Year: 2008
Rating: 84
Crucial Stat: 15.5 PER
The Difference: For the most part, sports video games are about offense. In an NHL game, it's great to have Henrik Lundqvist making sure nothing goes in, but you really just want the puck back so Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik can work their magic and you can deke your friend out of their chair. The same goes for NBA games. For a while there, Ben Wallace was the best defensive player in basketball. Undersized as he was, he had a ferocious motor and genius-level handle on how to rebound and just play D. Then he went to the Bulls and quickly became overpriced and overmatched. The Bulls weren't the reason this happened mind you, what happened was an underrated player became overrated because he was getting paid more and not producing nearly as well as he used to (the current Bulls have this same problem with Carlos Boozer). Since 2006, Wallace's PER has been above-average once (barely, in 2009, for a terrible Pistons team). That didn't stop NBA2K8 from rating him an 84, ahead of other centers Tyson Chandler (already one of the better defensive presences in the game, and traded by the Bulls to make room to sign Wallace a year prior) and LaMarcus Aldridge (not technically a center, but coming off a really good rookie season and only getting better). The game never tried to make Wallace anything he wasn't on offense (just don't bother shooting, you'll miss), but at the other end of the court he was a demon. Though there was no way to predict he's decline would be so rapid, the writing had begun to appear on the wall by 2K8.