Friday, September 26, 2008

LeBron James - A 2K Sports Career Progression

LeBron James - the King. The scoring champ. The future of the NBA. And one of the most controversial player ever rated by 2K Sports.
Tonight I'm going to look at the progression of LBJ's NBA 2K ratings from his rookie year to the top where he resides in NBA 2K9.

ESPN NBA Basketball (aka NBA 2K4)

Before I begin, let me just say WOW. Popping in an old sports games is always a bit surreal to me. I spend most of my time playing sports games and the funny thing is spending 1000 hours on NBA 2k7 or NBA 2k8 makes you completely forget things like the menus, music, even game intros.... I got hyped watching the 2k4 intro, it was hot and there haven't been any intros since they lost the ESPN license. Even the menu music is getting to me, it sure beats the hell out of 2k8's... ahem... moving on.

LeBron James
Position: PG
Overall 78
Close 87
Mid 73
3pt 70
FT 80
Layup 80
Dunk 85
Handle 80
Pass 80
PostOff 70
PostDef 70
Block 55
Steal 65
RebOff 70
RebDef 70
Speed 80
Stam 96
Dur 80
DefAwr 70
OffAwr 80

The funny thing is their first crack at LeBron is the only one that accurately depicts his mid-range, post game, and defense. And actually, he bears a striking resemblance to 2k9's Derrick Rose, though that's neither here nor there.

Actually, hold on, I gotta stop for a second. There's just too much nostalgia.

Cleveland
84 Ricky Davis (SG
78 LeBron James (PG)
75 Dajuan Wagner (SG)
74 Darius Miles (SF)
74 Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C)
71 Carlos Boozer (PF)

68 Ira Newble (SF)
68 Jason Kapono (SF)
67 Chris Mihm (C)
67 J.R. Bremer (PG)
59 Kevin Ollie (PG)
56 DeSagana Diop (C)
53 Michael Stewart (C)
51 Bruno Sundov (C)

Yeah, this was a long time ago. Toni Kukoc = Bucks best. Nick Van Exel = Warriors best. The Knicks WITHOUT Marbury. The Rockets BEFORE Yao became Mr. 14-16. B-Diddy and Monster Mash. PIPPEN. REGGIE TIME. Other than stacked Kings/Lakers teams (and a Jazz team featuring 70 overall Mark Jackson as their 4th best player), there was balance galore in the NBA.

Ok, so as we all know, LeBron was a high schooler not expected to light up the league out of the gate. He was airballing threes! Then the season starts and LeBron is tearing dudes up. Fortunately we were at an age where players could be updated during the season. If I recall, LeBron was updated about 3 times during the year, pretty much every update they had a LeBron revision. I don't have the ratings for each, but here are his final ratings for the year by 2k sports.

LeBron end of rookie year
Position: SF (He was also a SG in the 2nd update)
Overall 87 (+9)
Close 94 (+7)
Med 83 (+10)
3pt 72 (+2)
FT 76 (-4)
Layup 90 (+10)
Dunk 95 (+10)
Handle 85 (+5)
Pass 85 (+5)
PostOff 70
PostDef 70
Block 55
Steal 80 (+15)
RebOff 72 (+2)
RebDef 80 (+10)
Speed 85 (+5)
Stam 96
Dur 80
DefAwr 75 (+5)
OffAwr 85 (+5)

A 9 point overall jump in one season. Absolutely incredible. I don't think there's ever been another player to get that big a jump in mid-season by 2k. (Even if Raja Bell, a 59 overall for years deserved it... did I mention he's the 7th best small forward on the 2k4 Mavericks? Too many tangents. Must shut off game that built my legend.)

So we move forward to

ESPN NBA 2K5

I've got the default ratings so I don't have to pop in the game. LeBron was updated only once in this edition. Here are his default ratings.

LeBron James 2k5 default
Overall 88
Close 94
Med 83
3pt 70
FT 76
Layup 90
Dunk 95
Handle 85
Pass 85
PostOff 70
PostDef 70
Block 55
Steal 80
RebOff 72
RebDef 80
Speed 85
Stam 95
Dur 90
DefAwr 75
OffAwr 90

Pretty much the same player other than the OA boost since 2k4.

Now let's look at the mid-season LeBron.

LeBron James
Overall 97 (+9)
Close 97 (+3)
Med 91 (+8)
3pt 79 (+9)
FT 76
Layup 95 (+5)
Dunk 95
Handle 90 (+5)
Pass 90 (+5)
PostOff 75 (+5)
PostDef 75 (+5)
Block 70 (+15)
Steal 90 (+10)
RebOff 80 (+8)
RebDef 80
Speed 85
Stam 95
Dur 90
DefAwr 85 (+10)
OffAwr 95 (+5)
ClutchOffense 99

ANOTHER +9 increase in overall. Two in one season. Raja Bell was still a 59 overall. Oh wait no they changed his position to SG which boosted him to a 61. Even though he was a SIXTH MAN at this point of his career.

They also gave him a Kobe-esque clutch rating even though he was terrible in crunch time at this stage of his career.

I won't lie. I was FURIOUS. LeBron James, the world's worst mid-range shooter and a terrible defensive player at age 19. Not even Jesus was this good as a teenager.

(For those wondering what my changes were the minute they did this)
Overall 90 (down from 97)
Med 79 (down from 91)
Handle 85 (down from 90)
Pass 85 (down from 90)
Block 65 (down from 70)
RebOff 65 (down from 80)
RebDef 75 (down from 80)
DefAwr 70 (down from 85)

So we move along to NBA 2K6 now.

LeBron James
Overall 97
Close 99
Med 91
3pt 80
FT 75
Layup 95
Dunk 95
Handle 90
Pass 81
PostOff 85
PostDef 80

Block 65
Steal 90
RebOff 58
RebDef 80
Speed 90
Stam 99
Dur 90
DefAwr 80
OffAwr 95

So somebody finally realized LeBron was not Magic Johnson at passing the ball, nor was he an elite defensive talent. That's good. But then someone got this crazy idea that he had a post game comparable to Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson, or even Anthony Mason.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKy08Gunb08

Count the post moves. I dare you.

LeBron James NBA 2K6 mid-season update
Overall 95
Close 99
Med 91
3pt 80
FT 74
Layup 99
Dunk 99

Handle 90
Pass 81
PostOff 85
PostDef 80
Block 65
Steal 83
RebOff 58
RebDef 80
Speed 90
Stam 99
Dur 95
DefAwr 80
OffAwr 95

2k actually lowered LeBron (probably by accident), though they did increase his layup/dunk to 99 where they still reside today (and will for the next decade).

Still, things weren't as bad as they were in the past. For the first time, LeBron didn't get better after release. He actually regressed a bit. One could only hope this would carry over into...

NBA 2K7

LeBron James
Overall 98
Close 99
Med 91
3pt 79
FT 74
Layup 99
Dunk 99
Handle 95
Pass 77
PostOff 84
PostDef 79
Block 70
Steal 80
RebOff 63
RebDef 79
Speed 91
Stam 99
Dur 99
DefAwr 79
OffAwr 98

Finally, the first game that operated in more than multiples of 5! But oh man, increased handles now??? This guy is becoming more broken by the day. At least they lowered his post/defawr ratings by a point each.

2k7 marked the first time LeBron was not edited mid-season. Apparently they nailed him. That 91 mid-range was simply PERFECT for a player who hit .347 of his shots from that range. We've only been hearing complaints about this one for THREE YEARS now. Ahh, better luck next year.

Aww crap. LeBron made the Finals. Brace yourselves for 107 overall next year.

NBA 2K8

ATTRIBUTES
Overall 97
Close 99
Med 91
3pt 77
FT 70
Layup 99
Dunk 99
Handle 95
Pass 72
PostOff 84
PostDef 79
Block 68
Steal 78
RebOff 65
RebDef 76
Speed 91
Stam 99
Dur 99
DefAwr 79
OffAwr 99
Potential 99
Strength 86
Vertical 97
OffDribble 92
InTraffic 99
Quickness 92
Hustle 80
Hands 98
BallDefense 81
Standing Dunk 75

Wait a second... he went down? Maybe they were just too tired from adding all those new attributes.

Once again Lebron didn't have a mid-season update. I guess they think they just got this guy perfect now.

Finally, we return to the present. Err, future. Whatever.

NBA 2K9

I took the liberty of comparing this year's ratings directly to 2k8's.

LeBron James
Overall 101 – 97 (+4)
Close 96 – 99 (-3)
Med 85 – 91 (-6)
3pt 82 - 77 (+5)
FT 71 – 70 (+1)
Off Dribble 89 – 92 (-3)
In Traffic 97 – 99 (-2)
Layup 99 - 99 (0)
Dunk 99 - 99 (0)
Handle 96 - 95 (+1)
Pass 89 - 72 (+17)
Hands 99 – 98 (+1)
PostOff 89 – 84 (+5)
PostDef 83 – 79 (+4)

Ball Defense 81 – 81 (0)
Block 63 – 68 (-5)
Steal 86 – 78 (+8)
Hustle 80 – 80 (0)
RebOff 76 – 65 (+11)
RebDef 84 – 76 (+8)

Speed 91 – 91 (0)
Quickness 92 – 92 (0)
Strength 90 – 86 (+4)
Vertical 97 – 97 (0)
DefAwr 82 – 79 (+3)
OffAwr 99 – 99 (0)

They finally lowered LeBron's mid-range game!!!!!! Oh wait. They lowered EVERYONE'S mid-range game. (Kobe is now +2 on Bron Bron in MR after spending the last 3 years only +1. I can't make this stuff up).

LeBron James - The best post up small forward of all-time that never posts up in real life. HES JUST THAT DAMN GOOD.

The future

Where will LeBron go from here? Well that seems to be in the hands of my good friend Robert Wagner (the 2K Insider. Get it? It's 4AM just say yes.)

Now I know what you're all thinking: what does the Real 2K Insider have to say about LeBron James rating for 2k9? Well, you're just gonna have to download my roster file via 2K Share to find out :) I'll give you a hint though - he won't be 110 overall.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't really care about player ratings, but now I do. I'm looking forward to d/l yours after reading all the flaws people have been saying about 2K's ratings.

C.Paul, LeBron and Kobe are NOT 99! Lol ... Carmelo is better than Pierce? Kidd is better than Dirk? WTF.

I trust you use a stricter logic in determining the ratings.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to your rosters. And may the best "Insider" win.

Anonymous said...

Pass 89 - 72 (+17)

-17