Brandon Jennings has no idea why NBA players care so much about their NBA 2K ratings. But because he and every other baller has an ego, they naturally do. So when the game's ratings were released in late August, one of the newest Knicks was not particularly pleased with his 75.

"When I looked at other guys’ ratings—and I’m not trying to throw shade—but when they had Jared Dudley ranked higher than me, I was like I’m not rolling with that one," he says. 

But that 75 is a hell of lot higher than what his buddy Drake—who hosted the OVO Bounce Tournament in Toronto this past summer, which Jennings played in for the third time—would earn is he was a player in the game. 

Before training camp kicked off, we caught up with the eight-year NBA vet who inked a one-year deal with the Knicks this summer, to chat about his new teammates, how Kristaps Porzingis's swag caught him off guard, and what kind of rating Drake would deserve in 2K. 

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

Did you expect to wind up with the Knicks?
It was definitely something on the radar. But it was definitely a surprise. I had gotten a call from Phil Jackson and right after that it was go time. It definitely turned the whole summer around.

Drake can shoot. Drake got a jumper. Drake is a cool spot-up shooter. He can knock the jumper down in the clutch and if he’s open. But everything else, no.

Where did you think you were going to end up?
I really had no idea. Nobody really wanted to give me a chance because of my Achilles injury. Teams were saying they didn’t know where I was at and how I looked. So I feel like this year is a year where I’m just betting on myself.

So you had no idea that Phil was going to dial you up?
My agent told me that he was going to call. But it was still like, “Oh, shit.”

Phil seems to have a real fondness for your game. What is about you that he loves, that he wanted you so badly to be a part of the Knicks?
He told me I can help the team out a lot coming off the bench, being a sixth man. Who definitely wouldn’t want that role to be in New York City, playing with guys like Carmelo Anthony, D-Rose, Joakim Noah, Porzingis? I couldn’t pass on that opportunity.

Have you talked to other guys about what it’s like to play in New York?
They say just don’t read the papers.

 

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek used plenty of two point guard fronts during his time as the Suns coach. Should we expect to see you and Derrick Rose in the backcourt for extended minutes together?
It’s definitely really something I can’t wait to do. We’re both playmakers so to be out there on the court together would be great. I definitely know a lot about Jeff Hornacek; playing with the Utah Jazz, they used to do two guards front with him and John Stockton. And he did the same thing in Phoenix. I’m sure we’ll definitely see a lot of that this year.

D-Rose took heat for the whole “super team” comment over the summer, but I know you went on the record saying you loved it.
Working out with D-Rose this summer, he just looked real refreshed. He looks motivated again, excited, and healthy again. A guy like that, who was MVP a few years ago, when he says that you have no choice but to get excited. He knows that we have a chance to win. It just feels good to know your star point guard is already thinking on a high level.

Your first impressions of Porzingis?
The first time I met him…the kid got a lot of swag. That was one of the things that kind of surprised me. He has so much talent and potential. He’s a guy that nobody is really talking about in this whole situation. Which is a good thing because we know how good he really is. I think he’s really going to surprise people coming back for his second year.

What surprised you about his swag?
I see him a couple of times come down dunk it and move his head and move his shoulders a little bit. Just little things, like he’s not scared. I think last year they said Dwight Howard had dunked on him and they said after the game he was looking at the schedule to see when they played him again so he could dunk on Dwight Howard.

You’re going to be rocking whatever sneakers you want this year since you have no shoe deal?
I’m just going to bet everything on myself this year. I’ve got a couple of companies that want to make me some shoes. Reebok might make me some Questions custom for the first game of the season to honor Allen Iverson and his Hall of Fame induction.

So you’ll be switching it up a lot?
I’ll probably just wear a lot of Nikes and Reeboks.

Why do NBA players care so much about their 2K ratings?
[Laughs] I don’t know, man. It’s more because of the fans. The fans are more into it now and Ronnie [Singh], you can hit Ronnie, and I talk to him a lot during the season. We kind of get into it, but it’s all cool. It’s just all fun and games.

Were you happy with your 75?
Not at all.

What number were you expecting?
When I looked at other guys’ ratings—and I’m not trying to throw shade—but when they had Jared Dudley ranked higher than me, I was like I’m not rolling with that one. I know I was hurt and all that, but I’m not rolling with that one.

Drake Eastern Conference Finals Cavs Raptors Toronto 2016
Image via USA Today Sports/Dan Hamilton

You played in the OVO Bounce Tournament this summer.
It was my third time. Every year the tournament is getting better and better. The weekend is dope because everybody is there. Kemba Walker is there. LeBron is always there. Tristan Thompson, all the Toronto NBA players. It’s really, really dope.

Have you played ball with Drake?
Yep.

What kind of rating would he get in 2K?
Drake can shoot. Drake got a jumper. Drake is a cool spot-up shooter. He can knock the jumper down in the clutch and if he’s open. But everything else, no.

So he’s less than your 75?
YEAH! Drake could never beat me. I tell him that all the time.