Thursday marked the annual release date for the NBA2K end of year ratings. These ratings have traditionally represented a wide swath of unwitting Raptors ridicule and reductive-ness. The braintrust at 2K Sports didn’t seem to always know what they were doing.
Alarmingly, this time around the geniuses at 2K actually managed to toss out some pretty favourable ratings for the Raptors. Case in point: Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry measured in at an 88 and 87, respectively. Pascal’s 88 puts him in a tie with the likes of Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and others who, inarguably, are worse players than him (hi, Trae Young). Credit where credit is due for Pascal’s rating though, as it seems the decision makers at Visual Concepts didn’t factor in Pascal’s dreadful late-Bubble play too heavily into their decision.
Lowry’s 87 rating matches him up with Rudy Gobert, Jamaal Murray, Ben Simmons and Kristaps Porzingis while placing him ahead of Bam Adebayo, Khris Middelton, Kemba Walker, best friend DeMar DeRozan and noted sweaty-man and critical 2K-darling, Zion Williamson.
As mentioned in Pascal’s rating, 2K believes that Trae Young is a better basketball player than Kyle, which looks to satisfy the requirement of providing one glaring wrong-doing directed at Raptors fans. Setting that kind of comparison aside, it appears that the ratings team got this pretty right — making up for the career-length undervaluing that Lowry has endured.
Another notable surprise here is Fred VanVleet who is, remarkably, rated an 85! Toronto fans know well of Fred’s breakout year but VanVleet is a prototypical undervalued 2K player. He’s small in stature, plays for the Raptors, and isn’t a nightly feature in highlight packages. An 85 rating is almost always reserved for “bigger-name” players and it is truly delightful to see Steady Freddy getting the shine he deserves.
Those three ratings alone contribute to the potential signal that another image shift might finally be occurring for the Raptors. Toronto garnered a lot of praise after winning their championship last year and it seems as if the organizational lustre is here to stay — even in the digital realm. Below is how the rest of the roster rounded out.
Serge Ibaka - 80
OG Anunoby - 79
Norman Powell - 77
Marc Gasol - 77
Chris Boucher - 77
Terence Davis - 76
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - 76
Matt Thomas - 74
Patrick McCaw - 73
Stanley Johnson - 71
Malcolm Miller - 69
Dewan Hernandez - 68
Oshae Brissett - 67
Paul Watson - 67
If you were to scan your eyes over that list, would there be a single name that stands out as a bit of a shock? Could it be Chris Boucher who is rated exactly the same as Norm and Gasol? A 77 rating for Chris Boucher actually feels pretty good, though potentially one or two points too high. The true travesties here lie with Powell and Gasol’s ratings as both of those guys were indisputably better and more valuable this year than Boucher. While Gasol at a 77 definitely feels a bit low, his age and Bubble decline was a likely heavy influence on that decision. Powell and OG on the other hand should both be 2-3 points higher in rating as they currently stand tied with Eric Paschall and Bobby Portis respectively. Yikes.
Ultimately, these ratings serve as a jumping off point for Twitter users to bicker and for actual NBA players to justify slights against them so as to improve. Here’s hoping Norm and OG get the memo.