Just in time for the start of NBA 2K League qualifiers which begin today, we’ve compiled a list of NBA 2K League Tips to maximize the chance of getting drafted. These tips cover mostly the “on the court” performance and gameplay elements. For more of the professional and other aspects of the NBA 2K League, check out How to Improve Your NBA 2K League Draft Stock – Part 1 and Part 2.
Read below for all NBA 2K League Tips (list in no order):
1) Court Vision
Advanced players possess elite court vision. Not just with passing and finding the open man, but court vision to see and study every player on the court at once, court vision on offense and defense, seeing when a teammate may need help on defense, seeing plays develop on the court, etc. This can be obtained mostly by in-game experience, studying movement patterns, and having an observational and opportunity focused mentality when playing 5 vs 5.
2) Advanced Stick Skills
Having great control of your player is something that will separate you from the rest. Knowing all the moves in the player’s arsenal, knowing the advanced controls of the game, icon passing (must-have), knowing different dribble combos, and basically having a great feel for your player’s moves and pulling off intended moves when you want to make them. This takes practice / training, repetition, and in-game experience vs an opponent.
3) Anticipation & Great Reaction Speed
Top players anticipate and see plays develop 2 and 3 steps ahead. They anticipate how the defense will react, where the ball will bounce off the rim to, can predict how a player (on your team or the opponent) will move on any given play, and are opportunistic in making plays. Having excellent anticipation is the byproduct of studying players’ tendencies, studying their movement patterns, basketball IQ, and experience. As soon as the ball is tipped, you should be studying every player on the court and what their tendencies are. This will help you anticipate plays more and exploit the opponent’s weaknesses.
4) Two-Way Skills
Defense is 50% of the game, so having good defensive instincts and holding your own on this end is a great way to stand out to NBA 2K League scouts. Defense isn’t just about guarding “your guy” or following a ‘who to guard’ arrow the whole game, it’s about being an effective player within a strong team defense machine. What makes guys like a DPOY winner Draymond Green incredibly valuable as a defender, is his ability to guard his man while also being an elite help defender, as well as the versatility to be able to guard multiple positions. Elite players can play any type of zone defense, know how to rotate on D (both half court and transition), in addition to possessing strong 1on1 individual defense skills. Anticipation (Tip #3) and studying your opponent is a big component to becoming an elite defender.
5) High BBALL IQ & 2K IQ + Some IRL Basketball Experience
It’s not rocket science that doing the real-world version of something can help a lot in understanding the dynamics of the sport (or anything). This is why many former basketball or NBA players become NBA head coaches or GM’s – they’ve done it themselves, so they know what to expect and all the nuances. BBALL IQ basically means having high awareness and playing smart basketball, whether it’s knowing to take open shots vs contested shots, learning the X’s & O’s of bball, spacing, and many other cerebral and strategic dynamics of basketball. Playing basketball in real life is a great teacher, however you can improve your BBALL IQ as well as 2K IQ somewhat through studying basketball and playing 2K. But picking up a ball and playing some pickup IRL will help a lot towards understanding the nuances of basketball and then translating that knowledge to the virtual court. The NBA 2K League online application will test BBALL IQ and 2K IQ, so try to learn as much as you can about the sport.
[Check out NBA 2K: How to Not Play Like Trash in Pro-Am]
6) Mental Toughness & Composure
Sure you can get buckets vs some randoms in JRC with not a whole lot at stake. But can you do it and make the right basketball play vs an elite pro-am team with a $2000 wager at stake, with 10 seconds left on the clock down 2? This is where mental toughness and composure comes in – this means to be confident in the face of chaos when the pressure is on, being clutch, being unflappable when met with adversity. This is where Kobe and Michael really separated themselves from the rest, where good becomes LEGENDARY. Big players come up big in big moments. And this is due to having elite mental toughness and composure, rising up to the moment, and being there for your team when they need it most. This is another intangible that will separate you from the rest of the pack, which is again, achieved through repetition and experience, training, and a huge will to win – which leads to the next tip…
7) Ultra Competitive / Will to Win
MJ, Kobe, and many others, love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t deny their passion for winning. Many players have an in-your-face approach to that passion, while some are more stoic, but regardless, the desire to win is palpable. Being ultra competitive is an X-factor intangible that separates elite NBA 2K players from the rest. This doesn’t mean to disrespect, rage, etc. vs teammates if they fall short, but being competitive is a trait you want an elite player to have. If you’re highly competitive, it usually means you’ll keep working towards getting better and succeeding. If you look at a lot of championship teams, they were usually filled with a lot of ‘hate to lose’ type players.
8) Good Communication
Not so much “on the court”, but good communication is a key strategic element to winning. It’s also part of being a good team player, which is a component to being on a team and playing for the NBA 2K League. Players should be able to take and give constructive criticism and input, build team camaraderie, have the team’s back, etc.
9) Team Player
Tip #8 is part of a larger theme – being a good team player. Advanced level players are generally good teammates, have good communication, and are selfless in that they’d be willing to sacrifice individual glory for the betterment of the team. A great example is in the real NBA, with Andre Iguodala being ok with coming off the bench to help the Warriors because it was what was needed. Team players are all about getting W’s for the team.
10) Great Work Ethic
Top players have a great work ethic and are dedicated – always grinding trying to get better. Whether it’s refining their player, practicing moves, practicing their jumper, learning about basketball and 2K, building chemistry with their squad, or being pro-active in improving their skills.
11) Make Adjustments / Learn From Mistakes
Elite players make adjustments – or are at least willing to as necessary. They make gameplan adjustments before games (prepping, scouting, etc), during the game, and after game assessments, as needed. Top players are constantly learning from mistakes, studying and scouting opponents, trying to improve and figure out what they can do better, and adapting to the challenges at hand.
12) Optimize Their Archetype
The last element to these tips is to optimize your archetype. Top players strive for archetypes that enhance their game, fit their gameplay style, fills team needs, as well as knowing their archetype well and how to optimize it to help play at a high level. At the same time, players should be versatile enough to play well with any archetype, as NBA 2K League tryouts and archetypes will likely be standard / set archetypes like it was for Season 1. Either way, top players are able to get the most out of their chosen archetype.
Hope these tips have helped to improve your game and your NBA 2K League tryout journey, and be sure to check back here for more upcoming NBA 2K tips!