The highly anticipated NBA 2K22 is set to release on Friday across all major gaming platforms and as ever, there is huge excitement surrounding the game amongst its loyal players. The NBA 2K series is the biggest basketball gaming franchise in the world and boasts an ardent and devoted fanbase that has high expectations of the game. There is plenty of debate surrounding the game’s annual ratings reveal each summer and that has continued throughout this edition of the game.
Arguments have taken place surrounding who the highest rated player in the game should be, with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antentokounmpo and Steph Curry all tied at the top on 96 overall. That debate is almost as interesting as the current race for the NBA Championship, which has had plenty of betting interest from fans. If you are interested in betting on the NBA then head over to Max Free Bets first.
They are your one-stop resource for all of the best betting offers and free bets from the UK’s best betting sites, online bookmakers and betting apps. Another one of the most exciting aspects of each release of NBA 2K is the league’s newest stars from the most recent draft class being introduced to the game for the first time. The ratings of each of the new rookies is always a topic of discussion and it’s no surprise that no.1 pick Cade Cunningham is the top selection at 80 overall.
He is followed by Jalen Green (79), Evan Mobley (78), Jalen Suggs (77) and Scottie Barnes (76), with the five highest-rated players also being the first five lottery picks. The ratings are almost in exact order of the draft, but 2K has switched Suggs and Barnes who went fifth and fourth to the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors respectively. Here, we will be taking a look at the best young players that you should be using in NBA 2K22 including some members of the 2024 NBA Draft class.
1. Luka Doncic
It’s remarkable at the tender age of 22 that Luka Doncic is the main cover star of NBA 2K22, despite playing just three seasons in the NBA. The Slovenian point guard has become the centrepiece of the Dallas Mavericks franchise in the wake of Dirk Nowitzki’s retirement and has the potential to exceed the German stretch four’s achievements in Texas.
Doncic is already a top 10 player in the NBA in the eyes of most and his early career numbers suggest he could become the second player this century to average a triple double after Russell Westbrook. Rated 94 overall this year, he lit up the Los Angeles Clippers in the Playoffs, averaging 36 and 10 in the series and looks set to make another jump this season.
2. Cade Cunningham
Cade Cunningham was the unanimous number one overall pick for the majority of the previous NBA season and it was the Detroit Pistons who won the Cade lottery. Being picked first overall in the 2024 Draft, Cunningham has since been ranked as the highest-rated rookie on NBA 2K22 with an overall rating of 80.
He will have only just turned 20 by the time the new NBA season has started but will still carry the hopes of the Pistons franchise on his shoulders. Detroit now has some nice young pieces to build around Cunningham and although this team may not have too many wins to their name, they should be both fun to watch and play with on 2K22, especially with Cade in town.
3. LaMelo Ball
Last season saw LaMelo Ball prove all of his doubters wrong after convincingly winning the Rookie of the Year award for the 2024/21 season. There was no debate that Ball was the best of the somewhat underrated 2024 rookie class and looked the most NBA ready of all the lead talents in the draft. He is the main piece of an exciting Charlotte Hornets team that boasts plenty of talent and high-flyers in Miles Bridges, Kelly Oubre Jr, and Kai Jones.
Those players combined with LaMelo’s vision and passing ability will make Charlotte a highlight reel and a team that should be a lot of fun to play with in NBA 2K22. LaMelo is rated 84 at the start of the game but expect that number to rise if he shows the level of progression he enjoyed last season.
4. Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson came to the NBA with enormous hype and has thus far delivered on that promise after putting up video game-esque stats in real life over his first two seasons in the league. Last year, Williamson averaged 27 points per game whilst shooting 61% from the field and has proven to be a dominant inside threat at just 21-years-old. Those performances saw the New Orleans Pelicans forward earn his first All-Star appearance last season and there is already urgency to try and put a winning team around him immediately.
Zion is one of the most ferocious dunkers in the league and his huge popularity amongst the younger generation will undoubtedly make him one of the most used players in 2K. His 89 overall rating is thoroughly deserved.
5. Jalen Green
While the Houston Rockets may have received a pretty pathetic player haul in the James Harden trade, the move did allow them to fall to no.2 in this year’s draft lottery to select Jalen Green. Rockets fans will hope the 19-year-old can eventually blossom into the lead scoring option on a contender one day, just as a previous shooting guard once did for the franchise. Green is a hugely exciting prospect and this will of course be the first look we get of him in the NBA 2K series.
The no.2 pick is also ranked second out of all rookies in initial in-game ratings after being awarded a 79 overall, just one point below top pick Cunningham. Green has the potential to score at will at the professional level and is one of a number of young players with huge potential on this Rockets roster, making them a fun young team to use in NBA 2K22.