Welcome to the hardcore NBA corner of the site! I’m going to be focusing on how the real-life NBA’s strategies work in video game basketball. There are going to be a lot of Xs and Os in the months to come, but today we’re talking players. The NBA Playoffs are only a few days away, and we’ll definitely be talking about those in the next few days, but for the rest of the league it’s time to look to next year and the upcoming draft.
In that spirit, I’ve decided to rank the top 10 rookies I’m looking most forward to playing with in NBA 2K15.
#10 Shabazz Napier
UConn’s star guard made a name for himself in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, even prompting LeBron James to tweet that he would take him before any other point guards in the upcoming draft. However, Napier is a bit undersized and will be 23 before the start of his rookie season, meaning he may not be quite that high on many teams’ draft boards. Still, he was a decent shooter in college with good range and made big shots in high pressure situations.
His most translatable skill to NBA 2K15 will be his ability to hit shots off the dribble. He showed a consistent ability this season to pull up either on a drive or coming off of a pick and elevate and consistently hit contested jumpers. Most mock drafts have him going somewhere between the last few picks of the first round and the first few of the second, so there’s a chance he could wind up on the Bucks, who are the odds-on favorite to draft Andrew Wiggins (more on him later), or as a backup in Miami or with the Clippers.
#9 Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Thanasis is the older brother of Giannis Anteteokounmpo, rookie forward for the Milwaukee Bucks. Like his brother, he’s seemingly as long as his last name, and 2K’s increased focus on wingspan benefits players like Thanasis and Giannis. Thanasis isn’t a great shooter, but he’s a huge, high-energy defender who can elevate and finish at the rim with a flourish.
His athletic ability and dunking prowess will be his best skills in either basketball game. 2K, with its high-fidelity animations, will provide many beautiful Thanasis moments either with blocks or dunks. He’ll also be a terror when pressuring his man off the ball, as his long arms and explosiveness give him a huge advantage when playing the passing lanes. Mocks have Thanasis going in the back half of the second round, potentially with the Sixers (he’s currently playing for their D-League team) or the Spurs.