How to Practice in NBA2K | Coach2K (2024)

If you want to improve your game to a hall of fame level, you really need a practice routine to supplement your actual game play time. While there are many good tutorials out there, I’m not sure I’ve seen a specific guide put together for the sole purpose of practice.

So today, we talking about practice!

Now from the looks of NBA2K’s barebones approach to putting practice options in the game, it appears they are taking the Allen Iverson approach to practice and not giving us many ways to do that.

But regardless of the tools they give us to use, unless you are one of those gifted gamers who can pick up a controller and instantly be a master – which I am not – practice and study is essential to improving our games.

I’m always amazed when I see forum posts about NBA2K, that many people think they are good enough and shocked at the mere suggestion that maybe they could get better still. What they are saying is that more practice will not make them better. Don’t let this be you.

I always feel there are ways for me to get better through input from others suggestions and through practice and study of the game.

There are two basic approaches to practicing in NBA2K.

    1. Practicing in modes specifically designed for practiceThere are currently two practice modes in the game. One is freestyle practice mode where you can work on individual skills like shooting and dribbling and scrimmage mode where you can work on team skills like running plays without the shot clock running.
  1. Practicing by playing in gamesPracticing in actual game situations using the quick game, MyLeague and My Career options versus the CPU and others versus users like quick match or play with friends.

While I am one of those guys who would practice free throws for an hour back when we could do that, my guess is that most NBA2K users don’t take that kind of time to practice simple skills.

They probably use freestyle practice mode to see what releases their players have, take a few shots to get the timing down and then spend the rest of their time learning through the experience of actually playing games.

Very few people probably use freestyle practice mode or scrimmage mode for any length of time mainly because many find that type of practice boring and would rather learn by doing.

So what I’m going to do here is go through the process I use to get better. Now I’m by no means the greatest player in the world but I do get better and stronger throughout the year.

I’ve beaten some of the most skilled NBA2K players at least once if I get a chance to play them multiple times and I’ve knocked off the hall of fame cpu on many occasions as well – once by scoring all of my points with only one player which was crazy.

My philosophy on practice is simple.Work with one player at a time to master one thing at a time. Eventually, you’ll master the whole team.

Here is the process that I go through to get better with an individual player. My goal, learn to use any player at the times he might be needed.

    • Pick a team I can’t stress enough the importance I place on picking one team. Once you are an NBA2K veteran, it’s a lot easier to roam from team to team. A lot of players pick a team that matches their skills. The best players spend time working on being an expert user of one team even if it doesn’t match their skills and learning how to play as that team would and not how they want it to play.
    • Pick a player on that team Start with one player on that team that you will focus on. Your job will be to learn everything you can about that player. I find it’s easiest to start with the point guard.
    • Analyze that players strength’s and weaknessesEach player has a unique set of skills. What you’ll need to do is go into that players attributes, tendencies, signature skills and personality badges that make that player tick. Your goal will be to figure out how to put that player in positions that he is comfortable with.
    • Set your settings properly Always practice at the hardest level. Set your settings to hall of fame, sim sliders. Then if you play on easier level, the game will be easier.
    • Use the same camera angle Set up the camera angle in practice to match the one you’ll use in the game so you have the same perspective across all modes.
    • Use freestyle practice modeTake that player into freestyle practice mode. Identify where that player likes to shoot from the most. Work on that players shooting release and unique set of individual skills. If they are three point shooter, work on three points shots. Post players work on post shots. If they are a dribbler work on mastering their dribbling. Work on those things the player would actually do in the game. I tend to work on one move at a time and then go into quick games to do them in games. Then I come back to practice mode and work on another move to repeat the process. I keep my practices basic though and work primarily on the basic fundamentals like set shots and layups. You won’t see me spending a lot of time practicing iso moves, step backs and so on. The reason I don’t is because my goal is to show you can win games without a ton of “stick skills” and still play an acceptable game style.
    • Use scrimmage mode I personally don’t like scrimmage mode because I want to recreate game situations that incorporate the shot clock, the game situation, the crowd. All these factors come into play during a game that affect play. I know players that spend a lot of time in scrimmage mode and you can learn just as much in scrimmage. It’s just my preference. The good thing is that you can take your time in scrimmage mode.
    • Begin playing quick games vs the HOF CPU I start playing quick games to begin learning my players. Sometimes, I’ll use good teams and other times I’ll just pick a team I want to eventually beat or one that I might be playing versus a user soon after. The key is getting your player on the court and playing. When playing these games, I don’t worry about the score. All I worry about is practicing what I’m working on.
    • Start working on that players plays In quick games vs the HOF CPU, I begin by calling plays each time down for the player. I often focus on one play specifically for awhile just like I do with individual skills. Although it’s not always the greatest playbook. I use my team’s default playbook almost exclusively. Over time, I learn a players playbook and how to quickly cycle to them by heart. This helps me in my real game situations.
    • Give yourself a license to cheese When I am working on one player, my goal is to totally dominate with that player until I have learned as much as I can about them as I can. This means I might do unusual things like score a 100 points or focus on getting a ton of assists. What tends to happen when you do this is that you really learn that players strengths and weaknesses. I remember when I was learning Gerald Green, he would always miss a shot on the left elbow in late game situations. Always. For some reason that was his tendency. Learning this helped me know not to shoot when I found Gerald Green on the left elbow in late game situations because he repeatedly failed to hit it. When a player does that, you can’t blame the game if you know that is his weakness. You have to learn to stay clear.
    • Begin a MyLeague on player lock for that player After some initial work in quick games, set up a MyLeague season with chemistry, trades, injuries and stuff on so you can work with your team for a season. Set your controller to player lock and play at the position of your player. You’ll have to play as your player and his backup also but thats OK.
    • After you play a game look for incremental improvement in the next game After you play a game, review that player’s individual season stats. Focus on improving certain statistical categories in the next game. For example, if the player you focus on is a good three point shooter and you only hit .250 from three in that game, your goal in the next game is to shoot a higher percentage than that. What will happen if you do this is you’ll start to improve your shot selection. Do the same with other categories as well like turnovers and assists.
    • If you struggle, it’s OK to reduce the difficulty It’s perfectly fine to start on a lower level. I learn some of my best skills on rookie level that I was able to translate to hall of fame.
  • Move on to the next player Once you are comfortable using that player, repeat that process for the next player and the next. Eventually you’ll be pretty good with each player on your team.

After I’ve learned to play as well as I can with individual players, I then turn my attention to getting better as a team.

    • Use the ladder I rank the other NBA teams by level of difficulty and start playing against the HOF CPU’s worst team controlling all five guys – no player lock.
    • Study the other teams roster I study the other teams abilities and see what their strengths and weaknesses are.
    • Play that team over and over I then play against that team over and over until I beat it. In the process, I might get beat quite a bit but I’ll find out what players I need to stop, I learn what plays they like to run, where they like to shoot and also which guys do well on my team against them. After awhile I will beat that team and then move up the ladder
    • Use the method of incremental improvement I look at the box scores after the games to see who can improve and work on improving their stats to sharpen my decision making. Again, noticing things like when shots go down to avoid taking them.
  • Move up the ladder I then move up the ladder to face the next team on it until I get to the top team.

This, in general, is my practice strategy. It does take some time but it does work. Now I don’t do it with every single player but I do focus on certain ones and in the process learn about the other players on the team either by watching what the HOF CPU can do with them or as a by product to my other practices.

Other important things you need to do:

    • Analyze film With the streaming capabilities we have, there’s no reason not to stream your games and archive them on twitch to look at. Watching film after the fact can you help you recognize opportunities for improvement and things you might not see in the heat of the game.
    • Learn to read defenses and be a master of your playbook You’ll want to pay close attention to how defenses play you and learn to counter those defenses with good offense. I often notice people play deny Paul George the ball and will call a play to set him on the weakside and he’lll make a back door cut for an easy dunk.
    • Watch your real life team and try and copy it What rotations does the coach use in real life? What offensive sets do they run? Who is taking shots? Ask yourself if you can copy what they are doing with your NBA2K team.
    • Control your game play Once you get fairly decent with your players, you can start to control the statistical results you get. While I could score 75 with Gerald Green that’s not realistic. Work on that.
  • Clean up your game Once you go through this process, use any feedback you about your game to clean out what causes complaints or that might be considered an exploit.

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff to write about the game today. But if you take this approach of incremental improvement of working on one player, one thing at a time, or a similar approach to it, you’ll find vast improvement in your game.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and feel free to follow me on Twitter to get the latest on my C2K Pacers.

How to Practice in NBA2K | Coach2K (2024)

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