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NBA 2K22 predictions: The 5 highest rated small forwards

LeBron James and Kevin Durant in 2017 [Source: SFGATE]
LeBron James and Kevin Durant in 2017 [Source: SFGATE]

NBA 2K22 is just around the corner and everyone is excited for the release. 2K Sports has intentionally delayed information such as trailers, gameplay videos and several other details to keep up with the mystery and the hype that comes with it. Seeing as we have no NBA action until October 2021, 2K Sports is capitalizing on the lack of games and generating interest in fans by releasing one detail at a time.

As usual, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are two of the highest rated players in the game and they share that podium with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry.

Small forwards are some of the highest rated players in the game. James and Durant are practically cheat codes and who wouldn't love to drop 60 points with them in NBA 2K22? They do a little bit of everything for the team and a gamer can dominate the floor with them. You can block a player on one end and then run coast to coast to posterize your defender.

On that note, let's take a look at the five highest rated small forwards in NBA 2K22. Many on here are revealed ratings while one is a predicted one. Also keeping in mind that NBA is a lot more positionless now than ever before so we have adjusted the positions accordingly.

#5 Jayson Tatum - 90

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics as seen in NBA 2K20 [Source: VGR]
Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics as seen in NBA 2K20 [Source: VGR]

Jayson Tatum has a rating of 90 in NBA 2K22. He started off the game last year (NBA 2K21) with an 88 rating and then proceeded to put on a show in the 2020-21 NBA season so his rating ended up at 91 at one point. However, he did end the game with a 90 rating and 2K Sports has kept his rating the same for NBA 2K22. However, Tatum personally feels his rating should at least be 92 to begin with given his spectacular performances last season. He brought up his 50 point games and his 60-point outing when he tied Larry Bird for the Celtics record to justify his increase in rating.

Tatum has 90-rated outside scoring, 74-rated inside scoring, 82-rated athleticism, 78-rated playmaking, 57-rated rebounding and 78-rated defense. He has a total of 46 badges in NBA 2K21 with 12 gold, 24 silver and 10 bronze. He still has a long way to go to earn Hall of Fame badges in NBA 2K but given his progression and how he continues to get better, it wouldn't be surprising if 2K Sports rewarded him one in NBA 2K22.

#4 Jimmy Butler - 91

Jimmy Butler with the Miami Heat as seen in NBA 2K20 [Source: NBA 2KW]
Jimmy Butler with the Miami Heat as seen in NBA 2K20 [Source: NBA 2KW]

Jimmy Butler might not be the most fun player to play with in NBA 2K but one cannot deny he is certainly one of the most important ones for your team. If you pick the Miami Heat, you will find yourself using Jimmy Buckets more than you realise. He does everything for the team, from scoring and defense to playmaking and rebounding. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that he is the Heat's most valuable player and his recent $184 million contract extension proves that.

Jimmy Butler started off NBA 2K21 with an 89 rating but it shot up to 93 during the 2020 NBA Finals. His ratings the rest of the year kept fluctuating; he touched a low of 90 at one point but finished the game with a 92 rating.

Jimmy Butler's NBA 2K21 ratings over the year [Source: 2kratings.com]
Jimmy Butler's NBA 2K21 ratings over the year [Source: 2kratings.com]

Jimmy Butler was underwhelming, to say the least, in the 2021 NBA playoffs and his NBA 2K22 rating will reflect that. The four-game sweep is remembered for the Milwaukee Bucks' Bryn Forbes outscoring Butler in the series. He scored just 14.5 points per game on 29% shooting from the field including 26% from three-point range, while making 72% of his free throws, all career-lows. We predict his rating to go down by at least one point in NBA 2K22 with the possibility of 90 as well.

#3 Kawhi Leonard - 95

Kawhi Leonard as seen in NBA 2K20 [Source: Silversand Event Management]
Kawhi Leonard as seen in NBA 2K20 [Source: Silversand Event Management]

Kawhi Leonard is a beast in NBA 2K and the second-highest rated player in NAB 2K22. 78% of his scoring attributes, whether outside or inside, are rated above 84. And then he can dominate the defensive end as well. Leonard is rated 88 in defense and five out of the eight attributes are rated 97 or higher. Ever since NBA 2K17, he has been one of the highest rated players in the game.

Kawhi Leonard finished NBA 2K21 with a 96 rating but has now reduced to 95 in NBA 2K22. He has suffered an ACL tear during the 2021 NBA playoffs and is now suspected to be out for the entire 2021-22 NBA season. Hence, his rating isn't expected to improve as the year progresses.

#2 Kevin Durant - 96

Kevin Durant with the Brooklyn Nets in NBA 2K20 [Source: Athletes Creative Trap]
Kevin Durant with the Brooklyn Nets in NBA 2K20 [Source: Athletes Creative Trap]

Kevin Durant is the joint highest rated player in the NBA 2K22. He can do almost anything on the floor on the offensive end as his jump shot is simply unguardable. He is a killer in the midrange and can decimate any defense in front of him. He's the highest in the game at 96 but he personally feels it should be even higher.

He had a phenomenal outing in the 2021 NBA playoffs and dropped a historic 49-point triple-double. He finished last season (NBA 2K21) as 96 and it has stayed put. Durant has 95-rated outside scoring, 85-rated inside scoring, 81-rated athleticism, 82-rated playmaking, 71-rated rebounding and 74-rated defense. He has a total of 43 badges in NBA 2K21 with 21 gold, six silver and 16 bronze. We know he is a jack of all trades but having zero Hall of Fame badges for KD is staggering.

#1 LeBron James - 96

LeBron James with the LA Lakers in NBA 2K20 [Source: visualurl.com]
LeBron James with the LA Lakers in NBA 2K20 [Source: visualurl.com]

King James shares the highest rating for a small forward in NBA 2K22 with Kevin Durant at 96. He has always been one of the highest rated players in the game ever since his early Cleveland Cavaliers days. Since NBA 2K6, James has never fallen below a 94 rating and has averaged a rating of 97. That's just how good LeBron James is. He is one of the most dominant players in the game with a more than four Hall of Fame badges. He had his rating increase to 98 during the 2020 NBA Finals.

LeBron James is so good in the game that in 2015, Kevin Durant admitted to playing NBA 2K15 as him.

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He has a whopping 61 total badges in the game with 28 gold and has 77% of his total attributes rated above 80.

Also Read: NBA 2K22: 5 major improvements fans want to see

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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