NBA 2K23 joke reminds Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook that his stock has fallen considerably throughout the league after the 2021-22 season.
Russell Westbrook has been doing his best to live his best life, showcasing his apparel brand Honor The Gift at Paris Fashion Week in late June.
But the NBA world refuses to let Russ move beyond a disappointing Lakers season, evidenced by his overall ranking in NBA 2K23. The video game, which is set to be released on Sept. 9, hasn’t officially released Westbrook’s ranking, but an NBA parody account did for them — and based on the reaction, such a score would be highly controversial.
Johnson White, an NBA parody account on Twitter, claimed that Westbrook only managed a meager 72 overall ranking in the latest iteration of the basketball video game franchise, and the reactions are divided. Some defended Westbrook’s stat line, saying that he definitely didn’t deserve a ranking in the low 70s, even as a joke. Others said that this is exactly the kind of ranking Westbrook deserves when the September game arrives.
“What did Russ do to 2K?” one person asks.
Fake Russell Westbrook 2K23 ranking has fans assessing just how bad he was
Although opinions vary on how bad Westbrook was and what this means for his NBA legacy, one thing is clear: the 2021-22 Lakers season was not what anyone had in mind when the Los Angeles team traded for Westbrook last July.
Still, it’s been one season, and the 33-year-old still has plenty of years to remind the league of his capabilities. It wasn’t that long ago when Westbrook shot more 3-pointers than Kevin Durant has in a single season of his career, which demonstrates what he’s capable of, not that he’s a superior shooter to Durant.
Of course there are many factors when one evaluates a player’s performance, but in some regards, Westbrook didn’t have a season that deviated that far from his career average. For example, Westbrook actually had a higher field goal percentage at 44.4 percent in 2021-22, compared to a career average of 43.8 percent. His 3-point field goal percentage in 2021-22 was slightly worse than his career average, as Westbrook made 29.8 percent of his three-point attempts compared to a career 30. 5 percent. His effective field goal percentage was higher than his career average, although his free throw percentage was considerably worse than his career average.
All that sounds quite positive, but statistics evaluating player efficiency and win shares indicate that Westbrook may deserve a 72 ranking after all. His PER (Player Efficiency Rating) was 15.0, and his estimated WS (Win Shares) were just 1.7 in 2021-22, per BasketballReference. Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists through 78 games in the 2021-22 season.
All of this will continue to be fodder for dispute among basketball fans, especially since Westbrook recently opted in for another season in Los Angeles. For Lakers fans, the hope here is that Westbrook can contribute to team wins and demonstrate efficiency on the court without a shadow of doubt.