When the NBA 2K video game comes out each year, it’s always interesting to see which players have the most improved ratings.
Below are the individuals around the league whose ratings have skyrocketed and how to best play with each of them moving forward.
Victor Oladipo, 79 → 88 (+9)
When the Indiana Pacers traded for Victor Oladipo, few expected him to become an All-Star in his first season with the new team.
But the former No. 2 pick has become one of the most surprising stars in the league this season. While many believed the Pacers were poised to tank for a high draft pick, Oladipo has instead led Indiana to playoff contention.
He is considered the favorite for the NBA’s Most Improved Player this year. The 25-year-old is also one of the most impressive pick-and-roll ballhandlers in the league, but he can also score in a one-on-one offense and as a dominant spot-up shooter.
Meanwhile his steal percentage ranks in the 99th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass.
Donovan Mitchell, 75 → 84 (+9)
Donovan Mitchell, who was selected at No. 13 in the 2017 NBA draft, has helped Utah stay relevant after losing Gordon Hayward.
The first-year player is in serious contention for Rookie of the Year and already took home a trophy as the slam dunk contest champion. Before competing, he even campaigned with a petition to help improve his dunk rating in NBA 2K.
When playing as the Jazz, you can use Mitchell as the primary scorer and don’t hesitate to use him on spot-up opportunities. Among players with as many attempts on this play-type, no one has been more accurate than the Utah guard (50.0 percent) this year.
Clint Capela, 79 → 87 (+8)
The Houston Rockets are currently the hottest team in basketball and have even taken over the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference from the Golden State Warriors.
James Harden is almost certainly going to be named 2018’s NBA MVP and Chris Paul has been an incredible addition to the powerhouse. But big man Clint Capela cannot be ignored. Outside of the free agents who will require super-max contracts, the Swiss-born baller might receive the most impressive deal this offseason.
It would be hard to find a better roll man in the PnR and he can also cut to the basket with ease. He has thrived in their transition offense and provides help on putback attempts, too. Avoid using him on post-up opportunities, though, as Houston has only used him like this with four percent frequency.
Reggie Bullock, 68 → 76 (+8)
Detroit Pistons forward Reggie Bullock has shown that he is one of the most capable three-point shooters in the NBA.
He is a good spot-up shooter who can score off screens and on handoffs extremely well. The best way to shoot with the 6-foot-7 forward is on above-the-arc three-pointers. Among those with as many attempts, only two players have been more accurate than he has (44.0 percent) on non-corner threes so far this season. One of those players is Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
Bullock can also cut to the basket with extreme efficiency and has played very well in transition for Detroit.
Tyler Cavanaugh, 65 → 73 (+8)
Atlanta Hawks rookie Tyler Cavanaugh has impressed as a power forward during his first professional season.
Even though he has started just one game and has spent time in the G League this year, he has looked great as a spot-up shooter. This is where he is used most often for Atlanta (41.0 percent frequency) so do not try to get too fancy with him.
If he has an open lane to cut to the basket, however, this is another area that the 24-year-old has played well for the Hawks. Despite a small sample size in his career, Cavanaugh is shooting 10-for-13 (76.9 percent) as a rookie.
Kris Dunn, 72 → 79 (+7)
When the Chicago Bulls traded their star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves, one of the primary centerpieces they received in the exchange was guard Kris Dunn.
Even though losing Butler was expected to be a massive loss for the Bulls, young assets like Dunn ensure that Chicago now has a capable core moving forward. He is mostly used as a pick-and-roll ballhandler with his new squad and as some know, he worked with legendary playmaker God Shammgod to improve his crossover.
Dunn is a confident video game player and believes he could defeat anyone in his class at NBA 2K. One would have to assume he would play as himself, too, with his new rating.
Tomas Satoransky, 70 → 77 (+7)
No one rooting for the Washington Wizards wanted to see them lose star guard John Wall to injury.
The one thing that has helped them during Wall’s absence, however, is the stellar play from Tomas Satoransky. The 26-year-old has actually been the NBA’s most efficient player on this play type, per Synergy Sports. He can also hit a spot-up shot with extreme accuracy and is very good in transition, too.
Among those with as many above the break three-point attempts, no one has been more accurate than Satoransky (47.9 percent) so far this season. He also leads the league in field goal percentage on shots from within five to nine feet of the basket (61.0 percent) as well.
Satoransky has the second-lowest usage rate (13.8 percent) on the Wizards, however, so don’t try to run the offense through him.
Jordan Bell, 69 → 76 (+7)
Golden State Warriors rookie Jordan Bell was picked in the second round, but has played like one of the best first-year players in the league due to his incredible fit on this team.
He rarely misses near the rim, shooting 77-of-113 (68.1 percent) on shots from within five feet of the basket. Only four players who have had as many shot attempts in transition have been more accurate than Bell (80.0 percent) this season.
His defense is sharp, too, as his block percentage ranks Top 5 (36.4 percent) among rookies who have played at least as many minutes.
Fred VanVleet, 69 → 76 (+7)
The Toronto Raptors have the best bench unit in the league statistically and guard Fred VanVleet has played a key role for them.
VanVleet averaged 22.3 points per 36 minutes in January and looked smooth for the Raptors. Only five players in the league have shot better than he has (45.2 percent) from downtown since January 1. Try him from the left corner on three-pointers for the best success.
He is a very good spot-up scorer, but don’t be afraid to hold on to the ball for a little bit. The only player on Toronto who averages more seconds per touch is DeMar DeRozan.
Eric Moreland, 65 → 72 (+7)
While we already included his teammate as one of the most improved players earlier in this article, Detroit’s Eric Moreland has also received some love.
He has been very good as the roll man in a PnR offense and in transition offense for the Pistons. The 6-foot-10 big man ranks in the 99th percentile when looking at his assist-to-usage rate, per Cleaning The Glass. He and Bullock have established chemistry as the forward is shooting 10-for-16 (62.5 percent) after passes from Moreland.
The 26-year-old may look good in the video game, but don’t shoot too often. Moreland has averaged just 1.5 field goal attempts per game.