If you’re a total NBA addict, then you’re more than likely to be a huge fan of the NBA 2K series, which has, for the past few years, become the best video game in the sports genre and has dominated the market for NBA video games.
Either way, let’s predict the top 30 NBA players’ NBA 2K13 ratings.
How do we decide the top 30 NBA players? We look at the PER rankings of each player, an advanced stat that measures per-minute production (the average is always 15). We know that there are issues with PER (because it’s a per-minute stat, so guys who look better with less minutes might have their PER inflated, even when that’s accounted for by having a cut-off the way John Hollinger does), but it’s the most objective way possible. I know you’re going to say something in the comments anyway, but I have to cover my ass, no?
Yes, I do. So let’s get started.
30. James Harden: 85. (2k12 rating: 74) PER: 21.13
It only makes sense that James Harden receives a huge boost in his ratings. In 2011, he wasn’t a top 50 player based on PER (with a 2010-11 PER of 16.42). The dude was OKC’s only legit playmaker last season and was the runaway pick for Sixth Man of the Year in 2012.
29. Josh Smith: 85. (2k12 rating: 84) PER: 21.14
Last year, Smith was given a disproportionately high rating and was on par with Joe Johnson last season while also being rated higher than Al Horford. Although Smith was very good last season, he didn’t rank higher than Horford in PER and fell out of the top 30. This year, though? He’s justified that rating and is a top-30 player based on PER. So we’ll give him a slightly — damn near insignificant — higher rating than last season.
28. Carmelo Anthony: 88. (2k12 rating: 91) PER: 21.15
Carmelo had arguably the worst year of his career in 2012, shooting at a 43 percent clip and averaging his lowest points-per-game in eight years. Injuries played a part, and so did the fact that the Knicks have had a lot of turmoil with their coach, Mike D’Antoni, who jammed in the middle of the season. However, ‘Melo was terribly inefficient — based on his standards, and more than usual — and for this, he should take a knock on his ratings.
27. Marcin Gortat: 79. (2K12 rating: 73) PER: 21.21
Marcin Gortat had his first full season as a starter in 2012, and made the most of it. His PER went up significantly, from 17 to 21.2. However, it’s likely that Gortat benefited from playing alongside Steve Nash and being perfect for Nash’s style of pick-and-roll-happy play. We’re giving the benefit of the doubt to Gortat here, because this progression was foreseen when he first left Orlando.
25a. Ryan Anderson: 77. (2K12 rating: 63) PER: 21.23
Ryan Anderson was a candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year in 2012, but his candidacy showed how flawed the award is. His PER went up from 19 to 21.23, but his points-per-game average went from 10 to 16 as a result from starting all 66 games. Thus, it was a crime that Anderson was rated so low last year and this year, he should get some sort of vindication in the ratings.
25b. Stephen Curry: 81. (2K12 rating: 80) PER: 21.23
Steph Curry is the Golden State Warriors’ best player; however, an injury-riddled 2011-12 campaign saw his numbers drop significantly and he played in only 26 games this season. Thus, although his PER went up from 19.5 last year, he’s also an example of why PER is flawed, even for “qualifying players” who play a certain amount of minutes.
24. Nikola Pekovic: 70. (2K12 rating: 55) PER 21.47
Nikola Pekovic saw an incredible jump in his PER and thus, his minutes per game. The dude had a PER of just 11.29 last year, and though he only played in 47 games last year, his huge leap in production deserves a 15-point leap in his now-criminal-looking rating of 55 from last year.
23. Kyrie Irving: 84. (2K12 rating: 76) PER: 21.49
Last year’s No. 1 selection in the NBA draft proved that he was worthy of the top pick, and had a rookie PER of 21.5, good enough to land him the 23rd spot in PER rankings. He managed to put himself in a position to throw himself into the discussion for the label of best point guard in the league next season.
22. Brandan Wright: 69. (2K12 rating: 64) PER: 21.66
Wright is another reason that PER is a poor measure; dude only played 16 minutes last season. However, he proved to be a solid bench player for the Dallas Mavericks. We’re hesitant to put Wright in the 60s considering how much he played, but Wright’s PER went high enough to give him a five-point boost in his ratings.
21. DeMarcus Cousins: 79. (2K12 rating: 71) PER: 21.72
Cousins continued his development — despite having an up-and-down relationship with his higher-ups — and had himself a very efficient 18-point, 11-rebound season. Sure, he shot only 45 percent from the field (terrible for a big man, and just OK for perimeter players) but he’s showing he’s worth the potential. We gave him a high raise in his rating, and that’s a result of his PER raising to 21.72 from 14.62 a year prior.
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