The planet’s most popular basketball video game is back for the new season. How did the Cleveland Cavaliers’ players rate out in NBA 2K19?
It’s here. It’s finally, finally here. We are knocking on the door of the 2018-19 NBA regular season, the six-month marathon that winds until spring.
You may already be well into your own Cleveland Cavaliers season on NBA 2K19, demolishing the CPU or getting obliterated online by a trash-talking 10-year-old who has way too much time on his hands. Or maybe that’s just me? Can anyone explain what a “noob” is?
That is too be expected with a roster full of middle-ground athletes, many of whom are trying to establish themselves in the league. Let’s shake down these rankings and see where everyone falls.
Cleveland’s roster is mired in mediocrity. A majority of its players are ranked in the mid 70s, borderline replacement-level pieces. It’s important to note that Cleveland is young with guys oozing with potential. With the right seasoning, a couple of these players could be ranked in the 80s come NBA 2K20.
Kevin Love’s 86 ranking is the second-highest in his career, falling just short of his 89 number in 2013 when he competed in Minneapolis. Following his second straight All-Star appearance, that seems about right, as he is even with divisional power forward Blake Griffin.
The unproven Nance and Hood are about right at 77 and 75, respectively. Hood’s would have probably been higher had he performed better during his stint with the Cavaliers last season. Cedi Osman’s strong stretches last year led to a respectable 75 rating. J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver both are probably on their careers’ last legs, so 75 is about right.
Relative to his rookie counterparts, Collin Sexton is underrated. After Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Luka Doncic, scouts felt there was little difference between the five next prospects. Sexton was the final of those five to be selected with eighth pick by Cleveland.
Sexton is also the lowest-ranked player out of those five in 2K. Jaren Jackson Jr. is ranked 78, while Trae Young, Mohamed Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. are all 77. The talent difference between the latter three is small enough to wear they should share the same ranking as the Cavaliers point guard. So by just a tad, Sexton is underrated.
Jordan Clarkson’s ranking jumps off the screen. The athletic guard is fresh off a miserable 28 games with Cleveland, averaging a near career-low 12.6 points per game and career lows in rebounds (2.1) and assists (1.7) per game. If anything, that 78 seems too generous.
Look who he is tied with, however, and the story is different. His score is the same as the following point guards: Sacremento Kings stud De’Aaron Fox, a potential candidate for Most Improved Player in Kris Dunn, and the ever popular Jeremy Lin. Each of those three seem more valuable than Clarkson.
But lest we forget, Clarkson posted a respectable 3.0 total win shares last season. Fox posted -0.6 and Dunn a measly. 0.8. And Lin is coming off a season in which he played in only one game. Relative to his point guard peers, Clarkson actually seems a smidgeon underrated.
Ante Zizic has played only 32 games in his NBA career. Yet, the 22-year-old sits with a 73 ranking. By comparison, veteran and serviceable player Gorgui Dieng only has a 75 ranking. Last year, Zizic spent more time in the G League than the NBA.
He performs well in this highlight clip, looking comically large compared to his G League opponents. He towers over them, at times unendurable at that level.
Zizic has potential, but right now he hardly deserves a ranking above 70. He just hasn’t played enough, nor does he merit the ranking on reputation alone.