Breaking Down NBA 2K16’s Classic Celtics Ratings


Everybody who pre-ordered NBA 2K16 will receive a copy of the game today. Yet, for everybody else, we’ll have to wait until the game hits shelves September 29th.

Last month, I broke down the ratings that had previously leaked. Yesterday, I updated my analysis to include the all the players’ ratings that have been publicized since then.

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Today, I’ll offer my take on some of the former Celtics players’ ratings.

One feature NBA 2K has always had is its inclusion of playable “classic” rosters. These classic teams were usually past championship squads or otherwise historically significant (such as the “Run TMC” Golden State Warriors). In years past, 2K Sports usually offered the 1964-1965 and 1985-1986 Celtics as playable options. But the new NBA 2K now includes the championship-winning 2008 Celtics team as well.

The majority of these classic teams’ player ratings have been released, so you’ll find my take on each available one below.

1965 Boston Celtics

K.C. Jones: 81

Jones was a pitbull defending the perimeter (before there was a perimeter). He was also a talented passer on a very uptempo Celtics offense. 81 therefore seems like a fair rating, despite his name being more connected to Celtics lore from his coaching tenure in the Bird-era. For those needing a refresher in Celtics history, all you need to know about Jones as a player was that he was not an elite offensive player, but he was the best perimeter defender on the best dynasty of all-time.

Larry Siegfried: 71

Siegfried had an interesting story; after the ABL closed its doors, the St. Louis Hawks picked Siegried up, before subsequently releasing him. Then in his early 20’s, without an NBA team, Siegfried went on to coach high school basketball before Red Auerbach took a chance on him. He’d go on to lead the league in FT% and find steady minutes throughout a respectable ten-year career.

Sam Jones: 86

While people tend to associate the 60’s teams most with Bill Russell and John Havlicek, it was actually Sam Jones who’d average the most PPG during the 60’s in Boston. On the 1965 team, Jones averaged 25.9 points per game to establish himself as the team’s number-one offensive option. He had a nice jump shot and lethal transition game – perfect for Red Auerbach’s fast-break offense.

Bill Russell: 96

K.C. Jones’ college teammate, Bill Russell was, unequivocally, the Celtics most historically important player of all-time. Because of him, the Celtics are, and likely forever will be, the most successful dynasty in American sports. His speed, defense, passing and leadership made him the best player of the 1960’s – even better than Wilt Chamberlain (who only got a 91 overall).

John Havlicek: 82

Hondo’s 82 rating seems somewhat low, but you have to remember that – by this point – he wasn’t a star yet. He actually came off the bench for his first few seasons. He still ended up scoring 18.3 PPG in the ’65 season but he was yet to develop into the high-volume scorer we know of today. It wasn’t until the ’68 season that he became the perennial 20+ PPG scorer. The Celtics’ all-time leading scorer, simply had his best years following the 1965 season.

Tom Sanders: 80

While Sanders is a Hall-of-Famer, he didn’t have a typical Hall-of-Famer career. He was a talented defender, who could guard almost every position, thanks to his strength and speed in both transition and lateral movements. Fun fact: Sanders is tied for the third most-championships of all-time with eight.

Tommy Heinsohn: 76

Ouch, 76? I suppose Heinsohn was years beyong his prime by the 1965 season, but 76? Really? This is a two-point drop since his last rating in the previous NBA 2K. Guess they don’t like Tommy’s ref-bashing.

Still missing ratings: Mel Counts, John Thompson.

1986 Boston Celtics

Dennis Johnson: 82

By 1986, DJ was a tad over-the-hill. Yet, he was still talented enough to conduct the best Celtics offense of all time. He was a talented ball distributor and cutter, but his best aspect was always his perimeter defense. If one of 2K’s classic teams were the late-70’s Suns teams with DJ, he’d have probably earned himself at least an 87 rating.

Danny Ainge: 77

2K with no regard for Danny Ainge. 77?! Ainge made the all-star team just two years after the ’86 season, and would score over 20 PPG with the Sacramento Kings in 1989. I suppose he was still developing his skills by the 86 season and I suppose the fact that he only averaged 10 PPG impacted 2K’s decision. He also wasn’t quite the three-point threat yet by 1986.

Larry Bird: 96

Between ’84 and ’88, Bird was the best player in the world. He won three MVPs and posted two (!) 50-40-90 seasons. So 96 seems pretty reasonable here. Well done, 2K. What’s best is they only gave LeBron James a 95 for this season. HA!

Kevin McHale: 90

What’s bizarre about McHale is that prior to the ’86 season, he was the Celtics’ sixth man. But by the ’86 season, coach K.C. Jones had no choice but to start McHale, who had by that season, successfully asserted himself as both a prolific post-scorer and rim protector (2.0 BPG). In 1986, McHale would make both the All-Star team and All-Defensive First Team.

Robert Parish: 84

By ’86, the Chief may had lost a tad of his athleticism, but he’d still go on to play another ten years in the NBA. It was actually in his last season that he won his next championship, playing with the Jordan-Pippen-Rodman 1996 Bulls.

Bill Walton75

Foot injuries severely limited Bill Walton’s NBA career, but with a stroke of luck, he managed to stay healthy throughout the ’86 season. His contributions to that team had established the former-MVP, as probably the most famous sixth man in NBA history.

Still missing ratings: Scott Wedman, Sam Vincent, Jerry Sichting

2008 Boston Celtics

Rajon Rondo: 84

While Rondo’s current 2K rating of 77 is straight lunacy, his rating for the 2008 squad seems fitting. Of course, Rondo  had not developed into the offensive virtuoso by this point, but he was the perfect complementary player for that team. That team could not have won if it was not for Rondo’s defense and ability to defer to his much-superior teammates.

Sam Cassell: 74

When Cassell was a rookie, he won his first championship with the Houston Rockets. He was the energetic wild-card, who proved too unpredictable for opposing teams to defend that he ended up stealing significant playing time from starter, Kenny Smith during the 1994 Finals. Fast forward to 2008, Cassell became the wily veteran in his final season. He found himself in a leadership role, mentoring Rondo – a player who much like himself in his rookie season – was tasked with navigating his team’s offense in the playoffs at a young age.

Ray Allen: 87

Ray’s usage took a steep drop from 29% in Seattle in 2007, to 21% in Boston. But his ability to masterfully integrate himself into the Pierce-Garnett-Allen trifecta, helped the trio become one of the most well-rounded Big Three’s of all-time. Allen’s consistency from the corner three elevated the Celtics’ offense to an elite-level.

Tony Allen: 75

A 75 rating seems appropriate for a transcendent defender who may in fact be the worst offensive player in the league. Yet one thing Allen had going for him in 2008, was his dunking, which has since evaporated from his game.

Paul Pierce: 91

The Truth’s trademark has always been his propensity to hit big shots. Hell, he still does that to this day. However, when Pierce had his athleticism, he had the ability to fly past his defender and draw even more fouls, making him virtually-impossible to defend.

Kevin Garnett: 89

In a past NBA 2K game, probably about ten years ago when he was still on the Timberwolves, I remember KG was a 99. It was unfair whenever somebody played as him. Any shot inside the free-throw line was automatic. By 2008, KG’s offensive production had decreased, but his defense was still second-to-none. He made the NBA All-Defensive First Team and won the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Glen Davis: 74

Big Baby’s work on the offensive boards was a key part of that second-unit’s offense since it gave the offensively-limited rotation second-chance points. In hindsight, he was a mere ninth man whose agent inexplicably found the leverage to negotiate a lucrative four-year/$24 million deal from the Orlando Magic.

Kendrick Perkins: 72

I never understood why Perk was always so underrated around the league. He admittedly wasn’t/isn’t an exciting player, but his defense – compounded with his ferocious (moving) screens and killer scowl – made him the perfect front-court pairing for Kevin Garnett.

Still missing ratings: James Posey (I don’t think Scot Pollard is needed here)

To see every player rating available, click here.

Next: Which David Lee Is In Boston?

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