With the Los Angeles Lakers winning the championship recently the NBA season is officially over. Fans of the NBA are now sulking, waiting for the next season to start as a new round of optimism will kick in. It's unclear how soon that will be so in the meantime they must turn to NBA 2K21.
Emerald cards in its MyTeam mode hover in the low-to-mid 80's so it's not like they're game-changing. Knowing which ones are the best of the best though could give you the most bang for your buck when first assembling a competitive roster.
10 Domantas Sabonis (83)
Domantas Sabonis is currently an emerging star for the Indianapolis Pacers and the son of Hall of Fame big man Arvydas Sabonis. He may not have inherited the 7'0" plus size of his father, but Domantas is every bit of 6'10". He's a versatile big who matches today's game exceptionally well and averaged 18.5 points and 12 rebounds before shutting down his season due to plantar fasciitis in his foot. His emerald card is good at best and should be used as an energy substitute off the bench until you acquire a more accurate card for Domantas.
9 Hassan Whiteside (83)
Most NBA fans wouldn't disagree with the statement that Hassan Whiteside has tricked the league into thinking he's more than average. He's a solid rebounder who gets paid like an NBA All-Star and manages to continue to get paid. His card matches reality perfectly as it can rebound and attack the glass regularly, but outside of that, it isn't doing much. He's 7'0" tall which means his ability to protect the rim is expected and his scoring ability is limited at best. Whiteside is a good rim protector to have alongside an athletic power forward.
8 Mario Elie '94 (83)
Mario Elie had arguably one of the best careers for a role player as he won 3 championships, played for 11 years, and was an assistant coach in the NBA for another 13. A look at his career stats won't show anything special, but it was the little things he did with his basketball intelligence that allowed him to be a key contributor. Elie's emerald card is as average as average can be, but a shot IQ is nothing to overlook, especially when it's attached to a card with an overall of just 83. The card can be found as part of the clutch theme card set.
7 Ricky Pierce '98 (83)
Ricky Pierce is a name lost to history as he didn't do a whole lot outside of winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award twice. Fans of the NFL will take a glance at his emerald card's art and assume he's related to all-pro outside linebacker of the Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack.
Pierce was a reliable scorer who would give you 12 points or more every night, and though that may not seem like a lot, next to a superstar that could often mean the difference between winning or losing against good teams.
6 Nikola Vucevic (83)
When asked to name the best centers in the NBA most would point to Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, or the emerging Bam Adebayo. Nikola Vucevic is a name they likely won't present and that's thanks in large part thanks to the Swiss product being stuck in Orlando playing for the Magic. In the last two seasons, he's averaged 19+ points and 10 rebounds per game, and over his career, those averages land at 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. He's a solid rebounder and can get you double-digit points inside the paint.
5 John Collins (83)
John Collins is a young power forward for the Atlanta Hawks that's developed over the last 3 seasons at an alarming rate. Despite missing 25 games during the 2019-20 NBA season for violating the league's anti-drug policy Collins turned in an average of 21 points and 10 rebounds per game. He's a promising talent, and if he avoids any more off the court issues, can turn the Hawks into a perennial contender. His emerald card is part of the base set and is part of a dynamic duo alongside point guard Trae Young.
4 Andre Drummond (83)
Andre Drummond is arguably the best modern rebounder in NBA history and yet most casual NBA fans don't know who is. This is due in large part to the fact that he's spent almost all of his career playing for the Detroit Pistons.
For his career, Drummond has averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds per game, which doesn't happen by accident. He's so respected for his ability to rebound that his 83 overall emerald card in NBA 2K21's MyTeam comes with an offensive rebound rating of 85 and a defensive one of 87.
3 Cliff Robinson '91 (83)
The NBA 2K games are pretty respectful of the game and will often be quite generous to former players when rating their cards. Cliff Robinson was a power forward for the Portland Trailblazers and was a decent scorer who only averaged 4.6 rebounds per game despite being 6'10". His emerald card gifted him with rebounding ratings in the 80s, which seems a little too nice. He was also 2x Defensive Second Team which is reflected in his slightly above average defensive ratings overall.
2 Zack LaVine (83)
Zack LaVine is a young star in the NBA who currently plays for the Chicago Bulls. LaVine has made a name for himself thanks to his high-flying acrobatics that have contributed to him being named one of the league's best dunkers. He has yet to develop much outside of the highlight tapes but statistically he's gotten better every year. His 83 overall emerald card is part of the base set and is best used as a highlight waiting to happen. He is best in an offense that loves to run the fastbreak and get running after a defensive rebound.
1 Shane Battier '13 (83)
Shane Battier is one of the better perimeter defenders to ever lace up in the NBA and was an underrated member of the LeBron James-led Miami Heat championship squad. He could hit the occasional 3-point shot and was solid from the free-throw line, but his strength was in his defense. Battier took pride in that and was consistently putting effort into shutting down whoever he was asked to guard. His emerald card may just be an 83 overall but it comes with a jaw-dropping 91 rated shot contest attribute.
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