Today, we’ll cover the best defensive settings in NBA 2K21. This should help with configuring the computer A.I. teammates to play how you want them.

Before we start, head over to your Gameplan settings and make sure ‘adaptive coaching engine’ is turned OFF. Then, scroll to the bottom and make sure ‘Team Communication’ is set to “Defense Only”.

NBA 2K21 Defensive Settings Tips & Tutorial

On Ball Pressure

On Ball Pressure determines how much room the AI defender will give the ball handler. This will only activate when the computer controls the on-ball defender. Whether through the whole possession, or however briefly when switching elsewhere. You easily notice the on ball pressure taking effect by how far above the 3pt line the on ball computer defender sets his stance. Defenders will park below the 3pt line when during On Gap and Moderate. On Tight and Smother allows them to creep further and further up, contacting the ball handler well beyond where the 3pt line. This can come in handy depending on the ball handler. Take Ben Simmons, for example. He often has his defender sag off near the free throw line. It doesn’t make sense to close it far from the rim just for him to blow by you. So, for any non shooters, even if they struggle inside the paint, it’s best to put this setting on Gap. While against a Steph Curry/Damian Lillard type, who’s a threat as soon as he passes half court, tight pressure works here.

Off Ball Pressure

For Off Ball Pressure, I put everybody on Moderate (that’s about average depth) by default, then adjust according to how well a shooter they are. Anybody above B+ in three.

Force Direction

You want to set this to always have the computer force the ball handler baseline.

Pick and Roll Defense

For both On Ball Screen and On Ball Screen(center),  it’s going to solely depend on who the ball handler is. By default, I  will set it to always go under screens to meet the ball handler on the other side. However, if you’re playing a guy who you does not really want to give any space, you can go over to hopefully run him off the 3pt line.

For Hedge and Hedge(center), I put both on Catch Hedge. It’s the most conservative setting that allows the big to play both the roll man and the ball handler. At least until your opponent commits to shooting or passing.

Stay Attached

You always want to make sure this is set to no.

Off Ball Screens

For off ball screens, set this to go under by default and manually change the setting to over on any guy that you feel is a major threat from outside.

Switch Rules

This helps when the computer steps in to aid a defender who is out of position to guard their matchup. Switch All is super valuable if you have versatile players to do it.

Another option is switch guards. Now, if your PG is a liability, you may want to keep him in place. In general, this creates the least trouble for your defense by switching. I suggest turning this setting on this unless your roster is of the caliber of a Miami Heat where Switch All makes more sense.

Screen Help Rules and Drive Help Rules

You want both of these to be set to Help and No Rotation. In this setting, guys who off ball pressure you have set to moderate, gap, or leave him (guys on tight and deny ball will stay with their man).

Extend Pressure

Opt for no for extend pressure unless you have a severe mismatch at the guard position.

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