The advent of Signature Skills in NBA 2K13 heralds a shift in approach for the NBA 2K series that could have a profound effect on the way people play the game. The system promises to make players whose games are more unorthodox stand out, from the sweet-shooting, terror-on-the-glass approach of Kevin Love to the all-grit, all-grind defense of Tony Allen to the corner-3-carpet-bombing of Ray Allen and Jason Terry. But are we just going to pretend players only have positive traits?
After all, if what 2K Sports is after is a more realistic, nuanced simulation of players’ quirks and individual games, surely they need to look at including a counterweight to players’ good tendencies with something like Signature Flaws.
Here’s a look at a couple of tongue-in-cheek ideas for such a system.
No Grit, No Grind
A player like the aforementioned Tony Allen is all heart and hustle all the time, but for every Allen there have to be two or three guys who just seem to have no genuine interest in the game, no matter what their role or their contract. For players like this, injuries take up to twice as long to recover from. During games, their stamina takes precipitous and unexplained dives. Example players: Darko Milicic, Andray Blatche.
Some players aren’t lazy, but they just can’t seem to stay away from Old Country Buffet. This doesn’t come into play in one-off exhibition games, but in an Association, following the offseason or All-Star Game, this player will gain 5 to 20 pounds and lose 3-8 points off of Speed, Quickness, and Athleticism. Example players: Shawn Kemp, Raymond Felton.
The Loose Cannon might have all the athletic skill in the world but is unable to focus enough to play consistently. During games, this player will experience random, invisible rating fluctuations. That 75 Block rating? Now it’s a 99, but that 82 Defensive Awareness has dropped to 34. Also, on very rare occasions, the X and Y axes of the left stick will be randomly swapped. Example players: JaVale McGee, Anthony Randolph.
The Big Takeover
Some players thrive under pressure. When the shot clock is winding down at the end of a close game, they want the ball in their hands. Unfortunately, sometimes this also means they have a hard time sharing. Occasionally, when passed the ball down the stretch of a close game, this player loses the ability to pass to anyone else. No amount of mashing or icon passing will get him to give it up; the only option is to create his own shot. Example players: Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony.
While players with Signature Skills like Anti-Freeze and Heat Retention are the embodiment of confidence, a player with this flaw will go cold as soon as they start laying bricks and will stay cold longer. Pep talks from his teammates, perfect shot release and selection, a tall, cold Gatorade: none of it will help. Some guys just get shook. Example player: Wes Johnson.
Having one of the best players in the league on your team is a key to doing well in Association mode, but for certain players, when free agency approaches, this Flaw will cause the chemistry of the team to drop precipitously as they make trade demands then rescind them, make promises then break them, and eventually completely screw you over. Example players: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard.
It might be a lack of bulk or a lack of commitment but for whatever reason, players with this Flaw can’t seem to set a decent screen. Just about every pick they set can be easily gotten through and they’ll often abandon the screen too quickly to either roll to the hoop or pop out, leaving the ballhandler doubled and optionless. Example player: Kevin Durant. See also: every player in NBA 2K12.
For some players, basketball is more than a game: it’s a craft to be honed with hard work. And then there are players like those with the Practice?! Flaw. Although often tremendously talented, this player will never gain a bonus from team practices in Association and cannot be selected to participate in development drills. Example player: Allen Iverson.
Surely there are more quirks of individual players that aren't strictly ratings based. What are your ideas?