Are the Nuggets’ NBA 2K16 Ratings on Point?


The newest edition of the NBA 2K series was released Tuesday, so there’s no better time than the present to examine the rankings of the Nuggets players.

2K implemented a new ranking system for this game, in which each category is ranked in comparison to the best historical player at that specific skill.

Since Dennis Rodman is rated a 99 in offensive rebounding, that means every other player’s offensive rebounding is graded in relation to Rodman. The system decreases the average ranking per player, as found by LeBron James being just a 94 and Kevin Durant sitting at 91.

At first glance, seeing every Nugget under 80 on the scale is somewhat displeasing, but a bit more excusable through this new ranking approach.

Upon further research, the Philadelphia 76ers are the only other roster that doesn’t have a player ranked 80 or above. There are seven teams that have just one player that was granted a rating of 80 or higher.

Putting the 76ers and the Nuggets in the same discussion is an insult to a young Denver team that has strong developmental promise as an organization.

A player-by-player breakdown of the game’s ratings exposes the legitimacy of the game’s rating system.  Starting from the bottom:

15. Erick Green

2K15 Rating: Was not in the game

2K16 Rating: 65

Verdict: Who cares?

Green has shown some promising sparks in summer league action but is still clearly the worst player on the Nuggets’ roster in the game. He could find himself back in the NBA D-League at some point in the season. 

14. Gary Harris

2K15 Rating: 71 

2K16 Rating: 65

Verdict: What happened?

Harris had an encouraging rookie season despite playing just 13 minutes a game. He warranted his 71 rating in ’15 and I see him as only getting better. Obviously there’s this new rating system, so I was expecting a 70 or 69.

In the games he played more than 30 minutes he averaged 12 points, shot 50% from the field and from three-point range, and missed just one free throw.

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13. Nick Johnson

2K15 Rating: 71 

2K16 Rating: 68.

Verdict: A tad low

Johnson is alright. He is athletic and seems to have strong chemistry-building qualities as a backup guard. Still, he is, at best, a role player on an average team. I was expecting a 69 or a 70 if the game was feeling generous.

12. Nikola Jokic 

2K15 Rating: Was not in the game 

2k16 Rating: 68

Verdict: About right

Jokic has a lot of potential but has no experience under his belt to prove a better rating. Maybe even a 67 would be more reasonable.

11. Joffrey Lauvergne

2K15 Rating: Was not in the game 

2K16 Rating: 69

Verdict: Correct 

The 6’11” power forward could see some time as a starter if Nurkic misses any time, which could bring his rating up to the 70s if he plays well. Otherwise, he sits just below the cusp.

10. Darrell Arthur

2K15 Rating: 69

2k16 Rating: 71

Verdict: Correct

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Arthur seems to be enjoying his time in Denver more than his time as a Nugget. The power forward slot is a competitive one on this roster, and Arthur has been rumored to take on several new hobbies while in Denver including fishing, skiing and hiking.

Regardless of his off-the-court activities, he is extremely average.

9. Jameer Nelson

2K15 Rating: 76

2k16 Rating: 72

Verdict: Highly overrated

I think Nelson is washed up. Even in his prime I wasn’t a fan. He is slow, has an inconsistent shot and doesn’t have good enough court vision to be a pass-first point guard.

Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The only way I’d understand this rating is if veteran influence was a category, but it’s not. Jameer sits closer to a 68 in my eyes. He’s bad.

8. Randy Foye

2K15 Rating: 74

2K16 Rating: 72

Verdict: Good enough for me

Foye has big-play potential. That isn’t an attribute category in 2K, but three-point shooting is.

In comparison to other bench shooters Foye is appropriately ranked, but could see an improved rating depending on his output, especially if he begins to start games.

I think Foye makes sense as a 72, but here are some players who don’t deserve the 72 they received:

Charlie Villanueva

Jason Smith

Jon Leuer

7. Will Barton 

2K15 Rating: 70 

2k16 Rating: 73

Verdict: On point, could be higher

Barton is a streaky scorer with natural athletic ability. His only true weakness other than experience is his lack of strength, but with his quick release and dependable mid-range shot extending to include 3-point range, his strength shouldn’t hinder his rating astronomically.

Barton will compete with Foye to be the leading scorer off the bench, although there have been discussions of Wilson Chandler at sixth man, which would move Foye (or Barton) to the starting lineup.

At the end of this season he will be more deserving of about a 75 rating, especially since his game style theoretically meshes well with coach Malone’s offensive strategy.

6. JJ Hickson:

2K15 Rating: 77

2K16 Rating: 73

Verdict: Disappointing, but reasonable

A 73 isn’t very good for any player, but especially for the No. 6 guy on a squad. Looking across the league, 27 of the other 29 teams highest-ranked bench players are above a 73.

Hickson’s effect on the game isn’t one that can be transmitted through a video game ranking. He instead poses as an energy player (86 hustle rating is the most relatable stat here) whose effort and drive makes him a valuable asset for Denver.

5. Jusuf Nurkic

2K15 Rating: 69 

2K16 Rating: 74

Outlook: Generous, but correct

Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

I wasn’t expecting the game to reward Nurkic with this high of a rating. Nurkic has the biggest increase in rating between 2K15 and 2K16 in comparison to his Nugget teammates.

He is young and quickly evolving into a well-rounded big man. Faried is a perfect complementary frontcourt player to promote his continued development. He is familiar with how to use his size and strength to his advantage with positioning (as shown by an 87 strength rating), which is becoming less and less common among big men in today’s basketball age.

Notable 74s who are terrible:

Cory Joseph

John Henson

Patty Mills

CJ Watson

4. Emmanuel Mudiay 

2K15 Rating: Was not in the game 

2k16 Rating: 75.

Outlook: On point

Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Mudiay’s 75 ranking slots him as the fourth- highest rated rookie behind Karl-Anthony Towns (78), Jahlil Okafor (77), and D’Angelo Russell (77).

Despite Russell’s possibly-too-high rating, Mudiay still should rank about fourth among his fellow rooks. He has the raw ability to prove this rating wrong within the first month of the season, but I consider it a safe bet as to how he will perform due to his naivete and young age. His remarkable talent separates him from his remaining rookie competitors.

I consider the race for Rookie of the Year between him and Okafor over in Philly.

Other PGs ranked same/higher than Mudiay who shouldn’t be:

George Hill: 78

Mo Williams: 76

Rodney Stuckey: 76

Beno Udrih: 75

3. Danilo Gallinari 

2K15 Rating: 77

2k16 Rating: 76

Outlook: Too low

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

I think Gallinari is good. Like really good. A lot of people are skeptical about certain facets of his game, specifically his defense, but to me he is developing into a strong weapon in the NBA.

He is known for his lethal shooting ability, which realistically makes up 95 percent of his rating. It could be a personal bias, but I respect Gallinari to the point where a 78 or 79 wouldn’t surprise me.

His defensive effort is often dependent on how good his team is (he had several ridiculous blocks and defensive shutdowns in the EuroBasket tournament for Italy this summer). If it wasn’t for his inconsistent effort on the defensive end, I think Gallo would be one of the 60 or so players in the game with a rating of 80 or above (in comparison to over 80 in 2K15).

Players ranked the same as Gallo who made me laugh:

Tyler Zeller

Ed Davis

Alec Burks

Chris Kaman

Brandon Wright

2. Wilson Chandler 

2K15 Rating: 78

2K16 Rating: 77

Outlook: Just about right

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson Chandler is debatably the strongest two-way player on Denver’s roster. His persistent defensive style (when trying) combined with his shooting stroke and scoring ability warrants him the second highest rating on the Nuggets’ squad.

A 77 isn’t an incredibly strong rating on the 1-to-99 scale for his ability, but seeing as he is the 14th-highest ranked SF in the game, it isn’t all that preposterous. Looking at his breakdown by category, altering his rating to anything higher than a 78 wouldn’t make too much sense.

Other 77s that make Chandler’s rating confusing:

Nikola Pekovic

David West

Rajon Rondo

Jared Sullinger

1. Kenneth Faried

2K15 Rating: 81 

2K16 Rating: 79

Outlook: Too low

Sep 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) speaks to reporters during the media day at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Faried should be the lone Nuggets player ranked above 80. His athletic tenacity grants him the nickname “Manimal” and should not be wasted on a measly 79.

I understand that there is a new rating system, but he has improved since the previous season, and according to recent comments by Kenneth himself, his game has expanded to include a small amount of jump-shooting. A proper rating would put him in the 81-82 range.

Here are some similarly ranked players who don’t make sense comparatively:

Enes Kanter: 80

Tobias Harris: 79

Hassan Whiteside: 81

Derrick Favors: 82

Karl-Anthony Towns: 78