How to Pick a Team in NBA2K

It’s my belief that in order to become a hall of fame level player in NBA2K, you need to pick one team, use it all of the time and make it your mission to master every player on that team’s roster. Picking a team to use is the first challenge that many people face so here are a few ideas on how to pick the right team for your own personal hall of fame project.

    1. Pick your hometown team. The most obvious place to start is with a team that you follow closely. If you are from Milwaukee and you watch all of the Bucks games then it certainly makes sense for someone like you to use a team like Milwaukee. You, above all other people in the 2K community, would be the best choice to represent Milwaukee. I’m a good example of that. I’ve watched the Pacers since the 80’s, was a season ticket holder for awhile and been a fan forever. If you knew all that before you played me and then we happened to square off in a match, it would probably take you by complete surprise if I selected the Heat just because they have Lebron, Wade and Allen. People do that all of the time. Why is that? The problem is that a lot of the time, the team that we love stinks in the game and so what people opt to do is use an elite team instead because it’s just easier. If you are a veteran of the NBA2K franchise, I would always lean you towards using your home town team whether they were good or not.
    1. Pick an elite “big market” team. I guess the ideal situation would be that your home town team is a big market team with good players on it. You live in New York and use the Knicks. Then, it would certainly makes sense for you to use that team. If that were the case, I’d really would want you to use Knicks just like if you lived in Milwaukee I would really want you to use the Bucks. Given a choice between playing someone who had lived in New York and followed them closely, and some guy from Orlando using them, I’d want to play the guy from New York all day long and rather see the Orlando guy using the Magic. Exception: If you are brand new to the game, it probably does make sense for you to use an elite team when you are starting out. Higher rated teams are more forgiving when you make mistakes which you will definitely do when you are learning the game. When I started out. I used the Kobe Bryant led Lakers for about a 100 games until I got comfortable with the game and then I made my move to the Pacers.
    1. Picking a team when you have no hometown team: Now, it’s always possible that you don’t have a hometown team. Maybe you live overseas or in Arkansas where they don’t have a team. What team do you pick then? Well, that’s going to depend. What I would probably suggest then is that you choose a team that you have some sort of connection with. Maybe you used to live in Sacramento and choose to use the Kings or maybe use a team that has a player who played college ball at a university you are a fan of, maybe pick a team that is geographically closest to you or maybe pick a project team.
    1. Pick a project team: The main thing I always love to see is people using home town teams. A close second is using teams that no one uses. There are certain teams in the NBA that just have no true fans that use them or at least if they do, I haven’t spotted them in the 2K community. Some of those teams are teams like Utah and surprisingly at the moment San Antonio who has been in the finals for the last two years as I write this. If I didn’t have a team, I’d probably use a team like Utah because I’ve traveled to Utah a bunch of times and once met one of their players and I know that the chances I would run into another Jazz user is small at best.
  1. Pick a team based on your current skill level. One last approach I would give you is to pick a team based on your skill level. If you had to rank your ability to play the game as a rookie, pro, all star, superstar or hall of fame level player, what would it be. If you are brand new to the game, I would consider you a player at a rookie skill level. If you have been playing awhile and usually set the game to pro difficulty and do fine but struggle to win at all-star difficulty level, then you might be a pro level player. It’s not an exact science so you’ll just want to get close. Once you’ve estimated your current skill level, then rank the teams based on how hard or easy they might be to use and pick one at your current skill level or one step above your skill level.

Choosing A Team Based On Your Skill Level

At the beginning of each new season, I like to rank the teams based on how hard or easy I think they will be to use in NBA2K. I break each team down based on the number of 90+ rated guys, 80+ rated guys, 70+ rated guys, 60+ rated guys and 50+ rated guys each team has and I put it in a chart like below. I’ve also started putting the number of signature skills a team has assigned to them on the chart as well because a team with more signature skills will have a slight advantage and a team like Sacramento which has 23 signature skills is probably going to play a lot better than I might have them ranked in the 27th spot to start the year in which I put the chart together.

Once I’ve got the teams ranked, my rationale works like this. Setting aside signature skills, teams with a collection of guys rated over 90+ and 80+ are going to be easier to use than teams that don’t have anyone over 80 or 90 on the team. I consider teams that have a bunch of guys rated high easier to use. On the chart, I listed a current skill level as well. You’ll notice that teams like the Heat and the Thunder are teams I consider to be more appropriate for players who might be rookies to the game while teams like the 76ers and the Jazz, I think you would need to be a hall of fame level player to win with them.

This is my way to essentially “handicap” the teams to evenly match players who might go head to head. A rookie level player using the Thunder might play a hall of fame level player in an evenly matched game using the 76ers if they played head to head. However, if you have a hall of fame level player using the Thunder, you’ll definitely have a pretty formidable opponent.

Versus the CPU, and for the purposes of the hall of fame project, a chart like this also will tell you how hard it’s going to be win with that team on hall of fame level difficulty. The father down the list you pick your team, the more challenging it will be to compete and win on hall of fame level and you’ll have to game plan and execute at a high level.

When we start playing the hall of fame CPU, we will use this chart again and start playing versus the worst teams in the league and work our way up the team difficulty chart, like a ladder, knocking off one team and moving up one rung of the ladder at a time.

As a final note, when it comes to team selection, I’ve played a lot of guys that “switch” teams for whatever reason. What I’ve noticed is that for the most part that they play the same way with all of them. It’s more a matter if the team they play matches their play style how well they do. In my case, I’m a natural chucker. I like to shoot the ball so I’ll do better with a team that shoots threes than one that can’t. But if you put me on another team, there won’t be much difference in how I play and that’s what I’ve noticed about most people who change around. Play style is pretty constant and success depends on how well the team adapts to what they normally do anyway. And that’s all the more reason to stick with one team and master it.

Ultimately, I don’t think it matters what team you choose, I think you can win with all of them once you get good enough. What matters more is you pick one and get to work mastering it.


Coach2K is a fictional NBA2K player. C2K has been playing video basketball games since the Mattel handheld basketball game was released way back in 1980. You can contact Coach2K on Twitter by clicking here.

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