The NBA lockout has finally come to an end. We're now only a few days away from basketball returning, but we now have rookies in NBA 2K12 as well. We've been months without some key players, and that has now come to end. A majority of the key rookies have signed and are now in the game, so we here at Operation Sports put together a list of the top rookies in NBA 2K12.
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) - Overall rating: 76
Regarded as the best rookie in NBA 2K12, Irving can get it done at almost every level of the game, with his 80 offense rating and 73 defense rating. Being the highest rated player on the Cavaliers, Irving is fantastic at both inside and outside scoring, where he has a rating of "B-" and "B+," respectively. Crossing up his defender with his great handling, he can get into the lane with ease.
Not only is he a good offensive player, but he's one of the best in the game at perimeter defense, with an "A-" rating. So if you're playing against a 3-point shooting team, Irving can do an exceptional job at stopping them. Irving wasn't the first overall draft pick for nothing. He'll be able to get it done in real life, and in NBA 2K12.
Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats) - Overall rating: 76
Although some will consider Kyrie Irving as the best rookie in NBA 2K12, Kemba Walker will be considered by some as a better player. Walker is a better inside scorer, but Irving is a far better perimeter defender. With them both being rookies, each of them have positives and negatives in their game. Walker has an overall offensive rating of 79, and an inside scoring rating of "B" -- he is one of the best rookies at driving into the lane and scoring. Walker has an outside scoring rating of "B," but if he has a hand in his face, your best bet is pump fake and then drive to the lane. Not only can Kemba score behind the 3-point line, but he can also defend it as well, with a "B" perimeter defense rating.
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs) - Overall rating: 72
There are a slew of great rookie rebounders, and Leonard is no exception, with his 85 rebounding rating. The San Antonio Spurs are known as an older team, but Leonard's reach and exceptional 75 defensive rating and "B-" perimeter defense rating is sure to have more people use them online. He's not just great at defense, though, he can also get it done in the paint with an inside scoring rating of a "B-." Leonard might be an afterthought with so many great players already being on the Spurs, but don't underestimate him, he's a great player in NBA 2K12.
Nolan Smith (Portland Trail Blazers) - Overall rating: 71
Although he's not, right now, as good as Kemba Walker or Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith is a fantastic player in NBA 2K12. His inside scoring rating, which is at a solid "B-," means he can drive to the lane and finish. Smith's overall offense rating is a 73, and although that's not high, he can still score the necessary points. With Brandon Roy now retired and no longer in 2K12, Smith should get a lot of playing time from online players.
Smith, much like Walker and Irving, can get the job done behind the 3-point line ("B" outside scoring rating). A lot of the point guards on this list can not only get it done on offense, but they are also great defenders. Smith is no exception, with his "B-" perimeter defense rating. Although Smith might not be as good as Irving or Walker, he helps the Trail Blazers become a better team, and he would be great if you're trying to make a young, rookie team in the Association mode.
Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves) - Overall rating: 70
Matching up Williams up with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio makes the T-Wolves one of the best young teams in NBA 2K12. Williams is a 6'8" big man who can get it done both in and out of the paint. With an inside scoring rating of "B" and an outside scoring rating of "B+," Williams can match Love shot for shot. Williams' overall offense rating is a solid 79, so don't be afraid to dish him the ball. With Rubio now being on the T-Wolves, expect to see a lot more people use that team online.
Alec Burks (Utah Jazz) - Overall rating: 70
Burks might not have the best overall rookie rating in NBA 2K12, but he is one of the best all-around rookies in the game. With an overall offense rating of 70 and an outside scoring rating of "B-," Burks can help the Jazz get on a successful run. He can also guard the 3-point specialist with his "B-" perimeter defense rating, so he's definitely not good on just one side of the court.
Iman Shumpert (New York Knicks) - Overall rating: 69
A lot of point guards made the list, and with Chauncey Billups now with the Clippers, expect to see a whole lot of Iman Shumpert online (even with Mike Bibby there). Shumpert can get it done on offense when needed, but he's a far better defender with an overall 84 defense rating. That's alright with us, when most of the scoring for the Knicks will be from Melo and Amare.
Shumpert also has an "A-" perimeter defense rating, meaning he is one of the best rookies at that particular job. Shumpert takes a back seat to the other rookie point guards in NBA 2K12, but he definitely deserves more recognition with his great defensive skills.
Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves) - Overall rating: 67
We discussed it a little bit earlier with Derrick Williams, but it can't be said enough: the Timberwolves have a great team in NBA 2K12. Rubio, with his overall 76 offense rating, can easily drive to the lane, and is one of the best at finishing with his "B-" inside scoring rating. As with most of the point guards on this list, Rubio has an exceptional "A-" handling rating. Not only that, but with Williams and Love, he can easily net you plenty of assists.
Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons) - Overall rating: 67
Stuckey is a great point guard, and Brandon Knight makes a fantastic two guard right alongside him. Even though his offense rating is only at a 73, Knight can score the ball. Add in his "B+" outside scoring rating, and Knight can help the Pistons get on a roll. The Celtics are used a lot online, and if you end up going up against them, put Knight on Ray Allen. Knight's "B-" perimeter defense rating means he can guard some of the best 3-point shooters in the game. The Pistons are definitely a team that is rebuilding, so don't expect to see too many people using them online. But if you decide to use them, Knight can provide an early spark.
Marshon Brooks (New Jersey Nets) - Overall rating: 67
Marshon Brooks joins one of the youngest teams in NBA 2K12. With his inside scoring at a solid "B-" and his outside scoring at a "B+,' Brooks can provide a spark for the Nets. His overall offense rating is at a 70, which is low compared to other players on the list, but trust us when we say, Brooks can get it done on offense.
Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers) - Overall rating: 66
Irving might be the scoring threat for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Thompson is the defensive machine they need. With an overall 81 defensive rating ("B-" post defense rating), Thompson can stay with Howard, Garnett and the other eastern conference big men. He's also phenomenal at rebounding, with him having a 75 rating. That rating might seem low, but in our time with the new-look Cavaliers, he pulls down some outstanding rebounds. The Cavaliers are now a team that will see a big jump in online activity, and that's mainly due to Thompson and Irving.
Jimmer Fredette (Sacramento Kings) - Overall rating: 63
Jimmer got a lot of love in college, so in NBA 2K12 he should be one of the best rookies in the game. Instead, he's given absolutely pitiful ratings. His outside scoring is great at an "A-," and his handling is one of the best from the available rookies. But his inside scoring is at a measly "C+." His overall offense rating is only at a 71. There are some players who deserve higher ratings, and Jimmer is one of those players.
Enes Kanter (Utah Jazz) - Overall rating: 63
Kanter will be dominant in the paint, both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. With a rebounding rating of 81, he can battle it out with even some of the best rebounders in the game. His 6-foot-11, 259-pound frame doesn't hurt either. Kanter's "B-" post defense means he can go one-on-one with some of the best low-post players as well. But not only that, with an inside scoring rating of "B-," he can also get it done with scoring. Kanter might have a low overall rating, but he can definitely get it done on both offense and defense, and he makes the Jazz an even better young team to use online.
Honorable Mentions: Markief Morris (Suns); Marcus Morris (Rockets); Reggie Jackson (Thunder); Jimmy Butler (Bulls)
We could go on and on, because there truly are a lot of great rookies in NBA 2K12. Even though the NBA lockout kept them out of the game for awhile, it was worth the wait. The ones listed above are the ones who deserve the most recognition, as they are sure to be popular online and in Association mode. Over the next few months, we'll see the ratings for these players rise and fall, but you can't go wrong with any of the players above.
Do you think we missed any rookies who deserved to be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.