When it comes to the best teams of all time, NBA fans have all kinds of different opinions, but no matter what your fav, the Los Angeles Lakers are certainly in the mix as one those best-ever.
There are a ton of different ways to rate and rank teams and players – no surprise. Here’s one you might not have thought about – the ratings system used by the makers of the NBA XBox game. Every year a new version of the game comes out, reflecting trades and other personnel changes (of course), so the games are all dated by name and by year. So the newest version – just out – is NBA2K20 (as in the year / season 2020).
The very first version of the game came out in 1999, so we’ve now reached the milestone 20th anniversary edition. And for every version and season for the game, the players immortalized in digital form for your playing pleasure have been ranked and rated. That helps to keep (digital) games more equal, and allows for better trading decisions.
A quick check by the fan website FadeAwayWorld.com has checked on the player ratings for various teams over the years. When it comes to the LA Lakers, it’s no surprise that our fav Shaquille O’Neal is on the top-rated list. Yet as we say in TV commercial world, “but wait, there’s more.” Shaq is not only on the best-ever list, he’s got a special rating, and a one-of-a-kind ranking…. Something not achieved by any other player (in the game, at least).
As the years have passed, lots of team and even more players have appeared in their cool digital forms for the game every year. The post by FadeAwayWorld shows the top-ranked players for the Lakers, and makes for interesting reading, to see how players on the team for several years had their rankings rise and fall.
Going all the way back to the first edition of NBA 2K, the Lakers player rankings showed Shaq with a 93 rating. All you need to know is that players are rated on a scale of zero to 100… and the higher, the better (of course).
Interestingly, for those first three years of the game, the Big Man’s ratings climbed each year: 93 for the first game, 98 for NBA 2K1 and an amazing 100 for NBA 2K2. As the TV commercial says, that’s the best a man can get. In fact, Shaq has the honor of being the ONLY player to be given a 100 rating in the history of the game. Sweet!
Coming close: Kobe was rated at 99 in NBA 2K5, and his ratings throughout his top career years were always in the high 90s, only falling into the high 80s in later years (including an 85 rating in NBA 2K16.
Current Lakers star LeBron James – with the team for two years now – has done well for himself, with ratings of 98 in NBA 2K19 and 87 in the latest version of the game
In addition to the rating the individual players, the rankings can also be a good indication of how a team is doing in the real world over time. With Shaq and Kobe dominating the ratings for their playing years, it’s easy to figure out that the Lakers as a team must be pretty good too. No surprise, those years with high-ranking Kobe and Shaq were the glory times for the gold-and-purple.
Times changed: When Kobe retired after the 2016 season, the best and highest-ranked player for the Lakers was D’Angelo Russell, with a not-so-good rating of only 79. Needless to say, the good times were over for the Lakers at that point, but now, with Lebron and others, players of NBA 2K have something to look forward to. So do the “real life” fans of the Lakers.