The 2021 NBA Draft Class will go down in history as the first draft to be held in-person after the pandemic and the first with at least one G-League player drafted into the league. Teams have constantly pushed to remove the one-and-done rule for freshmen talents in college and we are now seeing the effects of the change in NBA 2K22.
This current draft class is filled with athletic guards and forwards who have the potential to be elite shotmakers or lockdown defenders at their positions. As usual, NBA 2K pegs rookies at a maximum of 80 overall for lottery picks with second-round picks having at least a 69 overall in the game.
Having a list of notable rookies will be important for you as a gamer regardless of the game mode you are in, be it MyGM, MyPlayer, MyTeam, or one of the many alternatives. As such, here is what you need to know about this batch of rookies for NBA 2K22.
It was touted as a two-horse race for the first overall pick, with Cade Cunningham or Jaylen Green earmarked as the two best players in the draft. They are two athletic guards in Detroit and Houston respectively who will have a lot of the ball in rebuilding situations. They will start the season as 79 overalls with the ability for a mid-season ratings upgrade or downgrade depending on performance.
Other talents that stand out in the first round include Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors, Josh Giddey of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Chris Duarte of the Indiana Pacers. This is a particularly difficult draft to cover as analysts say that this class has a high floor but a ceiling with All-Star capabilities only.
Barnes, Giddey, and Duarte have impressed their teams thus far in pre-season. They start at 76, 75, and 73 overall this year, but we expect them to earn an upgrade if they continue this impressive early form. All three can be combo guards in your 2K22 roster and can fit into any team given their great height and wingspans.
Notable Players to watch in the First Round
Cade Cunningham | Detroit Pistons
PG/SG; 80 Overall; 82 Inside Scoring; 79 Athleticism; 79 Playmaking
Jaylen Green | Houston Rockets
SG/SF; 79 Overall; 82 Athleticism; 80 Outside Scoring
Scottie Barnes | Toronto Raptors
PF/SF; 76 Overall; 83 Athleticism; 77 Playmaking
Josh Giddey | Oklahoma City Thunder
SG/PG; 75 Overall; 81 Playmaking; 76 Athleticism
It’s still too early to gauge the potential of the current second-round draft picks,as only one has a solid spot on an NBA roster in Isaiah Todd of the Washington Wizards. Austin Reaves went undrafted but was snapped up by the Los Angeles Lakers and looks to be a key asset for their championship run.
Many of the second-round players come from Europe and Africa which is a new sight to see in the league. The NBA 2K development team pegs them at a 70 overall, but we have seen this change over the years with Desmond Bane, Theo Maledon, and Isaiah Joe earning huge upgrades in NBA 2K21 during their breakout campaigns.
There are still many hidden gems to be found in the 2021 NBA Draft Class and perhaps you can find one when trying to scout for talent in the MyGM game mode.
Notable Players to watch in the Second Round:
Jared Butler | Utah Jazz
SG/PG; 70 Overall; 76 Athleticism; 74 Outside Scoring, 71 Playmaking
Isaiah Todd | Washington Wizards
PF; 70 Overall; 72 Athleticism; 65 Inside Scoring; 65 Outside Scoring
Herbert Jones | New Orleans Pelicans
SF/SG; 70 Overall; 74 Athleticism; 60 Inside Scoring; 59 Outside Scoring
Ayo Donsunmu | Chicago Bulls
PG/SG; 70 Overall; 74 Athleticism; 67 Outside Scoring
The NBA season is long and, as it matures, expect the 2K development team to keep track of the progress of players as they improve or regress. We may start to see rookies earn more minutes and jump into the Rookie of the Year conversations such as what happened between LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards last season.
Downgrades may also happen for rookies, especially for lottery picks who still do not have the opportunity to showcase their talents, with James Wiseman and Onyeka Okongwu examples of that from last year.
Many of the rookies this year, however, are in rebuilding situations and are expected to contribute right away, so a jump in ratings may be coming for them. Other situations where the stock of a rookie may fluctuate may be when an injury occurs in the regular rotation, the team deciding to tank the season, or the rookie impressing the coach as the season continues.
The overall outlook of rookies is positive for the 2021 NBA Draft Class. Cade Cunningham is looking like a future superstar in Detroit while other rookies such as Scottie Barnes and Chris Duarte are slotting in well for their injured teammates in pre-season.
If the current games are showing the future of the NBA and NBA 2K22, we may see overall ratings continue to rise and it will be harder to choose which team to play with together with your friends.