The release of NBA 2K23 is just around the corner with Los Angeles Lakers players likely expecting their overall ratings to drop after a rocky 2021-22 season.
In the game’s previous edition, the Lakers had two starters boasting ratings in the mid-90s in LeBron James and Anthony Davis — James sharing the highest OVR of 96 with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry — in addition to Russell Westbrook coming in at 86.
Despite injury struggles, James had an unbelievable season, almost claiming the second scoring title of his career. And according to Michael Corvo of Clutch Points, the 37-year-old will maintain his 96 OVR as suggested by Monday’s player ratings leak — coming out just four days before NBA 2K23’s release date on Sept. 9:
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) September 6, 2022
It looks like Westbrook’s rating has dropped following a difficult first year with the Lakers, falling to 78 OVR. Meanwhile, Davis will stay in the 90s club with a round 90 OVR.
Thomas Bryant and Lonnie Walker IV complete the Lakers’ starting lineup with overall ratings of 76 and 75, respectively.
To start the season, only Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is higher than James at 97 OVR while Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are also 96s.
The Lakers’ starting unit can change before the 2022-23 season’s Opening Night. The Purple and Gold are believed to be still working on a Westbrook trade, hoping to bring back key role players in return.
The Lakers could do so by offering their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, which are considered to be currently the most coveted draft assets in the NBA. L.A. could still try to snatch some of the veteran players that remained on the Utah Jazz roster following Donovan Mitchell’s trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, the Purple and Gold will likely have to offer both first-rounders to send Westbrook away and acquire valuable rotation pieces.
Westbrook won’t be sent home if not traded
Some summer reports claimed the Lakers could send Westbrook home — just like the Houston Rockets did with John Wall last season — if they can’t trade the 2017 NBA MVP before the start of 2022-23.
However, it is believed L.A. is currently leaning “very strongly against” the idea — with the 33-year-old also likely to attend the upcoming Lakers minicamp if it comes together.
The update dovetails with another report that claims the Lakers are “comfortable” with having Westbrook on the roster heading into training camp, which starts on Sept. 27.