The good folks at NBA 2K20 released the overall ratings of the upcoming game’s top players, rookies, and 3-point shooters. What are they and how well do they align with real stats?

2K Sports unveiled select player ratings from their upcoming game NBA 2K20 on Monday night via a hour-long livestream special. Revealed ratings include the top 20 overall players in-game, top five rookies, top five big men, and the top five three-point shooters.

A lot of math goes on under the hood that leads to the single number that is generated and was ultimately revealed to the public. Still, let’s take a look at what the ratings are and how they jive with real statistics.

Top 20 Players

I’m perfectly fine with the ratings that were rolled out on Monday, but it’s still interesting to put them against other “all-in-one” stats to see if and how things line up. With past games, I noticed that there is at least a tangential correlation between overall rating and the combination of Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares.

Most years, if you average out the correlations between all players, the difference is somewhere in the upper 50s. I’ll dive deeper into this once the game and full roster comes out Sept. 6, but for now you can see that the stars tend to get a sizable boost when their PER+WS doesn’t match their reputation.

PLAYER | TEAM | OVR Rating | PER, WS | Diff. (OVR-(PER+WS))
LeBron James | Lakers | 97 OVR | 25.6 PER, 7.2 WS | +64.2
Kawhi Leonard | Clippers | 97 OVR | 25.8 PER, 9.5 WS | +61.7
Giannis Antetokounmpo | Bucks | 96 OVR | 30.9 PER, 14.4 WS | +50.7
Kevin Durant | Nets | 96 OVR | 24.2 PER, 11.5 WS | +60.3
James Harden | Rockets | 96 OVR | 30.6 PER, 15.2 WS | +50.2
Stephen Curry | Warriors | 95 OVR | 24.4 PER, 9.7 WS | +61.9
Anthony Davis | Lakers | 94 OVR | 30.3 PER, 9.5 WS | +54.2
Paul George | Clippers | 93 OVR | 23.3 PER, 11.9 WS | +57.8
Damian Lillard | Trail Blazers | 92 OVR | 23.7 PER, 12.1 WS | +56.2
Joel Embiid | 76ers | 91 OVR | 26.1 PER, 8.7 WS | +56.2
Kyrie Irving | Nets | 91 OVR | 24.3 PER, 9.1 WS | +57.6
Nikola Jokic | Nuggets | 90 OVR | 26.3 PER, 11.8 WS | +51.9
Russell Westbrook | Rockets | 90 OVR | 21.1 PER, 6.8 WS | +62.1
Klay Thompson | Warriors | 89 OVR | 16.6 PER, 5.3 WS | +67.1
Karl-Anthony Towns | Timberwolves | 89 OVR | 26.3 PER, 10.4 WS | +52.3
Jimmy Butler | Heat | 88 OVR | 20.2 PER, 7.9 WS | +59.9
Kemba Walker | Celtics | 88 OVR | 21.7 PER, 7.4 WS | +58.9
Donovan Mitchell | Jazz | 88 OVR | 17.2 PER, 5.0 WS | +65.8
Rudy Gobert | Jazz | 88 OVR | 24.6 PER, 14.4 WS | +49.0
Blake Griffin | Pistons | 88 OVR | 21.0 PER, 8.0 WS | +59.0

Top 5 Bigs

With NBA 2K20 standard edition cover athlete Anthony Davis as a special guest, the 2K livestream special chose to hone in on the top 5 big men within the top 20 overall list. Bigs seem to be the players least in need of ratings-massaging. It does make me wonder if position plays a part into the difference between overall and PER+WS.

PLAYER | TEAM | OVR Rating | PER, WS | Diff. (OVR-(PER+WS))
Anthony Davis | Lakers | 94 OVR | 30.3 PER, 9.5 WS | +54.2
Joel Embiid | 76ers | 91 OVR | 26.1 PER, 8.7 WS | +56.2
Nikola Jokic | Nuggets | 90 OVR | 26.3 PER, 11.8 WS | +51.9
Karl-Anthony Towns | Timberwolves | 89 OVR | 26.3 PER, 10.4 WS | +52.3
Rudy Gobert | Jazz | 88 OVR | 24.6 PER, 14.4 WS | +49.0

Top 5 Rookies

The special also took time to shout out the top 5 rookies in NBA 2K20. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the rankings fall in line with the first 5 picks in the draft. I am a little shocked that Zion rates out to only an 81. I figured, with his hype, he would be an 82 or 83 out of the box. Nevertheless, if he delivers on his potential, he’ll surpass his initial rating in no time.

Now, I noticed in the past that PER and Strength of Schedule proved to be a better shorthand for college prospects than PER+WS. This makes sense to me since we’re more concerned about the production of an individual entering the league instead of in relation to an NBA team. Therefore, we see how efficient they were at the college level relative to their competition.

Now, naturally, this doesn’t always work. I think back to how Brice Johnson and Justin Patton had high PER+SOS numbers, but it didn’t correlate to their initial overall rating nor their eventual NBA production. Still, this is all just a quick tool to give us an idea of the method to 2K’s madness; all in good fun.

PLAYER | TEAM | OVR Rating | PER, SOS | Diff. (OVR-(PER+SOS))
Zion Williamson | Pelicans | 81 OVR | 40.8 PER, 11.97 SOS | +28.23
Ja Morant | Grizzlies | 79 OVR | 31.6 PER, -3.11 SOS | +50.51
R.J. Barrett | Knicks | 78 OVR | 23.3 PER, 11.97 SOS | +42.73
De’Andre Hunter | Hawks | 77 OVR | 24.3 PER, 10.15 SOS | +42.55
Darius Garland | Cavaliers | 77 OVR | 23.6 PER, 7.79 SOS | +45.61

Top 5 3-Point Shooters

Lastly, the livestream took time to note the top 5 3-point shooters in NBA 2K20. As you can see, these rankings are mainly based off of reputation. Curry and Thompson are absolutely the best shooters of all-time. However, their individual numbers in 2018-19 did not stack up with league leader and 3-Point Shootout champion Joe Harris’ 47.4 percent. J.J. Redick also finds himself in the top 5 despite a sub-.400 percentage and finishing 25th on the 3-point leaderboard last season.

PLAYER | TEAM | 3PT Rating | 2018-19 3-Point Pct.
Stephen Curry | Warriors | 99 3PT | .437
Klay Thompson | Warriors | 97 3PT | .402
Joe Harris | Nets | 94 3PT | .474 (league leader)
J.J. Redick | Pelicans | 90 3PT | .397
Buddy Hield | Kings | 90 3PT | .427

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