The 2019 NBA Draft has come and gone with the top three picks going just as experts projected. Zion Williams was the No. 1 choice for the New Orleans Pelicans and will look to change their fortunes. At No. 2, the Memphis Grizzlies found their point guard to replace Mike Conley with Ja Morant. The NY Knicks had third pick, and while they didn’t get Zion, they chose his talented teammate RJ Barrett. All three players are potential stars in the league but where will they start in terms of video game rookie ratings? Here are some NBA 2K20 predictions.
NBA 2K20 Predictions: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans 85
To arrive at these NBA 2K20 predictions, we had to take a look at comparable ratings for other star players or recent rookies and how they were rated upon entry to the league. We’ll start with the obvious place to start. The No. 1 pick is full of hype and plenty of analysts out there believe he’s going to live up to that hype. In fact, no rookie has been this hyped since King LeBron James.
At 6-foot-7 and bringing freakish athleticism, he’s drawn plenty of comparisons to other players. They range from Charles Barkley to a combination of Blake Griffin and Julius Randle. Based on the numbers of the latter two players, we’re expecting Zion will come in with an NBA 2K20 rookie rating below theirs. Griffin’s an 87, while Randle’s an 88 in the game. So an 85 for Zion Williamson, at least to start, is the first of our NBA 2K20 predictions.
It’s worth noting that the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, DeAndre Ayton, started the 2K19 game as a 79. LeBron James started as a 78 when he first arrived in a 2K title as a rookie. An 85 is a generous start for the hyped Duke rookie, but he’ll need to earn that rating and then some.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies 82
For Ja Morant, we’ve got to look at the top point guard in last year’s draft. That was Oklahoma Sooners standout Trae Young. He’s now clearly a top star with the Atlanta Hawks after one season of work. However, Ja isn’t Trae and vice versa. They’re not necessarily the same player, and Young has shown why he’s deserving of his current 84 in the game. He originally started as a rookie at just 77.
Comparisons have come for Morant to the athletic nature of Russell Westbrook, yet with a better shot. Seeing Morant start as an 80 in the game wouldn’t be out of the question. We’ll give him benefit of the doubt to start things off at 82, but that may be slightly high for the new Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard. It puts him ahead of last year’s rookie phenom Luka Doncic by three points. Ironically, Ja Morant speculated that he would have this rating in the game. We’ll see if NBA 2K’s team obliges.
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks 81
We’re going to go with the same conservative type of rookie rating for RJ Barrett on our NBA 2K20 predictions. Barrett has game for sure and will have plenty of opportunities to show what he’s capable of in New York. He’s not Luka Doncic, so we’re being generous by starting him above Luka’s rookie rating. That was a 79 to start off NBA 2K19 last year.
A report from NBA.com gave comparisons for Barrett to the likes of Lamar Odon, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, and all-time Lakers great James Worthy. Obviously, he’ll have to show what he’s capable of. Still, most analysts and experts say that he was more than worthy of being the No. 3 pick and some even rated him as high as No. 2. He’ll have plenty on his shoulders, so it should be fun to watch how his career goes in NYC.
We’ve yet to see the official NBA 2K20 cover athlete, find out a release date, or see any gameplay trailers. However, we’re expecting that will happen soon and player ratings along with rookies will follow.
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