The folks at Visual Concepts decided to film player reactions to their ratings for “NBA 2K18” and you’re not going to believe this, but not everyone agreed with the video game’s assessment of their skills.
Burgeoning Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid, in particular, entered the session with supreme confidence and left with a valuable lesson about the difference between performance and availability.
“Well, it’s kind of hard to rate me,” said the All-Rookie center, “because I felt like last year, when I was on the court, I was the best defender in the league, and then as a big man I can do everything — shoot threes, post up, handle the ball, be a playmaker — so I’ll be honest: I should be at least 95.”
Informed he earned an 86 rating, Embiid added, “What? That’s bull crap. I’m not going to curse. I just got fined, so I’m not going to curse, but 86? I’m definitely going to bump it up to 95 during the season.”
After some reflection, the 23-year-old 7-foot Cameroonian seemed to understand the thinking behind his ranking, since he’s played all of 31 games in the three years since he was drafted third overall.
My Durability rating must've not allowed my 2k rating to be at least 95!!!! Gotta work on that #TheProcess
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 18, 2017
A player’s overall rating is reportedly an amalgamation of 61 sub-categories, from mid-range shooting to boxing out and everything in between. A score of 99 in any one category means you’re the greatest of all-time in that regard. Similarly, Michael Jordan is the sole player with an overall rating of 99.
Only six players — LeBron James (97), James Harden (96), Russell Westbrook (96), Kawhi Leonard (96), Stephen Curry (95) and Russell Westbrook (95) — finished last season with a 95 rating or better. Embiid also finished this past year rated 86 in “NBA 2K17,” tied with All-Stars Draymond Green, Kemba Walker and DeAndre Jordan, so it’s not such a bad score. After all, Embiid averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists in just 25.4 minutes per game before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
If there is a swagger rating, Embiid might be worthy of the 99 in that category, because to say he’s “the best defender in the league” who “can do everything” offensively is quite the self-proclamation.
All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving (the cover athlete) and Isaiah Thomas also figured themselves for a 95 and a 96, respectively, and their 90 and 89 ratings only served as motivation for the 2017-18 season.
I mean, these all seem like extremely fair ratings, right? Generally speaking, though, most NBA players have gotten where they are by believing they’re better than they are. To his credit, Paul George had a more reasoned take among the players involved, pegging himself as a 92 or 93, when he turned out to be a 91. “That’s solid,” he said, after conceding he was a step below LeBron’s likely high-90s rating.
Same goes for All-Star Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who gave himself a 91 — just two points higher than his actual 89 rating — just because he wanted to give himself a little room to improve throughout the next year. “That’s cool,” he said. “I’ll take that. I’ve seen worse; I’ve seen better.”
Meanwhile, Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters went the other way:
— Dionwaiters3 (@dionwaiters3) July 17, 2017
The good news is that everyone can improve upon their ranking during the season. Hassan Whiteside famously sprung from an abysmal 49 to a solid 77 almost overnight — a record-breaking rating jump — after publicly calling the video game makers out during his meteoric rise to prominence in 2015.
For those wondering, San Antonio Spurs veteran reserve Joel Anthony earned the distinction of being the lowest-ranked player in “NBA 2K17” with a 64 rating. The 34-year-old remains a free agent this summer. And whoever is named NBA 2K18’s Mr. Irrelevant probably believes he’s a 95 or 96, too. It’s kind of like how I would rate myself at least a 95 for writing about 2K ratings, when really I’m like a 47.
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