NBA 2K20 thinks LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard are better than Giannis Antetokounmpo

Jason Owens

This should stir up some debate.

2K Sports released its top 20 player ratings for the upcoming NBA 2K20 release on Monday and doesn’t list the reigning MVP as the league’s best player.

That honor is a tie bestowed upon a pair of multi-time NBA Finals MVP winners who will reside in Los Angeles next season — LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard.

Nobody got a 99, with 2K sports rating James and Leonard both at 97.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who won league MVP honors with the Bucks last season, comes in next with a 96 rating alongside Kevin Durant and James Harden.

The makers of NBA 2K20 believe that Giannis Antetokuonmpo still has some work to do. (Getty)
The makers of NBA 2K20 believe that Giannis Antetokuonmpo still has some work to do. (Getty)

NBA 2K20’s top 20 players

Here’s a list of the NBA’s top 20 players as determined by 2K Sports:

LeBron James, 97

Kawhi Leonard, 97

Giannis Antetokuonmpo, 96

Kevin Durant, 96

James Harden, 96

Stephen Curry, 95

Anthony Davis, 94

Paul George, 93

Damian Lillard, 92

Joel Embiid, 91

Kyrie Irving, 91

Nikola Jokic, 90

Russell Westbrook, 90

Klay Thompson, 89

Karl-Anthony Towns, 89

Jimmy Butler, 88

Kemba Walker, 88

Donovan Mitchell, 88

Rudy Gobert, 88

Blake Griffin, 88

NBA rookies also received ratings, of course, with Zion Williamson unsurprisingly leading the way.

Top rookies

Here are the top 5 rookies, per 2K Sports:

Zion Williamson, 81

Ja Morant, 79

RJ Barrett, 78

D’Andre Hunter, 77

Darius Garland, 77

No worries about James getting older

2K Sports doesn’t appear to be deterred by the fact that James will be 35 this season coming off the shortest season of his NBA career that saw him play just 55 games, largely because of a groin injury.

To a point, we can’t blame them for their caution. James’ demise has been written many times prior, only to see him continue to improve his game into his 30s. But the signs of a downturn are there — if ever so slight.

The case for Leonard over Antetokounmpo is much more sound. The reigning Finals MVP is firmly in his prime at 28 years old and coming off a historic postseason run that included outplaying Antetokounmpo in the Eastern Conference finals.

2K Sports also noted that despite the two being tied at 97, James “has the slight edge” on Leonard.

Leonard will surely relish the opportunity to prove them wrong next season.

NBA 2K20 will exist in an alternate reality where Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are healthy. (Getty)
NBA 2K20 will exist in an alternate reality where Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are healthy. (Getty)

Injuries are no fun

2K Sports also doesn’t seem to be concerned about devastating injuries. Kevin Durant remains in his spot among the NBA’s elite while Klay Thompson remains in All-NBA territory with an 89 rating.

Neither will play much if at all next season thanks to injuries suffered in the NBA Finals. While Thompson is likely to retain much of his form from his ACL tear, Durant’s recovery and form after returning from an Achilles tendon tear is a mystery. 2K chose to value the fantasy of gameplay over the reality of those injuries.

Again, we can’t blame them. A game with a healthy Klay and KD is a lot more fun that one without them.

2K Sports is also not buying the storyline that Westbrook’s game is an inefficient relic, and that his triple-double prowess outshines his insistence on shooting despite his inability to do so (29 percent 3-point rate on 5.6 attempts per game last season).

But the thing about video games is that users can choose to be smarter about Westbrook’s shot selection than Westbrook himself.

There’s plenty to digest here. Did 2K Sports get it right?

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