Tuesday, October 14, 2014

C2K006: How To Build A Successful YouTube Gaming Channel With Aaerios

In this episode, my guest is Aaerios. We spend nearly an hour talking about how to build a successful YouTube gaming channel. Aaerios is one of the few NBA2K players I've found who is actually from San Antonio and who also uses the Spurs in the game. We open the podcast talking getting his thoughts on how the Spurs will do this upcoming year after winning the NBA championship last year. He was pretty optimistic about their chances to repeat this upcoming season

Next up, he shares his impressions of NBA2K15 which just came out shortly before we recorded the show. He felt NBA2K15 is pretty challenging and more geared to the sim player this year than it has been in the past.

After that, we dig into the topic at hand and that's how to approach the whole YouTube gaming content creation arena. His first suggestion was to find a way to think outside the box and be different from all of the other gaming channels that people create. His way of doing that is by doing radio play by play commentary to call his NBA2K videos. This comes natural to him because it's also something he does in real life doing real life play by play of college basketball and baseball.

He likes to do every sport on his channel but states that the NBA2K videos perform the best on his channel. He's got three things planned for this year. One is a MyLeague with the Spurs that tackles the challenge of both Manu and Duncan retiring at the end of the first year. Next he is doing a fantasy draft MyLeague with the Knicks and finally, plans to do some MyTeam videos.

There's an absolute TON of information in this hour plus long show. You'll hear recommendations on what equipment to use, more tips on the type of content to create, how he edits and does commentary and also what everyone wants to know and that's the part about making money.

One other thing Aaerios does is spend some time talking about gaming networks, the benefits of joining them and more specifically what network he and other successful YouTuber's belong to.

If you are interested in having your own YouTube gaming channel, you'll hear an honest assessment of what to expect and the mindset you'll need to be successful. Some of the best advice comes at the very end of the show that applies not to just YouTube but will serve you well in any endeavor you choose.

Be sure and visit Aaerios Games on YouTube and subscribe to his channel to follow what he is up to in the gaming community.

Thanks again to Aaerios for stepping On The Court With Coach2K.

NOTE: More detailed show notes to be added later that identify some of the resources mentioned in the show.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

C2K005: How To Collect All Of The Cards In NBA2K MyTeam Mode WithCrossworks

In this episode, I spend some time talking with a great lady named Crossworks. Crossworks is one of the few female members of the NBA2K community. I found Crossworks via her YouTube channel when I was looking for people who had collected every single card in MyTeam. As is customary, before the show, I like to play my guests and so I hit the court with Crossworks where she showed off her Diamond Rose that was the ultimate reward for collecting every single card this year and we had a fun game on the court before we started.

I'm glad I did because I secretly wondered if she played her own games or had someone else play for her when I first stumbled across her channel. I can confirm that she does indeed play her own games and is a tough competitor!

The first thing I wanted to know is how she got interested in playing and turns out she played in high school and some in college and would definitely be interested in seeing the WNBA players be available in NBA2K.

After I learn some of her background, I ask her to walk me through from start to finish the steps she took to get all of the cards. There were 1166 cards available in NBA2K14 to collect. It took her nearly all year to get all of the cards and she did that through a combination of VC, MT coins as well as the Domination, Road to the Playoffs and tournament modes - all of which she completed. She also shares with me the pack strategies she used in buying cards too.

A few other things she mentioned is that you need to follow NBA2K on Facebook and Twitter to get locker codes for some players and to keep up to date on what is going on in MyTeam related to card collecting.

One of things that I uncovered in the course of doing the show was that she is involved in a community called the Kings and Queens of Legitimacy and they are looking for other ladies who plan on forming their own teams to take into the MyPark mode to play against the guys in NBA2K. So, if you are a female and play NBA2K you'll definitely want to get in touch with her if you are also an NBA2K player.

Near the end, we spend some time talking about her YouTube channel and how she got started and got to over 5000 subscribers. She was very grateful to her subscribers for her subscriber growth and also was very thankful to have been featured on Cash Nasty's YouTube channel. Her main goal is to help people not just with collecting cards but creating a special community that also helps each other meet their own personal goals.

I was also very grateful to run across Crossworks. Super helpful lady. I hope you enjoy today's session of On The Court With Coach2K.

PROGRAM NOTE: There were just a couple of times where our phone connection cutout. It was only a few times in the interview so if you hear us lose signal a couple of times that is why. Since it was pretty minor, I left those in and I didn't feel it hurt the context of our conversation.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

C2K004: NBA2K Online Leagues With Reemodagreat, Everydayis2K andRedStickGamer

On tonight's On The Court With Coach2K, I have three special guests with me to talk about NBA2K Online Leagues. These three are all veterans of NBA2K and right now are all Playstation users. All three participate in the Coach2K League. I first introduce Reemodagreat who is the Trailblazers owner in the league followed by Everydayis2K, the Philadelphia 76ers owner. My third guest who was also in episode one of On The Court and who is the current C2K League Champion, RedStickGamer, who uses the New Orleans Pelicans. Each guest begins the show by talking about their team and what you can expect this year.

After we get to know each guest a bit, we get down to business and start talking online leagues. Our discussion begins with what is new in NBA2K15 which releases in a few days. Of those things, custom rosters and flex scheduling were the focus on how we thought those features might work in the game.

Then we talk about the types of problems that have been issues for us and probably others in the NBA2K community along with some of our solutions and a few withlist items. Of those topping the list is by far the ability to save playbooks.

Finally we talk about the C2K League and get down to predictions on what we think is going to happen in the league this year.

This episode is over an hour of what we've learned actually playing in the C2K league over the last several years. It was a lot of fun interviewing these guys and I was very happy to have them on the show.

I hope you check it out. If you have questions, feel free to comment below and don't forget to subscribe in iTunes to On The Court With Coach2K and if you could do me a favor and review the show while you are there that would be super.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

C2K003: NBA2K MyTeam Mode Discussion With Scramz B

In NBA2K15, I thought I would start playing MyTeam mode. But, I don't know a whole lot about it other than it has a reputation of being a 3 point chuck fest. So, I sought out some information on the MyTeam mode and found Scramz B posting over on the Operation Sports forums. He seemed fairly passionate about the mode and was nice enough to come onto On The Court With Coach2K and discuss it with me.

Scramz B is on the Xbox so we weren't able to play our customary podcast "pre-game" unfortunately so we got right into our discussion. He was able to clear several things up for me regarding what the mode is all about and also share with me exactly how to go about getting started the right way. He also went into detail about card collecting, the pack system, historic cards and more.

In addition, he shared with me the expected changes in NBA2K15 that is going to be released on October 7.

His most requested change in the mode would be to be able to customize the settings in play with friends mode.

I hope you enjoy this episode of On The Court With Coach2K. You can now subscribe via iTunes.

If you'd like to discuss more MyTeam info, use the comments below and we can talk about it more.

Thanks for listening and I'll see you On The Court!

C2K002: NBA2K Roster Editing With PSN Turty11

In this episode of Coach2K, I interview PSN Turty11 who has spent the last couple of years working on his roster editing skills. We spend our time talking about where to begin if you want to start editing your own rosters and what sources he uses to get his data. We also spend some time talking about ratings, tendencies, signature skills and the personality badges and how he feels NBA2K is going too far away from the way he'd like editing players to work.

Near the end we also talk about draft classes and he agrees to make a community draft class of 15-20 guys in the community that he can import into NBA2K15's MyLeague or MyGM to see what happens when 2K decides what will happen with our careers.

As a guy who doesn't edit rosters and is more an "out of the box player", I wanted to give a voice to those who like to get in there and really tinker. I'm sure we only scratched the surface of a very arduous and lengthy process if you really want to do it right.

Thanks again to my guest PSN Turty11 who you can follow on Twitter and also another shout out to Aaerios Gaming for doing the intro to On The Court With Coach2K.

Enjoy and let me know what you would like to hear on the show. Post any comments below and I'll be sure and read them.

Friday, September 26, 2014

C2K001: NBA2K Teamup Basics, Tips and Playoffs With RedStickGamer

In this first episode of On The Court With Coach2K, my guest is PSN RedStickGamer. He is the owner of the New Orleans Pelicans in the Coach2K League, the NBA2K14 C2K League Champion and he is also one of the best 2K team up players I know.

At the time of this show, RSG was competing in his teamup league's finals which he is posting on his YouTube channel.

Teamup is a mode that not a lot of people play. Some might not even know it's there, especially private team up which is the mode that is used to play the team up league games.

I spend about an hour talking about RSG about the teamup mode basics, tips and strategies along with what's happening now with the teamup league championship series between his team's Lakers and the undefeated Oklahoma City Thunder.

Thanks to Aaerios Gaming for the great introduction! Be sure and check out his YouTube Channel for his unique and excellent video game commentary.

You can follow the RedStickGamer on Twitter.

If you would like to be "On The Court With Coach2K" or have a show idea you can hit me up on Twitter.

Enjoy and I'll see you on the court!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Do You Have To Max Out Your MyPlayer And Dominate Statistically InOrder To Win On HOF?

The video posted below is a result of a lengthy discussion on the Operation Sports forums I participated in a while back about how you "had" to play in MyCareer mode in order to win - especially on hall of fame difficulty.

The consensus was that in order to win in MyCareer on hall of fame difficulty, you had to dominate statistically and also had to have loaded up your MyPlayer with high attributes and signatures skills as well. That was accompanied by the usual stuff said about how the HOF CPU cheeses and your guys don't hit shots etc.

When I saw this discussion, I had to ask myself this. Do the posters really know what they are talking about? Only then could I agree with what they said.

So anyway, like I usually do, I stir up the emotions when I get involved questioning some of the things some people posted and stated as fact that while maybe what they posted was true for them - it was not necessarily a fact.

In stating my opinion, the usual problems develop. It was said that I haven't played the mode long enough. They said that until I played over a 100 games in MyCareer, I should just keep my mouth shut since I couldn't speak as an authority unless I had.

By the way, I had.

The Main Problems With MyCareer Mode

These are the main problems that most people see when they play MyCareer mode that lead people to think that you have to totally do everything yourself in order to win.

  • The MyCareer story line encourages you to dominate The first issue with MyCareer is that game presents these goals and challenges through the story line, social media challenges and in game suggestions. These goals are usually centered around you. Let's face it. It's a "me" centered mode. So when the game tells you what to do, it seems logical to think the game must be providing you good instructions to follow. Otherwise, why would it tell you to play that way?

  • The players on your team let you down You work hard to get your players the ball and get them shots but when you do that, your players don't succeed. And these are guys that SHOULD succeed. When they don't, it reinforces the instructions the game gives you which is to do it all yourself.

  • It's too easy to upgrade your player Most people can't resist the temptation to upgrade their MyPlayer. Quite honestly, it's probably way too easy to make your player better without making yourself better first. What's interesting about upgrading is that you can change the gameplay difficulty without changing the storyline difficulty. The storyline is easy. Playing the game can be hard. They don't work together.

These problems are at the heart of what makes MyCareer mode frustrating.

How To Deal With These Problems

If you want to have the most fun with the MyCareer mode, realize that it's best to go all out for YOU and to dominate. That's the purpose of the mode.

But just because it's the main purpose doesn't mean you have to use it that way. It is possible to have a different experience in MyCareer if you want to approach it differently and you don't have to totally dominate gameplay to do it.

Here is how I suggest you deal with the problems in MyCareer mode.

  1. Believe you can do it The first step is to believe it is possible to get a different kind of game out of MyCareer if you play differently. You have to be open to the fact that maybe your playstyle can make a difference in the results you get and that maybe the playstyle you are using is not the best playstyle to use. Most people fail to look at their own play as critically as they do everyone elses and it's easy to blame the game.

  2. The game plays the same across all modes Recognize the game is the game. Good quality play translates on the floor regardless of what mode you are in. Are there moments in MyCareer where things have to happen to complete the story? Sure. Otherwise, the game is the same game you play in all other modes.

  3. Ignore what the game tells you to do The next thing you need to do is forget what the game tells you to do and do what's best for the team. Just because the game says you need to do something, doesn't mean you have to do it. If you don't meet a challenge and yet the team still wins, isn't that more important? The next game still comes as scheduled.

  4. Control the game not the stats Focus on controlling what happens in the game and not on stats. This means you have to learn what each player on your team can and cannot do and evaluate what you can do to get them the ball where they need it. If a player on your team continues to miss shots in certain situations, it means you need to rethink what to do in that situation. It doesn't mean you need to score although sometimes it might. It might mean you need to give the ball to that player in a different way or at a different time. It might mean you need to give it to someone else.

  5. Use the team you are on in MyCareer outside of MyCareer To really understand what your teammates can and can't do, use that team in other game modes to learn how to use each player's strengths and weaknesses.

  6. Focus on your teammate grade more than your stats Rather than focus on stats, focus on getting an A+ teammate grade. It's not perfect, but assuming you aren't just manipulating the grade, the better your grade, the better the game. This means you have to contribute on offense and defense.

  7. Upgrade at a more realistic pace There's no reason to upgrade so fast. Just because you can upgrade doesn't mean you have to. Set a pace that you want.

  8. Understand it's a superstar mode Because most people play the mode to become a superstar, the better you play, you'll eventually become a starter. The rotations and minutes are programmed to get you in the lineup.

Results Using These Steps In MyCareer

I figured the best way to find out if you could win without dominating was to get to work and see for myself. I attacked this project using the steps I listed above and to do basically the exact opposite of what most everyone else does when they play MyCareer.

I started a new MyCareer file and created a pass first, 64 rated MyPlayer. I decided not to upgrade him at all. I didn't upgrade a single attribute and I didn't add a single signature skill. The only thing I did do was add some personality badges once they were unlocked.

I ignored all of the things I was told to accomplish and just tried to play good basketball.

It was kind of hilarious because my guy couldn't dunk, couldn't shoot and couldn't play defense at a high level - pretty much like me.

I got my minutes up. I then posted a video of one of my games in that thread over at Operation Sports showing what was possible. However, that video was discounted because my guy didn't start and supposedly, he didn't play enough minutes because he was a role player.

OK. Fair enough. If your guy isn't out there on the floor, he can't really claim credit for the win. I decided to play more games until I became a starter. I then recorded yet another game and then posted that video in the thread showing how you can "choose" to play and have good results with a low rated player - without dominating statistically - and still win.

That game was versus the HOF CPU Spurs. Here are the team results from that game:

You'll notice that not only did my Suns team win the game, they also outplayed the Spurs in nearly every category. My line in the game is below. I didn't shoot a three or dunk and didn't even score in double figures. My teammates on the other hand helped the team shoot 50 percent from the floor and nearly 50 percent from three for the entire 12 minute quarter game.

You can watch the whole game in it's entirety. The video is at the bottom of this post.

Now in the video I posted below, I'll be the first to admit that I could have ran a better offense, but I know that once I know the team better, I could run plays and repeat exactly what I did in that video.

How do I know that? Because I've spent hundreds and hundreds of hours playing the game and I've also seen video evidence of others having success.

This is the approach you should take when people tell you what's impossible with the game. You should test it yourself and exhaust every tool the game gives you and apply it before you agree.

Further, if you see video of someone proving that it can indeed be done, then that should be evidence enough that it can be done and that you can also do it. You need to study that video evidence carefully and compare it to what you are doing.

Regardless of how many people complain, IF someone shows what can be done, that means it is repeatable by others. Even if, a million of people come through screaming otherwise.

Personally, I think video evidence showing something can be done should end most arguments but there is always some reason why that is not the case. And that reason is usually the person denying it's possible based upon their own experience telling them it's not possible.

I agree, and it might seem contrary to what I should say here but usually everyone is right in these debates that I get into. Those who don't think it's possible because of what they see, they really do see it. But what causes what they see?

Is what they see a result of the way game works or can their play cause the problems they see? Many times, their play can be changed to get different results. And so the mindset you need to have is one that's open to thinking your play might have a greater impact on what you see than you think.

There was a day that I believed that you had to dominate statistically to win in MyCareer and that my teammates were stupid - until I changed my approach.

That being said, I didn't say doing what I did was easy. Keep in mind, it's actually pretty tough to do. But being hard to do is certainly different from being something that can't be done.

If it's too hard for you to do on hall of fame that should tell you that you should reduce the difficulty or deal with it until you can improve your play to that level.

Also realize that if you are reading this that I'm not that great of a 2k player. If we played a head to head match, you could probably beat me. That should tell you that if I can play MyCareer and win without dominating, and you can probably beat me, then you already have the skills you need to do it as well.

Kudos to the guy who I got in the debate with originally for recognizing that there was some pretty good defense played in the game that I played in the video and for maybe being willing to consider that it is possible to win without dominating if you rethink your approach and take a different mindset on the floor with you.

Good luck and I'll see you on the court! Feel free to contact me for a game.

Here's the complete game video.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Coach2K's MyCareer Personality Badges

After playing about 20 games in MyCareer as my Coach2K MyPlayer, I still have not upgraded any of my attributes or abilities. My reason for not upgrading is because I'm trying to approach the MyCareer mode from a more realistic perspective. My overall rating is still the 64 that I started with. I've been playing well enough, getting over 20 minutes a game and averaging a "B-" while helping the Suns get some wins. I thought it was time to look in to giving MyPlayer some personality and decided to add some personality badges. I think this is the most realistic place to start improving your MyPlayer because many of these are mental qualities and not skill based. In real life, you'd already possess some type of personality regardless of skill.

My Strategy To Adding Personality Badges To My MyPlayer

[catalyst_hook_box name="googleinpost"]I think it is important to recognize that every player is unique but not every player is dominant - especially in their first season. Even dominant players progressively add new moves in the off season and not during it. Every player has distinctive personalities that they bring to the court and I want MyPlayer to represent how my own personality might be on the court if I really played in the NBA - not the "dream" version of what I would like it to be. For example, I could have added "Enforcer" but did not feel it represented me because I am more of a finesse player.

Here are some other important details about the personality badges in MyCareer:

  • You are limited to three personality badges at any one time. If you look at the picture above, you'll notice there there are three slots. Three is the most you can add.

  • You don't have to fill all three. If you don't feel you need three, you don't have to have three.

  • Not every badge is available immediately. One of the ones I initially wanted was Fierce Competitor but at the moment it is locked. In order to get it, I have to gain more national fans. The answers to my questions in press conferences seem to control the number of fans I get. Once you progress through the game, you'll end up unlocking all of the badges at some point.

  • You might need a certain rating in order to get the badge you want. You might need to have certain ratings before you can get certain badges. Like one I looked at, if I remember right, you had to have an emotion of greater than 90. This might lead me to upgrade emotion before anything else if I really wanted it.

  • You can switch them in and out. If you get certain badges now, and decide you want to change, you can move them in and out.

  • Choose personality badges that match your position, your role on the team at that point in your MyCareer and your own personality in real life. I don't really see myself being a volume shooter because I am a "pass-first" point guard. As a rookie, I don't think I'd immediately be an alpha dog just because I unlocked it. Spend some time thinking about you and what your personality is as well.

Based on that kind of thinking, here is what I decided to do as far as the personality badges I added right away.

  1. I added Fan Favorite. I think that every new rookie has an element of fan favoritism. In my rookie year, I think it makes sense to add and I'll probably drop it after that.

  2. I added Cool and Collected. When I play, I don't ever get too high or too low emotionally and so I thought having this badge would complement my mental approach.

  3. Finally, I added Unpredictable. When I do play, I play hard and do bring energy and this personality badge brings passion into the picture.

Personality Badges I Want To Add Later

As MyCareer progress, I have my eye on a few other personality badges. There are two specifically that I want to add. One is Heart and Soul and the other is Floor General. These two badges I think make more sense after I've played awhile. With Floor General in particular, that's more of a veteran skill that comes after a team gains confidence in you. Other skills I may never consider adding like Hardened or Swagger.

What Personality Badges Did You Add In MyCareer?

Let me know your experience with your personality badges, what you added and why in the comments below.

Also, here's some gameplay...

Friday, July 4, 2014

NBA2K MyPlayer Coach2K Rookie Showcase And Where I Was Picked In TheNBA Draft

My career to see if the you can play a sim game and have fun in the MyPlayer mode has begun. The settings I am using are hall of fame, simulation sliders and 12 minute quarters. Coach2K was invited to the Rookie Showcase. He started for the Elites at the point guard spot. The Elites dominated most of the game and ended up winning. Coach2K ended up with a B+ getting 1 point from the line, 9 assists and two turnovers. Not a dominating scoring performance but we didn't really need my offense.

Rookie Showcase Game Video

Here's the game video so you can check out my game play, or most of it since the end of it got cut off and then below that I talk about what happened after the game.

What Happened After The Rookie Showcase?

After the rookie showcase, I had the option of choosing which NBA team I would like to play for and I opted for the Indiana Pacers. I had two teams that were interested in interviewing me but the Pacers weren't one of them. The first was the Milwaukee Bucks and the other team was the Phoenix Suns. Both interviews went well and I left both interviews feeling like each team liked what they heard.

Where Did Coach2K Get Drafted?

After that it was on to the NBA Draft. C2K was a little nervous that he wouldn't go in the first round and look like a loser attending the draft in person. Surprisingly, the Phoenix Suns drafted C2K with their lottery pick at number 5. This was a huge surprise to me as well considering I scored 1 point and got 9 assists. Our team played w

Where Did You Get Drafted?

Let me know where you got drafted in the NBA Draft with your MyPlayer.

Should I Use User Timing Or Real Player % In NBA2K?

In the game settings menu, there's an option for "Shooting Type". You can choose from one of two options. The first is "User Timing" and the other choice is "Real Player %". I've noticed there's some confusion on how I think these two settings work and which one is better for you to use.

Option #1 - User Timing

The default option is user timing. Each player in the league has his own shooting release. Paul George will have a different release than CJ Watson who will have a different release than David West. Because of this, you'll have to know each player's release (and how much space they need) in order to be effective with them. Some releases are easier to learn than others.

Each release can either be very early, early, excellent, late or very late. You goal is to get an excellent release on every shot you take. But even if you do get an excellent release, it doesn't mean that it's guaranteed to go in. It also doesn't mean that a shot release that wasn't excellent won't go in either. Those can go in even if not perfectly timed.

How likely that is will depend on the difficulty level and sliders you are using and whether it was a good shot, who was guarding you, whether your player has the ability to hit shots from there, the game situation and the defensive scheme employed at the time.

Option #2 - Real Player %

The other option is real player percentage. What this does is remove shooting releases from the equation. Because of that you can shoot the same with each player. You just shoot, release and not worry about timing. Each player's unique release point is no longer a factor, it's up to the percentages.

The other things are still important and still effect the shot. The difficulty, sliders used, the defense, shot selection and who is guarding you all come into play.

Which Shooting Type Should I Use?

The first problem I see with these two choices is how they are named. Because they named one shooting type by putting the word "real" in it, it gives the impression that it will provide more realistic shooting percentages and therefore must be better and even more challenging. Guys that stake their claim to sim basketball often feel it's more sim to use real player percentage because of that.

One of the other reasons that guys gravitate to that option is because they have played guys in quick match and have been torched. They've assumed that this is because his opponent knows the releases and all there is to it is getting an excellent release and the shots go in. While it's true to some degree, it's not the only factor.

The biggest factor is taking good shots. No matter what option you choose, good shots go in. What a good shot is - is debatable. Players often equate open shots as good shots and they aren't always good shots even though they can be.

But of the two options, user timing requires more skill and knowledge of your team. With user timing you have to not only take a good shot for that player, you also have to shoot right with him. So to me the difference between the two options is that one requires knowing shot releases and one does not.

Of the two options, I feel user timing is harder not easier and that's why I recommend it. Also, if you play users online, the only option is user timing. It makes sense to make your skills portable from mode to mode.

To me, I think using user timing also makes the game more sim because I have to shoot different with each player instead of just hitting a button and not worrying about it. It also makes the game more interesting if I know I've got 12 unique players to learn how to shoot with.

Keep The Focus On Taking Good Shots

I've shot a high percentage (over 70% on 12 minute quarters, hall of fame difficulty and simulation sliders) in games using user timing and also in games where I have used real player percentage. To me the over riding factor is taking good shots. If you do that, you will do well.

What's a good shot? Well that's going to depend. Only time spent playing with your team in tons of situations will tell you what a good shot is for each player on your team. You have to recognize each players unique abilities and apply that to the game at hand based on the defense being played, who is on the floor and the game situation.

Which Do You Use?

How do you feel about these two choices and which do you use? Let me know in the comments.

Nine Reasons Why You Should Play 12 Minute Quarters In NBA2K

I think most people who first start playing the game, play on the default settings. When I first started, the default was pro difficulty, default sliders on 5 minute quarters. I played a whole season on those settings including about 500 quickmatches on 5 minute quarters. Once you are hooked on the game, you start to dig around into the settings and one of those you should look at is changing the quarter time to 12 minutes in length (on hall of fame difficulty using simulation sliders).

I know a lot of people that first meet me are like, you want to play and I'll say sure but I play only play on 12 minute quarters. Sometimes, they are like nah, I don't want to play that long. I can understand that. Time is pretty scarce these days. But there are several reasons that I play on twelve minute quarters and think you should too. If you think about it, if you are playing a ton of quick match, it's only two quickmatches.

  1. It's more realistic: If you consider yourself to be a sim player, I can't see how you can't play on 12 minute quarters. That's what they do in real life. Contrary to what many believe, you can get games in the 80's on 12 minute quarters. I have even held the HOF CPU to under 90 points in a 12 minute quarter game. Some games I don't even take 70 shots.

  2. Fatigue: In a 12 minute quarter game, guys actually get tired. That means it gets harder to knock down shots when you are tired. You don't rebound as well when you are tired. While fatigue in the game could be improved, it can definitely still be a factor.

  3. You learn to use your bench: I remember one of the first years I started playing people, I never used my bench. That's because fatigue was broken. But after awhile, I just started using the bench. The way it is now, if you play the 12 minute quarter game, you have to use your bench so you have to know more about your team. You know their shot releases and how you have to use them to be productive off the bench. Guys that know their team from top to bottom are also more fun to play against.

  4. Foul trouble: You can't sit there and reach all of the time just because you have pick pocket. You can't hit square all day without racking up some fouls. With fouls comes foul trouble which means you need to deal with it when it happens and I've seen guys foul out with very little time left in the game and that turns out to be the difference in the game.

  5. Free throws: With fouls come trips to the line. That means you got to know how to shoot them with your whole squad. It's not unusual for guys to go to the line 20-30 times in 12 minute quarters. All those freebies count. A guy in league play today lost a game because he was 11-21 from the line. Getting into the bonus early in a quarter is killer later in the quarter because you can't be as aggressive later.

  6. Momentum: If you play a short game in quick match, you've undoubtedly been steamrolled from the time to time. You get buried early and just can't recover from the momentum swing that guy got. In a real game, no lead is safe versus a good player because good players know you have to play a full 48 minutes. I've been in games where I've been up by over 25 and still lost and also come back from that as well. In my league, it was tough at first to convince players that a game was never over until it ended and just because you were up 20 in the third, didn't mean it was over. Could it be sure. But you never know. Having the full 48 minutes to work with smooths out the effects of momentum.

  7. More time to identify your opponents tendencies: I know a lot of guys that won't play you multiple times. The reason is because they know you'll eventually figure out their tendencies and figure out how to stop things and adapt to their playstyle. Or maybe it takes a while to crack their defensive scheme. In a 5 or 6 minute quarter game, there isn't really time to do that. Honestly though, if more people played each other in longer games, multiple times, they would actually get better because of it. Once tendencies are taken away, it forces you to expand your game.

  8. More time to practice against what you can't stop: There's no better practice than practice against another user who knows what they are doing. You'll find all kinds of players. Some guys are chuckers, some guys work a ton in the paint and still others are playcallers that can slice you apart offensively. This forces you to practice against someone's strengths. If it's your weakness, then that's ideal because you'll start thinking about what you can do to be effective.

  9. Overall strategy: Finally, the 12 minute quarter game just involves more strategy. You might find that at the end of the game, your superstar is now matched up with a lockdown defender in crunch time. You might find that a small lineup is more effective. During the game, you can experiment with a certain play and remember what works when you need it later. Games are more chess matches.

Those are some of the reasons I love playing 12 minute quarters. If you aren't playing 12 minute quarters, I encourage you to find guys that do and play them. After you get used to the longer time, eventually, you'll probably find that you'll be like me and others I play who say the game just didn't seem the same unless you play 12 minute quarters.

It's actually a lot more fun in my opinion.

Are you a 12 minute quarter player? Any other reasons to play 12 minute quarters that I've left out? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Story of NBA2K MyPlayer Coach2K

NBA2K MyPlayer Coach2K grew up in Indiana playing basketball in his parents driveway on a court that was part cement and part gravel. His family was never big on basketball and they told him that you had to have a name to make the team. But Coach2K loved basketball and was often seen shoveling snow off the court to play in the winter and shooting after the sun went down during the summer.

Not believing you had to have a popular name to make the team, he tried out and made the Lawrence North High School basketball team. He was a freshman at Lawrence North High School the year Lawrence North won the class 4A championship behind the skills of that year's Mr. Basketball, Greg Oden, who went on to play in the NBA. Coach2K had a solid high school career but Lawrence North never made it back to the state finals.

[catalyst_hook_box name="googleinpost"]After high school, Coach2K decided to attend Akron University, home of the Zips. He had more success in Akron than he did in high school and was named the MAC Conference Freshman of the Year in 2010.

Coach2K led the Zips to the MAC Conference title game all four seasons winning two conference championships in the process. In his senior year, he was named the MAC Conference tournament MVP.

Coach2K ended his Akron college career the schools leader in points (2622), assists (528) and steals (278). His teammates eventually nicknamed him Z because they said he put the "Z" in Zips.

His play helped Akron make two trips to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and those games got him recognized by scouts who invited him to the NBA Rookie Showcase in New York.

The NBA2K Sprite Posterizer Signature Skill

The Sprite Posterizer is a player known to dunk on defenders whenever possible; getting higher priority for contact dunks versus contact layups. This player must have an energy level of 80 or higher and once the dunk is completed, his teammates are given a boost of 5 to their stamina.

Who Are The Sprite Posterizers?

There are currently 16 NBA2K players that have the Sprite Posterizer signature skill. Broken down by position, there are no point guards with the skill, one shooting guard, 6 small forwards, 5 power forwards and 4 centers.

  • Greg Smith, PF, Chicago Bulls: He has dunk of 65 and a standing dunk rating of 70 with no additional signature skills.

  • Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls: Interestingly enough, Gibson only has a dunk rating of 68 and a standing dunk of 55 yet still has the posterizer signature skill.

  • Anthony Bennett, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers: Bennett also has the Finisher signature skill and has a 70 dunk rating and a standing dunk of 75.

  • Jeff Green, SF, Boston Celtics: Green also has the finisher signature skill and a dunk rating of 78 and standing dunk of 55.

  • Deandre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers: Jordan has a dunk and standing dunk rating of 90.

  • Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers: Griffin has several signature skills to go along with the posterizer that are also beneficial. He has highlight film which is pretty similar to posterizer in it's effect as well as finisher and screen outlet. He has a dunk rating of 92 and a standing dunk rating of 85.

  • Derrick Williams, SF, Sacramento Kings: Williams has a dunk rating of 83 and a standing dunk of 75 with not other signature skills.

  • Quincy Acy, PF, Sacramento Kings: Acy has a dunk rating of 79 and standing dunk rating of 85.

  • Xavier Henry, SG, Los Angeles Lakers: Henry's dunk rating is 68 and standing dunk is a paltry 30.

  • J.J. Hickson, C, Denver Nuggets: Hickson has the screen outlet signature skill that probably helps on pick and roll alley oops and has a dunk rating of 77 with a standing dunk rating of 65.

  • Javale McGee, C, Denver Nuggets: McGee has the highlight film signature dunk in addition to the posterizer. His dunk rating is 89 and standing dunk is 85.

  • Paul George, SF, Indiana Pacers: Like McGee, George also has the highlight reel, a dunk rating of 89 and a standing dunk of 55.

  • Dwight Howard, C, Houston Rockets: To complement the posterizer, Howard has the finisher signature skill. His dunk rating is 92 and a standing dunk of 90.

  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Antonio Spurs: Leonard has a dunk 84 and standing dunk of 60.

  • Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder: Two other signature skills might complement his posterizer - the finisher and one man fastbreak. His dunk rating is 84 and his standing dunk is 55.

  • Harrison Barnes, SF, Golden State Warriors: Barnes has a dunk rating of 74 and a standing dunk rating of 60.

Players with ratings over 80 for either dunking or standing dunking who don't have the posterizer signature skill (players in bold have highlight reel): Thaddeus Young, Jason Richardson, Nerlens Noel, Al Jefferson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gerald Henderson, Larry Sanders, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer, Alonzo Gee, Chris Johnson, Tony Allen, Al Horford, Greg Oden, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Anderson, Jeremy Evans, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Carl Landry, Demarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Travis Outlaw, Jared Cunningham, Amar'e Stoudemire, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Shannon Brown, Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, Jeremy Tyler, Maurice Harkless, Victor Oladipo, Brook Lopez, Nate Robinson, Kenneth Faried, Anthony Randolph, Jan Vesely, Andrew Bynum, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Smith, Andre Drummond, Tony Mitchell, Patrick Patterson, Demar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Jeff Ayres, Emeka Okafor, Eric Bledsoe, Gerald Green, Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb, Serge Ibaka, Russell Westbrook, Hasheem Thabeet, Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Nene.

How To Use The Sprite Posterizer Skill

Basically, the posterizer skill activates when the player is fresher and increases the other players stamina. You'll want to put your posterizer in situations where he can dunk on people with contact. While there's a slight difference between the highlight film and the posterizer, the result is the same, a +5 boost in stamina for their teammates.

Using The Posterizer With Your MyPlayer

If you have a high flying dunker for a myplayer, then you'll want to consider the posterizer as a possible signature skill. While you can double up on the posterizer and the highlight film, I'd probably opt for finisher above both and the posterizer over the highlight film because it's more of an in traffic signature skill. I don't see much difference in the two except for highlight film probably uses more of the dunk package features.

To add to your MyPlayer, you have to have a 90 dunk or 90 standing dunk rating. Fascinating since many of the guys who have it in the game don't have that rating, yet still have the signature skill.

What Do You Think?

Who are the real posterizers in the game and do the one's that have it deserve it? How would you differentiate between highlight film and posterizer? What criteria would you set to be considered a posterizer? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, June 30, 2014

How To Use Your Timeouts In NBA2K

As a guy from Indiana, I grew up in the Bob Knight era. If you were a fan of the Indiana University Hoosiers during his tenure there, you know he was pretty adamant about not calling timeouts to stop an opponents run. He believed that you should use good execution to stop it. For most of my NBA2K career, I've also adopted that stance. In part because I was a Knight follower and also because it's kind of a joke in the 2K community that you need to call timeouts to stop either a human opponent or the HOF CPU even though you don't. Lately, I've started to question how I use timeouts mainly because I find myself in games versus opponents where we can go a whole quarter with no break and so I'm asking myself how realistic is that and should we be calling timeouts?

Timeouts: The Basics

Here is the section in the NBA rule book that talks about timeouts.
a. Each team is entitled to six (6) charged timeouts during regulation play. Each team is limited to no more than three (3) timeouts in the fourth period and no more than two (2) timeouts in the last two minutes of regulation play. (This is in addition to one 20-second timeout per half.) Source: NBA.com

I know in NBA2K, you start the game with 7 timeouts. You have the option to call a full timeout or a 20 second timeout with the limit on the 20 second timeout at one per half I am pretty sure. I typically never call a 20 second time out and opt for full timeouts most of the time.

In real life, there are tv timeouts. These are "mandatory timeouts" that are called at the first dead ball after 6:00 and 3:00 in each quarter and there was another situation when tv timeouts would be called but I didn't have the energy to figure it all out.

It also seems that in real life, towards the end of the game, there are often a bunch of timeouts.

When To Call Timeouts

As I mentioned above, the joke around the 2K community is that you should call a timeout to stop a run. The thinking is that it will stop a team's momentum. I think most people think the mere "act" of calling a timeout is what stops the momentum. In actuality it's the execution after a timeout that matters. If you don't execute, then it doesn't really kill momentum.

So let's look at times when you want to call a timeout.

  • When a team makes a big play. If a team makes a big play like an alley oop dunk or a huge three and you can hear the crowd start roaring, this is your sign that maybe a timeout might be in order.

  • If you opponent goes on a run. If you can't stop the other team for several possessions, that's another time you might want to use a timeout.

  • When your opponent scores to stop your run. I've noticed the CPU does this and often I will do it too if I score a bunch of buckets and the other team answers.

  • To avoid a turnover. Often I'll get caught in the back court with a big man dribbling and no ball handler near. I'll advance it if I can but if it's likely I'll turn it over, I call timeout. I just have to remember to get the ball past half court before the 8 sec violation after the timeout. I also might need to call timeout to avoid a 5 second call.

  • To make an adjustment in POE or matchups. If you feel you need to make a defensive adjustment and can't do it on the fly, that's a good reason to call a timeout. While you can make a matchup change in the pause menu, I prefer to do it during a timeout if possible to hide what I am doing. You might want to check the stats and just take time to think about what's going on and how you want to deal with it.

  • To make substitutions. Sometimes I need to make a complicated substitution that is hard for me to d pad through during play. I usually will call a timeout to take care of it.

  • To rest your team. Often fatigue creeps in. It might make sense to call a timeout to give them a rest so you can leave them in longer.

  • To stop the clock. Towards the end of  game, you might need to stop the clock and that's a good time to call timeout.

  • To advance the ball to half court. If you don't advance the ball, at the end of the game, you can call timeout and take the ball out at half court.

  • To take care of something while you are playing someone. I've been known to go to the bathroom during a game since they last an hour they way I play them. Sometimes I'll have a controller issue I need to fix. I've often had the game not respond and I'll have to burn a timeout to try and reset my controller. It's often more courteous to call a timeout than pause it. If I need an extended break for some reason, I'll let my opponent know what's going on as well.

Those are some good times to call timeouts even though guys often save all of their timeouts until the end and can't use them all then anyway.

How To Call Timeouts In NBA2K

To call timeout, you can either pause the game and select timeout from the menu or on the Playstation, you can just hit R1 and L1 at the same time. Then you select what kind of timeout you want. You can choose either a full time out or a twenty second time out if you have used it yet.

What Do People Really Do During A Game Of 2K?

That's the basic primer on timeouts. So let's talk about what happens in game situations sometimes. There are basically two types of players. Guys that set the timeouts to auto and let the computer handle it and those who don't. If you have a guy on auto timeouts, then you won't see a problem with no breaks in play.

If you do set your settings to auto timeouts, you might hesitate before you call a timeout manually. I have often called a timeout only to have the auto timeout called right after.

As far as the manual timeout callers, here's what I have noticed:

  1. Never call timeouts. First, you'll have guys that won't call timeouts. The thinking is that they can sub on the fly and if you are not doing that, your guys may get tired and this gives them an advantage. If you get two stubborn people together, and that also don't reach or foul, you can find yourself in long stretches without a break in play.

  2. Call them at appropriate times. Some users do take the time to use their timeouts effectively to manage the game.

  3. Call them late in the game back to back to rest guys. Another thing I see is people using timeouts to avoid subbing. I've noticed some guys will call back to back timeouts to keep their players fresh. I don't really like this but it is an option if you are not a very deep team.

  4. Abuse the timeout. I've also seen guys call back to back to back timeouts. The reason? Because they heard it's a glitch to break momentum. I definitely don't recommend the double or triple timeout strategy.

What To Do During A Timeout

Once you are in a timeout, you'll want to kind of go through a checklist of items you want to do. Here's mine:

  1. Do I want to make any subs. Are my guys tired? Is it time for a break. Do I want to go small, go big or in late game situations put in three point shooters or free throw shooters?

  2. Do I want to change my points of emphasis? Is there anything my opponent is doing that I need to try and stop? I might want to adjust my points of emphasis coming out of a timeout.

  3. Check stats. I think it's perfectly fine to check stats in during a timeout since they don't make them available during the timeout.

  4. Do I want to change a matchup? Towards the end of a game, I might want to put my lockdown defender on the other teams best player. This is the time to do that.

  5. Take a breather. I typically rest for a bit as well.

I often don't adjust anything. If the game is going how I want it, I might not make any adjustments and just rest.

How To Be More Sim With Your Timeouts

If you could consider yourself a sim type player, where you are after realism, I think it's probably essential that you call timeouts. I don't think it's really fair to criticize someones on court play and then not call timeouts like you are supposed to. If you forget to call timeouts, then you might want to put them on auto.

Here are some other suggestions for being more sim with timeouts.

  • Call timeouts regardless of whether you feel you need to it at times when mandatory timeouts would take place in real life.

  • Let the timeout run for the whole time.

  • If you are calling timeout after a big play, advance the ball to half court then call timeout.

Regardless of what you do, I think it's important to save at least two timeouts for the end of a game. You might need them if the game turns out to be close.

Is it critical to think about this? Well it depends on your level of sim and how far you want to take it. Depending on my opponent and my game plan, I've started calling timeouts at certain breaks and at times listed above. So, I've changed my approach a bit from when I started just to be more realistic.

Let me know how you guys approach timeouts below.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What ESPN Won't Tell You - Where Lebron's Going

Since Lebron opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat, the big question now is - which NBA team will he play for next year? After hearing the news he had opted out, I immediately got on the phone and contacted my sources in the NBA to get the lowdown on where he might end up next. They tell me that he definitely plans to leave Miami and has narrowed down where he would like to play to seven teams. Where he wants to play might surprise you. I know I was taken by complete surprise as no major media outlet will report the truth about his plans.

Before I get into the options he is exploring, I think it's important to get a feel for Lebron's mindset right now. Let's not forget that he was widely criticized for leaving Cleveland and he's human and does feel pretty bad about that. He's also been criticized for passing the ball to the open man in big shot situations. Although he got the big monkey off his back by getting two rings, he does have to deal with two failed championship runs including getting man handled by San Antonio in this year's finals.

Oh, and of course, we all know any team that has been to four straight finals must under take a major overhaul in order to continue that success too - right?

Anyway...let's move on.

What I'm hearing from my people in Lebron's camp is this. He's tired of hearing it from the critics and he's tired of being hated around the league. Because of that, the solution he has come up with is that he wants to do something really BIG and something that no other superstar in the present free agent era has ever succeeded in doing before him - not even himself.

In fact, it would be unprecedented.

What is that?

Bring a championship to a team that can't win one because it can't draw free agents like the Laker's, the Knicks's and the Bull's.

After all, when you think about it, it's should be pretty easy to win a championship with the Lakers. With the media lobbying every single player that becomes a free agent to the Lakers even the ones from the big markets. I mean, come on, how hard is that to do when it's easy to get players to come play there (and even take paycuts), really?

Now, the big media companies such as ESPN will have you believe that he's only interested in the Lakers with all their championship banners, the big endorsement deals, the hot women and the scenic views, but that's just wishful thinking on their part.

He doesn't want any of that because I've been told that's not him.

He, like me, is supremely disappointed that whenever a player becomes a free agent that the media always reports that player is going to LA Lakers, Chicago or New York and not to a small market team like Milwaukee, Minnesota, Utah or the team that many free agents must play for on their way to the big market - Toronto.

Lebron has gone even farther though and told his inner circle that one thing he loves is an underdog and that he wants to go be one - and make it as hard as possible to win a championship. That way, he can truly do something most superstars can never do - bring a championship to a team that otherwise would not get one - and be considered great for it.

After all, if you can win a championship on a team where no one wants to play, then you must truly be a great player because so few have done it. Let's have a look at a few players on the list of guys who couldn't win on teams no one wants to play for.

  • Karl Malone and John Stockton in Utah

  • Kevin Garnett in Minnesota

  • Charles Barkley in Phoenix

  • Reggie Miller in Indiana

The list goes on to players like Ray Allen, Pete Maravich and even Lebron couldn't do it in Cleveland before he got talked out of town.

The good news is, there are a lots of teams to choose from. All of which haven't won a championship and all of which Lebron could, if interested, take a paycut to play for just like he could do with a team like the Lakers. Not only that,  they would also be willing to partner him up with Melo in the process if he would take a paycut as well to win the big one.

So let's look at the list of a few NBA teams that haven't won a championship that surprisingly ESPN never usually reports a major free agent is reportedly going to even if they had unlimited cap room.

  1. Charlotte Hornets

  2. Toronto Raptors

  3. Memphis Grizzlies

  4. Orlando Magic

  5. Minnesota Timberwolves

  6. New Orleans Pelicans

  7. Brooklyn Nets

  8. Indiana Pacers

  9. Denver Nuggets

  10. Utah Jazz

  11. LA Clippers

  12. Cleveland Cavaliers

  13. Phoenix Suns

Pretty surprising considering  that list is nearly half the league. Thirteen of the thirty NBA teams have never won a championship. I'd be willing to wager money that nearly every team on that list will never win a championship, at least half the list.

My sources tell me that 13 teams was too big of a list and that Lebron asked them to pare down the list to a smaller group. After all, he argued, teams like Utah, Indiana and his past Cavaliers teams have been to the finals. At least they have had a shot. He wanted a list of teams that have never been to the finals.

His people put together the list of teams that haven't been to the finals. Those teams are:

  1. Charlotte Hornets

  2. Denver Nuggets

  3. Los Angeles Clippers

  4. Memphis Grizzlies

  5. Minnesota Timberwolves

  6. New Orleans Pelicans

  7. Toronto Raptors

They presented this list to Lebron who commented that it was still a quarter of the league and he kind of chuckled and asked his entourage what team they thought had the worst reputation in league history.

That's when one of them spoke up and said do you know what a Los Angeles Clippers fan does after his team wins a championship?

Lebron said no.

He told him they turn off their Playstation 4.

At that point everyone was rolling on the floor laughing and the decision was made that since the Clippers had been in the league since 1970, were notoriously known as being the league losers and the stepchild to the Lakers that it was indeed the epitome of a bad franchise - probably the worst in history.

After all they said, we already know if you go to Toronto and drive to the basket and get clobbered in the playoffs they aren't going to call it. At least because the Clippers are still in LA, you probably will still get the calls. That's not going to happen in a small market.

Even Lebron had to admit that was true.

So, ironically, the worst team in the league is still a big market and yet, you heard it here first.

Lebron will be a Clipper next year.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Coach2K League Finals Preview

After a long season and a grueling but exciting playoff, the Coach2K Finals have arrived and will start Monday, June 9, 2014 at approximately 9:15pm ET. It will feature the Eastern Conference champion PSN Alabamarob Hawks vs the Western Conference champion PSN Yung_Ballin Pelicans.

The Coach2K League is the only league I know of playing any organized NBA2K.

This is a best of seven series and game one will be held in Atlanta. The settings will be 12 minute quarters, hall of fame difficulty and simulation sliders.

This is a man's game played on manly settings. No six minute quarters with quick match settings here. These are full games.

Thanks to the new streaming function, the game will be available live on Twitch and you can catch game one on twitch.tv/alabamarob channel. For us in the league being able to see the action live is pretty awesome so I'm hoping more will tune in. I've often found myself watching NBA on TV and two league games at the same time on my computer and paying more attention to the league games!

What's great about this matchup is that Alabamarob uses his hometown Hawks while Yung_Ballin uses his hometown Pelicans. If you know anything about me, I look for guys that play with their hometown teams and since both of these guys represent their hometown squads, I love that.

You'll find this to be interesting matchup. Alabamarob is a very methodical, patient and skilled player and Yung_Ballin is an aggressive defender with excellent stick skills. I'm excited to see how this series plays out.

I hope you check out game 1. These are great players who I think represent the league very well. In the meantime, you can check out some old footage of games I've played versus each of these guys if you'd like. I've posted both below.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The NBA2K Lockdown Defender Signature Skill

The lockdown defender is a player known for his perimeter defensive prowess. While playing defense, this player automatically neutralizes the offensive signature skills of the player he is actively guarding.

Who Are The Lockdown Defenders?

[catalyst_hook_box name="googleinpost"]Currently there are 12 lockdown defenders in NBA2K. Broken down by position, there are one point guard, five shooting guards, five small forwards and one power forward.

  • Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul is a great on ball defender with a high steal rating and a high defensive awareness. He also has the Pick Pocket signature skill which goes well with his high steal rating.

  • Avery Bradley, SG, Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley is one of the best on ball defenders in the game. He has high defensive awareness and the signature skill Active Hands.

  • Jimmy Butler, SG, Chicago Bulls: Jimmy Butler is a good on ball defender and has high defensive awareness with an average steal rating. He has no additional defensive signature skills to complement his lockdown defender status.

  • Tony Allen, SG, Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Allen is an elite on ball defender with high defensive awareness and good steal rating. To go along with his lockdown defender signature skill, he also has the Active Hands and Scrapper signature skills. In addition to that, he possesses the Enforcer badge which probably provides some intangible bump to his defensive abilities.

  • Danny Green, SG, San Antonio Spurs: Danny Green is a good defender. He will play solid defense but lacks additional signature skills or elite defensive ratings.

  • Thabo Sefolosha, SG, Oklahoma City Thunder: Thabo Sefolosha is a great on ball defender with high defensive awareness. He has Active Hands to go along with Lockdown Defender.

  • Lebron James, SF, Miami Heat: As the highest overall rated player in the game at 99, it makes sense that Lebron James would have the Lockdown Defender signature skill. He also has the Chasedown Artist and Interceptor signature skill.

  • Paul George, SF, Indiana Pacers: Paul George is a very good defender. He possesses great on ball defensive skills as well as high defensive awareness. In addition to the lockdown defender he also has three other defensive signature skills; Interceptor, Active Hands and Pick Pocket - as well as some badges that could enhance his defensive rhythm.

  • Andre Iguodala, SF, Golden State Warriors: Andre Iguodala is a great defender with Interceptor and the badge enforcer.

  • Luol Dang, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers: Luol Dang is a great defender who use to play with the Chicago Bulls along side two other lockdown defenders. He doesn't have any additional defensive signature skills.

  • Luc Mbah A Moute, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves: As one of the lowest overall rated lockdown defenders, Luc is a good defender with the Scrapper signature skill.

  • Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls: Taj is the only power forward with the Lockdown Defender signature skill. He doesn't have any additional signature skills but does have a 99 block rating which also helps him inside.

Other lockdown defenders: In addition to the current NBA lockdown defenders, I found it interesting that the Euroleague has 10 lockdown defenders. Of course, the classic rosters have their fair share of lockdown defenders. You'll find multiple Michael, Jordans, Scottie Pippens, Jerry Wests and others like Gary Payton.

How To Use The Lockdown Defender Signature Skill

Some of the best players in the game have at least five signature skills. The lockdown defender neutralizes the offensive signature skills of the player he is actively guarding. If it's not a natural match up by position, you'll want to consider using your lockdown defender on another strong offensive player to help contain them.

This would be especially important versus players who know their teams really well and who also take advantage of their players offensive signature skills. You might want to move your lockdown defender over to that kind of player.

Just remember that there is a difference between ratings and signature skills. The lockdown signature skill doesn't neutralize ratings. Ratings neutralize ratings along with your skills controlling the players. While it's possible to lockdown players in NBA2K with non-elite defenders, the lockdown defender skill just makes it easier for you to do. And remember, just because you have a lockdown defender doesn't mean he will lock anyone down without your help.

Using The Lockdown Defender With Your MyPlayer

The Lockdown Defender signature skill is the most powerful defensive signature skill. If you are a perimeter player playing the one, two or three spot, you'll definitely want to add it. It has three levels in my player. Because there are three levels, it makes me think that there are degrees in the lockdown status among the group of players listed above.

What Do You Think?

Who do you think is the best lockdown defender in the game? If you were making the rosters, do you feel that NBA2K correctly identified the right lockdown defenders. If not, who would be on your list?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Should The Pacers Get Rid Of Lance?

During the 2014 playoffs, much was made about the Lance Stephenson show. Many in the media as well as fans in Indiana questioned whether Lance is someone that Indiana should re-sign because of these antics. I thought I would weigh in on this question. My personal opinion is that the Pacers should indeed re-sign Lance if they can afford him after he tests the free agent waters. Lance after all, led the league in triple doubles this year.

The reason I feel this way is because I think that the fans here in Indiana underestimate just how hard it is to get to the conference finals and overestimate how easy it is to draw free agents to Indiana.

What Lance did in the playoffs this year, while it could be argued is a disgrace to the game, was actually pretty harmless. With the exception of his foul to the forehead of one of the Heat players, most of this was mental games.

Contrast that to things I've witnessed in prior Indiana-Miami playoffs:

  1. Udonis Haslem punching Tyler Hansbrough in the nose and not even going for the ball as retribution for a hard foul on the other end.

  2. Dwayne Wade outright tackling Darren Collison on the fast break and not getting ejected or fined. Wade doing stuff like that is not an isolated incident.

  3. Dexter Pittman going out of his way to clobber Lance in the jaw because he made a choke sign in a prior game.

I don't recall anyone saying that Wade should leave Miami after his incidents. I don't recall anyone suggesting that Haslem leave the Heat. And everyone knew that Pittman went after Lance for Lebron probably at the blessing of his team and I think in addition to the penalties he got, the team should have been fined.

All three of these incidents weren't even basketball plays and yet could have done some real harm to the players involved and I also didn't hear that it was a disgrace to the game except from maybe the guys on TNT the night it happened.

Why is it that if an Indiana Pacer player acts up, they have to immediately start thinking about moving that player?

The answer is, they don't.

The only people that think they do are the reporters in the media and those in the larger markets whose mission seems to be to always talk talent out of small markets into the larger markets - one way or the other. Especially when teams like LA, Boston and New York didn't even make the playoffs.

And while I love Jeff VanGundy as a coach, he almost always recommends physical retribution suggesting that when Lance went into an informal huddle - which wasn't even a formal timeout - that strong force be used to remove him. So it seems hypocritical to want to get rid of Lance for sticking his hand in Lebron's face after Lebron basically did the same thing on Lance's jump shot on the other end.

That being said, once the Pacers have talented players in Indiana, it's pretty important that they work to keep them.

When you look at the Pacers potential, getting the conference finals is the ceiling in my opinion. It's almost as good as a championship. While I and those fans in Indiana would love a championship, it's also important to realize that whenever we get to the conference finals, there's most likely going to be one of the best players in the world on the other team. I'm referring to Lebron now and Michael Jordan in the 90's.

The Heat team that beat Indiana had three hall of famers on it in James, Wade and Allen. How many did Indiana have?

Supreme superstars like those just don't come to Indiana through free agency. They go to the big market teams. And with free agency, that's what all players would prefer to do. I mean, who wouldn't, really? If you are given a chance between Minnesota and Boston like Kevin Garnett was, you would do the same thing.

Even Chris Copeland didn't want to play in Indiana even though the team had a realistic chance to compete for a championship. That should tell you something about how hard it is to get players to play for the Pacers when role players don't even want to sign here.

In order for Indiana to get a superstar, they have to draft him and groom him into one.

So I have to laugh when I even hear thoughts of how the "media" thinks the Pacers should even consider not signing Lance or entertain thoughts of breaking up a team that has just made two consecutive trips to the conference finals.

It's time to look for better role players and not dismantle the team. And that process starts by re-signing Lance if they can do it.

For the media, it's time to start review what disgrace to the game really looks like.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How To Pick A Team In NBA2K

It's my belief that in order to become a hall of fame level player in NBA2K, you need to pick one team, use it all of the time and make it your mission to master every player on that team's roster. Picking a team to use is the first challenge that many people face so here are a few ideas on how to pick the right team for your own personal hall of fame project.

  1. Pick your hometown team. The most obvious place to start is with a team that you follow closely. If you are from Milwaukee and you watch all of the Bucks games then it certainly makes sense for someone like you to use a team like Milwaukee. You, above all other people in the 2K community, would be the best choice to represent Milwaukee. I'm a good example of that. I've watched the Pacers since the 80's, was a season ticket holder for awhile and been a fan forever. If you knew all that before you played me and then we happened to square off in a match, it would probably take you by complete surprise if I selected the Heat just because they have Lebron, Wade and Allen. People do that all of the time. Why is that? The problem is that a lot of the time, the team that we love stinks in the game and so what people opt to do is use an elite team instead because it's just easier. If you are a veteran of the NBA2K franchise, I would always lean you towards using your home town team whether they were good or not.

  2. Pick an elite "big market" team. I guess the ideal situation would be that your home town team is a big market team with good players on it. You live in New York and use the Knicks. Then, it would certainly makes sense for you to use that team. If that were the case, I'd really would want you to use Knicks just like if you lived in Milwaukee I would really want you to use the Bucks. Given a choice between playing someone who had lived in New York and followed them closely, and some guy from Orlando using them, I'd want to play the guy from New York all day long and rather see the Orlando guy using the Magic. Exception: If you are brand new to the game, it probably does make sense for you to use an elite team when you are starting out. Higher rated teams are more forgiving when you make mistakes which you will definitely do when you are learning the game. When I started out. I used the Kobe Bryant led Lakers for about a 100 games until I got comfortable with the game and then I made my move to the Pacers.

  3. Picking a team when you have no hometown team: Now, it's always possible that you don't have a hometown team. Maybe you live overseas or in Arkansas where they don't have a team. What team do you pick then? Well, that's going to depend. What I would probably suggest then is that you choose a team that you have some sort of connection with. Maybe you used to live in Sacramento and choose to use the Kings or maybe use a team that has a player who played college ball at a university you are a fan of, maybe pick a team that is geographically closest to you or maybe pick a project team.

  4. Pick a project team: The main thing I always love to see is people using home town teams. A close second is using teams that no one uses. There are certain teams in the NBA that just have no true fans that use them or at least if they do, I haven't spotted them in the 2K community. Some of those teams are teams like Utah and surprisingly at the moment San Antonio who has been in the finals for the last two years as I write this. If I didn't have a team, I'd probably use a team like Utah because I've traveled to Utah a bunch of times and once met one of their players and I know that the chances I would run into another Jazz user is small at best.

  5. Pick a team based on your current skill level. One last approach I would give you is to pick a team based on your skill level. If you had to rank your ability to play the game as a rookie, pro, all star, superstar or hall of fame level player, what would it be. If you are brand new to the game, I would consider you a player at a rookie skill level. If you have been playing awhile and usually set the game to pro difficulty and do fine but struggle to win at all-star difficulty level, then you might be a pro level player. It's not an exact science so you'll just want to get close. Once you've estimated your current skill level, then rank the teams based on how hard or easy they might be to use and pick one at your current skill level or one step above your skill level.

Choosing A Team Based On Your Skill Level

At the beginning of each new season, I like to rank the teams based on how hard or easy I think they will be to use in NBA2K. I break each team down based on the number of 90+ rated guys, 80+ rated guys, 70+ rated guys, 60+ rated guys and 50+ rated guys each team has and I put it in a chart like below. I've also started putting the number of signature skills a team has assigned to them on the chart as well because a team with more signature skills will have a slight advantage and a team like Sacramento which has 23 signature skills is probably going to play a lot better than I might have them ranked in the 27th spot to start the year in which I put the chart together.

Once I've got the teams ranked, my rationale works like this. Setting aside signature skills, teams with a collection of guys rated over 90+ and 80+ are going to be easier to use than teams that don't have anyone over 80 or 90 on the team. I consider teams that have a bunch of guys rated high easier to use. On the chart, I listed a current skill level as well. You'll notice that teams like the Heat and the Thunder are teams I consider to be more appropriate for players who might be rookies to the game while teams like the 76ers and the Jazz, I think you would need to be a hall of fame level player to win with them.

This is my way to essentially "handicap" the teams to evenly match players who might go head to head. A rookie level player using the Thunder might play a hall of fame level player in an evenly matched game using the 76ers if they played head to head. However, if you have a hall of fame level player using the Thunder, you'll definitely have a pretty formidable opponent.

Versus the CPU, and for the purposes of the hall of fame project, a chart like this also will tell you how hard it's going to be win with that team on hall of fame level difficulty. The father down the list you pick your team, the more challenging it will be to compete and win on hall of fame level and you'll have to game plan and execute at a high level.

When we start playing the hall of fame CPU, we will use this chart again and start playing versus the worst teams in the league and work our way up the team difficulty chart, like a ladder, knocking off one team and moving up one rung of the ladder at a time.

As a final note, when it comes to team selection, I've played a lot of guys that "switch" teams for whatever reason. What I've noticed is that for the most part that they play the same way with all of them. It's more a matter if the team they play matches their play style how well they do. In my case, I'm a natural chucker. I like to shoot the ball so I'll do better with a team that shoots threes than one that can't. But if you put me on another team, there won't be much difference in how I play and that's what I've noticed about most people who change around. Play style is pretty constant and success depends on how well the team adapts to what they normally do anyway. And that's all the more reason to stick with one team and master it.

Ultimately, I don't think it matters what team you choose, I think you can win with all of them once you get good enough. What matters more is you pick one and get to work mastering it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How To Set Up NBA2K For The Hall Of Fame Project

My son and I go to a nearby park to practice basketball all of the time. Often when we get there, the goals have been adjusted. Sometimes they are at 8 feet, sometimes 9 feet and sometimes they are even over 10 feet slightly. When we get to the park, we always adjust the goal to 10 feet. We call this process setting up the court to hall of fame difficulty.

It may not seem like a big deal but if my son practiced on an 8 foot goal all of the time, he's not going to be prepared to shoot on a 10 foot goal in a real game. It's important for him to prepare for real games on the same height goal he will shoot on in a real game.

NBA2K is pretty much the same. If you want to be a hall of fame level player, then you have to practice on those settings. What you want is consistency from mode to mode so that when you play a game, everything is essentially set to 10 feet.

Game Settings

Here are the things I adjust when I get the game for the first time.

  1. Hall of fame difficulty: I set the difficulty level to hall of fame level across all modes. This is most important in free style practice mode. There are shorter windows for getting shot releases correct when you practice on hall of fame versus practicing on rookie. Basically rookie is more forgiving than pro which is more forgiving than all star and so on. While I often play games at a lower difficulty level (often playing on rookie), I always practice in free style mode on hall of fame.

  2. Simulation game style: Debate rages on sliders. Many are in favor of adjusting them although I am not. The reason I don't like to adjust them is because I want consistency in sliders both offline vs the CPU and online when I play other users. I don't want to get accustomed to an easier slider set offline and then struggle using a harder slider set online. To me the use of a consistent slider set is like setting the goal to 10 feet. I am aiming for consistency. I also feel that once I change the sliders, if I make them easier, it's not really hall of fame difficulty anymore. I would encourage you to set the sliders to simulation and forget it because you will eventually adjust your on court decision making to the simulation slider set. The argument for revised slider sets is one based on getting realistic stats. In my mind that can be accomplished in two ways, one is forcing the game to create it and another is to obtain it through play making. I have found that once you get to know your team and your opponent, you can get to the point where realistic stats can be obtained through your play. Although this doesn't help get realistic stats for simulated games.

  3. 12 minute quarter length: I recommend that you work your way towards 12 minute quarters. I originally started at 5 minute quarters when I got my first hall of fame win. But in that win, I didn't have to really sub, deal with foul trouble or fatigue. These are all factors you should have to deal with and playing a full 12 minute quarter game brings all of those factors in.

  4. Fatigue: I set fatigue to on because I want guys to get tired when they play.

  5. Injuries: I set injuries to off (yet they still happen).

  6. Shooting type user timing: I always set my shot timing to user timing and not real field goal percentage. I do this because with real field goal percentage, you only have to make sure you get good shots, where with shot timing, you have to get good shots PLUS get the timing of the shot correct. To me, this makes every player unique and is a harder setting and that's why I use it.

  7. Game speed: I leave untouched at 50.

  8. Shot feedback, rhythm icons, pick and roll overlay: I turn all of these on to help me see what is going on with the players on the floor.

Coach Settings

As far as coach settings, you can have success running these completely on auto versus the hall of fame CPU. Often, you'll find the need to change a few of them.

Here's a breakdown of what I do:

  1. Timeout: I prefer on manual especially versus other users as I don't mind playing guys tired. I'll often just leave to auto. I grew up in the shadow of Bob Knight at Indiana University who didn't believe in calling timeouts to stop momentum. Because of that I don't either.

  2. Substitution: While it's possible that it will work fine on auto, more often than not, you'll find that the CPU coach will make stupid substitutions. I've seen Luis Scola put in at the shooting guard spot before. You'll have to get to the point where you manage your rotations.

  3. Points of emphasis: I'm mixed on the importance of using auto or manual points of emphasis. I've won at a hall of fame level by using both methods. Like auto subs, the CPU coach can mess things up.

  4. Playvision: I set to all plays.

  5. Playvision display: I set to full.

  6. Playcall messages: I set to show all.

  7. Offense playcalling, defense playcalling and late game fouling: I set all of these to manual. It is sometimes important to set the late game fouling to auto if you want to make sure you foul quickly. Many times though, the CPU will foul in situations where I might not decide to.

The Camera Angle

I always use the same camera view in every mode I play. I would recommend this as well. This will help you have the same view on all shot releases.

I prefer the 2K view when I play, but many good players I know play on broadcast. It's more important to use the same view across all modes that you prefer than to use the view that I do.

Finally, A Word About Customized Rosters

There are some good roster sets out there. And often the game plays better with those rosters. I'm not opposed to using customized rosters (nor sliders for that matter), except for the sake of consistency. While I might prefer a customized roster, since it's different from the one I would have to use online if I play other users, it's an adjustment I don't want to have to make. For that reason, I use the official NBA2K rosters for all hall of fame game play.

What I'm after is a consistent, hall of fame level set up across every game mode and one you should strive for as well since you should want to represent your team both online versus users and offline versus the CPU.