Last year, the Blue Devils rocked rims in college arenas nationwide. Now, four of them prepare to do the same to pro rims, both real and virtual. In anticipation of NBA 2K20’s September 6 release date, the Blue Zone tries its hand at predicting the ratings of a quartet of Duke rookies, with focuses on some defining attributes.
Duke students have grown accustomed to a steady diet of grade inflation, but it’s important to keep in mind the context of rookie ratings in the NBA 2K series before spiraling into a bout of internet outrage over a perceived slight. Former Duke high-flyers Jayson Tatum and Marvin Bagley III received initial ratings of only 77 and 78, respectively. The highest initial overall player rating for a rookie in the past decade was an 81 for both John Wall and Kyrie Irving in NBA 2K11 and NBA 2K12, respectively.
So don’t feel slighted if Zion barely fractures the record with an 82 overall rating, as there are still holes in Williamson’s otherwise electric game. Here are a few traits to look forward to and a few to wrinkle your brow.
Driving Dunk: 93
Despite Williamson’s ability above the rim, he plans on avoiding the NBA Dunk Contest. That doesn’t disqualify him from entering on your home console, though. Is it presumptuous to already call using Zion in the dunk contest cheating?
Fair warning to all who are considering taking Zion’s gumbo—he will take it right back, and then embarrass you in front of all your friends. In limited Summer League action, we got this gem of a clip:
Offensive Rebound: 87
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He may not be the tallest player on the court at any time, but his incredible leaping ability helped Williamson prove his prowess on the boards last year. He recorded 3.5 offensive rebounds per game last year, good for ninth in the nation and far better than any other incoming rookie. This attribute, in conjunction with his strength and other rebounding attributes, may allow for small-ball lineups with Williamson as the lone big man in your MyTeam rotation.
Open Shot Three: 68
Williamson shot just 33.8 percent from deep in his lone season at Duke with most of his long-range attempts coming on wide-open looks. Factor in the longer three-point line, more capable defenders and a new offensive system to learn, and you won't see a very strong shooting score. I strongly advise against Steph Curry-like attempts from the logo with Zion this year.
Free Throw: 67
A 64-percent free throw rate doesn’t look too hot for crunch-time charity stripe shootouts. Thankfully, Williamson is adept at finishing in traffic.
It’s one thing to look at Williamson’s 275-pound monster truck physique, but another to carry it on your back. Former players, current players and analysts alike have all encouraged Williamson to slim down in preparation for an 82-game season, but that has yet to happen. This may pose a health risk, and fatigue issues may limit the phenom’s playing time in real life.
Don’t worry, though—you can keep slamming the beignets while Zion does the work for you on the screen.