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Old 09-04-2021, 05:14 PM   #1
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NBA Xs & Os

Final Real Team Scouted Playbooks are now Complete as of 11-4-2021!


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X Box Series X - Opening Night Rough Draft Roster (Rough Draft Tendencies & Playbooks) is live as of 10-19-2021- Gamertag - Vannwolfhawk206


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The Final Version Roster With Fully Scouted Plays & Player Tendencies From 2021 season Will Be Coming Soon (Mid November)

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I wanted to start a thread on real X’s & O’s as well as 2k X’s & O’s as I will be diving into 2k22 playbooks next week.

That being said this should be a thread for everything and anything to do with plays that teams run, plays we need in the game, plays that are broken or that the CPU doesn’t execute well, plays missing, offense, defense X’s & O’s, etc.

As many of you already know I am a basketball coach and have been coaching for almost 25 years now at all levels. I recently wrote 64 different books and started a website all about basketball X’s & O’s, offense, defenses, drills, etc. it has really opened a lot of doors for me that I never saw coming and I have had the opportunity to have a ton of 1 on 1 zoom calls with top NBA, WNBA, and college coaches over the last year with sit down strategy sessions and breaking down videos, plays, etc. in doing so I have learned even more about the game that I love. I’m an X & O junkie so let’s do it.

Others might also know me from all the Playbooks I have done in 2k with real plays, scouting teams, etc… I plan on diving in again this year but…

The game has changed since those days to add 50 plays to team's playbooks from Horns sets, etc. The NBA is more concepts and read and react to how the defense defends certain actions instead of set plays. The set plays are more for ATO’s or EOG situations or EOG SLOB’s.

So, it’s more of how to do this, but more importantly, 1st 2k needs to be able to emulate today’s NBA. As of right now (2k21) they are not even close. We will need to see what 22 looks like but maybe starting this early gives them some things to start on in 23 but 1st we will need to wait and see next Friday if they fixed the defense as well as a few things I will post next… I do have a few ideas on how to emulate real basketball this year though that is different from what I have ever done. Let’s hope the tools are there to pull it off this year. Stay tuned…

So, I will start with a couple of quick breakdowns in the next few posts and continue to add to it as we go. Look forward to some good back & forth. Feel free to share things you see your teams running here and then tag the 2k play (if it’s also in the game).
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Old 09-04-2021, 05:15 PM   #2
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Re: NBA Xs & Os

Chicago Action

Ok guys, so I just turned on 2k21 to play around a bit and immediately realized why I didn’t play it and shelved it. I wanted to show you guys what I mean with 2k not capturing the play style of NBA teams nowadays.

So, I did a podcast with a coach a while back on Chicago action for those who aren’t familiar with it. If you watch the NBA or playoffs last year you saw every single team running this action. It is as prevalent in the NBA as the basic PNR and has been for years now. Teams can and do run this action from numerous different alignments like 5 out, horns, etc. you can pretty much run it from anything and disguise the action. You will see a few ideas in the podcast video. I just want to share it for some context.

Here is the podcast…

https://youtu.be/uvNmmIOj1_M

In 2k21 they have 1 Chicago action play and it doesn’t even run correctly. Not to mention the DHO is so poorly executed in 2k that even if it was running properly it creates no advantage for the offense. On top of it being so bad for the user, the CPU can’t run it effectively either.


Edit: There are 6 Chicago Action Plays in 2k21 next gen

1 - Give 51 Chicago - OK by CPU - Not ran properly
2 - Give 5 Out 6 - Ok by CPU - Not ran properly
3 - Give 52 Hold - Great CPU - Not ran properly
4 - Fist 25 Give 12 - Great CPU - Chicago Pistol Action - Great Play
5 - Fist 25 5 Out - Great CPU - Chicago 2 Action - Great Play with 2nd screen after DHO
6 - Fist 5 Out 7 - Best CPU Execution & Options



We need more than this and we need the DHO to immediately roll. Just better execution & timing... But we need more of this from different alignments. Hopefully they are in 22...

As you can see in the video it’s such a hard offense to guard against. It’s 1 reason we see more drop coverage and switching as well as chasing around screens in the NBA nowadays. Now that 2k supposedly fixed chasing around screens, catch hedge in drop coverage, and rotations they could get the D to work against this properly if they executed the offensive action properly.

Until 2k can execute this action, the DHO’s, and defending against it then this game will not reflect real NBA basketball. How can you use guys like The NBA MVP of the league Jokic, or Bam Adebayo, etc properly with the state DHO’s are currently in?

In 2k they have 1 Chicago Action play out of 1 alignment (5 out) which is the best one to add (so that’s a plus). But the play doesn’t execute properly in 2k. All they give us is the DHO after the pin down (play execution over). The DHO passer (think Adebayo) should immediately roll hard to put pressure on the d after the DHO and the pin-down screener needs to lift up while the opposite side is interchanging. None of that happens at all. So what is the point of the action?!

I am not trying to plug 1 of my books but again I have a book with over 105 Chicago action plays with full diagrams and explanations from a multitude of alignments for them to add! There should be no reason we don’t have this in 2k22. It’s been around for over 5 years now. 2k needs to have a good 20-25 of these plays in their game to add to playbooks so teams play like the ones we watch on tv. Add Chicago action plays to 5 out, point away, point over, 4 out, transition secondary break, etc…

https://www.nextplayhoops.com/collec...ction-playbook

After diving in a bit more with this action in 2k21 next gen I think one of the main issues is the action of a DHO is really pointless the way the defensive AI plays against it. The defensive player doesn’t get stuck on the screen and slides under DHO like it never happened. There is no advantage for the offense by using the DHO. They need to fix the off ball help so they can have the defensive player on ball struggle to fight through the action. As is now it’s not realistic defensively and pointless to use any dho’s.

Now, the other thing offensively is the DHO smoothness is inconsistent. There is a hitch after the handoff where player is stuck or doesn’t attack. It’s similar to when you make a crossover move, have defender beat, hit sprint to explode but it takes a second of input delay to react. Those are killing the gameplay in DHO’s and attacking off of them and using the advantage along with the defender having no issues fighting through it. It’s supposed to be just like a PNR. There needs to be some defenders getting caught in the action and on the DHO passer to fight through it… that’s why it’s effective and defenses need to switch it more times than not…

Anyways, rant over. Hopefully, the czar sees this and can add it. Shoot I’ll even send him the book for free if he could add it in.

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Edit:

NBA 2k22 Chicago Action Plays In 2k22 That Need Fixing ASAP

These are all the Chicago plays in the game besides a couple of PNR plays that are Chicago/Pistol Action. This 1st list of plays does not give you an advantage and is not running properly currently. The DHO handoff should immediately roll and the backside player should lift. All the action leading up to the end read is great. We just need Da Czar to fix the roll and lift at the end. As is now the DHO just stands there and the backside lift just stays in the corner. It makes using any of these plays useless and these are the plays we need in the game to simulate what every team is running in real life every game. These plays don't work for an advantage otherwise. it's like having a PNR play you call & the screener doesn't roll ever. The bottom list is the 2 Chicago plays that work. Go test them for yourselves and see the difference.

Can someone get Da Czar to see this post? Tag him, send on his social, etc... And he needs to see post #2 in this thread as well as it gives the background of the play... I will add these to the bottom of that post as well so it's all in 1 place.

Chicago Action Plays That DO NOT WORK

Handoff - W Give 53 Swing
Handoff - Give Pin 25
Handoff - Give Delay 52
Handoff - Give 53 Pin
Handoff - Give Point 2
Handoff - Give Piston Snap
Handoff - Give Piston Snap 2
Handoff - Give Horns Flip 1
Handoff - Give 53 Quick
Handoff - Give 53 Fist
Handoff - Give 52 Hold
Handoff - Give 51 Quick
Handoff - Give 51 Quick 1
Handoff - Give 51 Chicago
Handoff - Give 43 Zip
Handoff - Give 43 Series
Handoff - Give 5 Out 4
Handoff - Give 5 Out 6
Handoff - Give 35 Zip
Handoff - Give 42 Quick
Handoff - Give 3 Curl
Handoff - 87 35 Give


Here are the 2 Chicago plays that work. Remember, I do have other Chicago Actions I will use that go directly into Pistol Actions as in the example below with #2. If we got the above plays fixed I would have 0 complaints as to simulating how teams play this year. I have all other areas covered but this is kind of a tough one as this is the meat & potatoes of what team's are running. Denver with Jokic, Heat with Adebayo, etc...

Chicago Action Plays That WORK

1 - Handoff - Give Delay - 5 Wide play & DHO rolls
2 - PNR - Fist 25 Give 12 (This is Chicago Pistol Action)
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Last edited by vannwolfhawk; 09-10-2021 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 09-04-2021, 05:16 PM   #3
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Re: NBA Xs & Os

RAM / VEER / Ghost Actions

Ok, here is another quick podcast I did a while back on RAM & VEER action. 2k has some decent ones in their playbook with veer action, but we do need more RAM and RAM out actions added though.

Again, this is another action all NBA teams are running. More concepts than set plays, but you will also recognize that a lot of the ghost actions (running pick & slips for the old school guys lol) that you are now seeing a lot of to not only get the mismatch on a switch that they want but also because running ghost/slip screens is hard to guard and ends up opening up the veer action (2nd screen for the shooter).

There are no RAM plays that run correctly in 2k21 next-gen. There are a few in the game and labeled as STS as well but we really need to get these in. The RAM screens are janky, and the RAM out (Warrior or Klay action) as the RAM screener coming off the immediate pin down are not timed or used properly. They don't use the pin down properly and come off the wrong side of the screen & don't use it. It's great action teams use so we need it in but it needs to be better in-game from an execution standpoint.

We also need 2k to do a better job with the ghost screens somehow. I see Czar has the action in but they are pointless to run and don't get what the whole point of running it is. We need to create a switch or a miscommunication for a pick & pop or create a split second to attack & drive opportunity... I will also say though that he did get the 1-2 screens in which was greatly needed for years! That was a nice addition & plenty of them too... As far as the veer action there are a couple of good ones but we need way more veer actions and tricky actions added as well...

Here is the podcast for some context…

https://youtu.be/eE3mtEPzGx0

Once again you can see these are very simple actions and they end up again in 3 man games just like Chicago or Pistol that all are predicated off of reads of the tag player. Slip opportunities are also available.

To put these in 2k along with Chicago action allows us to simulate real basketball and play real basketball by reading the defense which is lacking in 2k.

These types of plays can and should be added into multiple series such as 21 or pistol actions as well for decoys or within a series that you want to run. The problem with these is we need more options like A, B, C, & D for reads throughout these plays instead of the basic 1st read and play is over. We need the backside lifts and hard rolls (coded into the plays themselves) after DHO’s or ball screens. Again, a very simple action like the Chicago action above. The book below has 59 different RAM & Veer plays from different alignments by NBA teams. Like I said before we need the ability to add more of these actions that teams are running throughout our playbooks to gave teams playing more to their style. Just having 3-4 plays out of 50 means we don’t see them very often. But like before because there are so few of these plays along with no backup options the CPU play breaks down.

Here are some plays they can add…

https://www.nextplayhoops.com/collec...ction-playbook

Between PNR, Chicago, pistol, 21, as well as ram & veer actions this is the new NBA. 1 problem is 3 of the 5 I just named require a DHO that 2k struggles to use and get right in their game. I think NBA live 17 or 18 (can’t remember which) demo nailed the DHO's! It was smooth, fast, you didn’t get stuck in mud in animation after the DHO, etc. plus it created a step on the defender if he was chasing around to gain an advantage which is the whole point of the DHO (just like a PNR). 2k really needs to get these areas right to be considered a real NBA simulation.
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Last edited by vannwolfhawk; 09-05-2021 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 09-04-2021, 05:51 PM   #4
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Re: NBA Xs & Os

2 Side Fast Break

Another thing we need to be added is 2 side fast break and play options out of the secondary break. It would be great if we had options in the secondary break that we could run.

Let’s say we could choose between…

1 - Numbered Break
2 - 2 Side Break
3 - Pistol Break
4 - Point Break
5 - Drag or Double Drag Offense (Roll & Replace)

Then have 3-4 options depending on where the ball goes within the break. If I like to run the swing ala old Spurs offense then I would choose the numbered break.

Anyways this is about the 2 side fast-break though which could solve slot of transition problems with crisscrossing in-game. For those that don’t know what it is here is a quick video and podcast I did on it a while back.

Here is the podcast…

https://youtu.be/JQs7SUIAAfU

As you can see it’s a very simple concept but could help on crisscrossing of players that are trying to run to specific spots on the floor. It would also be easy to add CPU quick counters like the 1 I showed if the initial break wasn’t open. Again, it would be awesome as a coach to pick which transition secondary break offense I wanted to run depending on my team, players, or lineup I had in the game and I could change it on the fly depending on those factors. It would allow us to capture the NBA today by adding in these specific options to each secondary break to continue to play with pace without having to call a play every time down…

Things such as…

1 - Chicago Action
2 - Drag Options
3 - 21 Action
4 - Pistol Action

These allow us to get directly into basic real-life NBA concepts on the fly… what happens with each is determined by where the ball goes.

For example, I run a numbered break. This is a simple way to explain it. If the ball goes to the 2 on the strong side then we go directly into said action. If we keep the ball we go into a drag. If we hit trailer we go into 1 of 2 said actions like look high low 1st, go into Chicago action 2nd, etc. Then if we swing the ball to 3 on the opposite wing we then go into a follow PNR, etc. so where ever we go we have a set play we run out of transition but have 5 different plays or options out of just the numbered break. Now think of that out of all the secondary breaks that fit your team's playing style and Personnel.

I think this would help bring the pace and capture the NBA style a little better. I know we have something similar with drags but I think it needs to go deeper and be added to where it’s also simpler for any player to easily pick up as they know in transition this is what they get if the ball goes to a specific place.

Now, all that being said we know 2k has struggled in years past with transition defense so this would have to also be a huge part of the flip side. We would need better closeouts, speed on closeouts, quicker rotations, smart AI, as well as aware CPU AI on one more pass concept with hands in passing lanes, etc. but I also think that’s a much-needed step for 2k to make that’s all king overdue…

Plays in each type of secondary break to choose from…

https://www.nextplayhoops.com/collec...econdary-break
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Last edited by vannwolfhawk; 09-04-2021 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 09-04-2021, 07:37 PM   #5
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Re: NBA Xs & Os

Offensive & Defensive Play Creator

So after my last couple of posts, it really got me thinking that it's time that we get a play creator in 2k. A play creator where we can create plays & have the ability to share them with other users. And on top of creating offensive plays, we need a play creator on both sides of the ball! Think of last year where they didn't touch the CPU AI defenses all cycle. The PNR defense was horrible and never patched. What if we could have fixed it ourselves or had that ability to do so? Maybe users create coverages that 2k could add down the road like real NBA concepts and coverages?

I think this would solve a lot of the issues in my previous posts as well while also helping to give us the ability to create real-life NBA offenses or things we see our favorite teams doing each year. I think of a few years ago where Brad Stevens was running a lot of stack flip action plays that didn't exist in 2k. Or the lack of Chicago Action plays, Pistol action Plays, etc...

This would allow us to create our own playbooks, our own series, BLOB's, SLOB's, Secondary Breaks, etc. Now, of course, this could also cause some serious issues with CPU AI so maybe the solution would be for every play designed we also need to create a defensive coverage for it as well before we can finalize it. Maybe they don't allow custom plays to be taken online to counter cheese plays?

I do realize that this doesn't help us with the execution of the DHO & that is something they will need to do on their side but we could create a lot of really cool things that maybe even 2k could steal from the community if done well?!

I am just thinking out loud here, but just thinking about having the ability in being able to create different defensive coverages would be frigging amazing! I would love to create Bob Kloppenburgh's old Sonic S.O.S. defense!

This also gets me thinking about more things that could also help change the game. Imagine instead of having defensive AI coaching adjustments tied to players, (you would still have it & keep it in), but what if we had pre-set defenses that we could choose from or presets that were instead tied to specific actions? For example, how do you decide to defend against...

1 - Chicago Action
2 - Pistol Action
3 - 21 Action
4 - Euro Ball Screen
5 - PNR's (Wing/ Top Key)
6 - Etcetera...


Let's take a look at what this might look like & what you could possibly create or choose to defend on the fly...

How to defend Vs Chicago Action

1 - Switch Everything

2 - Chase / Drop Coverage / Weak Side Tag

3 - Chase / Drop Coverage / Strong Side Tag (Weak Side Stays home on Shooter/Lift)(2 side defender must drop to play 2 & takes the 1st pass out & we go in scramble X action)

4 - Switch Pin Down / Chase / Drop Coverage / Weak Side Tag

5 - Switch Pin Down / Chase / Drop Coverage / Strong Side Tag (Weak Side Stays home on Shooter/Lift)(2 side defender must drop to play 2 & takes the 1st pass out & we go in scramble X action)

6 - Switch Pin Down / Hedge Coverage / Weak Side Tag

7 - Switch Pin Down / Hedge Coverage / Strong Side Tag (Weak Side Stays home on Shooter/Lift)(2 side defender must drop to play 2 & takes the 1st pass out & we go in scramble X action)


Now that might be drastic with so many options for 1 specific action but it wouldn't be hard to emulate and it's for any 3 man concept. You could do the same thing in 21 or Pistol Action having those same options. You could also have switch any weak side interchanges as an option in there as well on the weak side tag.

It's time 2k! We need a play creator on both sides of the ball! Thoughts?
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Last edited by vannwolfhawk; 09-05-2021 at 03:08 AM.
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Old 09-05-2021, 08:42 PM   #6
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Re: NBA Xs & Os

So I have just spent the last 3 days testing and playing around with 2k21 on next gen to refamiliarize myself with it.

Wow!

After toying around a bit I can’t believe how much stuff has been added since I last played this thing in 18!

The my league sharing options are awesome! Pretty cool we can share rosters, settings, sliders, rotation sub patters, team by team coaching adjustments, etc! This allows me to not even have to redo or everything in and out of league as well as write everything down for everyone. If I’m understanding this right I can change and edit all 30 teams and all gameplans versus all 29 other teams as well and it sticks?! I tested it and uploaded and it did stick so pretty cool feature!

The 1 thing I’m hoping we get the ability to do though is change teams freelances and series! I’d also like to be able to change each teams top plays before game for starters and bench! Besides that It’s all I can think of that’s needed?!

There are some great plays to use and I tested a few teams books with what I’m thinking about doing this year and it plays great so anything extra is just a bonus on above posts/issues but still plenty of great things to simulate today’s game. I think I thought I dove into 21 but in actuality I think it was 20 I last toyed with. Because I don’t remember seeing quite a few things that were in the plays. So I was pleasantly surprised last night when I went testing 250-300 different plays and actions I was looking for. After dialing in some sliders it felt pretty good too!

Anyways, I also noticed some new tendencies and some badges that sounded good and some bad (from the last time I played). I don’t remember these…

Pass accuracy?
Pass vision?
Interior Defense?
Perimeter Defense?
Slippery off ball
Stop and go
Space creator
Quick 1st step
Off ball pest
On court coach
Defensive leader


Maybe some were there it’s just been so long I don’t remember… I’ll need to read up on these but some sound like a good way to seperate some players…

I can’t wait to go all in with 2k22!
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Last edited by vannwolfhawk; 09-05-2021 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 09-05-2021, 11:20 PM   #7
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Re: NBA Xs & Os

Dear Vann,

22 should certaintly be a better base to build upon, specially if they fixed the glaring D issues of 21 as advertised and if Mr. SIM Presidente managed to dedicate a significant amount of time to that side of the court.

Looking forward to your findings, thoughts and playbooks revision; since you are on the X, either writting or filming would be needed for us PS5 users that may not be able to access your work otherwise.


Hope fam, business and health is OK with you and yours.



Your wish of an O & D play creator would be dope, one of the features been asked for the last 8-10 years, here is to hope for 2K implementing some version of it SOON.

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Old 09-06-2021, 03:09 PM   #8
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Re: NBA Xs & Os

The Pick & Roll Game - In The Real NBA & How It's Represented in 2K

This is the most fundamental part of basketball. It’s the number 1 action in every basketball game at all levels. This has to be the number 1 thing that they get right from an execution standpoint, a sim standpoint, as well as a fun standpoint both offensively and defensively. I don’t think 2k captures the PNR game very well at all and I’ll explain why. I also want to state that this also applies to every DHO which also acts as a PNR on the roll after the DHO. It all applies all in the same.

The funny thing is that this is probably a great time to bring this subject up anyways as more people are aware of all the bad AI defensively in the PNR last year and how it NEVER even got touched all cycle. The truth is it's been pretty bad for years on both sides of the ball. So, let's dive into why and what I am talking about...


The Offensive PNR

I will dive into spacing and plays to use upon release of 22 and the best ones to use after testing. But for now, I wanted to touch on a few things after playing with just the PNR game yesterday.

What’s the point of the PNR? To create an advantage for the offense right? Whether they get a 2 on 1 advantage briefly or they cause a switch which in turn either creates a mismatch & an ISO opportunity that we are seeing more prevalent in today's game of basketball more than ever before.

Now, if we get a 2 on 1 advantage and the ball-handlers defender is going over and chasing on drop coverage or on a hedge then this is where the 2 on 1 advantage comes in. These are places that we see the snake dribble being utilized with keeping a player behind the ball and in jail (Think Chris Paul here). This is also a place where we can make the lob pass, the pocket pass, or a floater when we read the big who is containing the ball handler in real basketball. When the offense has an advantage this, in turn, makes the defense need to adjust and rotate to tag and help the helper which can then cause drive & kick opportunities that lead to the extra pass & the 1 more pass opportunities like again we see in the real world of basketball. As a ball-handler/User, I need to read the big containing the dribble, the tag man, the help defenders, and from there I can make the proper read.

However, in 2k these things do not work like this. We can't really execute the reads in a realistic or fun way the majority of the time. Now, I should preference this post by saying I play in 2k's broadcast mode so it's a tad harder to read openings compared to the 2k cam which is 1000x easier to make some plays but it's still not where it needs to be.

As is now (or at least in 2k21 next-gen & every previous iteration of 2k LOL) we can't use the PNR like players do IRL. So, what is the solution?


1 - I think it would go a LONG way for 2K to go the madden approach that they took this year with making the sprint button, not a sprint button but instead being an acceleration button only. This will go a long way in separating movement and it would be especially useful in coming off PNR's (as well as DHO's & ISO's which I will get into later) & the speed of a player could then be controlled by slight stick movements on the stick to determine the speed of your player, and then use the speed burst only to accelerate around the pick or if there is a gap to attack if need be.

2 - I try and simulate setting the screen up by holding LT to back down the defender so I can set up the screen so I have a better angle to attack off of the screen just like I teach my players in real life. That works pretty well except for the fact the player guarding the ball most times slips past the screener either underneath or over sometimes before I even go to use the screen. The problem here is 2 things and 1 that I will touch on later on with the defensive side of the PNR breakdown.

But 1st, let's discuss the advantage that I should be able to start to create after using the ball screen. If the defense is in drop coverage or the trailing defender is chasing over the screen then this is where 2k doesn't capture the most important & fun part of basketball. This is where we make a play, we make a decision, we create, and we make a read on the defensive coverage. I should be able to snake, put that trailing defender in jail, & make the big commit to me and force the defense to HAVE to help. However, we can not do this in 2k. They claimed they added this 2 years ago but it's horribly applied and so inconsistent.

The question is why not? Well, a few things here. Number 1 is spacing. It's such a jumbled mess with 4 guys essentially filling a small area at the top of the key and it's just a cluttered mess. How can we snake dribble when there is no space to even pull it off or if the defender gets back in front of the ball too easily? Number 2 the sliding by the CPU defensive players and the lack of an effect of the ball screen as the ball handling defender really has no effects of a screen being set and can magically recover to negate the advantage. It's almost like the screener is skinny and not wide enough with a solid base to set the screen. Number 3 the big doesn't drop down far enough to protect the hoop & can very easily play 2 players far too effectively IMO. Number 4 the screens should take place slightly higher up on the floor to create better spacing. However, I usually try and get plays into the game that solve this issue for both the CPU and users. And lastly, number 5 the animations are driven, and there is far too much warping that happens within the PNR and allowing players to recover that end up killing the best part of basketball.

Once we come off the PNR, this is again where we create, decision make, & make reads. This will lead me into the defensive side a bit now, but if the PNR defensive rotations and scramble logic work properly while not being cheesy with crazy warping into closeout's then 2k can live with having the 2 man PNR at the top of the key work properly by saying it's OK if the PNR creates an advantage for a second or 2 up top because that's the defensive coverage they (ACE or User) chose to use and are in. If they keep getting beat in THAT coverage then they should switch everything, go under, soft or hard hedge. That's why those options exist & are there.

2K needs to be ok with having the defender get caught up on the top of the screen. I'm not saying like caught on a brick wall every time but they need to add some animations in a few things like number 1 a slithery foot over top chase around the screen (behind the offensive ball-handler), and number 2 add some animations that have the PNR screener drop stepping & rolling to the hoop PROPERLY while this defender can't just magically warp through or slide through the screener. 2k tries to make the AI recover and speed up unrealistically which ruins it. If the help D is programmed properly then that's basketball and you need to adjust to what's happening as a coach/player. That's why teams switch coverages & why offenses run the PNR in the 1st place! LOL! In real life, you are seeing more players jump out almost like ICE defense on PNR's at the midline and top of the key areas to make sure they push the ball handler into the screen to almost be in a better position to chase in drop coverage. Not level with the screen like in 2K. We might also want to think about getting both screeners to turn and angle into a screen as well as defensive players jumping out to ICE it & force 1 way which might also help in turn of all aspects of the execution within the PNR game.

I will say on 1 positive note a few years back that 2K finally got rid of the contested jumpers that were happening with defenders coming from behind a player (chasing over the top) on mid-range pull-up jumpers that were very frustrating in the PNR mid-range game.

3 - What is the mechanic for the put in jail move by the way? Are there animations for this? This is a legitimate strategy nowadays especially with drop coverage being so prevalent & it is what creates the floater game and makes it so effective. That's the NBA game today within the PNR mini-game. Look at Chris Paul & Trey Young last year who put on a clinic in the playoffs with the snake dribble & put in jail PNR game. So, we need this in the game.

This is another part that is just infuriating to me. I want to come off the screen, put the defender in jail, read the defense (drop coverage) & make a read. Simple basketball.


Read A - Big defender steps up to stop ball & no tag or help = Lob for dunk or pocket pass

Read B - Big defender stays home and tries to guard 2 players = Floater

Read C - Big defender steps up, weak side tags the roll = I make a kick-out pass


These are very simple reads and concepts that we can not do currently with any type of consistency or with any rhyme or reason to it. The poor spacing and CPU speed recovery make for small windows if any to even use a floater. As is now the CPU bigs can play 2 players WAY too effectively & that's not even talking about the on-ball defender who warps back in front of the play to also disrupt the play from behind.

The same thing goes with the snake dribble. You can't even simulate that or do it in this game. I'd love for someone to prove me wrong and show me. Again a fundamental part of the PNR in drop coverage and we can't do it in this game.

4 - The pocket pass. Does everyone know what that is? If you play 2k probably not. LOL! Has anyone ever used that in a 2k game? OK, better question if you have used it was there a rhyme or reason why you did use it? There was a game a few years back (can't remember what iteration?) where I used it but it was Ok. Think John Stockton and Karl Malone and the bounce pass (YES I SAID BOUNCE PASS) for the catch and finish. Now, this is something that would apply for anything outside drop coverage and in the hedge game. As is now this isn't even an option to use in the most fundamental part of the game. I would love to have the ability to read the defensive big and if he steps up then make that small pocket bounce pass (of course reading the tag defender if he never came over). As it is now your only options are to shoot mid-range, lay-up/dunk, or a lob pass. The pocket pass needs to be a part of the decision-making process of the user. With no spacing / bad spacing in the PNR & in the paint and magic hands of a BIG defender stealing that pass if you do make it (yes reaching to his ankles to palm the steal) it's all but a guessing game of 50/50 if it even works and it's not because of making the proper read it's only because you're hoping by chance it works.

I mentioned this above in an earlier post in this thread about the lack of RAM screenplays in the game & running sprint screens which again is so prevalent in today's NBA game. But this is a prime example of when we potentially are able to use the pocket pass and create advantageous situations in these types of plays or situations along with the split-screen (I will get to shortly). In every NBA game today, you see a ton of running screens, ghost screens, & RAM screens to make it hard for the defender to hedge on the screen and create chaos and miscommunication within the defense. In turn, this creates either a switch or puts the defense into a quick drop coverage. The whole point is to create an advantage for the offense. Again this is a spacing issue, but the defender can play 2 way too easy & the spacing isn't done very well. It's also an issue with the RAM screen not making contact or the screen defender sprinting up faster than should be able to get into position. There is a lack of these plays within the game currently as again I spoke on in an earlier post (see above). I will say however these are the best plays to use in the PNR to get as close to reading PNR situations as we should be getting in all PNR's...

5 - Splitting screens. Same thing as the example in #4 with running and RAM screens. Perfect time to execute the split-screen. What's the mechanic to pull this move off? Is there an animation to explode through & keep the ball low while splitting the screen? Nope, we can't do this move in 2K either when appropriate. Again, I think having the sprint button be an acceleration button here would be awesome. Think madden and the RB who sees the hole and you hit accelerate to go through it. This is just another area where the PNR game can improve.

6 - PNR screeners whether on ball screens or DHO's need to do 3 fundamental things that will go a LONG ways in helping the execution of the PNR & DHO!


a) Get wide base (seems like they are skinny sometimes) & make contact. Maybe even some leaning animations? We need to get the defensive player to have to fight around the screen better.

b) Drop Step (which should keep the player behind the ball when going over the top not allowing the defender to just slide back in front of the ball handler

c) This is the most important one! RIM RUN and dive immediately and hard & fast to the rim after setting the screen. Take a direct straight-line path and stop these curved routes to the rim. Too often the screener takes way too long to roll to where he needs to be and that's oftentimes the problem with spacing, the recoveries, the drop player to easily playing 2 which makes the reads tougher. After DHO's they hardly ever roll at all.

Just like in the Chicago Action (see above post) where I talked about the non-execution of that action in 2K with the big not rolling this has to happen as this is what puts pressure on the defense and creates the spacing needed to then make decisions on both sides of the ball.


The Defensive PNR

So, I touched on the defense briefly in explaining the offense but let's put it in its own area now... I will list a few things that need to work to add balance on the defensive side of the PNR.

1 - The rotations, the right tag man, the help the helper, etc all need to work properly. 2K has 1000 plays and probably 250 PNR plays in the game. i think of madden with how many offensive plays and how many defensive plays they have. Think zone coverage in madden. Each play has to match up with formations, route combinations, etc for them to work properly against one another with different concepts otherwise you get money plays, etc as users get their hands on the game. Same thing with 2k as some coverages or logic probably don't match up with certain actions?

Now, my point is why do we need so many plays in 2K (stick with me on this as I know I am the plays guy, and believe me I want it all in LOL), but I am only talking about basic PNR's. So we probably only need 15-20 basic PNR's from the top of the key, wing, etc with different players in different spots like we have the single side, the 2 side, & short corner plays occupied to accommodate each team's personnel. I mean when we are talking basic PNR's here so there is only a few we need and it could be beneficial to simplify this as well as it would help familiarity between playbooks for Timmy or Bobby as they play multiple teams.

Anyways, so what this would do though is help to make it easier to focus DEFENSIVELY on the proper rotations to stop those 15 plays rather than 250 of them. I get there needs to be basic defensive logic built-in for the other things but I am strictly just talking about the basic PNR's here only.

This would really allow them to lock in the defensive AI, rotations, and scramble logic within each play. They could cover all scenarios of if a pass goes, here, then there, etc. How teams scramble to recover easier.

2 - In doing what I stated above we can now fundamentally ALLOW the PNR defense to work properly because we know our backside rotations and scramble logic are working properly. So, we can afford to allow the advantage, slow the 2 man top PNR game down, and eliminate the warping & recovery speeds on the ball.

Now, without going into another long tangent on closeout's this is another big issue gameplay-wise. If the CPU typically has long closeouts they sprint into them, and if I pump fake and they bite, I should be able to blow by them on a bad closeout. But in 2k they typically magically recover to get a bump animation more times than not. Is this to also cover bad scramble logic? That's a whole different rabbit hole for another day but it goes hand in hand with proper rotations out of 1 more pass opportunities & scrambles that also have a lot to do with realism. it's why I actually loved 2k18 blowby animations because it eliminated the BS closeouts and stone walls... Anyways, moving on...

3 - Now with having proper defensive AI, rotations & scrambles this now allows them to slow the defense down in the 2 man PNR game up top as well as allow more spacing in the paint. Get rid of the warping & magic recoveries. This is one of the biggest things needed IMO. The game of basketball is fast, the reads need to be fast, so don't misconstrue what I am saying here. We still need to make it tough and the decisions need to be split second but we also need the ability to be able to perform a snake dribble, put the defender in jail, split the PNR, & read the defense. What I am saying is to get rid of the warp speed recoveries & sliding, let the users have fun, and make game-style decisions.

4 - I have talked about this before within the context of DHO's but the same applies to PNR's, & even Isolations on the perimeter. When you hit acceleration/speed burst in all of these scenarios as well as immediately after a DHO you get stuck in an animation of where a player gets stuck in the mud for a split second to allow the defense to recover. THAT NEEDS TO GO AWAY FOREVER! It literally is killing all areas of the game & I think it's to help cover up the poor defensive programming and to help cover up some of those glaring issues everyone saw last year?!

If I have a player beat off the dribble in the iso cross and he bites & I want to explode to attack why am I punished for making the right read? If I use a DHO (The whole point is to create an advantage and the defensive player must fight through the screen/DHO) then why can't I get the step on the defender and attack? Why do I get stuck in mud split-second animation? And lastly, if I am running a PNR and turn the corner to accelerate and explode why again am I punished to let the defense recover? I can only think these are design decisions to allow the CPU to recover and hide flaws in defensive AI?

5 - All of the above leads me to foot planting. The power of next-gen and the ability to now apply foot planting is mostly great! But for some reason, this goes out the window for PNR defense LOL! Let's keep the physics true to life throughout. I saw they added a slithery off-ball badge & cutting off-ball is more true to life. This year they are adding chase technology for floppy's and fighting to chase around screens off-ball. I am really hoping this also applies to on-ball as well.

This could be another way to differentiate great PNR defenders like Jrue Holiday from average defenders. Things like they added years ago with the pick dodger badge. I am all for that and some players having quicker animations to fight through and get a high leg over screens but not every player in the league. And certainly not every big defender defending PNR coverages like Rudy Gobert. Players like Gobert should be the gold standard for defending drop coverage & the PNR. Not every player should be able to guard 2 players effectively like a Gobert.


Conclusion

So, to conclude what we need is the defensive AI to properly rotate. We need better spacing in the top of the key 2 man game. We need a ball handler's decision-making to be a priority (not just slam turbo and either take a jumper, throw a lob, or dunk). Everyone is so used to hit turbo to come off picks with absolutely no skill involved with it. Maybe even a jump stop button? Maybe that button if held could operate as the put the defender behind the ball handler and in jail if held? Just thinking out loud... I think all in all we need the PNR game to slow down. Less sliding, warping, and allow the offensive advantage to take place as it should depending on matchups, coverage choice, how the offensive player uses the screen, who is setting the screen, & lastly, the roll man must roll hard and fast to the rim for spacing purposes. All of those things SHOULD matter. Have the defense play it properly & rotate or adjust coverages whether by a user or in ACE if they are getting killed in this specific over & drop coverages. Stop punishing the users and the game of basketball for bad programming.

The PNR is the most fundamental part of the game of basketball & they need to have this as the number 1 priority as it's the number 1 play called in every single basketball game at all levels. It's the most fun but in 2k it's not & it needs to be. It's like the trenches in football which madden struggles with. The number 1 thing goes completely ignored every year. It makes no sense.

As you can see the PNR game leaves a lot to be desired and is WAY off in catching realistic NBA action that we see on TV. I want the PNR game to matter and to be fun yet still realistic on both sides of the ball! You can also see though that this is complicated and there are a lot of moving parts working together here. There are numerous issues that need to be solved within just 1 aspect of the game, but it's the biggest aspect of basketball which means this has to be priority #1 moving forward.

The bottom line is the PNR should be fun & realistic and right now it’s neither.

Thoughts?

__________________________________________________ ________________________________


Edit: So I was watching the Czars video today that he posted. I want you to start watching this video from the 5:05 mark to about the 7:40 mark.

https://youtu.be/brZxwU1KfBQ

This is what this whole post was about. It worried me what he said about how in 22 this will be faster as far as players (on-ball defenders) getting through the pick. But I liked that he said the drop player will not be able to play 2 as easily. I also liked hearing that tight coverage on the ball has a higher pickup point near half-court which might need to be a universal setting we make in all coaching adjustments to get more spacing and realistic drop PNR coverage. (Unless it's Ben Simmons) :-)

But the problem as you can see in the video is everything I listed above. The ball handler is 3-4 feet past the screener before the screener even rolls. The ball defender is already basically recovered to his man before the roll. There is no drop step to roll from the screener to make getting out to the ball handler tougher for the on-the-ball defender. Coaching Point - Never as a screener turn your back to the ball. The roll is so slow and delayed as well as you can see that it's curved and not a direct path to the rim in a rim run roll. These are all the issues I have with the PNR as I stated above.

The other issue is the help should never come from the strong side guy especially if he is a good shooter. It should be the weak side bottom low defender (his man is the least threat on the floor in this position) and the weak side wing defender should drop to be playing 2 if necessary on ball reversal or what have you. He mentioned help might come from the strong side if the drop player or on-ball defender can't contain the ball handler. Now, this depends on the coverage if Lebron is going under the screen or is in over-drop coverage this would change the coverage responsibilities.

Nothing about how this PNR scenario that was run is fundamentally how you would coach, teach, or execute a PNR offensively.

Now he talks about movement being better in 22 and that it's tough, but my main concern in this video is they nerfed the defense to be faster without also fixing the offensive issues so there won't be a balance here. Don't get me wrong I love the part about the drop player & hearing there will be more drive and kick opportunities but having the roll man stuck while the ball handler is 3-4 feet already past the screen is not sim. LOL! BUT I will say that MAYBE speeding up the ball handler to get through means that the screener will also roll quicker so I will reserve judgment until we see 22 as this whole point could be mute?! Fingers crossed!

2 last points that could help here.

#1 - Is instead of having the screener be stationery maybe we have the screener do a better job of headhunting contact on the screen better. After watching this more that could be extremely helpful. I mean we all see how they do that in the real NBA, put a shoulder out to create slight contact that is never consistently called by referees. I get it's by the book illegal but it's happening and could do wonders for the PNR game to be more realistic.

#2 - I want everyone to look at the angle or lack thereof with the screen being set being parallel with the hoop (No Bueno). BUT Czar does say that was a problem with pickup points with the on-ball defender being sagged off and too flat off the ball handler in 21. So that could help in 22. But moving on... Also, look at the location of the screen that is set being below the 3point line. This has to be higher up on the floor and the lowest post should be straddled on the 3 point line but really should be above it for spacing purposes.


I get it though there are a lot of moving parts and like Czar said the movement system might not be where we need it yet and it's a 3-year cycle of implementation. So, maybe I am wanting something the system just isn't capable of doing just yet... But at least maybe this is a good reference point for them to think about and work on moving forward to try and correct to get the PNR game tighter and more realistic...
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