really exist:
With Christmas upon us, let's imagine Santa appeared and said, "Kristaps, my boy, you can have one gift for Christmas — anything in the world." What would you ask for?
A championship ring.
And if Santa said, "Sorry, dude, I don't do miracles?”
[Laughs] Then I'd ask Santa to change my hair on NBA 2K. It's pretty ugly. I understand I don't have the greatest hair, but on 2K it looks terrible. Santa, please make them fix it.
I have no way of proving this, because I didn’t write it down anywhere on the internet, but I had KP pegged for an 86 after Joel Embiid’s identical rating came out. Therein lies the purpose of this column — if I’m right be sure to remember me as your NBA 2K messiah. If I’m wrong, forget that this ever happened. Deal? Deal.
Let’s get to rating some players. Part one is the big guys (in size and not necessarily gravitas):
Last year’s final rating: 84
I think, in an effort to signal a passing of the torch, 2K is going to set Melo and KP as equals to begin the season and then shoot KP up and Melo down. That is, if Melo remains a Knick. If he goes to a contender and starts killing it, he could get as high as an 88 this year, with potential for a 96 overall Ruby (like the Rockets, get it?) MyTeam Moments card when he drops 60 points on 75 percent shooting one game. I think his advanced age and low defensive ceiling will keep him from ever sniffing a 90 overall again, though.
Stingy’s take: 88
Well let’s be honest here, Kristaps is probably a better player but Carmelo is still the final boss. In video games, the final boss might not always be the toughest out. But it’s hard to envision the game making any sense without the big boss being the top dog. Don’t you think? So Melo gets top billing. Not to mention if he gets traded to Houston that will drive up his abilities and he might even finish the season at 90. Catch and Shoot Hall of Fame face ass.
Last year: 75
Prediction: Inexplicably, still a 75
Look at Joakim Noah’s 2K ratings from last year:
Just like in real life, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player as garbagio as Noah is on offense. Literally every shot type is an F! And yet somehow he gets a 75 rating. I don’t get it. His 2K rating was basically like the dumb football player in high school that got handed good grades so he could go D-I — Fs across the board, yet somehow this dude gets a C. Noah will remain inexplicably high-rated and able to be traded for quality players for yet another year. (I’m actually really going to miss Derrick Rose for that in 2K18 — he was such a good trade chip last year.)
Stingy’s take: 56
Don’t @ me. Canyon Barry is a 58. Keep it to yourself. I thought about giving him a 13 but I didn’t want to create some sort of double negative that made him shoot up to a 64 where he belongs. Stop trying to think. 56 it is.
Last year: 77
Willy’s rating jumped up an astounding eight points over the course of last year, starting the season as a lowly 69 (NOICE). Clearly this dude’s got the goods, and I think the folks at 2K will realize that as well. I see Willy sporting an A rating in rebounding, and something like a B in inside scoring. Those will be his two best traits, along with above-average passing for a big. His “potential” rating will probably be in the C+/B- range, which is fair and should cap his ceiling at around an 83-85 rating with development. But that seems about right for Willy. Honestly, my biggest hope for him this year is that they ditch the “Generic Hispanic Guy 3” face model and give this beautiful man a real face scan. Much like Kristaps’ hair, Willy’s face deserves better!
Stingy’s take: 74
I think Willy’s actual number will be higher than last year but he is the absolute spirit of a 74. Just on the outside of a passable starter’s number. I wish it was an 84 and he was reliably knocking down 20-footers and post-spin technician’ing his way into the heaviest under-basket two-hand rim pulls. But this guy has no brakes and no lift and we all know we’re just dropping him behind Kristaps on the depth chart when we’re calling the shots. He’s a backup big that can do some funny little flippers and slippers for the right 2K slow poker.
Last year: 76
KOQ is who we think he is. And he is who 2K thinks he is as well. An above-average rebounder, decent defender and haver of a mid-range game. He’s your typical average backup center on an average backup center contract with a well-above-average beard. KOQ, just like in 2K17, will probably be that little Splenda packet that you dangle as a sweetener to get that deal done for Eric Bledsoe (or whoever the “attainable” All Star-level guys are this year).
Last year: 73
Kuz will fall back one point. I don’t know why, but he will. Similar to Willy, I hope he stops by the 2K face capture studio as well so he can stop looking like an albino night elf warrior in Skyrim with the head size at max and all the other facial sliders turned down as tiny as possible.
Last year: 76
More status quo here, but the 76 feels juuuuuust right for Supercool. Staying with 2K tradition, Beas will be the de facto starter after Melo gets traded, and a starting lineup of Sessions/THJ/Beasley/KP/Willy will be good enough to win about 40 games and sneak into the playoffs if you auto-sim. As usual, you gotta earn those Ls if you want a good draft pick, buddy.
Stingy’s take: 74
The Beasles is about ¾ of the best player possible. I feel like that says it all.
Last year: 70
Lance gets absolutely no love from 2K. I want to say he got to maybe a 74 or 75 in NBA 2K16, and that’s been his high-water mark. Things won’t change much this year. Being a defensive specialist with no other standout skills doesn’t get you far in video games, apparently. Unless you’re Joakim Noah.
Last year: N/A
Prediction: 69 (NICE)
Big Luke’s going to become a modern-day Steve Novak—he’ll have a dyn-o-mite 3-point rating for a big man, and that’s about it. He’ll be super fun to have poop in the corner, and if you master him like Novak he could average 15 points per with just five minutes of run per game.
That’s it for today’s edition. Come back tomorrow for the guards, starring Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Damyean Dotson!
In the meantime, argue nicely in the comments about video games.