Consider yourself fortunate if you’re a basketball fan. The current era of the NBA is electrifying, with some of the greatest talent we’ve ever seen covering front and center stage. Averaging a triple double in a season and a finals surpassing over 220 points per game may have seemed impossible before, but now it’s the new standard of excellence.
This year’s NBA 2K18 will undoubtedly be affected by the athleticism demonstrated during the 2016-17 season. These are the five players you can expect to dominate the court once it arrives.
5. Stephen Curry
Team: Golden State Warriors
Previous OVR Rating: 94
2016-17 Stats: 25.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG 6.6 APG
Steph Curry had yet another incredible season, finishing with a .411 3P% and .898 FT%. It’s clear at this point that he’s a dominating force for perimeter shots, commanding more attention beyond the three point line than any player the game has ever seen.
In previous years of NBA 2K he’s been a dangerous player capable of putting up incredible numbers with minimal effort. Many newer players tend to prefer him, as he can throw up shots with high accuracy, or quickly push to the net and decide whether to hand the rock off if he draws a double or commit to a layup.
With improvements made to the defensive logic of NBA 2K, dribble penetration is more challenging than ever. Having a player like Stephen Curry to rely on is invaluable.
4. James Harden
Team: Houston Rockets
Previous OVR Rating: 90
2016-17 Stats: 29.1 PPG, 11.2 APG, 8.1 RPG
Having nearly walked away with the MVP award, James Harden put on a spectacular show during the 2016-17 season. If it weren’t for the Houston Rockets folding against the San Antonio Spurs, he’d be getting a lot more attention.
Having risen from 2012’s Sixth Man of the Year to becoming one of the top 5 highest paid players, his road to earning the starring role of one of the most competitive NBA teams has been long and arduous. But at this point it’s clear that he’s a dominating force of such caliber that it’d be surprising not to see him in at least the Conference Finals at some point.
His stamina and ability to convert points makes him one of the most reliable players in NBA 2K. The Houston Rockets have recently been a favorite team in the competitive scene, and James Harden is a big reason for that. In NBA 2K18 you can expect his stats to see a moderate boost over last year, making him especially dangerous.
3. Kevin Durant
Team: Golden State Warriors
Previous OVR Rating: 93
2016-17 Stats: 25.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 4.8 APG
Representing yet another player from the Golden State Warriors, Durantula deservingly holds a top spot for being one of the NBA’s best scorers.
The Golden State Warriors have been able to hit over 120 points in most of its games, and even managed 149 in November. Kevin Durant has played a huge part of that averaging over 25 PPG alongside Steph Curry.
What makes Kevin Durant so special is he’s incredible tall, but moves around like a small guard. With this, he’s able to create space and toss up the rock with minimal effort, providing opportunity in rare situations when the Golden State Warriors lose momentum. This talent also applies in the world of NBA 2K18, where previously he was already popular on the Oklahoma City Thunder, but now has an incredible supporting cast alongside him.
2. LeBron James
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Previous OVR Rating: 97
2016-17 Stats: 26.4 PPG 8.6 RPG 8.7 APG
Any list that doesn’t include a healthy LeBron James is making a mistake. He might not have the flashiness of a Russell Westbrook or the FG% of a Kevin Durant, but when you want to muscle your way to a victory, LeBron James is your guy.
LeBron James, in routine fashion, pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to another finals appearance. It might not have taken home the trophy, but even in the face of incredible adversity he was able to put up points and leverage the capabilities of his teammates.
Inheriting from this, NBA 2K18‘s virtual depiction of LeBron James will, once again, be a pain for opposing players to deal with. He manages to move his 6’8″ 250lb frame like a ballerina in a way the game has never seen before, keeping the scoreboard busy in the process.
1. Russell Westbrook
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Previous OVR Rating: 93
2016-17 Stats: 31.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 10.4 APG
Russell Westbrook put on an incredible display of basketball wizardry during the 2016-17 season, averaging a triple double for the first time since Oscar Robertson’s performance in the 1961-62 season.
It’s clear that he doesn’t have to rely on Kevin Durant to put up mind-blowing numbers, trusting his instincts when running to the basket at lightning speed. Having shifted his role to being the only star player on the team has transitioned him from being great, to arguably the best offensive powerhouse in the league.
This also applies to NBA 2K18, where Russell Westbrook will likely have the highest overall rating of any player when the game ships. This won’t be due to high accessory stats, either. We’re talking ball handling skills, a high FG%, power, finesse, and shooting on the move. This type of multifaceted offense is rare to witness and is exactly the sort of thing you want when you desire to be unstoppable.