Re-ranking NBA 2k23 ratings—Top 10 at each position
Credit: NBA 2k23
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (99)
2. Kevin Durant, Nets (98)
3. Kawhi Leonard, Clippers (95)
4. LeBron James, Lakers (94)
5. Jimmy Butler, Heat (91)
6. Jayson Tatum, Celtics (91)
7. Anthony Davis, Lakers (90)
8. Paul George, Clippers (88)
9. Zach LaVine, Bulls (88)
10. Zion Williamson, Pelicans (87)
The top 10 forwards have received the most debate thus far, most notably from the #2 ranked forward himself Kevin Durant. Durant did not shy away from voicing his opinion as to why he deserves a 99 overall when he tweeted directly at one of the head developers of 2k stating, “Aye @Ronnie2K I’m gonna need an explanation on why I’m not a 99? This has become laughable.”
Durant earned a 96 overall almost certainly as a direct result of his poor performance in the playoffs. In the first round, Durant no-showed against the Boston Celtics as he and the Brooklyn Nets went on to lose four straight games and were swept by Tatum and company. Although Durant left a lot to be desired as he and the Nets chanted “1, 2, 3 Cancun!” before any other team, 2k ratings are based on what the players’ overalls should be heading into next season and Durant’s Nets have great odds to go far this year, so I have him at a 98 overall.
Being the 7-foot monster that he is, Durant is not the highest overall player in NBA 2k23—that title belongs to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Just two years ago, “The Greek Freak” went into Durant’s house and beat him in a Game 7 of the 2021 NBA playoffs—the same season he and the Bucks took home the NBA title.
Giannis is a force of nature at the top of his game and currently sits atop the mountain on a level of his own. If anyone deserves a 99 overall, it is Antetokounmpo, who would have likely won the NBA championship last season and repeated as Finals MVP had his co-star Khris Middleton not been inured in the Boston series.
Lastly, there remains one final tweak to the forwards’ list that must be done: LeBron James deserves no higher than a 94 overall. It is blasphemous that 2k would even consider putting James in the same category as Kevin Durant at this stage in his career. In the words of the infamous Skip Bayless, this rating is asinine, asi-ten, and asi-fifteen. It’s clear the 2k developers are afraid to criticize James, and I’m not suggesting they should vilify the man, as he is one of the greatest to ever dribble a basketball, but they should be ashamed for how utterly ridiculous this makes them look.
1. Stephen Curry, Warriors (97)
2. Luka Doncic, Mavericks (96)
3. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (93)
4. Devin Booker, Suns (91)
5. Kyrie Irving, Nets (91)
6. Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers (91)
7. DeMar DeRozan, Bulls (89)
8. Bradley Beal, Wizards (89)
9. Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers (88)
10. Trae Young, Hawks (87)
For the first time in years, NBA 2k has finally earned some respect with their ratings this year in 2k23 and for the most part, I agree with their rankings of the top 10 guards. However, it would not be a new 2k game if the developers got everything right, as we begin to disagree regarding each individual player’s overall.
Firstly, the 2k developers significantly overreacted to Kyrie Irving’s off-the-court issues last season as his performance on the court reflected nothing of an 89 overall. 2k also ranked Damian Lillard an 89 overall, a 5-overall drop from his 94 in 2k22. This came to the surprise of many fans, considering the all-star point guard missed the entire 2021-2022 season. In my opinion, both Lillard and Irving deserve 91 overalls, as the only concern for the two all-star guards will be health.
Credit: sports illustrated
Additionally, after an impressive playoff run, Stephen Curry earned himself at least a 97 overall. This past postseason, Curry arguably had the best playoff run of his career in which he averaged 27.4 ppg, 5.9 apg, and 5.2 rpg through 22 games on his way to winning NBA Finals MVP. Furthermore, considering NBA 2k gave him a 99 overall three-point rating this year, it is quite baffling he is only a 96.
Likewise, Luka Doncic, often referred to as the Slovenian Larry Bird, shocked the world last season when he upset the defending Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns and earned his spot as the best player under 25 years old in the entire league. While 2k ranks Doncic a 95 overall, he deserves a 96 after such a dominant playoff performance against the Suns in the Conference Semi-Finals and the Warriors in the Conference Finals.
2k did not rank anyone above a 97 overall this year, be it guards, forwards, or centers—something I wholeheartedly disagree with. In fact, only one player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, earned a 97 overall.
1. Joel Embiid, 76ers (97)
2. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (97)
3. Bam Adebayo, Heat (90)
4. Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves (89)
5. Deandre Ayton, Suns (89)
6. Rudy Gobert, Timberwolves (88)
7. Jarrett Allen, Cavaliers (87)
8. Nikola Vucevic, Bulls (85)
9. Myles Turner, Pacers (85)
10. Robert Williams II, Celtics (84)
Finally, for the 10 best centers in the NBA, it seems there are two clearcut, All-NBA centers who are lightyears ahead of the rest of the pack. Those two guys are Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic—Jokic being the reigning back-to-back regular season MVP and Embiid the runner-up in each of the last two seasons.
2k ranks both Embiid and Jokic at a 96 overall but adjusting that to a 97 overall would be more fitting as I feel both centers are slightly better than Doncic, who I have at a 96, and Kawhi Leonard (95). Despite Jokic’s two MVP’s and Embiid’s game-wrecking ability, neither center is quite on the level of Kevin Durant (98) or Giannis Antetokounmpo (99) just yet.
Two centers that deserve higher ratings, however, are Bam Adebayo and Deandre Ayton. Despite making the all-defensive team each of the last three seasons and playing a significant role in the Miami Heat’s 2020 playoff run that ended in a Finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in “the bubble,” Adebayo is only ranked an 87 overall this year. I believe Adebayo has improved his game every year and will play, consistently, like a 90 overall throughout next season and deep into the playoffs.
Ayton is also severely underrated and currently ranks at an 84 overall, which, to me, is 5 whole overalls too low. The Phoenix Suns would not be who they are today with Ayton and certainly would not have made it to the NBA Finals two years ago without him. This offseason, Ayton was in trade talks and it appeared he and the Suns had planned to part ways. However, once the Suns came to their senses and understood they would not be the same team without him, the front office made the executive decision to “pay the man his money.” Ayton and the Suns will be a contender this year as one of the premier threats in the West.