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Breaking down the Lakers’ NBA 2K19 ratings (and why they’re wrong)

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The NBA 2K19 ratings for the Lakers are out and there is plenty to be skeptical about.

Photo via NBA 2K (@NBA2K)

At long last, NBA 2K19 will be released to the masses on Tuesday, September 11 and for those that pre-ordered the game on Friday, September 6 at midnight. This year’s edition will be the first to feature LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers and if that weren’t reason enough, James will also be on the game’s cover for the second time in his career.

One of the most talked about aspects of the game every year is the player ratings. While some players might care more than other players, no one cares more than the fans.

Thanks to YouTuber GamingWithOva, Lakers fans got an early look at the ratings for this year’s roster. As usual, the ratings are indisputable and are not at all controversial.

For those that don’t have time to watch the video, here are the full ratings for the 16-man roster in descending order:

  1. L. James: 98
  2. B. Ingram: 82
  3. K. Kuzma: 80
  4. R. Rondo: 79
  5. L. (not LiAngelo) Ball: 79
  6. J. McGee: 77
  7. K. Caldwell-Pope: 76
  8. L. Stephenson: 76
  9. J. Hart: 76
  10. M. Beasley: 76
  11. I. Zubac: 73
  12. M. Wagner: 72
  13. S. Mykhailiuk: 70
  14. I. Bonga: 68
  15. A. Caruso: 68
  16. T. Wear: 68

Now there’s a lot to unpack here, so we’re going to break down the ratings beyond the arbitrary number they give to these players. Let’s start with Brandon Ingram, who 2K massively underrated despite giving the second-highest rating on the team.

According to 2K, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are both equally average inside scorers, receiving Cs in that category. While a C might be generous for Ball, it’s indefensible for Ingram.

Last season, Ingram converted 61.8 percent of his total 322 field goal attempts from the restricted area last season. He was also one of three small forwards to convert at least 55 percent of his field goal attempts from less than five feet, according to NBA.com. The others were James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Meanwhile, Ball only made 47.9 percent of his total 167 field goal attempts from the restricted area last season, but you don’t even need to go that deep to understand Ball struggled to score from inside last season. Anyone that watched him play last season saw that was arguably his biggest weakness, and yet, here we are.

But that wasn’t even the biggest discrepancy with Ingram’s rating. He was also given a C- in inside defense and a D+ in perimeter defense. His inside defensive rating is understandable, for as long and tall as Ingram is, he is still just a tad over 90 lbs. wet (probably).

However, his perimeter defensive rating is a little harsh, especially when you take into account his teammates that got a higher rating than him. For example, Lance Stephenson — who was one of the worst defenders at his position last season according to ESPN’s real defensive plus-minus — received a C- grade in perimeter defense.

Jabari Parker, D’Angelo Russell, Chandler Parsons, Andrew Wiggins and Devin Booker were also among the questionable players given better defensive grades than Ingram.

Ingram might not be an elite defender yet, but he made serious progress on that end in his sophomore season, contesting the NBA’s sixth-most 3-point attempts per game (4.2), and holding opponents to 3.5 percent below their season average when defended by him, per Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.

If there’s one thing that needs to be fixed in the first patch, it’s that.

Inrgam wasn’t the only Laker who didn’t get enough credit for his work on the defensive end. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, arguably one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league, was given a C- perimeter defensive grade.

KCP led the Lakers in defensive win shares (2.7) last season, according to Basketball-Reference, and the tape checks out. Google is free, 2K.

And last, but certainly not least, for the second consecutive year, Alex Caruso looks like a middle school algebra teacher. I understand it’s the player’s responsibility to go in and get scanned, but this is sad.

Ratings can always be updated throughout the season and if the Lakers do as well as the fans are hoping, at least half of the roster will see a substantial boost midway through the season. Until then, have fun getting blown by on the wing with Ingram.

Disagree with more about this year’s 2K ratings? Think they’re pretty accurate? Either way, let us know in the comments below, and you can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.