Every year, a handful of highly touted prospects enter the NBA, and some make an immediate impact right away.
Last season, we saw players like Ja Morant and Zion Williamson impress their respectable clubs right away. Heading into the 2020/21 NBA season, there may be some rookies that can make a name for themselves right away.
Here is a look at the top five rookies in NBA 2K21, along with a handful of first-year players with the potential to surprise this season.
Anthony Edwards (77 OVR)
Overall Rating: 77
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
Archetype: Mid-Range Specialist
Best Stats: Speed (89), Acceleration (89), Potential (88)
Taken first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2020 NBA Draft, many expect Anthony Edwards to be a huge part of the team’s backcourt in the near future. Drawing comparisons to Dwyane Wade and Donovan Mitchell, Edwards is a unique combo-guard with good size, strength, and athleticism.
As a one-and-done player in college, Edwards averaged an impressive 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 40.2 shooting for Georgia last year. He was also a finalist for the Jerry West Award, which recognizes the top collegiate shooting guard.
Needless to say, he should help improve the Timberwolves offense, which was ranked 24th last year. Playing alongside all-stars D’Angelo Russell and Karl Anthony-Towns should make Edwards’ transition into the NBA a little bit easier.
The first thing to note with Edwards is his speed (89) and acceleration (89), which is elite-level for a rookie in NBA 2K21. Being one of the faster players in the game, he has the ability to blow by opponents and is a constant threat to score in transition. Combine that with an 83 layup, and you can utilize Edwards’ speed for a lot of easy drives to the basket.
Labeled as a mid-range specialist archetype, you should also be able to stop on the dime and create many mid-range pull-up opportunities with Edwards. With an 81 mid-range shot and a 75 three-point rating, he can also play off the ball and be an efficient catch-and-shoot player. Add that to an 83 speed with ball and a 76 ball handle rating, Edwards is arguably the most offensively polished rookie to use in NBA 2K21.
James Wiseman (78 OVR)
Overall Rating: 77
Team: Golden State Warriors
Archetype: Glass Cleaner
Best Stats: 88 Potential, 87 Overall Durability, 85 Offensive Rebounding
James Wiseman is another high-end rookie in NBA 2K21. Taken second overall by the Golden State Warriors, Wiseman is an athletic big man with the tools to become a dominant center in the NBA someday.
Standing at 7’1” with a 7’6” wingspan, he has the right physique to be an intimating shot blocker and a trusty finisher at the rack. Joining a well-coached defensive team in Golden State, you’ve got to like his chances of developing into a defensive anchor for the franchise.
Aside from his physical tools, Wiseman is also a great shooter for a big man. With a 67 mid-range shot, he stretches the floor and is a reliable threat to score in the pick-and-pop scenarios.
Perhaps his greatest strength is his ability to grab rebounds, which is likely one of the reasons why the Warriors drafted him over LaMelo Ball. Given that this is an area they have lacked in for a few years, Wiseman should offer a boost in that regard.
With an 85 offensive rebound and an 80 defensive rebound, Wiseman is classified as a Glass Cleaner in NBA 2K21. At only 19-years-old, the rookie is still a few years away from his prime, but adding him to a roster that consists of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins should give the Warriors a chance at becoming a playoff team again in 2021.
LaMelo Ball (77 OVR)
Overall Rating: 77
Team: Charlotte Hornets
Best Stats: 98 Hands, 95 Shot IQ, 86 Handle
LaMelo Ball was one of the most-hyped prospects outside of the NBA for the past few years. Taken third overall by the Charlotte Hornets, he is one of the more unique rookies to enter the league for a long time.
Not only is he one of the most famous social media teenagers in basketball, but Ball also possesses a wealth of experience for his age. Before entering the NBA Draft, he became the youngest American to sign a professional basketball contract – joining BC Prienai of the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL).
Shortly after that, he was a marquee player in the Junior Basketball Association, which is a new league created by his father as an alternative to college basketball. Furthermore, in 2019, he signed a two-year contract with the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian-based National Basketball League (NBL).
Impressively, he already has three seasons of professional basketball under his belt, which might give him a slight edge over his draft cohorts. As a playmaker archetype in NBA 2K21, Ball is already an above-average point guard in 2K21.
With 84 playmaking, 84 speed with ball, and 98 hands, he is arguably the Hornets’ starting point guard from day one. Add that to a 95 shot IQ, 84 speed, and a 6’7” frame, and Ball could be a match-up problem for smaller guards around the NBA.
As a dual position guard, the Californian gives you the option to use him as your team’s primary ball-handler or secondary playmaker at the two.
Obi Toppin (76 OVR)
Overall Rating: 76
Team: New York Knicks
Archetype: Inside-Out Scorer
Best Stats: 90 Vertical, 90 Shot IQ, 90 Hands
Obi Toppin was the New York Knicks’ prized selection in the 2020 NBA Draft. Taken eighth-overall, the New York-native is considered to be one of the better prospects to feature in the Knicks’ system for a long time.
Before entering the draft, Toppin was a standout player in college and built a very impressive resume. He captured the National College Player of the Year Award, the Karl Malone Award, and the Atlantic 10 Player of Year Award in 2020.
In many ways, people feel like he slipped in the draft and was a tremendous steal for the Knicks. Standing at 6’9” with a slim build (220lbs), Toppin is an Inside-Out Scorer in 2K21. Essentially, he’s a dual-threat that is capable of giving your team instant offense when his number is called.
With an 80 three-point rating and an 85 driving dunk, Toppin is one of the more versatile offensive power forwards in the game. At 22-years-old, he might be more physically ready for the rigors of the NBA than most prospects from his draft class.
Even though Toppin is only a rookie, the Knicks don’t have the most appealing roster. So, there is an opportunity for him to become a starter right away. If so, we might see his 2K rating gradually increase throughout the NBA season.
Onyeka Okongwu (76 OVR)
Overall Rating: 76
Team: Atlanta Hawks
Best Stats: 88 Stamina, 85 Standing Dunk, 84 Block
Onyeka Okongwu of the Atlanta Hawks is another of the best NBA 2K21 rookies. Taken sixth-overall by Atlanta, the former Chino Hills standout has the ability to be an elite finisher for the Hawks right away.
Standing at 6’9” with a 7’2 wingspan, he is also an exceptional rim protector, with the length and strength to match-up well against most NBA bigs. In his one-year college career at USC, he averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks per game, and was named to the All-Pac-12 First-Team.
Aside from his defense, he is a relentless rebounder with a decent touch around the basket. Boasting an 85 standing dunk and 79 offensive rebound, Okongwu is one of the better rookie forwards that you will find in the NBA 2K this year.
His 85 potential means that he could be a strong foundational piece if you are looking for a young forward to build around. Besides that, he could also be a highly valued trade chip that can be used to acquire more proven players to help your team get better right away.
All the best rookies in NBA 2K21
With the top players dissected, below is a table with all of the best rookies to use in NBA 2K21.
|Patrick Williams||Chicago Bulls||SF/PF||75|
|Deni Avdija||Washington Wizards||SF||75|
|Isaac Okoro||Cleveland Cavaliers||SG/SF||75|
|Killian Hayes||Detroit Pistons||PG||74|
|Devin Vassell||San Antonio Spurs||SG||74|
|Tyrese Haliburton||Sacramento Kings||PG||74|
|Precious Achiuwa||Miami Heat||PF||74|
|Jalen Smith||Phoenix Suns||PF||73|
|Kira Lewis Jr.||New Orleans Pelicans||PG||73|
Using any of the best rookies in NBA 2K21 shown here should give you a headstart in most game modes. As you familiarize yourself with their archetype and strengths, you will gradually gain a considerable advantage over your opponents who lack the knowledge of how to play against these new stars.