I say it every year, but NBA 2K18 looks like the best yet! The new features, gameplay and graphics look stunning, and, my god, does the MyCareer mode look fun. They really have created something revolutionary, a career mode that will set the benchmark for sport game franchises. An open world RPG style career mode in a sports game – something I never thought I’d see.

It has always fascinated me how much weight NBA players put on their ratings. Rate a player too low, and they take offence, vowing to use it as motivation to up their rating as the season progresses. What’s even funnier is that players look at this Ronnie2K guy, as the all powerful player ranking god. So much so that during Harrison Barnes’ wedding, Wesley Matthews called Ronnie out over his low rating – during the wedding. So bold. The NBA sure has changed.

The official release date for NBA 2K18 is September 19th and will be available on the following platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Now, without further ado, here are the highest rated players in NBA 2K18. Let us know what your thoughts are on this year’s ratings and your predictions for the season.

Paul George  – Oklahoma City Thunder

How did the Indiana Pacers get so little for this man? With all due respect to Victor Oladipo and Domantas Savonis –  are you kidding me? There had to be a better deals out there. I mean, how do you not get at least one first rounder? I know everyone and their mother believes George is going to jump ship at the end of the season, but we’re takin’ about PG13 (which is a terrible nickname, btw). He’s entering his prime and coming off a season where he averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Oh, and did I forget to mention he also shot 39.3% from three? The Pacers are going to regret this one.

2K Rating – 91

In 2K, a guy like Paul George is practically unstoppable. He can dribble, has handles and his speed and length make him incredibly difficult to guard. In reality, he might not be on the same level as Durant or LeBron, but when it comes to 2K, there are few better. The Thunder sure will be a fun team to play with this season. George and Westbrook will make for a filthy 1-2 punch.

DeMarcus Cousins – New Orleans Pelicans 

I would like to let it be known that I’m a huge Boogie fan. It’s not his fault that the Kings’ management had no idea what they’re doing. I still don’t think New Orleans is the place for him… cough..cough… Cleveland… cough, but the idea of him playing anywhere other than Sacramento is fine by me. In 17 games with the Pelicans last season, Boogie posted 24.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Combine that with Anthony Davis’ numbers and you’re talkin’ about one of the best big man duos since Tim Duncan and David Robinson. It’s a shame the rest of the squad is a bunch of scrubs!

2K Rating – 92

Personally, I think 2K should have made him a 94, but a 92 is fair – room to grow. I’ve long thought that Cousins is the kind of player that’s hard to rate effectively, given that his foul trouble and mouth don’t really translate to the game. For a big man, Cousins’ handles and speed are incredible. He’s dominant down low, on both sides of the ball for that matter. He’s got a ton of post moves and his increased range makes for a nightmare of a guard.

Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans 

If I’m being honest, despite the fact that Anthony Davis is an absolute phenom, it’s difficult for me to understand why the Pelicans are so awful. I understand that he doesn’t have much to work with, and injuries have played a large part in that, but he’s now been in the league for five seasons. For a guy as gifted as Davis is, he’s lost so much that it’s a bit concerning. We’re talking about a guy that posted 28 points, 11.8 rebounds last season and was one of the league’s best two-way players. I’m not questioning the man’s game, I just think something has to give, even if it means a change in location. Davis is way too good of a player to be fighting for a playoff position every season.  I’m not sure Cousins is the solution, but it’s a step in the right direction. AD to Boston anyone?

2K Rating – 94

Anthony Davis has all the talent in the world, but without wins and playoff appearance, he’ll never take that next step. When it comes to AD in 2K, he’s a flat out superstar. His defense alone makes him one of the best players in the game. Combine that with a strong low post game and 3-point range and you’re looking at one 2K‘s most dominant players. Unfortunately, Davis plays for one of the most boring teams in the league. Even with Cousins and Rondo, I’ll pass on the Pelicans.

Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors 

Even with the addition of a superstar caliber player in Durant, Steph Curry finished the season averaging 25.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game, while sinking 324 of a possible 789 threes last season – a number that’s mind-blowing, but also becoming a little routine. His ability to maintain the Warriors’ momentum during Durant’s injury should be applauded. If anything, it proved that while Durant may be the best player on the team, the Warriors are still Curry’s team.

2K Rating – 94 

Considering Curry isn’t an elite defender, like the majority of players on this list, I’d say a 94 is pretty fair. When it comes to a video game, Steph Curry’s strengths translate very well. Fast, incredible hands and a shot that’s basically automatic. He’s also one of the game’s best passers, and with a team filled with shooters, Golden State’s offence becomes almost unstoppable. Despite that, Golden State will likely be off limits in most 2K circles – they are just too good.

Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder 

MVP! MVP! MVP! I could go on, but you get the idea. Watching Russell Westbrook’s season unfold was something I’ll never forget. I didn’t have the pleasure of watching Oscar Robertson in his heyday, so for me, this was special. Westbrook averaged a historic 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, while shooting 42.5% from the field. Getting a triple double is one thing, but averaging one for the whole season is insanity. He plays with a ferocity and determination that rivals only one person, MJ.

2K Rating – 94

Considering the season Westbrook had, there are probably a lot of people that believe he should have been rated 99, but luckily for us, 2K is impartial. Personally, I may have bumped him up to a 95. Westbrook is such a fun player to play with in a game like 2K. He’s incredibly fast and can dunk on anyone. Not to mention, 2K Westbrook is incredible on the defensive side of the ball. His athleticism allows him to block and steal the ball at a high level. One of my go-to players when playing 1-on-1.

James Harden – Houston Rockets

I would like to take a quick second to own up – when I heard Mike D’Antoni was moving James Harden to the point, I laughed and thought it was a ridiculous decision. Why give a guy who already dominates the ball, even more time with it? I couldn’t have been more off base. Last season The Beard put up an insane 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 9.1 rebounds a game, while also connecting on 52.5% from the field. Not only that, Harden guided the Rockets to a 55 win season, a 13 game improvement over the year before. Which is why the Rockets acquisition of Chris Paul came as so much of a surprise to most, given Harden’s success. Although, when you think about it, they’re going to compliment each other perfectly. Harden will get a little more rest and Chris Paul can finally compete for a championship.

2K Rating – 95

I love this rating! When you consider how remarkable his season was, 2K Harden deserves to be in the top five. His strengths make him one of the top players in 2K – a guy that’s difficult to stay in front of, and one that scores at an elite level, inside and out. He’s so fast and his handles are absolutely sick. The Rockets will likely be one of the first teams I use when I play online – look out y’all!

Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs

Being Canadian, I don’t get to see a lot Spurs games. Despite that, I’ve watched recaps, seen the highlights, and to coin Stephen A. Smith for a minute – Kawhi Leonard is one BAAAADD MAN! He entered the league a tremendous defender, but over the years, his offence has flourished. During the 2016-17 season, Kawhi averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, while connecting on 48.8% from the field. While he may never live up to the greatness of the recently retired Tim Duncan, Leonard has become one of the top five players in the league, a position he seems determined to maintain.

2K Rating – 95

Another great ranking by 2K. I mean, you’ve got to rank him higher than Curry, he’s more of an all-around player. I haven’t played with him much in the past, but when I did, his steal count was off the charts. He’s long, athletic and good at almost every aspect. He may not be the most flashiest player, but his numbers speak for themselves.

Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors

I’d like to start things off by congratulating Kevin Durant on his first championship. Personally, I don’t care that he joined the Warriors, a ring is a ring. Just ask Charles Barkley or Chris Webber. Durant did what was best for his career, and clearly he made the right decision. Last season Durant averaged 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and an impressive 1.6 blocks per game. Not only that, he shot 53.7% from the field and 37.5% from beyond the arc. Any other year, given the Warriors 67-15 record, he’d be a two-time MVP.

2K Rating – 96

A well deserved 96 rating. I can’t argue with that. Durant has to be one of the easiest players to play with, and I say that out of respect. His handles are insane considering his size, and he’s lights out from anywhere on the court. I’m not sure I’ve ever played with someone that effortless. He also shoots from well above his head, which makes his shot almost impossible to contest, let alone block. In the NBA, LeBron is the King, but when we’re talkin’ 2K, Durant’s shot and length are unmatched.

LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers 

LeBron James has been the best basketball player on the planet for years, dominating the league in a way that very few have, or ever will. But I don’t have to tell you that. If you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Even at the age of 32, in the 14th season of his career, LeBron posted 24.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while connecting on 54.8% from the field. Not only that, he’s reached the NBA finals seven years in a row! I know he only has three chips, but lets be real, Golden State robbed him of two. I’m not letting him off the hook, I’m just sayin’, if the Cavs are Nintendo, the Warriors are Game Genie.

2K Rating – 97

In my opinion, the rating is dead on. Realistically, you could argue he should be a 99, but when you consider that he isn’t the most reliable shooter from beyond the arc, or at the line for that matter, a 97 rating makes sense. I’m not sure there is any player in 2K that I hate going up against more than LeBron, he’s practically unguardable.

Hoodie Melo – New York Knicks 

HOODIE MELO! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’ve been a longtime Carmelo fan, ever since he won the NCAA championship with Syracuse. He may not be the best player in the league, but when it comes to getting buckets, few do it better. Carmelo’s size and skill have made him one of the most lethal scorers the game has ever seen. Even with all the s**t he dealt with last season, Melo still averaged 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists. I can only imagine the numbers Hoodie Melo is going to put up this season! Is it too early to start the MVP conversation? Sorry, Russell. HODDIE MELO!

2K Rating – 98

I understand that Hoodie Melo is complete hokum, but his play has been anything but. For starters, he looks healthy. He also appears incredibly locked in, determined to prove his doubters wrong. In my opinion, Phil Jackson was his kryptonite and now that he’s gone. Whether he stays in New York or not, Melo is back… hoodie and all. Being honest, Melo’s official rating is an 84, which is too low, especially considering Lonzo Ball is rated an 80 – which is ridiculous by the way (and I’m a fan). But I’ll save that debate for another day. In all seriousness, I think Melo should be at least an 87. They rated Blake Griffin an 87 – who would you rather have? I’m rollin’ with Hoodie Melo!

Let us know your thoughts on this year’s 2K ratings and if you’ll be picking up a copy, in the comments below. More player ratings to come. Cheers all!