Russell Westbrook’s NBA 2K23 rating is just disrespectful to the Lakers star
It’s that time of year again when NBA players and fans alike get mad over video game ratings. With the partial release of NBA 2K23’s latest player ratings, one player clearly catching the short end of things is Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook.
Yes, Russell Westbrook is no longer the player he once was. Yes, he was largely vilified for his underwhelming debut in Tinsel Town. But man, for Ronnie2K and co. to rate him even lower than Patrick Beverley seems like a bit much:
Here are the Lakers’ NBA 2K23 ratings: pic.twitter.com/hJw27GwvZr
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 6, 2022
Not only is Westbrook rated lower than Pat Bev, but he’s also the same overall at 78 as Kendrick Nunn. Nunn, who also joined the Lakers during the 2021 offseason, didn’t even play a single game for the purple and gold last season. Let that sink in, folks.
Perhaps this is a strategic move from NBA 2K to get people riled up to talk about said ratings. If this were simply a ploy to draw more attention, then kudos are in order from the publicity team. But otherwise, it’s just a slap to the face to even this version of Russell Westbrook.
Don’t disrespect the stats
Westbrook has turned into the poster boy for the old adage that stats don’t tell the whole story when it comes to sports. But they do tell some of the story, especially with how gaudy his numbers can get. The man averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists last season. He shot poorly from beyond the arc but did own a 44.4 percent clip from the field, which is mighty respectable for a point guard.
Westbrook compiled five 30-point games last season. That’s more than Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley have had throughout their entire careers. He also finished with 10 triple-doubles, which at this point can sometimes be taken against him as he’s muddied the intrinsic value of the arbitrary achievement. But the level of skill to actually be able to tally double-digit rebounds and assists in the same game points to a player that owns quite an abundant amount of ability.
For what it’s worth, Nunn and Beverley have both never garnered a triple-double in their combined 649 career regular season games.
Russell Westbrook deserves better (on NBA 2K23)
While the counting stats certainly render Westbrook as still a productive box score player, the debate wages on about his true value towards winning. Many consider him a detriment to what the Lakers were trying to accomplish last season.
But what’s inarguable is the fact that a lot of the slander hurled against him was partly due to the fact that the fit was horrible for him in LA. Several voices, large and small, knew that Westbrook’s smash-mouth style of play and ball-dominant ways weren’t going to blend well alongside a more controlled and flat out better version of that in LeBron James. Lo and behold, that take ended up being correct.
His two previous stops in Houston and Washington saw him start off rocky, but once he got acclimated to the teams, Westbrook was able to string together stretches of superb play that reminded everyone of why he’s one of the most impactful players of his generation. He never got that chance with the Lakers, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the talent or skill level that’s head and shoulders above guys like Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn.
A player who can believably drop a 30-15-10 line every other week on a team handing him the keys more often deserves a rating much higher than 78. The horrible fit and perhaps his lack of self-awareness are to blame, not how talented he truly is. If anything, NBA 2K should just knock down his offensive and defensive awareness ratings but still show him the respect he deserves in other areas.
Hard to imagine the simulated Russell Westbrook in-game ever approaching the type of productivity his in-real-life self can when he’s empowered and having one of his vintage performances. Has a 78 overall player ever even been able to compile a 19-7-7 stat line like he did last season? Other than your MyPlayer, the answer is more than likely never.
But at the end of the day, Russell Westbrook likely doesn’t even care about his NBA 2K rating. The man is still living his best life. ahead of his 15th NBA season.
Despite all his haters, Russell Westbrook is still living his best life ✊ pic.twitter.com/t03sTxGJsi
— Guru (@DrGuru_) September 3, 2022
Whether that’s with the Lakers or not, expect Westbrook to come out guns blazing next season, for better or for worse. Given how volatile of a player he is, it’s a safe bet 78 won’t be his final NBA 2K23 rating eight months from now.