How to Shoot a Higher Percentage in NBA 2K

Today I wanted to talk about how to get better at shooting in NBA 2K12. Once you learn the concept of how to improve your free throw shooting in NBA 2K12, the next logical step is to work on your jump shot and shooting from the field. Just like a player’s free throws, each player also has a specific shot release that you will have to master. If you follow this ten step guide, there is no doubt in my mind you will improve your shooting percentage from the field. Improve your team’s field goal percentage and you will win more games. It’s that simple. While I wrote this guide with the PS3 as my platform, for the Xbox the fundamentals below are the same. Just check your game manual for the proper game controls that you should use. You may not go into the detail I do in my guide, but then again as your Coach, I’m going to do everything I can to give you the edge you need to shoot the lights out.

Step One: Practice Shooting In Practice Mode On Hall Of Fame Mode Settings And The Camera View You Use In Games

[catalyst_hook_box name=”googleinpost”]The first thing thing you will want to do is take your team into freestyle practice mode. Once in the practice mode, you will want to go into the game play settings and turn it on Hall of Fame mode. The reason I recommend shooting on Hall of Fame mode in practice is because it’s the hardest mode to get a perfect release on. If you can do it on Hall of Fame mode setting, you will find it much easier to shoot on the lower levels of Rookie, Pro, Allstar and Superstar. I also suggest that you use the default speed setting of 55. I am assuming that this is the same speed that is used online. It’s a good idea to use the same speed settings across all modes so that your timing is the same throughout every game mode for everyone’s release on your team. I also set my camera view to 2k, the view I use in the games I play. You don’t want to practice in one view and play games in another camera view. The timing and feel will be different if you do.

Step Two: Turn On The Shot Indicator And Shot Quality Feedback

Once you have done that, you will want to go to the menu again and choose presentation. Inside there, turn on shot timing feedback and adjust shot quality feedback to “all shots”.

In addition to the shot indicator and shot quality feedback, one other thing you may not notice at first is that when you shoot, the circle under the player you are shooting with will flash blue when you should release the shot. The blue circle that flashes under your player does so automatically. You don’t have to turn that indicator on in the settings.

With these settings turned on and the circle under your player flashing blue at the proper time, you will be set to master each player on your teams shot release.

Step Three: Learn The Proper Way To Shoot

On the PS3, there are two ways to shoot the basic jumpshot. The first way is to hit the square and release. The second way is to use the right stick. I usually pull and let it go for the release.

The question is should you use the square to shoot with or the right stick? While “The Kid” uses the square button sometimes and the right stick others, as your Coach, I strongly recommend using the right stick for all shots. I suggest using the stick for all of your shots. Your layups, your dunks and your jump shots. If you use the stick for all of them, then when it’s time to shoot a layup with your hand opposite the defender, you won’t have to switch to the stick. You’ll already be in “stick” mode on all shots.

I also think that when I let go of the stick to release my jump shot that it feels more like a shot in real life. But that’s just me.

To dunk, you will want to hold the R2 button and push the right stick forward. Pushing the stick in the other directions to dunk will change the type of dunk your player does. For example, to do a reverse dunk for some players, you would hold R2 and pull the right stick toward you. A player’s dunk package determines what kind of dunk he does. I noticed that Roy Hibbert doesn’t do a reverse dunk.

To shoot a layup, move the right stick to the hand you want to shoot with. Keep an eye on the defense and shoot with the hand away from the defense.

Step Four: Learn What A Perfect Shot Release Is

The first step in perfecting your shot release timing is to start shooting with one of the players on your team. As you do, you will notice the shot stick timing indicator in the top center part of the screen. It will show one of three settings:

    1. Early – The shot indicator will show it just behind the players head and be in red
    1. Perfect Release – The shot indicator will show at the top of the indicator and be in green
  1. Late – The indicator will show at the front of the players head and be in red.

You can also tell whether you released the shot early, perfect or late by without a shot indicator by watching the result of your shot. If you release it early, it will be long, perfect and it will probably go in and late it will come up short. This is handy if you are playing online where there is no shot indicator. You can tell by looking at what your shot does by how you timed it.

The other thing that is important to note is that just because you release it in the green zone, doesn’t mean that you will hit it every time. It’s just more likely. Also, think of each release zone having a broader window of time rather than an exact early, an exact perfect or an exact late. This means that the shot indicator could be green and the release not be exactly perfect but still go in. It will also depend on the player you use, their ratings and hot zones from where you are shooting from. In games it will also depend on the defense and situation at the time.

Step Five: Practice Shooting With Each Player On Your Team To Learn Each Player’s Perfect Shot Release

The next step then, is to practice shooing with each player on your team. In practice mode, you can substitute each player into practice mode to work on your timing. Your goal should be to learn to be able to get a perfect release with each player. You’ll notice that each player on your team will have a different type of shot and because of this they will also have a different time you need to release the shot. This makes the game fun and challenging.

Mastering each player’s proper release point might seem hard to do at first, but with practice, you can do it and once you learn how to do it, if you decide to play with another team in the league, it won’t take you nearly as long to figure out. Here are some extra tips to master your shot releases.

With each player:

    • Experiment with the release to learn when you need to let go to get green every time you shoot.
    • Watch for the circle to flash to learn when you should release.
    • Watch each player’s shooting hand and try and release when it starts to move forward.
    • Watch for other “tells” a player might show that indicates the right time to release. For example, Dirk Nowitzki kicks his legs out when you should release.
    • Take lots of shots in practice mode.
  • Start with one player, work on mastering their shot release until it becomes second nature. Then, work on the next guy on your team.

If you do those things, you will definitely improve your shot releases. Start with one player, master their shot release, and then work on another. Before you know it, you will have mastered everyone on your team.

Keep in mind that you can release a shot perfectly and it won’t go in every single time. It doesn’t in real life and it won’t in the game either.

Step Six: Learn What Shots Your Players Shoot Best By Looking At Each Player’s Hot Zones And Shot Ratings

While it might be obvious that you won’t shoot three’s with your center if he’s a horrible outside shooter, it might not be so obvious where to shoot with the other players on your team. Can they shoot three’s? Are they a better mid range shooter? Do they like certain spots on the floor over others. If you have played basketball in real life, you know that you had certain spots on the floor that you liked to shoot from. For me, it was the wing behind the three point line. The players on your team are exactly the same. To figure this out, there are basically two things you want to look at:

    1. Your player’s hot zones.
  1. Your player’s shot ratings.

There are fourteen zones on the hot zone chart. The outer ring is the three point ring, the ring just inside of that is the midrange zone, the ring just inside of that is the close zone and finally, the ring inside the take charge circle is the inside zone.

You’ll notice that the hot zones are color coded. Red for hot, gray for neutral and blue for cold. From my experience, what it means is that in a red zone, maybe in practice you would hit 7 or more from that zone out of ten. A neutral zone, maybe 6 or more and blue 5 or more. Any given time, you might hit more or less just like a real shooting practice would be.

It’s not an exact science. You can hit shots from all zones. You can miss shots from all zones. From the same spot, you will probably hit more shots if the zone is red than grey and more from grey than from the blue.

Knowing your players hot zones is only part of the equation. The second part is how well your player shoots within each ring. You can find this by going into the substitution menu and looking at a players ratings.

Each player has ratings for inside, close, medium range and three point shots.

The higher the rating the better the shooter. If you get to know your team and know for example, that one player is a good shooter from medium range and you are set and open with that player, get a perfect release and it’s in a hotzone, you will have a better chance it will go in.

Step Seven: Learn To Take Good Shots By Improving Your Shot Quality And Shot Selection

If you hit a high percentage of your shots, there is a pretty good chance you will win the game. To do that, you have to learn to take good shots. The first step in doing that is by paying attention to the shot quality grade in the upper left corner of the screen when you take a shot. Each shot is graded from a high of “A+” to a low of “F”. The more A+’s you get, the more likely you are to score. Again, and this is important to note, it doesn’t mean you will make every shot. It just means that you have a greater chance it will go in. You get A+’s by taking good wide open set shots in the areas your player shoots well from. You get lower grades by taking shots with a hand in your face or outside your players range or by poorly releasing the ball during the shot.

What is a good shot?

When I play the game, I do the best I can to take good shots. I don’t always succeed but for the most part I do a pretty good job. It depends on my mood and focus at that particular time as well as how good of a defender my opponent is. Because I think the game for the most part is just a matter of shooting a higher field goal percentage than my opponent, my goal is to shoot as high a percentage as possible and keep my turnovers down. I will definitely be in the game if I do that that’s for sure. I consider a good shot to meet the following criteria.

    • You are within the three closest circles of the hot zones (and mostly the first two). Those are the “inside” zone, the “close” zone and the “medium” zone. I do everything I can to get shots in that range. A dunk is ideal.
    • You wait until all five of your guys are down court with you. There are more rebounders that way as well. Unless you have numbers on the fast break, pull it out set it up.
    • You work the ball around and don’t take the first available shot. You can always pretty much get a three. A few passes and you might get a dunk instead.
    • Your feet are set. You aren’t leaning, running or fading away.
    • You are open and the shot is not being challenged.
    • You use a shot fake if you are in range of a defender (most important in the inside zone) to get the defender off his feet and move to get a better wide open set shot.
    • You get a perfect release.
    • You shoot in a hot zone for your player.
  • You shoot in a zone that your player is highly rated for.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take threes. But take open ones where your feet are set with the right players in their favorite spots. The guidelines above will definitely improve your shooting percentage.

Plus, there’s an added benefit that if you shoot from inside a lot, you will also get fouled. This will result in going to the line more often and ultimately getting a few and one’s during the course of a game. I have even fouled out Lebron online before because it. That’s an extreme case, but stuff like that does happen.

What is a bad shot?

A bad shot is basically the opposite of the above. A bad shot has the following characteristics.

    • You are shooting all of your shots from the outside two zones.
    • You force the fast break when you don’t have an advantage. There are attacking more defenders, going one on three for example.
    • You take quick shots before all of your players are down the court with you.
    • Your feet are not set. You are leaning, running or fading away.
    • You have defense in your face.
    • You don’t get a good release.
  • You shoot with the wrong players in the wrong spots in the wrong zones.

Can you still hit bad shots? Of course you can. It just means you will shoot a lower percentage than you could have over the course of a game and it will make it harder for you to win the game.

Good shooters (shooters with stars and the 3 icons next to their feet) can often hit shots that other players wouldn’t normally hit. But even then, it’s best to get good shots with them as well. Give yourself the best chance to hit the shot and those guys will be unstoppable.

Step Eight: Follow A Regular Practice Routine To Keep Sharp

Once you know all of the above, the next step is to put together a practice routine to improve your teams overall shooting as a whole and keep it sharp. What I recommend is working with each player on your team and practice shooting from all the zones they would realistically shoot from in games on a regular basis. I would try and do a full routine once a week. I’d take 10 shots from each zone and strive for a perfect release on each shot. Here’s the routine I would follow:

    • Shoot ten shots from each zone working your way around the gym. Try your best to get a green shot stick timing indicator and A+ grade on each shot.
    • Spend more time taking shots your player would take in the game. So don’t worry about taking shots with your centers from three point range unless that’s one of their specialties.
    • Record your practice results to find your best hot spots. Your timing might be better in one zone over another.
    • Spend extra time practicing threes with your three point specialists and more time shooting midrange shots with your midrange specialists.
  • Before I play each day, I would take a few shots in practice mode with some of my key players in some of their favorite spots that I know I will use during the games.

Chart your shots made and shots attempted from each zone. Here is the list of zones.

    • Three point left corner
    • Three point left wing
    • Three point top
    • Three point right wing
    • Three point right corner
    • Mid range left baseline
    • Mid range left wing
    • Mid range center
    • Mid range right wing
    • Mid range right baseline
    • Close left baseline
    • Close top
    • Close right baseline
  • Inside

Step Nine: Analyze Your Game Performance By Reviewing The Shot Charts For Each Player And Compare That Performance To Your Practice Sessions

The final step to improving your overall shooting percentage in NBA 2K12 is to see how you shoot in actual games and compare that to your practice sessions. At the end of each game, a shot chart is available for each player. It tells you what zone they shot in and the number they made or missed. This is your best tool because it tells you where your shots come from when you have to face an actual defense and will tell you where you need to practice. Knowing where you tend to shoot in the games will help you improve your practice routine.

See where those shots are coming from and start recording those shots in a spreadsheet. By tracking your actual shooting from games, you will be able to find out the following:

    • Are you getting good shots inside the first three zones?
    • Are the bulk of your shots coming from your best shooters in those zones?
    • Are you shooting most of your shots outside the inner three circles?
    • Are you shooting from a players zones who are cold?
  • Could you shoot with different players who might shoot better that have higher ratings?

Although I think it goes without saying, the number one thing you can do to improve your overall shooting is shoot with the guys on your team that are the best shooters. If you can’t shoot with them, make sure you are not shooting with the guy who is the worst percentage shooter on your team. Here’s the spreadsheet I’ve started for my Indiana Pacers.

Step Ten: Don’t Ignore Game Momentum

There is one other thing that affects your shooting in NBA 2K12. That is the momentum of the game. If the other team is flying high getting fast breaks, dunks and three’s you will find that it will be harder to make shots. This is more so when you are on the road and the crowd is going crazy. During these times of the games, you will want to buckle down and get a good shot within the first two zones – inside and close – preferably a dunk. Otherwise, even perfect shot releases may not go down if momentum is not on your side. Conversely, if you are on a roll, have been finishing fast breaks and dunking the ball, if you get an open three you are more likely to sink it if you using the right shooters and are open.

If you hit a few shots in a row, you may also see a red fire symbol next to your player. Sometimes people think that this gives you the green light to shoot from anywhere and you will hit the shot. It just means you will be a little more likely to hit your next shot. Keep taking good shots and don’t take shots you wouldn’t normally take. Getting to the free throw line also warms your guy up and can trigger the fire symbol. If you miss a few shots in a row, instead of a red fire symbol, you will see a blue ice symbol. When you see this, it’s probably more likely you will miss. I also would watch shooting jump shots when your player is tired. You will know he is tired when you see the “G” Gatorade symbol. Call time out to get some rest.

I have also noticed is that some shooters don’t shoot well every game. They can have an off game. It could be the defender they are up against. Whatever the reason, be prepared to give a “heat check” to other players on your team when you find one struggling. They often pick up the slack and if you find someone that is getting the job done, keep working it until your opponent stops it.

If you follow ten step guide NBA 2K12 shooting tips, you will be well on your way to shooting a higher percentage and winning more games. Good luck!

If you like this guide and it helped you, do me a favor and share it on the internet where ever you can.


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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