NBA 2K23 Beginner Guide & Tips: How to Not Play Like Trash Online (Rec, Pro-Am, Park)

With just about everything, there is a “beginner phase” or learning curve to pass through. For the NBA 2K series, it’s no different. Here for NBA 2K23, we’ve put together an NBA 2K23 Beginner’s Guide with plenty of basic tips and bball-iq tips for those new to NBA 2K and/or new to basketball. These are mainly for The Rec, Pro-AM, and City / Neighborhood, and specifically for the goal of getting W’s online.

1) Pass the Rock

If you’re a total noob to the NBA 2K series, the first inclination when you hop online may be to try to replicate a Kobe or Stephen Curry performance and put up 30 shots to try to score 50. That’s all fine for MyCAREER, but playing online with human teammates (as opposed to bots) definitely changes the dynamics on how to effectively win ball games. There’s only one (virtual) ball, and chances are teammates will want to get some points too. Most players enjoy playing with unselfish teammates in real basketball, and that’s no different in 2K. It all depends on what your goals are — to win games or to get buckets? These aren’t mutually exclusive, but keeping teammates in the mix to where everyone eats, often has the side effect of improving teammate chemistry – and getting W’s.

 2) Space the Floor / Spread Out

Spacing spacing spacing. Think the 2016 – 2018 Golden State Warriors, who had shooters all over the court and great floor spacing. But this will also depend on what position you’re playing and creating a good build that has decent enough shooting so that the defense will respect your shot.

For more balance in the offense, 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 where your teammates are on the court and give them room to operate. This also includes centers who clog the paint when someone is trying to drive and dunk. Read your teammates and try to adjust accordingly. Without a shooting build, you’ll have to get more creative with scoring and how to help the team, including running ‘mini-plays’ or actions (mentioned later).

3) Learn from NBA 2K Guides & Controls

4) Try a Different Camera Angle

Wonder why you keep running into your teammates or everyone cuts at the same time? Could be that your camera angle and your teammate(s) camera angle are polar opposites. ‘2k Cam’ has the most advantages in 5 on 5 as far as seeing the passing lanes, playing team defense, and spacing. You can change the camera angle in Park and Rec / Pro-Am by pressing D-pad to the right.

5) Stop Blindly Chasing Your “Who to Guard” Arrow

For basketball IRL, there are no arrows telling you where to go. Teams switch, rotate, play help defense, hedge, trap, etc. The ‘who to guard arrow’ is a visual guide for who to guard, but isn’t meant to be blindly followed and isn’t a be-all end-all to playing effective team defense. If you see your teammate leave his man to trap or play help defense, have his back by finding the open man to guard, etc.

6) Help Your Teammates

Do whatever you can do to help get the W. Set an off-ball pick, act as a decoy, move smartly without the ball, play solid defense, score, etc. If you show your value to the team by trying to get the win instead of only stats and glory, others will see this and trust the rock in your hands more.

7) Run Plays or Actions

Here are some basic ‘mini-plays’ or actions you can try out online:

  • Give and Go
    • Pass the ball to a teammate, then cut to the hoop or to an open spot. Most effective vs a defender who is playing over-aggressive on-ball.
  • Pick and Roll
    • The “PnR” refers to a play where a players sets a screen (or pick) and then ‘rolls’ to the hoop. The main goal of this is to get the defense confused or to switch assignments so that a mismatch can be exploited.
  • Pick and Pop
    • The pick and pop refers to a play where 1 player sets a screen (or pick) and then ‘pops’ to 3PT line or an outside shot. This can create mismatches or have the underneath defender expecting a roll which can give room for a shot.
  • Backdoor-cut
    • Backdoor cut refers to when a player cuts towards the hoop, usually from the baseline. Most effective vs a defender who is playing over-aggressive off-ball.

8) Take Good Shots

Working to get low contested shots is a skill in basketball and NBA 2K. Settling for bad or highly contested shots let’s the defense off the hook, so look for open shots for the best chance to score.

9) Learn from NBA 2K & Basketball Glossary

To get more familiar with 2K slang and basketball terminology, you can find over 700 terms (and growing) in NBA 2KW’s NBA 2K & Basketball Glossary.

10) Icon Pass

Icon passing is a must-have to break down an over-aggressive defense and to pinpoint who you want to pass to. Press Right Bumper / R1 to bring up the passing icons, then press the button of the corresponding player to pass to a specific player.

For Xbox:

  • A = Point Guard
  • B = Shooting Guard
  • X = Small Forward
  • Y = Power Forward
  • LT = Center

Conclusion

There you have it! We hope these MyPLAYER gameplay tips help you get better at NBA 2K23 and get W’s online!