Photo: 2K Sports
NBA 2K19 has been out a little over a week and gamers who are also fans of hoops likely got their hands on it. As the 20th edition of the series, 2K19 has largely become the go-to game for those eager to become virtual NBA legends.
When you’re not combing through the game’s Neighborhood, spending up virtual currency in MyCareer, or outfitting yourself with the hottest kicks from your sneaker-endorsement deal, you might just choose to go the classic route of picking an NBA team to play as in exhibition mode.
If you’re like me and still get a kick out of picking your favorite team with its current roster and challenging the Golden State Warriors, you know there are certain players who come through for you more than what their ratings suggest.
Since we love to play video games and talk about them on the internet, we at Mandatory are here to give you what we feel are the most slept on players 2K19 has to offer.
Behold, the underrated…
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers, 80 overall rating
Photo: Twitter.com, @kylekuzma
It’s downright “disrespectful” that “Kuz” only got an 80 rating. The Lakers late first round pick came out of nowhere to make the NBA All Rookie Team, showing off scoring versatility from close and long range. “Kuz” can get “BBQ chicken hot” on consecutive trips down the floor and will see more open looks now that you can pair him with LeBron.
Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons, 86 overall rating
Photo: Twitter.com, @blakegriffin23
For an Angeleno like me, just because Blake Griffin is gone, doesn’t mean he’s forgotten. The former face of the Clippers is now a Detroit Piston (poor Kendall Jenner), but is still an elite power player, who’s added to his game with an improved set shot. While some might say Griffin is in decline, I’d venture to argue that he’s evolved his game to consider wear and tear on his body. Gamers can have Blake 2.0 step behind the three-point line and shoot with confidence, unlike previous editions of 2K.
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks, 88 overall rating
Photo: Twitter.com, @kporzee
Ah, the “Unicorn,” Kristaps Porzingis. This unique big man has seen rising ratings since he came into the league and with good reason. Porzingis is a flat out anomaly, a 7’3 giant with deep range and an uncanny wingspin. He’s steadily improved his play every year, despite injuries and being on the terrible Knicks. For long-suffering New York fans, you can see him on the NBA 2K court, while he’s still recovering from a devastating ACL injury in real life.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers, 88 overall rating
Photo: Twitter.com, @NBA2K
Last year’s winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player award is a low-key killer in 2K19. The jump from his 2017 campaign to the one in 2018 translated in the 2K series with higher ratings across the board and in 2019 he’s expected to be one of the most explosive guards in the league. If you want to dunk all over AI in the game, Oladipo is one of the guys who you can live through vicariously.
Carmelo Anthony, Houston Rockets, 79 overall rating
Poor Melo. He’s seen declining ratings for the last few editions of 2K (not that he cares). We remember when he was a solid mid-90s rating, capable of getting buckets damn near every time down the court. But father time catches up with everyone, eventually turning even the greatest 2K players into guys you’d gladly give a DNP coach’s decision. I just think Anthony can be revitalized playing with BFF Chris Paul on the Houston Rockets because he can still get you buckets on the wing. Maybe you can channel his alter ego, “Hoodie Melo” and be the best version of Melo’s former self.