The game’s AI has also seen a lot of tweaking. For example, the same zone defense scheme that the Dallas Mavericks used to best the Heat now plays much more smartly. One of the complaints about defensive players in last year’s game was their Spidey Sense-like ability to reach and arm out and deflect a pass without even looking. The team admitted that it was a band-aid meant to discourage players from running their player down court before their team was going to get a rebound and then having the rebounder pass the ball to the now-wide-open man down court. In NBA 2K12, issues like that have had time to be addressed much more thoroughly.
The AI system has been completely rewritten to be more dynamic. In last year’s game, the AI would run specific plays, which could often lead to the player figuring out the plays and making the appropriate jumps on the ball over and over. Worse still, when the AI had its play snuffed out, they would default to a generic brand of basketball intelligence, defaulting to simple plays. The new system is now much more divergent, giving the AI more options if their primary options aren’t available. This keeps the players on their feet and makes the AI more of a challenge as well as more like a human opponent, which should do well to extend the life of the game.