Lion King isn't 10/10 BEST DISNEY EVER MY FAVORITE MOVIE so I don't really have much investment in debating the quality of it vs. the sequel. Also I haven't seen either in full in years. But:
Simba's Pride has some genuinely interesting concepts going on, which I don't think can be said about most Disney sequels. Simba holding his kid back because of his own childhood experiences, idea of characters with a personal connection to Scar, Kovu being raised as a weapon, etc. Zira actually works well as a villain, as someone so devoted to her king/possible lover that she's carrying out this long-form revenge and sticking to her principles after losing everything (her suicide would've been cool too; not sure if they pussied out or it wasn't allowed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoctlRyGdf8
The new characters' designs feel like they come from the same universe-- actually I like that they have other lions who look like Scar-- and the Outlands make for a cool setting. Some of the songs are good; soundtrack as a whole isn't forgettable.
Can't really judge animation or writing etc. just from memory, and so I don't know if I'd like it if I watched it right now. But I do think the fact that I can name off a few positives makes it feel there was some effort put into it compared to similar cashgrabs, whether that effort actually succeeded or not.
I think its biggest failing on the writing front is that they didn't even make a token effort to account for the fan-fic-ish premise. Like, the plot isn't hard to grasp and so you can sorta go along with "Scar had a follower or mate or whatever who's raising his kid who isn't actually his kid but he might as well be and also Simba kicked them out before the movie began" when those concepts are introduced. But more of an explanation or a flashback, to show where that would all fit in relation to the original, would have gone a long way.
I do find it interesting even now, so that's a point in its favor.