There’s really nothing better for NBA junkies and gamers alike than NBA 2K. There’s no alternative for any true fan of basketball and video games, as the franchise seems to reach new levels of fandom every year, digging the once dominant NBA Live franchise a deeper and deeper grave (still, nothing beats having NBA Live dunk contests with your friends, ALWAYS pick Vince Carter).
There’s always ways to keep busy, whether it’s playing opponents online, playing MyCareer or MyTeam, or settling bragging rights with your friend right next to you; limitless hours of fun is always just a click away.
I’ve been playing the game since Allen Iverson was on the cover of 2K1, and I’d like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at it (I’ve certainly played it enough). I’ve molded a strategy with different nuggets of ways to play, from finding the right players to use or how to excel on offense, that make the game easier and more fun in the process.
The style of 2K changes slightly from year to year — sometimes the post game dominates and sometimes you’re betting off pushing the pace and doing spin moves — so there’s really no strategy that can transcend every game, but I like to think my advice should serve for any version of 2K within the past three or four years.
In this piece I’ll list off a few different ways to play the game that are helpful to anyone, regardless of level of play or whether or not they play online.
In the first part I’ll cover how to pick a team, from finding the right superstar to filling out the role players, and in the second part I’ll cover how to dominate on offense and defense.
How to pick your team
Picking your team for either franchise mode or online competition is the first step for any gamer.
You’d think you could find the best teams by picking the highest rated teams or base it off the teams that are the best in real life, but oddly enough, that’s not always the case.
To start your search for a team, you have to find the right superstar.
From my experience, no matter what team you are, you want your offense to go almost entirely through one or two players.
Just like finding the right team doesn’t necessarily mean finding the best team from real life, the best players in the game vary.
Of course guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant are dominant, but surprisingly, they’re not the best players.
You’ll ideally want a superstar who can handle the ball, that’s tall for his position and that’s athletic, fast and can hit a jumper.
That covers quite a bit, and should steer you towards superstars like James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose, among others, but will also turn you onto guys like Andre Iguodala and Terrence Ross, who if used right, can be absolute studs.
From there, if the superstar you’ve picked can’t adequately play point guard, pick a team that has a bigger point guard. Traditional point guards like Chris Paul and Tony Parker are ballers in real life, but can be blocked easily in the game and have a hard time bodying up on offense and defense.
After that, stock your wing players with shooters, shooters and more shooters. Ideally you’ll handle the ball with your superstar, leaving your other wings on the perimeter open for jumpers. You’ll also want guys who can finish and possibly play some D, but shooting ability is the priority.
At power forward, find a guy who can navigate the pick-and-roll on offense and play in the post, with the ability to rebound and block shots on D. He doesn’t need to be an All-Star either; even a guy like Thomas Robinson should do just fine.
At center, rebounding, both offensive and defensive, is key. Think guys like Omer Asik and J.J. Hickson; bigs who primarily stick to put-backs and are pluses on the defensive end.
Stock your bench with one or two bigs, and the rest should be shooters. Shooters go hot and cold, and sometimes you might prefer the shot mechanics of different players, so you’ll want to have as many shooters at your disposal as possible.
As for bargain bin players to look for, find tall, athletic wing players with speed; guys like Terrence Williams and Gerald Green run like point guards and are unstoppable at the rim.
Also, Ray Allen; he’s the consummate role player, just needs to sit in the corner and has the prettiest three-point stroke. I find a way to put him on every team I play with.
So, you might be thinking, what teams does that bring me to?
It really depends. If you like doing trades or signing free agents, you can start with a superstar and make trades however you please.
If you’re going with a team as is, the best bets are the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls or Golden State Warriors.
To learn how to use those teams to wreak havoc on both sides of the ball, check out Part 2 tomorrow!