With details of NBA2K13 beginning to surface, it’s easy to get excited about the game’s Oct. 2 release date at this point.
But let's not live in the future so much just yet, we still have NBA 2K12 keep us company for a month and a half. If you have been playing NBA 2K12 for the past 10 months or so, you likely have done just about all it is that you want to do with the game, so it begs the question: How can we get more out of our copies of NBA2K12?
Whether you’ve played NBA 2K12 a lot or a little, the My Player mode provides a lot of options for challenges and different play-styles that can help you get more out of a game that’s nearly a year old.
Think less MJ, more Dennis Rodman for My Player.
My Player tacitly encourages you to build your player into a superstar and there are plenty of ways to game the system in order to ensure your rapid ascent to big shoe deals and max contracts. For instance, you can work on maxing everything that’s improved by the Dribble Course training except for Speed and then sell back the Speed points you win—the most valuable attribute points in the game—to maximize your available skill points.
Bam! You're nearly instant All-Star, congrats.
But you can also take a different route and shy away from skills like Offensive and Defensive Awareness that will quickly boost your overall rating and get you into the starting lineup. By focusing strictly on rebounding and defense for big men or shooting for swingmen, you can turn your player into a valuable sixth man who contributes off the bench. You’ll play less of every game, but then you can also play more total games in the same amount of time.
Of course, there’s no accounting for the AI, which may eventually start you anyways, but if you don’t try too hard in the Rookie Showcase and tank your team interviews, you’re more likely to fall to a playoff team like the Nuggets at 22 or the Thunder at 24 where you’ll come off the bench for longer. Plus, it’s just fun to tank the interviews.
Pacers GM: “We need someone who’s willing to spend their entire career as a member of this team. Is that someone you?”
Player: “To be honest with you, I’m a big city kind of guy. I don’t think Indianapolis has the type of vibe I’m looking for. You feel me?”
Pacers GM: “Well, that didn’t go quite as I expected …”
Strangely, the cockier you make your player’s responses to the questions, the more he insists on being a starter, a star, a winner, the more likely it is he’ll fall to a team where he comes off the bench.
Falling to a better team can also let you turn your player into a complementary player more in the mold of Scottie Pippen or Pau Gasol. Focusing on On-Ball Defense and Passing as a SF or PF and keeping your shooting skills low will force you to help your team in ways other than scoring. Learning to recognize the double team in the post as a PF or C and then making the right pass out to the wing can be surprisingly satisfying and will probably improve your usage of post players in other modes.
Playing My Player to just become the next Lebron is kinda lame after awhile isn't it?
The Run Plays option
Although only PGs can call plays themselves in My Player, you can determine whether the computer runs them in the Presentation menu of the game. By now, you’ve probably decided which way of playing the game works better for you, but it’s worth switching it to see how differently the game can play out. If your player is a shooting guard or small forward and you haven’t been running plays, you’re likely to find some sets that get you the ball in open space on the wings. Floppy sets are particularly good for this, so watch for the computer to call these, or, if you’re a point guard, it’s a good way to get open shots for your wings if they can knock them down.
Letting the computer run plays is more problematic for big men, though. There’s something wonky about the way the computer understands picks being set in plays. As a PF or C, you’ll find yourself setting a pick on the block for a wing to run out along the baseline and the computer won’t understand that it’s been set and taken. You’ll be left with a circle on the floor indicating you still need to set it. By the time you’ve set it again, the play has moved on and more than likely broken. In the worst cases, you’ll get called for offensive 3 seconds as you struggle to set the right pick in the paint.
It’s far better to just leave the Run Plays option off as a PF or C and learn how to get the computer to respond to your moves. As you head up the court on offense, pay attention to where the other frontcourt player and the SF set up. If it’s on the weak side (away from the ball), run up to the post and start backing down your man. The PG will more than likely set up on the arc on the strong side and throw it down to you. If they’re setting up strong side, you can run past them on the baseline and often lose your man before setting up on the weak side. If you get good position, the PG will often kick it around to the SG on the weak side to drop it in to you.
These are just two examples of how to read and react to not just what your computer opponent is doing, but how the players on your own team are playing. The better you get at reading and reacting, the more fun playing without running plays becomes, and you’ll be very effective with one of my favorite My Player models, the oversized SF.
Playing My Player can help you tune skills for 2K13.
The Oversized SF
Playing without running plays as a 6’11” SF built on the 3-point specialist template can be a lot of fun, largely because you already begin with Shot Medium and Shot 3-Point ratings that will allow you to knock down most open looks, plus enough speed to be subbed in at SG and enough size to be played at PF. Either way, you’re a matchup nightmare. Devote some points to post shots and strength and back smaller guards down in the paint before facing up or hitting hook shots (which you should be able to hit against shorter players). Put some points into Speed and Quickness and break PFs down off the dribble. And as a SF, your size will still allow you to pull up and shoot over most defenders at your own position from the arc.
But power forwards who can shoot the 3 (so-called “stretch 4s”) can also be fun, as can tall, pass-first point guards and undersized, penetrating shooting guards (although the game’s overeager blocking—unchangeable with sliders in My Player—can make this more difficult). The thing is, you probably have a default way you approach the game in My Player and any other mode: scoring with the ball handler on the pick-and-roll; running guards off screens for open shots; dumping it into the post to play back-to-the-basket.
Taking a step outside that comfort zone and learning post moves or how to run off screens in My Player will not only extend the life of NBA2K12 but round you into shape for 2K13. So get to it, you have a month and a half before 2K13 drops.