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The Mystics’ NBA Live 18 player ratings are released

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Emma Meesseman has respect within the WNBA now. But the video game makers aren’t buying it.
Stewart W. Small

On Sunday, Lamar Carter, one of the writers on the Womhoops Guru blog shared the player ratings of every WNBA player in NBA Live 18, which became a Twitter moment. You can check out all of the teams’ ratings there, but here are the Mystics’:

Mystics player ratings on NBA Live 18

Player Rating
Player Rating
Elena Delle Donne 90
Emma Meesseman 84
Tayler Hill 81
Krystal Thomas 81
Kristi Toliver 80
Ivory Latta 78
Tianna Hawkins 78
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt 76
Asia Taylor 75
Natasha Cloud 73
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough 73
Haley Peters 71
Allison Hightower 67
Lamar Carter

Before we start picking this apart, it’s important to realize that this is the first year we’ve ever seen player ratings in the WNBA, so it’s a baseline. Next, we also have to realize that the WNBA has 12 teams instead of 30 like the NBA. Therefore, the talent disparity between the best WNBA team (Minnesota Lynx) and the worst WNBA team (San Antonio Stars) isn’t as drastic as the talent disparity between the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets.

Now, let’s pick this apart:

Which WNBA players were a 90 or higher?

Player Team Rating
Player Team Rating
Sylvia Fowles Lynx 93
Maya Moore Lynx 92
Candace Parker Sparks 92
Tina Charles Liberty 92
Brittney Griner Mercury 92
Diana Taurasi Mercury 90
Elena Delle Donne Mystics 90
Nneka Ogwumike Sparks 90
Breanna Stewart Storm 90
Lamar Carter

Nine players received a 90 or higher, including Delle Donne. Though I wish Delle Donne was higher -- and she should — we also need to keep in mind that Delle Donne is not a true post like Sylvia Fowles or Tina Charles. So a 90 for a center is a bit different than a 90 for a small forward or a point guard. That’s one thing we don’t see here.

But assuming Delle Donne is rated as a small forward, she would be the best one in the league. So in that respect, it was a fair rating.

Emma Meesseman however, is probably furious about her rating

If you followed the Mystics before Delle Donne showed up, you probably know that Emma Meesseman has been their best player for the last several seasons.

Unfortunately, the NBA Live crew doesn’t agree, when they gave her an 84. To be fair, she was the second best Mystics player. But the true disrespect doesn’t show up until you see some other posts who rated higher than her.

WNBA posts whose ratings were below 90 but higher than Meesseman’s

Player Team Rating
Player Team Rating
Glory Johnson Wings 87
Stefanie Dolson Sky 87
Crystal Langhorne Storm 85
Jonquel Jones Sun 85
Alyssa Thomas Sun 85
Lamar Carter

We’ve seen John Wall fight for higher video game ratings in this point guard Golden Age we’re in, and Meesseman may also be in a post player “Golden Age” where she suffers a ratings drop for various reasons like these:

  • Meesseman’s game isn’t video game friendly - When you’re a post who likes to move off the ball for shots, isn’t the most trigger happy shooter (though that has changed), and play solid defense, those don’t spell a recipe. And that doesn’t get recognized enough in video game ratings. That’s kinda why John Wall still struggles to be better than Kyrie Irving as a video game player.
  • Meesseman’s impact often doesn’t have a simple stat with it - Sometimes, Meesseman’s stats seem pedestrian, but you know she’s going to make the right basketball play almost 100 percent of the time. Making the right play can mean that a player doesn’t shoot or rebound or get an assist. In short, most of the other players on this list are getting “their stats in” more effectively.
  • EuroBasket Women 2017 hurt Meesseman’s chances of a higher rating - Outside of this site, no one in America cared that EuroBasket Women happened. Sure, Meesseman played some weaker competition, but you can see many of the same skills she displayed on the Belgian team with the Mystics as well. Let’s also consider that Meesseman wasn’t an All-Star this year because she went to play in EuroBasket Women in June. All of the other players rated higher than her were in the All-Star Game except for Langhorne. If Meesseman was in the All-Star Game, perhaps that could have helped bump her rating.

As a whole with the other players on this list, I don’t have a problem with their numerical ratings, except for Jonquel Jones, who should be a bit higher than an 85 given her season. I’m also happy to see that Dolson has a high rating after her strong season in Chicago. But I’m still a bit perplexed why Dolson and Langhorne are both “better” than Meesseman.

Kristi Toliver is also fuming

The Mystics’ starting point guard only received an 80. She’s not at Sue Bird’s or Diana Taurasi’s level. But I’m a little surprised that she’s just an 80, but maybe the NBA Live gods will take her playoff performance against the Liberty into consideration.

What else the ratings got wrong

  • I’m not sure how Asia Taylor was a 75. Haley Peters hardly played and isn’t on the team anymore.
  • Natasha Cloud should be in the mid 70’s around where TRP is (76).
  • Allison Hightower is worth more than her 67.

What the ratings got right

To be fair to the folks at EA Sports, here’s what they did right with the Mystics.

  • Krystal Thomas was rated an 81. Considering how strong her rebounding game was, that was well deserved.
  • I’m also pleasantly surprised to see that Tianna Hawkins was a 78. Let’s also keep in mind she’s a rebound “hawk” and has a good three point shot which helps her rating some.
  • Ivory Latta was also a 78, and I feel that’s appropriate given her ability to score quickly from the three point line.

Final Takeaways

I’m happy to see that NBA Live will have a WNBA component in its gameplay. In fact, it was long overdue. In today’s world of online game play and real-time roster updates, it remains to be seen if the folks at EA Sports will release roster updates for WNBA teams as players are traded, sign with other teams, or are released. Though I am a bit disappointed that Meesseman, Toliver, Cloud, and Hightower had low player ratings, maybe a roster update will rectify them.