Last week, NBA 2K18 was revealed to the public with Shaquille O’Neal as the cover athlete for the Legend Editions. However, another athlete will grace the cover of the standard editions, but who? Last year, Paul George was on the $59.99 basic version while Kobe Bryant was the face of the Legendary Editions. If 2K follows the same format this year, who will they choose as the front-runner for the popular franchise? We give our Top 5 predictions to land the cover for next seasons NBA 2K18. Let us know if we share the same in the comments below.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo
2K Rating: 90 OVR
The Greek Freak! One of the most improved players this past season was Giannis Antetokounmpo. He finished the 2016-2017 season averaging 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and dishing out 5.4 assists. Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd decided to play Giannis at the point-guard position with hefty minutes. Although his 3-point shooting percentage was at 27.2%, his efficient overall FG% lands at 52.1%. Not bad for the 22 year old.
His game continues to grow since his debut in 2014. Landing the cover of 2K18 would be a surprise for all of us, but he is deserving of it. The game has evolved into a faster pace with players playing multiple positions. The 6’11” forward does this on the daily and can play all positions on the floor except for maybe a center. The way he plays the game defines todays game so perfectly, so seeing him on the cover would be great.
4. Karl Anthony Towns
2K Rating: 89 OVR
The poster child of the 2016 NBA Draft, Karl Anthony Towns. As the centerpiece of the Minnosota Timberwolves, KAT dominates with the way he plays the game. As a 7 foot player at the center position, his game is more than just playing big in the post. He can run the floor at top speed with ease, shoot 36 percent beyond the arc, and also grab 12 rebounds each night.
Karl is also known to be a great avid player of the 2K series. During his off nights from the league, Towns plays the game extensively and would be a great ambassador for the game.
3. Kyrie Irving
2K Rating: 90 OVR
Possibly the man with the greatest handles in the history of the game, Kyrie Irving is our number 4 pick. The Cleveland superstar hit the biggest shot of his life last year in the Finals, resulting the first ring for the franchise. Commanding the point guard position, NBA 2K would have so many photos to choose from as he is either fading away or creating something out of nothing with his dribbles and magical layups.
Kyrie would be joining the elite guards who already been on the 2K cover like Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, and even Magic Johnson. Adding this to his already championship career would be great for the young guard from Duke. This past season, he averaged 25.2 points, 5.8 assist, and 3.2 rebounds. His best season yet.
Irving represents the 2K brand due to his young game and relentless mentality on court. He challenges 2K to improve their dribbles as he continues to evolve his handles at the NBA level.
2. Kawhi Leonard
2K Rating: 96 OVR
I know what you’re thinking, Kawhi Leonard isn’t marketable. Why would Kawhi, the most silent MVP candidate ever, with zero personality on and off the court. I totally get it. But 2K Sports have created great marketing campaigns before and I can see them do that with Leonard. The Spurs had some TV spots and skits with Kawhi that are actually very funny. Putting him on the cover would result in great television making fun of his quiet demeanor.
Aside from that, his season has been the best one yet. Playing both ways on court, offense and defense, Kawhi has lead the Spurs to a winning record along with Coach Pop. Not to mention a front-runner for this seasons most valuable player player. The Klaw dominated the Western Conference averaging 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
1. Russel Westbrook
2K Rating: 96 OVR
One word, Historic.
I’m sure you have heard enough about this triple-double feat that Russel Westbrook has achieved. Likely the Most Valuable Player of the 2016-2017 season, the Oklahoma City superstar is highly deserving of the 2K crown. Now the only legitimate reason that he is not, is the mere fact that he graced the cover of last years NBA Live 16. Who knows if he still is on contract with EA. But if not, they got to do it.
Usually competing companies throw shade at the others cover athlete, but this could be that one exception. Not only is Russel Westbrook the right decision for the cover, but his presence alone for advertising would be incredible. Jordan Brand could collaborate with 2K on a special edition sneaker along with the release of the video game.
Westbrooks relentless style on and off the court could be a highlight of the game. For the MyPlayer mode, you can add all of Russel Westbrooks wardrobe for your customization. So many possibilities with Russel on the cover. Hopefully we get to see who the man will be soon.