Strategy Guide
Defending the Pick-and-Roll in NBA 2k8

Last week we discussed utilizing the pick-and-roll to your advantage while playing NBA 2K8. The pick-and-roll can be used in NBA 2K8 almost to the point of being called “cheesy” by your opponents. With that in mind, the question now becomes, “How do you defend the play?” This week, we will attempt to answer that question.

In a real basketball game there are several ways coaches instruct players in defending the pick-and-roll. However, they all involve PEOPLE making decisions. In the virtual realm, you have to rely on your friend, the good ole’ AI, to make the correct decision based on what you choose.

For example, during a basketball game you will see the defenders communicating that a pick is about to set. The defender guarding the ball handler has a few options. If he gets caught by the pick then he can yell, “Switch!” This tells the other defender to step up and begin guarding the ball handler while the defender caught by the pick will now begin guarding the screener.

Another option is for the on-ball defender to step up with his lead foot and go “belly up” over the top of the pick. This means that the defender keeps his belly facing the ball handler and does not turn his body to go around the pick. If the on-ball defender can get over the pick then the second defender does not have to switch. He can simply step over to cut off the driving lane but stay within distance to continue guarding the screener.

A third option involves the on-ball defender stepping over the pick “belly up” as well. With this option the defender guarding the screener must “hedge” or make a sideways slide-step toward the ball handler cutting off driving lanes. The on-ball defender steps over the pick and creates a “pinch” with the second defender. It essentially becomes a double-team on the ball handler. The second defender or help defender must quickly move back into position to take away the roll option on the pick-and-roll.

Again, these options involve human intellect making the right decision based on what a coach has instructed. In NBA 2K8 you are at the mercy of artificial intelligence when defending the pick-and-roll. If you are controlling the on-ball defender and get caught by a screen the easiest option is to switch to the defender closest to the ball, which, in theory, should be the screener’s defender. Remember, I said, “In theory.” This will create a mismatch, and you will have to be quick on the sticks and buttons to give the little guy some help.

Based on game play, another strategy that seems to work is to use the specific switch option and switch to a defender is guarding a player on the wing. This defender should be from the side of the floor that the ball handler is dribbling toward. Use this defender to help and play the passing lane to pick off the pass on the roll. This option seems to work well.

I have rarely, if ever, seen the hedging option being used during game play. This includes NBA 2K8 and College Hoops 2K8. In fact, game developers would be wise to focus on this more in the next installment of NBA 2K8 because the use of the pick-and-roll is so prevalent.

I am curious to hear of other options that users have employed to defend the pick-and-roll. Sound off on your experiences and strategies! Do you like to switch to the wing defender and play the passing lane? Do you try to fight over the screen? I have seen several threads on different message boards asking how to defend the pick-and-roll. Now is your chance to share!

NBA 2K8 Videos