How to Be a Better Opponent in NBA2K

While you can’t pause the game to replay yourself posterizing your opponent anymore (thank you 2K for removing that), there are still a lot of things that you might be doing that annoy your opponents.

Unfortunately even I’m that guy sometimes (just by writing this article people will label me like that), but nobody wants to be “that guy” if they really want to improve their game. So what I did here was put together a list of simple things that you can do to be a better opponent in NBA2K.

Now before I start, I do want to point out that this is not a list of how to play “sim” or to point out what I think is “cheese”. These are things you can do that don’t take a lot of effort on your part that can improve the gaming experience for both you and your opponent – most of which will go unnoticed if you put them into practice and that’s the whole idea.

A lot of these things we’ve also adopted in league play, many at the suggestion of our C2K League commissioner PSN AlabamaRob. And so, I wanted to thank him for his input as well because I didn’t even consider some of these things until he brought them up.

    1. Ditch quick match type games – As soon as you can find people to play the game the way you like to play, start moving away from quick match into a better game setting. Nothing teaches more poor game play habits than the quick match arena does.
    1. Have a solid internet connection – At the top of the list of things you need to be a better opponent is a good internet connection. Nobody likes to play a game with lag. While occasional lag is unavoidable for even the best connections, if you get constant complaints about lag in your games then it’s probably you. Do something about it.
    1. Notify your opponent immediately if you have lag – If you have lag, let your opponent know in the beginning part of the game. Don’t wait until near the end of the game and then start complaining about how the game has been lagging and you want to quit. Once the game is well under way, just deal with it and don’t say anything. Really this rule applies for any problem you may have.
    1. Don’t play during bad weather – During severe weather, there’s a good chance the power might go out and with it your connection. Don’t play during storms.
    1. Don’t start a game you can’t finish – It’s surprising that sometimes guys will start games they don’t have time to finish. Make sure you have time to finish what you start. There’s nothing more annoying than getting ready to start the fourth quarter and get a message that says, I have to go out to dinner, I can’t finish. One time, a guy paused and told me he was drunk and needed to stop which was hilarious but still annoying. Of course emergencies do happen and I’ve had those happen to me on the rare occasion. Just make sure you’ve got the time to play.
    1. Be prepared to play again if the connection gets lost – How reliable the connection is sometimes outside each players control. I go into every game knowing the connection might be lost and am always prepared to play again – even if I felt I had that game in the bag. It sucks but I don’t count any game a win unless it’s finished and so I will always play again to finish a game completely. My rule of thumb is I give it three tries and then agree to try later if it doesn’t work out. When I was commissioner, I was always amazed at how many people felt they deserved a win after three quarters of play. Yeah it sucks, I know, but as far as I know, they don’t count any game in real life that didn’t finish. All I’m saying here is agree to run back any game if the connection is lost even if you were winning and felt the game was yours and if you lose in the run back – as often happens – be a good sport about it.
    1. Be the road team – I always choose to be the road team and let my opponent have home court. This is the automatic option if you invite, but you can always make the offer by moving over. While it’s not always an advantage in their favor, some arenas are definitely more difficult to play in than others if their team gets it going.
    1. Have a team identity – I know when I step on the floor each game who I am going to be. I don’t have to cycle through every team just to ultimately choose the powerhouse team of the year. Personally, I prefer playing people who use their hometown NBA team or at least one that they use full time. I know that isn’t always possible since some people don’t have an NBA team where they live and not everyone is like me in that regard. But have an identity of some type and be that person online. My identity is to suit up with the Pacers game in and game out and make the best of it – even if the roster doesn’t suit my skill set. The game needs more people playing the teams that aren’t superstar teams. Consider picking one and sticking with it every year.
    1. Show what jersey you are choosing – Sometimes I’ve chosen my team’s alternate jersey against the Lakers and somehow we both came out in yellow. It’s a good practice to show what jersey you want to suit up with and then I can pick the opposite and help me see my players better.
    1. Only have one guy stream the game – We stream all of our games in league play but have made a general rule that home team streams. This will usually be the guy who received the invitation. So whoever receives the invite would stream. If you have a good internet connection, then you are probably fine streaming. I stream all my games and only on occasion have lag. Sometimes lag will happen if we both stream.
    1. Be open to playing everyone multiple times – No one learns anything from a guy who won’t put his skills on the floor against them. Put your game out there and let people learn from it or criticize it. Be open to playing people more than once so they can get to know your tendencies and learn how to stop them. I’ve played some guys 50 times. When you do that, you get so familiar with what the other guys does you start to take it away. That forces the other guy to learn how to do something new he didn’t know how to do until he was forced to work on it.
    1. Don’t expect your opponent to play the way you want them to play – Expect that during the game, your opponent will do things you don’t like. I haven’t played a game yet where I liked everything my opponent did. I remember playing in pick up games in real life where I absolutely hated how the other guys played. NBA2K is no different.
    1. Set all of your settings before the game tips off – Before the tip off, go in and set your controller settings, coaching settings, defensive settings, etc. If it happens that the game won’t let you right before tip, do it on your first possession.
    1. Don’t pause the game to make changes – Once the game has started, only make changes as you can during breaks in play and during timeouts. Don’t pause the game to make settings changes or manually make substitutions. Call timeout and do it there. Nothing is more annoying than being in the middle of a possession and then the game pauses. If it’s an accident that’s one thing, but that’s pretty rare but it has happened to me where my thumb flipped off the stick and onto the pause button by mistake. I usually apologize after the game if that happened.
    1. Don’t skip the free throw routines – Let the free throw routines play out without advancing them. This allows people to make changes to lineups and POE’s manually without burning timeouts.
    1. Don’t pause the game to point out you didn’t like something – When something happens on the court you don’t like, don’t pause the game to show your frustration.
    1. Don’t pause the game to send messages about someone’s gameplay – Once the game starts, play the game, don’t waste your time telling your opponent how you want them to play.
    1. Don’t pause the game to show off stats – Don’t stop gameplay to show how great your stats are to your opponent.
    1. Don’t quit – Once the game is underway, play the game out win or lose no matter what. Somewhere along the way, it became acceptable to quit and just give guys wins. I’m not sure why. Certainly if your opponent wants mercy, just let them have it but never ask for it and take your losses like your take wins.
    1. Don’t do stupid stuff if you are losing just to make the other guy quit – Not throwing the ball in, not playing defense, shooting full court shots with the idea to get your opponent to quit so you don’t have to is childish.
    1. Be a good sport if you are winning big or losing big – If you are winning big, there comes a time when you are just piling on seeking some sort of total annihilation. Slow the pace down, put your bench in and work on stuff to make your game better. If you are losing, start working on certain players or certain plays. Use that time to your advantage.
    1. Watch your mic – I remember when my son was younger listening to guys let the profanity fly with my child in the room. It was pretty annoying.  Trash talking is fine, just keep it clean. Some guys have tons of background noise and others mics are staticky. Check out your mic with a friend to see how well it works before you use it.
    1. Try and win in such a way that the other guy can’t complain about – Do the best you can to take the negative feedback you do get about your game and get rid of it. You want to win without your opponent being able to point to it as the reason they lost. I once watch my son play a guy and both of them successfully alley-ooped on every possession. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
    1. Play man to man defense exclusively – The NBA is a man to man game. While zone is employed in real life from time to time, zone doesn’t work properly in the game and can turn the game into a freelance fest. To illustrate my point, in real life weaker teams use zone the most and in NBA2K, you often see guys using zone with the strongest defensive teams. This just gives your opponent something they can complain about if they lose. You can and should play man to man defense exclusively in every game especially when using the strongest teams in the league.
    1. Start working on an offense – Get into your playbook and actually start using it.
    1. Don’t fight cheese with cheese – I often hear guys on YouTube use any excuse they can offer up to give them a license to play however they want on their side. Develop a game that’s respectable and stick to it no matter how the other guy plays. Fight cheese with a good game plan even if you fail to win with it. Stick to your style and game plan. Do the best you can to play the right way as you understand it and be open to the fact that you can always play better.
    1. Don’t send messages about gameplay at the end – At the end of the game, offer up a good game to your opponent even if you didn’t feel that way. No need to duke it out via PSN message or some rant on a forum or Twitter or whatever. Let the game be over and move on without criticizing.
    1. Don’t offer your opinion of how the other guy plays – Even if he asks for it, don’t offer a critique of someone’s game even if they ask for it.
    1. Create a post game recap – Get in the habit of posting all of your wins or losses. With the ability to connect your console to twitter, it’s incredibly easy. I post nearly all of my results along with the box scores to give people something to follow. Often in league play, I write up a game summary. Other guys in the league have written some incredible game recaps and it’s really cool to see.
    1. Share what you know about the game with others – I used to play my friend all of the time and he convinced me that being open about the “how” to do things benefited both of us because it made us each tougher if we had equal knowledge of the game.
  1. Don’t adopt a win at all costs attitude – Growing up watching Bob Knight at Indiana University, he would sometimes throw games to teach his players what they needed to learn. That is because he knew that you learn more when you lose than when you win. Winning isn’t the most important thing. Getting better is.

So there you have it. Those are my 31 tips to being a better opponent in NBA2K. Overall, the best think you can do is just be a good sport and do the best you can. Hopefully, these tips will help you out. Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions.

You can also follow me on Twitter for all of my game results.


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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