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Bricktown bears a mixed bag: Initial reaction to Thunder 2k ratings

The NBA offseason is winding down. News to the tune of draft additions, free-agent pickups, and coaching additions are the news of the past. In the forefront, training camps, preseason play, and the opening of the regular season are at the forefront of most fans’ minds. As for an indicator of the league flipping the page, the established “NBA2k” franchise is back with their newest rendition of virtual basketball, and thus — Oklahoma City is back with some new faces and some new player ratings.

With the new annual release, NBA2k’s rating system grades all players on a 25-99 scale in a plethora of attributes scaling from three-point shooting to intangibles. In addition to NBA2k’s attribute ratings, additional upgrades can be uncovered in crypts of player tendencies, or the odds of a player enacting said move, and badges, an upgrade that further improves the ability to convert on particular skill sets.

To tee off Oklahoma City’s roster, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander headlines the roster at an 86 overall. A two-overall upgrade from last season, Gilgeous-Alexander clocks in tied for seventh overall among primary point guards, locked with former Thunder guard Russell Westbrook as an 86. Gilgeous-Alexander’s player breakdown ranks him first on the roster with an 83 three-point shot, a 92 layup, and a 90 ball handling to couple an 88 passing accuracy. Gilgeous-Alexander racks in 30 total badges led by “tear dropper”, or being able to convert on floaters, and 14 playmaking badges heavily reliant on driving-and-dishing.

Oklahoma City’s second-best player comes from third-year guard Lu Dort. Dort hits the joysticks as the fifth-best Canadian player at a 78 overall (Gilgeous-Alexander ranks first), while also being the Thunder’s presumptive leader on the defensive end. Dort tallies a team-high 12 defensive badges to supplement six other add-ons to solidify himself as one of the Thunder’s bigger building blocks. Dort’s resume posts him at an 83 in perimeter defense, a 86 in lateral quickness, and an 82 in help defensive IQ, but the Montreal native gets shorted with a 51 block, 52 interior defense, and a cumulative 59 rating on inside scoring. In comparison to last year, the 2k developers did a much better job in encompassing Dort’s game as a whole, but the 78 rating can be considered a short change. This sentiment holds especially true when you look at former Thunder center Moses Brown, who currently sits at a 77 overall for the Dallas Mavericks.

Veering a tad off of descending order, the Thunder’s pair of 30-year-olds in Derrick Favors and Mike Muscala rank at 77 overall and 74 overall respectfully. Favors snags the third-best rating on the roster as the 2010 draft alum’s steady name-value bolsters his value. Favors’ evaluation hands him eight badges allotted across interior scoring and interior defense while clinging to an 89 close shot, 85 strength, and an impressive rebounding combo of a 90 on offense and an 83 on defense.

Treading back to the set order, a wave of Oklahoma City’s youth plasters the page. First-round pick Josh Giddey binds together the 75-overall trio including Darius Bazley and Ty Jerome. Giddey ranks in a two-way tie for fifth among Aussies while also being tied for sixth-best among rookies. Giddey has a multi-versed palate that hands him a 73 three-ball, a 76 speed and acceleration, and an 83 in both ball-handling and passing accuracy. In comparison to other rookies, Giddey received a fairly decorated array of skills, however, he lacks tendencies. Though it is likely a bug, Giddey had a 0 shot tendency from distance essentially meaning if you aren’t controlling him, he’ll shy away from the three. Darius Bazley takes his share as a 75 with a 72 three and an 80 driving dunk, but the third-year forward got short-changed with almost no playmaking ability to the tune of a 69 ball handle, and a 70 pass accuracy. Ty Jerome comes in with a far more palatable skillset as the second-best three-point shooter at an 82, and the second-best ball handling at 86.

Oklahoma City’s hoard of 74-overall’s calls for a sextet stirred off by sophomores Aleksej Pokusevski and Theo Maledon. Aleksej Pokusevski received a fair assessment with a 70 three-ball and a 70 in both driving and standing dunks, but the 19-year-old got slighted with a 60 speed, 59 passing accuracy, and a 62 post control. The 2k developers are not at fault for Poku’s intriguing ratings as he posted a flaky, inefficient first-year, but his flashes of post-flip-shots and wacky passes were phased out in the ratings. On the bright side, he’s 7-feet tall. In regards to Theo Maledon, the Frenchman carries a steady shot with a 78 mid-range and 77 three while also being a pick-and-roll aficionado wielding an 83 ball handling and 84 passing accuracy. Maledon’s badge setup reflects his game, to the tee, garnering badges in “tear dropper” and “slithery finisher” to supplement his runners and floaters.

Outside of the aforementioned Mike Muscala, Isaiah Roby, Gabriel Deck, and Kenrich Williams also take a share as a 74 overall. Isaiah Roby carries an adequate offensive game with a 69 three, and a 75 rating in layups, driving dunks and standing dunks. Roby’s passing ability is heavily underlooked in the game at a paltry 48, and his multi-positional tag on defense is hindered with both interior and perimeter defense in the low 60’s. Despite shooting a lowly 13.3 percent from distance in his rookie campaign, Gabriel Deck ranked in the upper-crust of Thunder members from three at a 77 to mix with a 74 passing accuracy. It’s hard to gauge Deck’s full abilities based on his 10-game sample size in the league, though his rudimentary skill set in the post could be seen as a low-ball. Kenrich Williams lives up to his nickname with his highest rating being a 90 hustle while also beaming off 79 three. Williams’ effort on defense gets recognition as a hustler, but his paltry combination of a 62 interior defense, 63 perimeter defense, 53 steal, and 51 block tells a different story than his regular-season play.

First-round selection Tre Mann struts into his first 2k appearance at a 72 overall, but the Florida alum brings a flurry of scoring ability. Mann excels with a 79 mid-range and three-ball, but he also ties things together with an 83 ball-handling and an 80 passing accuracy. Mann’s play resembles much of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the former Gator took to town last year shooting above 40 percent from deep while playing heavily in the pick-and-roll.

The string of rookies extends to two as second-round pick Jeremiah Robinson-Earl snags the last ratings in the ’70s, narrowly hitting the benchmark at a 70. Robinson-Earl’s all-around play from Summer League translates to the game as he has a decent baseline with a 68 three, 70 driving dunk, 69 ball handling, and a 65 pass accuracy. Robinson-Earl is regarded as a pure power forward in the game though he has a decent interior defense at a 66, as for running him at the three, his 40 perimeter defense calls for some limitations.

Though not currently under contract, both Jaylen Hoard and Charlie Brown Jr. are listed under the Thunder’s roster, ranked as 69 overalls, respectively. Jaylen Hoard is more or less a one-trick-pony holding a decent combination with a 75 driving dunk and 70 layup, but not much else of his game is covered. Charlie Brown Jr. also carries a more one-dimensional game with a 79 three, despite shooting 23.8 percent from downtown last season. Outside of his jumper, Brown Jr. also sheds flashes inside with a 77 ball handle, and a 79 layup.

While recently waived by the Thunder, Josh Hall not only posts the lowest overall on the preseason roster at a 66, but also the entire league for the second season in a row. Josh Hall’s 80-overall driving dunk puts himself in a high quartile compared to league standards, but the game fails to recognize his ability to drive with a 56 ball handle and 44 passing accuracy.

Two-way forward Aaron Wiggins, guard Vit Krejci, and recently acquired Paul Watson Jr. are yet to be placed onto the game, but it’d be a smart assumption that all three will either replace or swap places with players in Jaylen Hoard, Charlie Brown Jr., and Josh Hall shortly.

You can hop on NBA2k22 now to play with the Oklahoma City Thunder. As for seeing them in person, the Thunder kick off preseason play on October 4 before opening the regular season on October 20.

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