All Released NBA 2K19 Player Ratings

NBA 2K19

It is that time of the year again. NBA 2K19 is right around the corner and NBA fans are anxiously awaiting their favorite player’s rating. Below is a look at the ratings that have been released as of August 13th.

LeBron James: 98

Anthony Davis: 94

Giannis Antetokounmpo: 94

Kawhi Leonard: 94

Karl-Anthony Towns: 91

DeMarcus Cousins: 90

Damian Lillard: 90

DeMar DeRozan: 89

Paul George: 89

Ben Simmons: 87

Donovan Mitchell: 87

Andre Drummond: 87

Jayson Tatum: 87

Blake Griffin: 86

Kemba Walker: 86

Jaylen Brown: 84

D’Angelo Russell: 83

Kyle Kuzma: 80

Luka Doncic: 79

Spencer Dinwiddie: 79

Marvin Bagley III: 78

Josh Richardson: 78

Trae Young: 77

Josh Hart: 76

Michael Beasley Signs with the Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to fill out their roster by signing Michael Beasley. It will be a one-year, $3.5M deal for the former member of the Knicks. After signing LeBron James on the first day of free agency, Magic Johnson made it known the team wanted to add playmakers around LBJ.

Averaging 13.2 PPG and 5.6 RPG, Beasley was able to create his own shot in New York last season. Shooting 50.7% from the field and 39.5% from three, Beasley should play a big role with the Lakers off the bench.

Making Sense of the Timberwolves Madness

Boy, oh boy. We went about two or three weeks without a rumor ripping the Timberwolves organization to shreds. But, don’t worry, we aren’t starving for a new rumor any longer. Tuesday morning, the Chicago Sun-Times came out with a report that Jimmy Butler is “fed up” with Karl-Anthony Towns. In addition, the article states that Butler has “no intentions of signing an extension with Minnesota.” Now, it has been known that Jimmy was still adjusting to fitting in with the Timberwolves late in the season last year. His injury didn’t help, making him miss a crucial stretch in the late part of the season. However, what should Wolves fans make of this report? Let’s take a look.

 

First off, people have been tweeting and posting all day about who wrote the report: Joe Cowley. Cowley is reportedly known for creating “clickbait” articles. He recently wrote about Kris Dunn’s not so great work ethic, saying the Bulls were disappointed with their point guard. Well, the Bulls came out and publicly denied that report within a week, saying they have no problem with Dunn’s work ethic. Second, people don’t trust Cowley. As I went through Twitter and Reddit today, many Chicago fans were saying the same thing: “You can never trust this guy. He doesn’t state the facts.” While that may be true, it’s also true that he does have some insight with the Thibodeau camp and the Butler camp.

 

Before the report gets into talking about Butler’s discontent with the Wolves’ young guns, especially Towns, the story states that Buckets would like to team up with Kyrie Irving. That is not news. It has been known for at least a year now that Jimmy and Irving are very close. In fact, the two are so close that the Minnesota Timberwolves were on Irving’s list of preferred trade destinations last summer. Getting beyond the Butler and Irving relationship, there is one question on the mind of Minnesotans: Can the Wolves keep Butler past this season?

Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving
Twitter

Jimmy Butler is entering the final year of his contract this season before he can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Timberwolves have the ability to extend Butler this offseason, but Butler would leave over $70 million on the table if he agrees to an extension now. That means, the Wolves will have to play next season not knowing whether or not Buckets will be around long-term.

 

Butler’s concern with the Wolves defensive effort and mindset is well-known. Butler frequently commented on the lack of focus on the defensive end of the ball numerous times throughout the season. However, Jimmy seemed to ease up on that towards the end of the season, and he seemed ready to make more leaps next year. After losing to Houston in five games in last year’s playoffs, Butler had this to say about the Timberwolves team: “How proud I am of everybody. Just to go through what we went through this year and give ourselves a fighting chance to win.” Butler continues on by saying: “…that doesn’t take away from what we’ve accomplished this year and we’ll continue to build and we’ll be better next season.”

 

Butler seemed happy with the way the season went, even though the team only won one playoff game. He knew that it was a big step for Minnesota to get back into the playoffs, and he sounded ready to get back to work and improve next year. Another big teller in Butler’s postgame interview after Game Five was his satisfaction with the improvement on the defensive side of the ball in terms of effort. When talking about locking in on defense and doing what it takes in practice and preparing to shut opposing team’s down, Butler says: “I’m happy we got that figured out.”

Butler was obviously frustrated throughout the season with the team’s defensive focus, but in the postseason, he seemed satisfied with the potential the team has on that end of the floor. Now, it’s a matter of continuing to grow and keep adding players that help the Wolves in that matter.

 

Adding Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop, and Anthony Tolliver so far this summer helps the Wolves do just that. All players are known to not only be great locker room guys, but also be great competitors, exactly what Minnesota needs. The Wolves should find these additions as great advancements in terms of winning a playoff series.

 

While it has became no secret that Butler is worried about the young player’s mindsets and focus, there is reason to believe that today’s report could be over exaggerated. Butler is on the record saying that he has liked the improvement of the team throughout the season and that he’s ready to run it back. Another point that can’t be understated is Butler’s relationship with Thibodeau. Those two are very tight.

Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau
Getty Images

The main selling factor in keeping the former Bull in Minnesota is how the Wolves perform next season. If the Wolves can get back into the playoffs and win a series, Butler would be more inclined to stay. In addition, if the young guys take these reports to heart and start focusing all their energy on winning, and not worrying about their individual accolades, that will help too. Finally, the Thibs and Butler relationship will be a big one. Thibs will know how to recruit Butler to stay and Butler will definitely listen, that’s why the Thibs component is so important.

 

While this report is certainly frightening for Wolves fans, it’s not time to panic just yet. There is enough of a reason to believe this report is a bit over exaggerated. Are some parts of the report true? Absolutely. However, Jimmy’s shifting comments throughout the season, and the young guns’ maturity could keep Buckets where he belongs: The Land of 10,000 Lakes.

 

Previous Timberwolves articles:

Minnesota Timberwolves Free Agency Preview

Andrew Wiggins Deep Dive

Derrick Rose Three-Point Shooting Breakdown

How the Lakers can get LeBron, Kawhi, and PG13

LeBron James and Paul George

NBA free agency is heating up. The rumors are in full force, especially with the Lakers. Talks between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers on Kawhi Leonard are intensifying. LeBron James has also officially declined his player option for next season making him an unrestricted free agent. Paul George did the same with his player option yesterday, as he is also an unrestricted free agent. Those three names: LeBron, PG13, and Kawhi have been rumored to the Los Angeles Lakers. But, is it possible for L.A. to get all three of them to create a new super team to contend with the Warriors? The short answer is yes. Let’s get into how the Lakers can get LeBron, Kawhi, and PG13.

 

The Lakers have to blow up the entire roster and then some to land these three stars. The first thing the Lakers would have to do is use the stretch provision on Luol Deng. The stretch provision would reduce Deng’s cap to $7.4 million this season. However, there is a downside to stretching Deng. Using the stretch option on Deng means L.A. would pay him the $7.4 million per year through the 2022/23 season. Yikes.

Luol Deng
USA Today Sports

After L.A. stretches Deng, they literally have to renounce every cap hold they have this summer and trade their entire roster so nothing is left. If the Lakers were to do this, they would have enough money to trade for Kawhi Leonard, sign LeBron, and sign Paul George. However, one of LeBron or George would have to take a $400,000 paycut to make it work, which shouldn’t be a problem. If for some reason the Lakers wind up with these three stars, they would now need to fulfill over 10 open roster spots with guys on minimum deals. Who are some possibilities?

 

Players like Lance Stephenson, Jamal Crawford, Corey Brewer, Dante Cunningham, Devin Harris, Quincy Acy, Ersan Ilyasova, Greg Monroe, Marco Belinelli, and Michael Beasley could be viable minimum players. However, do these players surround the new L.A. big three with enough talent to beat Golden State?

 

The Lakers can theoretically acquire a new big three, but it comes at a cost. The Lakers might not be able to surround the big three with enough talent to beat the Warriors anyway. So, it might be smarter to go hard after two guys and surround them with quality role players.

Free Agent Deep Dive: Boogie Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins

With all this LeBron and Kawhi drama going on, Boogie Cousins is sitting somewhere like “Uh Guys, remember me? I’m pretty good and also a free agent…”

Cousins’ next deal (and injury recovery) would be the biggest story of the summer if it weren’t for those two pesky forwards. I know some are worried about Boogie’s achilles tear. After all, it has been well reported that people do not usually return to their former self after an injury like this. Check out what The Ringer had to say about it:

ringer achilles.PNG

Do not fret, I have done some research and am here to reassure you that signing Cousins to the max will be a good deal. In fact, I have five good reasons.

1. The Pre-Injury Season Was Unbelievable 

Allow me to roll off some statistics that were all career highs for Boogie:

eFG% (53%)

RBs     (12.9)

2P%     (53%)

Stocks (3.2, tied)

TS%    (58%)

Asts     (5.4)

There was some legitimate MVP talk for Cousins before he went down with injury. The Pelicans were doing just fine in the West and starting to click. Not only did it seem as though Boogie learned to coexist with AD but, it appeared as though he was reaching peak form. His efficiency was the highest we have ever seen.

Pretend Cousins returns as only 85% of the player he once was, it would still be an excellent player. Look at the stats and feel encouraged that he was trending north towards more efficient basketball.

boogie season stats.PNG

2. Aging Well

While he is still only 27-years-old, Boogie has been aging the way you would want a monstrosity of a center to age.

This is important to monitor as his achilles tear will certainly impact part of his game. Still, this year’s stats show that an achilles tear may not have as large as an impact as once thought. Boogie has relied less on his burst than ever before, and his shot selection shows it.

boogie good stats.PNG

Woah. Look at all the lines and arrows and highlighting. Let me explain this to you. This year Boogie took 37% of his shots from 0-3 feet and 34% of his shots from three. More importantly; however, is how he has taken less mid-range and short-range shots. Cousins takes only 4.1% of his shots from 10-16 feet6.9% of his shots from 16 ❤ feet, and 17% of his shots from 3-10 feet. Overall, Cousins is spending more time right at the rim or behind the arc, and less time shooting from spots that provide the least value.

How does this mesh with his ruptured achilles, and therefore presumable lack of burst?

Cousins has maximized his point value by taking shots from the most efficient spots on the court. This will neutralize the physical limitations his achilles tear will have on his game. Boogie also spends a lot of time with the ball in his hands. In fact, Cousins had the ball in his hands for 2.59 seconds on average, second for the center position behind Julius Randle. What does this mean? Cousins does not rely heavily on things that require much burst, such as alley-oops, backdoor cuts, and pindown actions. He is a methodic, ball handling big who has a style of play an achilles tear may not disrupt.

3. Achilles Tear? Boogie Can’t Jump Anyways

Surely, this tear will limit Boogie’s verticality. His ability to elevate may shrink by 3-4 inches. Fortunately, this will not be a big factor for Cousins, as he can’t jump anyways!

Cousins had one of the worst max verts for centers in combine history (27.5) inches. FiveThirtyEight reported that Cousins is always among league leaders in players getting blocked. When asked about it, Cousins responded that it was “because I can’t jump.”

So here is the point. Boogie’s verticality was a negative factor for him before the injury. Will potentially losing a few inches on his vertical really have a major impact on this non-jumper? I think not.

4. Style of Play Mitigates the Impact of an Achilles Tear

Ah, it is finally time to get into the meat and potatoes of this discussion. Who is Demarcus Cousins? What is his style of play?

Boogie has never relied on quickness to score buckets. Contrarily, he has relied on bullying his opponents with his size. What makes him special is not his quick feet but, his nimble feet. Trust me, there is a huge difference. Cousins moves like a ballerina from someone his size. Watch him utilize his strength and nimble feet in this gif.

Boogie nimble and strong.gif

Does he blow by anyone? Nope. Instead, he actually slows down to use a nifty crossover to get past Denzel Valentine. Then he initiates contact with Bobby Portis, which creates the separation he needs to get his shot off, despite having limited lift. The guy is a physical beast who moves like Jerry Rice. An achilles tear will take away from his quickness; however, it won’t stop plays like this from punishing opponents repeatedly.

When he has a favorable mismatch, Cousins will pick on the little guy until he gets a good shot. Check out him flinging around the 210 pound, muscular David Nwaba like he’s a 6th grader. After watching the film, I was surprised at how often Cousins plays bully ball. Yet, he has the soft touch to make opponents pay.

boogie bully.gif

Here is one more for you. Does Cousins simply blow by Nurkic? Negative. He simply bumps him out of the way, ignoring the fact that Nurkic is literally 280 pounds! Would a torn achilles disallow Boogie from doing this against just about every other center in the league?

Boogie Nurkic.gif

As Cousins ages, he will rely more on the DHO (dribble handoff) game. He does this a bunch, as it utilizes his big frame for screen setting. Cousins has turned into a masterful popper on the DHO, and buries sagging defenders from beyond the arc. This part of his game should be unaffected from the injury.

5. What other Options do the Pelicans Have?

I know. I hate this rationale too. But, it is a fair question to ask.

New Orleans has not been known for attracting too many free agents. To acquire talent, they have traded for their other stars or starters (Boogie, Holiday, Mirotic.) As GM Daryl Morey is fond of talking about, teams must up their risk profile to beat the Warriors. The NBA is all about acquiring top-end talent; talent that can take you to the finals. If not Boogie, then who?

At his best, Cousins is an MVP candidate, All-NBA center and top-10 player in this league. He is a matchup nightmare for teams, and when engaged, even plays a little defense. His offense is good enough that it makes up for his defensive deficiencies, allowing coaches to leave him on the court versus small lineups. We will have to wait and see if his leash gets shortened as teams single him out during postseason PnRs.

The injury concern is a reasonable aspect to consider. I get it. Yet, Boogie’s game has never relied heavily on a quick first step and burst, something an achilles tear seems to impact the most. Yes, defensively he will probably get even worse. Thankfully, he has Rondo, Holiday and AD to help him through this part of his game.

The Verdict

Give my man the max. It is a risk, but one that New Orleans has to take. Their window is now. They do not have any promising young assets, picks or future cap space. Place your trust in perhaps the most untrustable man in basketball. He’ll be good for it.

Disagree? Tell me why? @Mattesposito_

Is LeBron back to Cleveland becoming more likely?

LeBron James

The NBA Draft has come and gone. Now, all eyes turn to free agency and LeBron James. While Vegas continues to raise the chances for the Cleveland star to end up on the Lakers, things could be going in the other direction. With the Paul George becoming more and more likely to stay with the Thunder, it is hard to see LeBron going to the Lakers without another star. This isn’t even mentioning the Spurs turning away all of the Lakers’ calls for Kawhi Leonard.

In addition, the Cavaliers also took one of LeBron’s favorite players in the draft last night: Collin Sexton. If all this wasn’t enough evidence, there are multiple reports saying the Cavs are still in discussions with the Hornets for star guard, Kemba Walker. People believe that LeBron is doing whatever he can to stay in Cleveland, and if the Cavs continue to improve by free agency, the King may stay home after all.

Check out more NBA News and Rumors HERE.