With the release of basketball gaming king NBA 2K15 less than a month away, we project the ratings for the game’s top-20 players. Note that these rankings were gleaned from considering the final player ratings of 2K14 and simple player analysis, factoring in progression and regression. No exclusive knowledge nor personal bias was used in compiling them, either. Our projected rating follows the player’s name, with the difference between his final rating in last year’s game and our projection noted in parentheses.
Without further ado, these are Dime’s projected top-20 players for NBA 2K15:
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20. Dwyane Wade: 85 (-4)
- Lost on most given Wade’s underwhelming NBA Finals performance is that he was highly, highly effective in 2013-2014 – when he was actually on the court. The 32 year-old’s role will drastically change for the Miami Heat this season, as he’ll be afforded more respect by the defense and likely won’t have the luxury of rest due to nagging aches. If the Heat are to rebound from a disastrous offseason and make noise in the Eastern Conference, they’ll need Wade to perform like a star night-in and night-out. Given that reality, his performance last season, and another season of wear and tear, this ranking seems appropriate.
19. Damian Lillard: 85 (0)
- Lillard checks in as our sixth-ranked point guard, but we’re confident his clutch rating will bely even that exalted standing. No player in the league was better or more efficient down the stretch than the Oakland native last season, a fact driven home by an iconic shot you may remember:
(Video via Shady00018)
- But 2014-2015 offers new challenges for Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. They’re the hunted now, and will meet a different challenge on a nightly basis as a result. If Lillard’s meteoric rise from Weber State star to Portland legend is any indication, though, he and his teammates will be more than ready to overcome it.
18. John Wall: 85 (+1)
- Wall made the necessary leap to All-Star in 2013-2014 that justified the oft-questioned max-level contract he signed before last season. Not unlike Lillard, though, Wall is due for a new kind of scrutiny now that he and his teammates have established the Washington Wizards as Eastern Conference contenders. The strides Wall made as a shooter vanished in the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers, a humbling development that spoke to just how far he has to go to reach his immense, two-way potential. Considering he’s already an elite player, that’s a far bigger compliment than insult.
17. Derrick Rose: 86 (-3)
- Only one player’s rating was more difficult to project than the 2011 MVP’s. After glowing training camp reports that forecasted a return to his superstar form in 2014-2015, Rose has mostly struggled for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup. But that doesn’t necessarily suggest his labors will carry over to the NBA season – Rose was bound for a major adjustment after almost two years away from competitive basketball. So that he began that re-acclimation with the national team as opposed to the Chicago Bulls is actually a boon for Tom Thibodeau and company, as Rose will be more comfortable once the season finally kicks off in late October. By spring, then, don’t be surprised if his 2K rating is several points higher.