It’s a key part of the promotion of the Visual Concepts NBA video game series and one that always leads to reactions from players and fans of the franchise alike, and the launch of NBA 2K23 is certainly no different.
This year’s highest-ranking player comes in the form of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, with his 97 score eclipsing all others. The way in which the scores are decided is still something of a mystery, but all in all, those who make the relevant decisions, do so relatively soundly.
That doesn’t mean that sometimes the guidelines and reasoning behind the ratings aren’t challenged, much like the Finns might get confused and bewildered by paskahousu säännöt.
27-year-old Greek NBA legend-in-the-making Antetokounmpo was the NBA MVP for 2019 and 2020 and then played a key role in the Bucks winning their first NBA title in over 50 years and ran out the NBA Finals MVP in 2021. For six seasons running, he’s made the NBA All-Star game, and therefore he deserves all the credit he gets.
However, some have questioned how the player beat a host of contenders to become the NBA 2K23’s top-ranking player.
His 97 puts him ahead of a host of players who scored a 96; these include Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry (who just led the franchise to the NBA title), LeBron James (who had one of his best-ever seasons despite his Los Angeles Lakers side having a stinker of a season), Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic (winner of the NBA MVP award for each of the past two seasons) and Joel Embiid.
Behind these players, who are on 96, comes Luka Doncic, the only player to score 95.
Kevin Durant, who had a pretty solid season with a lackluster Brooklyn Nets outfit that lost in the first round of the play-offs, was not happy about being outscored by Antetokounmpo and wasn’t afraid to say so.
The two-time NBA champion decided to take to Twitter and tagged the creator of the game series, simply asking;
‘I’m gonna need an explanation on why I’m not a 99? This has become laughable.’
To be fair to the makers of the game, Durant isn’t worthy of such a score at present, and the fact that he doesn’t sit on top of the rankings isn’t a massive surprise. Injury issues have been a factor in the 12-time NBA All-Star pick’s ratings in recent seasons.
He missed all of the 2019-20 season through injury and another 64 games over the course of the following two seasons. There’s no doubt that a fully fit Durant would be a player worthy of consideration, but that’s not the case right now.
Durant looked like he might leave the Nets this off-season but was talked around by general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash and the Barclays Center team will hope to get a step closer to a first NBA title ever.