Predicting the Detroit Pistons’ NBA 2K19 Ratings

We’re just about a month away from the release of NBA 2K19, and in the weeks prior to the game’s annual release comes the announcements of overall ratings for every player in the league in the form of screenshots from 2K, featuring a focused view of the player with a rating beside him. The ratings released so far have been limited to mostly the league’s top-tier players, including the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Giannis Anteokounmpo, among others. However, there have been no screens released of Detroit Pistons players just yet, but taking into account both the announced ratings of stars and boosted ratings based on the player’s potential (87 is a bit high for Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell despite fantastic rookie seasons, no?) I’ll be taking my guesses at the overall ratings of every Detroit Piston on the 15-man roster, from lowest to highest.

Bruce Brown – 69 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – N/A)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 68

2018 Las Vegas Summer League - Detroit Pistons v Los Angeles Lakers

Image: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Bruce Brown showed flashes is this summer’s Las Vegas Summer League that could warrant him being an integral piece of Detroit’s future, bringing to the table nearly everything a team loves to have in a young player, besides what the Pistons need most from their wings – shooting. Brown will likely be spending the majority of his rookie season with the Grand Rapids Drive, so don’t expect a jump in his rating over the course of this season. But with the possibility that the Pistons could be thin at the wings with both Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson awaiting paydays after the 2019 season, eyes will be on the former Miami guard to see whether he’ll be a contributor for the Pistons in the coming years.

Khyri Thomas – 70 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – N/A)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 71

The Pistons’ other rookie, Khyri Thomas, who was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night, looks to be the more NBA-ready of Detroit’s two 2018 draft picks, possibly having the ability to step in as a three-and-D presence if the injury bug strikes in the Motor City again. Regardless of where he is now, the former Creighton guard is already 22 years old, among the oldest rookies in the league, and can hopefully step in as a contributor for Detroit sooner rather than later. Similiar to Brown, Thomas will likely be spending the majority of his season in the G League, but could also get on the court with the Pistons for extended periods, depending on how the season is going in Detroit.

Henry Ellenson – 72 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 71)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 74

Henry Ellenson

Image: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press

Henry Ellenson failed to crack the rotation in his second season in the NBA, and after an uninspiring Vegas Summer League that included one of the worst shooting performances in the entire league, this season could be his last chance from not only the Detroit Pistons but the NBA as a whole. However, with no clear options behind Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond in Detroit, Ellenson will have a prime opportunity to make an impact in his third professional season with his versatile offensive repertoire.

Jose Calderon – 73 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 71)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 74

In his one season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jose Calderon probably played a bigger role than the Cavs expected him to, as former MVP Derrick Rose left the team for a large portion of his time in Cleveland, while Isaiah Thomas was injured for the nearly half the season and struggled once he returned. Calderon is obviously no longer a starting point guard, and maybe no longer capable of a backup role. However, Calderon brings a key attribute that the Pistons assuredly will take advantage of when he’s on the court -shooting. Calderon maybe wasn’t the best signing with a number of younger options on the market, but the Spaniard will provide a key veteran presence during his Pistons reunion.

Langston Galloway – 74 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 73)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 73

Langston Galloway

Image: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports

Langston Galloway came out of the gates firing on all cylinders to start the 2017-18 season, being near the top of the league in three-point shooting. Eventually, his efficiency came back down to Earth – and then came down a little more to the point where he ended the season with below average marks across the board. As a player who was brought in almost exclusively to be a shooter, (and at the time, a third point guard) Galloway absolutely has to hit his shots to be effective on the court. His performance in training camp and pre-season could determine whether the fifth year guard is in Dwane Casey’s rotation or not.

Zaza Pachulia – 74 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 76)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 73

Zaza Pachulia was faced with a reduced role with champion Golden State Warriors last season due to the superior play of Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney, and JaVale McGee. In fact, the two-time NBA Champion failed to even step on the court for the majority of the Dubs’ postseason run, appearing in just seven games. He’ll likely start the season as the backup center for the Pistons unless the aforementioned Henry Ellenson impresses enough to slide into the rotation. You know what you’re getting on the court with Pachulia, a tough, gritty, and sometimes dirty player that can grab rebounds and be a solid post defender. Hopefully, both Ellenson and Jon Leuer are able to produce enough for Detroit that Pachulia’s services will rarely be needed.

Jon Leuer – 74 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 75)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 76

After a decent first year in Detroit, Jon Leuer appeared in just eight games before his season was ended with a sprained ankle, an injury that probably shouldn’t keep a player out basically the entire season. Leuer failed to knock down a single three-pointer this past season, arguably the main reason he was signed in the first place. If the former Wisconsin big can bounce back with a 10 point, five rebound per game season, his minutes and NBA2K rating should increase as well. With options behind Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond sparse, Leuer needs to show he is a playable option when the two All-Stars need a breather.

Stanley Johnson – 75 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 73)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 75

Stanley Johnson has settled in the low to mid-70s when it comes to NBA2K ratings since he was drafted in 2015. He’s obviously proven to be much more consistent on the defensive end, showing he can be one of the league’s top wing stoppers. The offensive side of the ball has been a different story for Johnson, who has shown he can be a solid playmaker and slasher in spurts but has yet to consistently nail his outside shot. For the third year in a row, “this could be the year that Stanley breaks out”, but as a restricted free agent after this season, the forward must prove his worth to both the Pistons and the rest of the NBA if he plans on securing himself a long-term contract in the offseason.

Glenn Robinson III – 75 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 74)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 76

Detroit’s premier offseason signing, Glenn Robinson III should be primed for his best season as a professional, as he will be given a chance to become a consistent starter for the first time in his young career. A dunk contest champion and rotation player for the Indiana Pacers prior to an ankle injury that kept him out most of last season, Robinson has shown flashes of his great tools in the NBA. Robinson provides versatility at the two or three, showing that he has the potential to be an above-average shooter and defender in the right system. The former Michigan product will be competing with three of the next four players on this list for a starting position with Detroit next season.

Luke Kennard – 75 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 71)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 78

Luke Kennard

Second-year guard Luke Kennard could be looking at a decent increase in his NBA2K rating from where he started in NBA 2K18. Image: Brian Sevald/Associated Press

Despite always being viewed as the player selected before Rookie of the Year finalist Donovan Mitchell, Luke Kennard provided the Pistons with everything they could’ve wanted out of him in his rookie season. Despite being given an alarming amount of DNP’s from former head coach Stan Van Gundy, Kennard proved to be arguably the best shooter in the draft class, as he and Celtics’ forward Jayson Tatum were on another level in their opening campaigns. Kennard could be looking at a starting role with Detroit next season and beyond, especially if he improves his off-the-dribble offense and overall team defense. Of any player on the Pistons’ roster this upcoming season, I’m expecting Kennard’s NBA2K rating to raise the most, possibly into the high 70s.

Ish Smith – 76 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 74)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 77

While not exactly fitting the mold of a modern NBA point guard, Ish Smith has filled in adequately as both a sixth man and a makeshift starting point guard for the oft-injured Reggie Jackson. Smith will again settle into the same role in his third year in Detroit, and likely his last unless the Pistons’ front office decides to bring the speed demon back on another short-term deal. Health permitting, Smith should be leading the Pistons’ deepest second unit since he arrived – which isn’t saying much – but should benefit the 30-year-old’s top tier playmaking skills.

Reggie Bullock – 77 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 68)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 78

Reggie Bullock finally made himself known in his fifth NBA season, shooting the cover off the ball after getting his first consistent minutes at the game’s highest level. While I wouldn’t expect Bullock to replicate his ridiculous three-point percentage of nearly 45 percent, it’s not unreasonable to think he could, considering the moves the Pistons have made over the course of a year. Bullock and Blake Griffin showed instant chemistry after Griffin’s arrival, as the point-forward assisted Bullock more than any other teammate of his last season. Dwane Casey’s offense should gift the sweet-shooting wing with plenty of wide-open looks all over the court, which could result in his best scoring season to date. This could be Bullock’s last season in Motown, as he will hit unrestricted free agency next offseason, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts, folks.

Reggie Jackson – 79 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 77)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 82

Reggie Jackson

Image: Adam Hunger/Associated Press

I boarded the Reggie Jackson-hype train as soon as he arrived in 2015, as he proved to be an instant improvement over former starting point guard Brandon Jennings. Even with his injuries destroying the Pistons’ playoff hopes over the past two seasons, I still firmly believe that a healthy Jackson can make a push to be a top-10 point guard in the NBA. 2016 Jackson was a borderline All-Star, and I’m cautiously optimistic that he’ll be able to return near that level with less offensive responsibility on his shoulders in the upcoming season. This could be ‘Action Jackson’s’ last chance to prove he is capable of running a starting unit in the NBA, and another injury would all but end any hope of him returning to form.

Blake Griffin – 87 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 87)

Predicted End of Season Rating – 89

Blake Griffin sporting a Pistons’ uniform is still insane to me, as he was an MVP-candidate just a few short years ago. I don’t think there’s any chance he returns to that level of superstardom, but he is nothing short of a star in Detroit. While it may not be as flashy or exciting, don’t be surprised if Griffin has one of the best seasons in his career accompanied by elite playmaking skills and basketball IQ, along with (hopefully) an above-average 3-point shot. Blake Griffin is the most skilled player to play for Detroit in over a decade, and while he most likely will never live up to his hefty salary, he has more than enough left in the tank to make it reasonable.

Andre Drummond – 87 Overall (2K18 Base Rating – 85) Confirmed

Predicted End of Season Rating – 90

Although I did predict Andre Drummond to start the year as an 87 overall in NBA 2K19 prior to writing this piece, it was confirmed on Tuesday by Ronnie 2K that his starting rating would indeed be an 87.

While Blake Griffin is currently the most skilled player on the Pistons, Andre Drummond has shown he is right on his heels. Vastly improved playmaking, free throw shooting, and the possibility of expanding his offensive arsenal to the 3-point line show that the sky is truly the limit for a big man that was once thought of as an offensive liability. Only time will tell if he will be able to show touch beyond the paint, but after easily the best campaign of his career, it’s hard not to get excited about the 25-year-old All-Star.

Featured Image – Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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