NBA 2K21 Ultimate Shooting Guide: How to Shoot Better, Master the Shot Stick, Intangibles, & More

Want to learn how to get greens and be a lights out shooter in NBA 2K21? Well look no further! We have put together a ton of actionable 2K21 shooting tips that you can start using right away, to go from a brick master or average shooter to a walking bucket.

1) Choose the Right MyPLAYER Build

Deciding on the best shooting MyPLAYER build to get greens is the first thing to figure out and will be a big factor in the success rate of getting buckets. Here’s how to narrow it down:

  • Use our custom, redesigned NBA 2K21 MyPLAYER Builder to find the right shooting build to create. Compare builds, badges, animations, and much more. You can even see where your build stacks up with a “Pros / Cons” list for each build.
  • Choose a build that has shooting as a primary skill so your build can be eligible for HOF badges.
  • Choose a build with a substantial amount of Shooting badges. Anything over 20 Badge Upgrades is considered good to great.
  • Builds should match your playstyle as a shooter. If you’re play style is more of a spot up, catch and shoot, spread the floor type of style, then it’d be more beneficial to go with a more 3PT heavy pure sharpshooter build. If your play style is more of a dual threat as a ball handler and shooter, then having a balanced build of shooting and playmaking would be the best. Shooting Badge setups for builds should also factor in playstyle.

2) Choose the Right Shooting Badges & Maximize Badge Stacking

As we mentioned before, play style may determine which badges to equip. But overall, the shooting badges below are pretty common and can benefit any build. Check out the full list of shooting badges here.

3) Earn & Know Your Hot Spots / Hot Zones

Hot Spots and Cold Spots are sections or ‘spots’ on the court that dynamically change based on how well your player shoots from those spots on the court. Shooting from a Hot Spot increases the percentage of shots going in, and vice versa for Cold Spots.

  • How to check your Hot Spots (2 different ways)
    • In MyCAREER: Go to MyCAREER > Main Menu > Stats > Roster > Right Click on Your MyPLAYER > Scroll to Shot Chart using LT/L2 and RT/R2. > Change game mode by Pressing X / Square.
    • In MyCOURT: Go to MyCAREER > Go to MyCOURT > Press A/X ‘Play Games with Friends’ > Choose ‘Shootaround’ > Press View/Touchpad button.
  • How to get a Hot Spot (FG% requirements)
    • 60% in Paint area
    • 55% in Close Shot area
    • 50% in Mid-Range area
    • 40% in 3PT area
    • In your last 50 games (MyCAREER, Park, Rec, Pro-AM) with at least 10 shot attempts in each of those areas.
    • Tip: Equip the Hot Zone Hunter Badge to substantially increase make percentages.
  • How to get rid of a Cold Spot:
    • Keep shooting in the various court areas and get the percentages up to reach the Hot Spot criteria mentioned before.
    • Wait 50 games and not shoot at all

4) Find & Equip the Best Jump Shot for your MyPLAYER

  • Use the in-game Jump Shot Creator to create your own shot.
    • The Jump Shot Creator is an in-game tool for creating your own custom jump shot. You can choose from base, release 1 and 2, blending percentage, and release speed.
    • Jumpshot Creator can be found in MyCAREER > Main Menu > MyPLAYER Appearance > My Animations > Jump Shot Creator.
  • Find the Best NBA 2K21 Jump Shots from the 2K Community
    • If you haven’t found the right shot yet, try experimenting with different shot bases and releases.

5) Master Shot Stick Aiming, Shot Meter, Shooting Button

New to NBA 2K21 is the revamped Shot Stick, which was implemented with the goal of creating a wider skill gap between players. If the Shot Stick isn’t your thing, you can also use the Shot button (X/Square) and disable shot aiming under Options > Controller Settings > Set Shot Aiming to ‘Off’.

  • Shot Stick Aiming
    • Shot Aiming implements different shooting methods that offer a shooting boost to a player’s shot percentage, based on how difficult the shooting method is.
    • Here are the shooting methods below (from the highest percentage boost to the lowest):
      • Shot stick aim + left trigger for timing
      • Shot stick aim and no left trigger for timing
      • Shot meter off
  • How to use Shot Stick Aiming:
    • 1. Pull down on the right stick. Note that the meter starts close to the center, not to the left or right.
    • 2. After pulling back, slightly tweak the stick’s position the left or right based on where the high-percentage area is.
    • 3. When using Pro Stick Aiming you don’t have to release the shot. Just pull down on the stick, adjust the aim and your MyPLAYER will do the rest
    • Note: There are no penalties for mistiming your shot with the trigger, but if you get it right you get a bigger boost to your shot.
  • Shot Stick Aiming vs Shot Button Comparisons & Recommendations
    • Shot Button has an easier learning curve and easier to master, only requiring pressing the button.
    • Shot Button is more forgiving on full-whites / non-perfect shooting releases
    • Shot Button is easier to shoot for most moving shot and catch and shoot situations
    • Shot Stick Aiming has a more difficult learning curve
    • Shot Stick Aiming is less forgiving on non-perfect shooting releases
    • Shot Stick Aiming is more difficult for some moving shots and catch and shoot situations.
    • If you’re willing to put in the work and master the mechanics, we’d recommend the Shot Stick Aiming method, as it can give a higher boost. But for more consistency and an easier pick-up-and-play method, many do absolutely fine with the Shot Button to shoot lights out.

6) Practice Practice Practice

We talkin’ about practice! Take advantage of MyCOURT, 2KU, or Pro-Am Arena shootaround to work on new jump shots, work out the kinks in your shot, finding the sweet spot of when to release the ball, etc.

  • A good general rule is to take the shot at the peak of the jump.
  • Work on all types of shots: off the dribble, spot-up catch and shoot, fadeaways, mid-range, 3 PT, in hot spot areas, etc.
  • In MyCOURT, Shootaround (or free style) is great for off-the dribble practice
  • Choosing the Ball Machine is great for practicing for spot-up catch and shoot situations.
  • You can also try out your shooting in-game vs NBA players while in MyCOURT.
  • Practicing will get you fully familiar with every shot type in the game so that you have a number of shot varieties to attack the defense in different situations.
  • Once you feel comfortable with your shot and jump shot mechanics from practicing, take it to an actual game, whether vs the cpu or online multiplayer modes, to see how your shooting and jump shot performs against actual defense.
  • Be sure to factor in input lag and delay while online and how it may affect your jump shot.

7) Get Your Shot IQ Up / Take Good Shots

A money jump shot can be equipped by any player, but instinctively knowing when to shoot is an intangible that players should know for the best shot success. Here are some tips to improve your Shot IQ:

  •  Don’t settle for bad shots. Having patience, while also recognizing opportunity, is key. The shot clock gives you 24 seconds, so utilize it to the fullest. When you take a bad shot – i.e. heavily contested, rushed, forced, etc – it’s basically a free gift to the defense and let’s your opponent off the hook. Always strive to get good looks of the basket where the defender isn’t close enough to heavily contest the shot.
  • Make sure Shot Feedback is on (under Controller Settings)

8) Movement, Positioning, Spacing

Your objectives as a shooter are many, whether the ball is in your hands or if you’re playing off-ball. Spacing the floor, movement and positioning, timing, and chemistry all factor in to getting good looks to maximize shot success.

  • Moving with the Ball as a Shooter:
    • Create space. If you’re a jump shooter with the ball in your hands, the objective is to create space between you and the defender so you can attempt a good shot. How that’s done is by guaging how the defense is playing you and then react accordingly, and by using various moves to get open (see below)
    • Effective Moves and Plays:
      • Triple Threat Jab/Step-over (Tap RS Left/Right/Up) with a live dribble is a great way to create space and keep the defense off-balance.
      • Stepback Jumper, a la James Harden, (Tap RS down while driving) creates a lot of space off the dribble.
      • Sprinting towards and shooting from the mid-range baseline vs a trailing defender can be a good spot to shoot before help defense can get there.
      • If your player is a decent ball handler, creating space behind a screen/pick from your big is a great way to free up space.
  • Moving without the Ball as a Shooter:
    • Get Open
      • Your job as an off-ball player is to get yourself open, create an open target for the pass, get your teammate(s) open, as well as to create spacing on the floor. You want to give your teammates driving lanes so they can drive and kick, take it all the way to the hoop, etc. It’s not all about you, so pay attention to the position of your teammates. Give them room to operate. Read your teammates and adjust accordingly.
    • Get in Sync with Your Teammates
      • You want to create chemistry with your teammates, especially in online multiplayer modes. This is done by adjusting positioning, movement, and timing to sync up with the potential passers on your team, as well as give them room to operate if they want to iso. Many times, these nuances are the difference between getting open or not, and winning or losing. The best way to get in sync is to make sure to be an open target for the passer, especially if/when help defense rotates over. This improves team chemistry as well as increase the likeliness of taking open shots if the opportunity between pass and catch and shoot is synced up.
    • Space the Floor / Spread Out
      • One of the best off-ball options for a shooter is to spread out and space the floor, spotting up in the corners or 3PT wing areas. This allows space for the ball handler to drive and kick out to the shooter(s) if the defense collapses.
    • Read and react to the defense
      • Spotting up at the 3 is one way to space the floor, but shooters should always be gauging how the defense is playing them and react accordingly, whether it’s a 5-out, 4-1, motion offense, or any other offense.
    • Utilize pump fakes and backdoor cuts if the defender is playing too tight to keep the defense honest.

9) Know all the Shooting Controls

Getting familiar with every shot type is a great way to become a skilled shooter:

Hope this NBA 2K21 Shooting Tutorial helped you step up your game and be sure to check back here for more NBA 2KW gameplay tips!

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