2k has been notoriously quiet about what exactly their attributes do and what their numbers really mean.  NBA2kLab.com was started with the goal of shedding a little more light on these subjects so that our readers could have every advantage available to dominate online play.  After months of research here are the top 5 little known advantages you can give yourself in NBA2k.

5. Plus 1s

Most 2k players would agree that 95 is the player rating cap for all non-superstar players and 96 is the cap for players at the superstar 1 rating. However this is not the case.  Players who max every +1 attribute that can be earned by going to practices have the ability to get to 96 overall before superstar 1 and 97 overall as a superstar 1.  There are 9 different attributes you will need to max to get to this next level.

Free Throw – Play the Free Throw Gold game in team practices.  Players can only earn one free throw attribute per team practice. Different positions cap at different levels.

Reaction Time – Do the Gatorade Reaction Time Drill in the weight room.  You can fail the drill and still get +1 each time, but only once per practice.  The minimum amount of effort to still received gold “Doin’ Work” is get at least 6 on the first half of the drill, and 0 on the second half.  This is the quickest way to complete the drill.

Offensive Consistency – We will go into further details in a moment, but you can only do this drill every other team practice, and it only gives +1 every other attempt.  This one is a grind, but worth it.

Draw Foul, Shot IQ, Intangibles, Hands – You earn these by doing the tasks in practice.  You can start the drill and cancel it to earn the +1.  It takes three tasks to earn one of the attributes.  We are looking into Shot IQ and Intangibles to see what they do exactly, but we have some information on Hands and Draw Foul.  Draw Foul is not a sim stat, you will be more calls the higher it gets.  We tested a player with 40 draw foul and they drew a foul on 17% of drives.  We duplicated that player and gave them 99 draw foul and they drew a foul on 35.5% of their drives. While this is not crucial for Park, ProAm players should take advantage of draw foul to earn some free points at the line.  This is a huge increase making it worth it to max.  The Hands stat will help you to catch passes cleanly and not fumble them and will reduce the frequency of rebounds bouncing off your hands which can be incredibly frustrating.

Stamina and Hustle – You earn these two by doing the workouts in the weight room.  You will get one of them for every fifth workout you complete.  Increase stamina will let you sprint for a longer period of time and it will replenish your stamina bar more quickly.  Hustle will help you with recovering loose balls and rebounding.

If you grind all of these stats to 99 you will see subtle improvements in your MyPlayer and you will hit that next overall rating.

4. Strength

One of the questions we get asked the most is “Is this attribute worth upgrading”? And most of the time that attribute is Strength.  We are big fans of increasing strength and have been doing it for the past few 2ks.  So, what does strength help with besides “making you stronger”?

The largest quantifiable increase was in made dunks/layups. For testing strength, we used a 6’6 player with slasher attribute caps and Hall of Fame posterizer dunking on a team of 7’3 glass cleaners with bronze rim protector. Any attempt that resulted in a missed shot due to a foul was thrown out. Below are the results from this test

STRENGTH RATING MADE DUNKS MADE LAYUPS MISSED ATTEMPTS
70 26% 25% 49%
65 20% 26% 54%
60 19% 22% 57%
55 15% 26% 59%
50 5% 29% 66%

 

As you can see, having higher strength greatly helps with the success of dunks and the chance of a shot going in.  While it may appear that the number of made layups went down that is only due to the increased frequency of getting layup animations as opposed to dunk animations.

Strength also has benefits in areas that are more difficult to quantify.
Boxing out – Strength will help keep your man from slipping past you for the rebound.  On the flip side, if you are boxed out with higher strength you have a better chance of doing a swim move to get passed your man.

Post moves/Post Defense – It is easier to back your man down or prevent your man from backing you down when you have higher strength.  However, strength does not play a role in the success of a post move, except for Drop Stepper.

Screens – Strength did not help with setting screens, but it does help you run through them.

Defense – So far it seems like strength is great for bigs, and it is, but my personal favorite reason to max strength on guards is its role on defense.  Even if you have the best reaction time/predictive skills in the world, sometimes the input lag will kill you in online modes. If you struggle with staying in front of more experienced players who are utilizing advanced dribble moves strength may be the solution to your problem. These dribble moves are often patterns that the users have memorized. Higher amounts of strength will lead to more bump animations against your matchup that will break the dribble chains and make it easier to check your man. Lateral quickness will often not be enough because it is 40 points slower than the speed of the dribbler; we will go more in depth on this later. We find the most consistently good defense is simply staying in front of your man, not reaching or jumping to try to block shots and getting bumps whenever possible.

3. Hot Zones

Here is our biggest impact advice for anyone wanting to bring their myPlayers to compete online at a high level.  Get a hot zone on every section of your court.  Since this is 2k, it has to be a little more complicated than it should be.  It doesn’t seem to work the same for everyone, but in our experience, hot zones are shared across all your characters.  If you make a new myPlayer your hot zones on your other myPlayers may disappear temporarily but can be regained easily by playing a career game.

Why should you get hot zones?  (And avoid having cold zones) It will raise your shooting percentage and will get you more greens.  Your shooting bar will be bigger in the hot zone as well.

With a non-badged player with an 80 overall standing three, we shot 500 standing, uncontested shots in each of a cold zone, hot zone, and in neither.  Here are the results

 

ZONE MAKE % GREEN %
Hot 70.4% 70%
Normal 62.6% 29.8%
Cold 40% 0%

 

As you can see, the increase in makes and greens makes it completely worth it to set a hot zone.

There are 5 zones on the perimeter, 5 from mid-range, 3 around the hoop, and 1 zone under the hoop where you can get hot zones.  These will cover the entire court.

In order to set a hot zone, you must hit approximately 12 shots in the zone and shoot higher than 40%.  In our experience, if you have a hot zone and play several games without hitting a shot in that area, you will lose the hot zone.  I normally use my sharpshooter to set the hot zones by playing on rookie difficulty and 12 minute quarters.  It normally only takes around four games to set them all as it’s easy to hit 60 field goals while shooting over 40%.  After they are set, just start a career game on another character and they will copy to that character as well.  You don’t even have to play the full game.  You can sim to the end and they will still get the hot zone.

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Christopher Walker
I have been playing football games since 99’. All starting with the NFL Game Day demo and NFL Blitz on PlayStation, then I moved on to Madden for the next 5 years, where I really didn't know what I was going yet. I flirted with NFL 2K for a year, but have played Madden and NCAA (up until its demise last year) ever since steadily improving my game each year and developing a passion for the X’s and O’s part of football.