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vannwolfhawk's Blog
2K18 Classic Team Playbooks 
Posted on October 1, 2017 at 02:01 PM.
Link to 2K18 Current teams here at: https://forums.operationsports.com/v...ull-playbooks/


Hey Guys, it’s been awhile since I’ve done this as I sat out the last two 2k editions, but this years game is amazing and it brought me back. Some of you might remember the playbooks I did a few years ago for 2k12 & 2k13. For those who don’t know me I have been here on OS for the last 10+ years as I lurked a few years before joining. I have taken a lot from this great community over the years so this is my way of giving back as well as I’m crazy OCD about playbooks and CPU AI Execution of them! LOL! I literally can not play the game until these are done. Anyways, I am a basketball coach and do so as a career and have been doing so for the last 20 years. I have coached at all levels from grade school, high school, AAU, & most recently dipped into coaching at the next level with college basketball. I’m a student of the game and am constantly trying to pick up new things as the game continues to change & evolve. I’m a huge play guy and love the X’s & O’s. I have a video library of well over 250 coaching DVD’s that I still watch on a weekly basis. Knowledge is power. I was lucky enough to get selected to the original 2K team up event by 2k and they flew me out to the 2k studios a few years back. After taking a few years off from the last 2 games of 2k (bought games but wasn’t feeling them on release) it’s night and day the difference in gameplay. It’s cool to see how far this game has come in the years off and the last few years and to see a lot of the feedback I gave finally added to the game from a list of suggestions I gave them years ago. Things like calling for PNR, and the ability to change sides of which it’s set, I harped on them about giving us a pass speed slider, player reads (Curls or flares & PG’s go either direction off a ball screen), adjusting ,and a few other things from plays, etc… You can see some of the suggestions in a blog I posted years ago here and I gave them a long list as well. https://forums.operationsports.com/v...st-once-again/ The playbooks are a very tedious project all by itself and after 2k12 and 2k13 I was kind of spent. I think a lot of people can vauge for the huge difference it had back then in playing vs the CPU. Now I don’t think this year it’s needed as much as 2k12 & 13 but classic teams 100% it is! I also do think it is still needed in current teams as well for the CPU to be as efficient as possible. Also, as good as the new motion engineis, the addition of freelance offenses, player reads, and some of the team specific plays that are in there, there are still some bad plays mixed in that takes me away from the immersion of a game. So, here we go…

Now that introductions or reintroductions are out of the way let’s get to the meat and potatoes. To start I have tested every play in the game a few times and put in well over 100 hours of testing in already and I have been taking notes since release day. I would test each play at least 10x a piece. For me to use a play it has to be successful at least 7/10x. Now that I have all the major grunt work out of the way (don’t get it twisted thats the fun part for me) my 1st project was to get the classic team playbooks done 1st. The reason for this is #1 the Classic team’s playbooks are pretty bare bones and just plain awful. Some playbooks have as little as 15 plays in them and the plays within them are bad because of poor spacing, bad action, etc. Now I know 2k added plays for classic teams to fit the era that they played in as far as more playing within the 3 pt line, but unfortunately that doesn’t translate to the current game engine and against the 2k defense. #2 as always the deeper I get into testing and putting together playbooks I find that they get better as I go because maybe I forgot about a play or I found something that did or didn’t work well when further testing in game. What this means is my next project will fly by and be 1000x easier when doing the current teams and those playbooks will be higher quality from 1-30. Now thats not to say the classic playbooks won’t be good but I have had to go back over them 7-8x now where that might only need to be once or twice with the current teams with the lists and notes I have put together…

My goal with the playbooks are as follows…

1 - Test all the plays (yes every play) in the game and make notes on actions, how long it takes to run the play, check and make sure each play has good spacing, see what position is in corners for PNR’s, and scoring opportunities, as well as finding the plays that have multiple options within a play if option A is taken away the CPU can go to option B.

2 - As I’m testing the plays I’m separating the best plays into categories like these below. Once I am done doing that it’s easy to go into each play type and pick actions for a specific player or coach to add.

A) Break Down Best Plays per play type

B) Separate Plays By Sets like UCLA, Flex, Chin, Swing, Horns, Triangle, Thru, & Motion plays

C) Separate Plays by Actions like Zippers, Loops, Floppy’s, High/Low, Hammer action, Flares, Curl’s, DHO’s, Double Ball Screens, Spain Action (sad the world has caught on & now got my play I ran for the last 15 years LOL), & Screen the screener (STS) Action.

D) Separate player specific plays such as plays for a stretch 4 or a stretch 5. PNR Plays with a stretch 4 or 5 in 3 Point position. Non shooting bigs inside the 3pt line. I will look for the best High/Low plays & PNPop plays for mid & 3 pt range bigs. Mouse plays for a PG like GP, J. Kidd, etc...

3 - Then I need to find the plays that translate over to both a user & CPU. What I mean by this for example is some Dribble hand off’s (DHO’s) the CPU will run effectively but when a user try’s to use the same play it breaks down. There are very few good plays that both the CPU and user can execute within Cutter & DHO play types. You will see the same 6-8 plus throughout every playbook.

4 - If I find a good play with good spacing, action, & execution I wilt label that as a universal play like let’s say Horns 15 Alley (PNR) for example. I will put this play in almost all playbooks as it’s a basic top PNR play. It starts as a horns set but comes a single screen with 3 shooters wide. Punch 4 also has great spacing with no cut after the pass to the post, & Punch 15 Spread is another play that has great spacing and action but this play sends a low Laker Cut baseline after the post entry pass (You see a lot of this action in the NBA but not many plays in the game like this). Plays like these I will add to each team’s playbooks so as a user you will see some familiarity when playing with different teams.

5 - I try and add team specific actions. We want to see AI, Rip Hamilton, Ray Allen, & JJ Reddick running off floppy’s, the Spurs swing offense, the Phil Jackson triangle, etc… If a team runs a lot of horns sets, flex action, chin action, floppy’s, zippers, razors, etc they will have those teams will have those actions within each play type to keep us as users on our heels not knowing whats coming as RIP coming off a razor, zipper, or loop action might lead to a PNR or a post up somewhere else.

6 - Organize each playbook. Each team I will put the best plays on the 1st page of each play type so as a user you know what’s the best. Keep in mind the best might mean simple easy action as well. Keep in mind we want the CPU to run the best plays more often as well. In testing it SEEMS like the CPU will call play 1 in a play type more so than play 9 in the same play type. NOTE: The 1st draft all teams will have all these in order except the PNR plays. I will go back over those once I complete the team lists.

7 - Player specific plays. I listed a few examples above about this, but I tried to manipulate some plays for certain players on different teams more so than others. For example you will see Sabonis being the passing Center he was through plays without any player tendency edits.

8 - You might see some funny things as far as why does so and so have a certain play type. Believe me there is a method to the madness. Some teams I have Centers with a cutter play type to get a alley oop cutter play in their playbook. If I did this it might be the only cutter play in that teams playbook and no one else shares a cutter play type on the team. Things like that.

9 - Also keep in mind some plays might be as an example: Punch 4, but if your 5 man has low post play type and you call punch 4 your 5 man will be the post man. There are a few plays that are position specific though, but for the most part ignore the number and focus on the punch, fist, give, etc within a play name… The only time you should need to worry about numbers is if you are tying to clean playbooks up by eliminating all pst players (PNRoll man play type) from your play types. Then it will use the number selected or it should like Swing 25fist should be your 5 man setting a ball screen for your 2 or 3 depending on if you have your SG & SF with PNR Wing and who you call the play for. Hope that makes sense…

10 - The goal is to make the CPU as efficient as possible by adding the best plays in the game per play type and trying to maintain team specific action as well. Adding to that while playing as a user having the ability to pick up and play different teams for the 1st time while having familiarity of a few plays within each playbook. You will also know what the best plays are as they are listed in the 1st page of a play type in each players specific playbook.


This year’s gameplay as well as the new motion engine is fantastic! The game plays truly amazing especially when executing ALL plays. Da Czar did an amazing job with the freelance offenses and transferring plays over to the new motion engine. That being said there are still a lot of plays that just aren’t very good. They are either too slow in developing, have bad spacing, or the scoring action isn’t effective like on cutter plays, etc… I should also note that there needs to be a ton of player editing for the classic teams as they are a complete mess as far as player tendencies go. These playbooks will help a little, but until thats done teams won’t truly play true to themselves IMO. For example the plays are very efficient now 1-50, but if Danny Ainge comes off a stagger and is wide open but his shoot off screen tendency is a 20 and he doesn’t pull the trigger whats the point of running the play? I saw a ton of this with guys like Larry Bird. SMH! I had to go in and edit him just to get him to shoot wide open shots off screens and all of a sudden it was a night and day difference. The plays work but tendencies need some serious love as well. That being said the sim world roster will have both current and classic teams done this year as well as these playbooks applied.

The other thing I should add is it’s amazing the gameplay difference between the classic teams and current teams. I assigned the same playbooks for some classic teams to current teams and because of the better current player tendencies compared to the classic teams it was an awesome experience and more so than playing classic vs classic teams. Obviously assigning a playbook from a classic team with similar personnel as the current team you assign it too is necessary if doing this though. Keep in mind play types as well. But the gameplay in general is 100x better with current teams. The gameplay feels way different almost like it’s a different game. The reason I bring this all up is I think It’s time classics get some love in the future & I hope it’s both visually and player rating tendency wise.

Lastly, before I get into the playbooks below is a quick preview of whats next & to what the current teams playbooks will have done coming up after I complete the classic teams lists. I will not be redoing each team’s whole playbook this year. Each team will have 50 plays but It is just NOT needed. I looked at a lot of the plays within the current teams books and there is a lot of plays I have down as solid. Da Czar has some good team specific plays within each team that are well executed. I would say each team will probably keep roughly half of it’s book and I will replace the other half (Keep 25 & replace 25) with better executing and more efficient action plays as well as ore team specific stuff. The main play types that will for surely need some love is the play types like Cutter, DHO’s, Guard Post, High Post, PNR Mid, PNR 3pt, & Mid Range plays. Those will be the major tweaks and you will see most all the same 8-12 plays between each type as there are only a handful that are efficient within each of those play types. Then obviously the Low Post & PNR plays will be about personal in spots and proper spacing.

With all that said here is the playbook list for all the 2k18 classic teams. I will be adding to this list as I go and enter them in. I have all the teams done but need to input them into document to share with you all (very time consuming). I will also upload the roster on 2k share under my gamertag vannwolfhawk206 once I complete the lists. I entered these plays into the release day roster set. I made a few player tendency edits within classic teams (but not many). However, the playbooks will not be listed in the order you see below or entered into how they will be in the sim world rosters. That means the CPU will not be calling the best game possible but it will give you an idea of what plays to use as well as the impact it has in game without inputting yourself (very time consuming).

One other note for entering plays into your roster. I have listed the plays below in order per play type the way I think they should go in (this is obviously open to interpretation). If you want a different play at a certain spot delete the whole play type’s list of plays. Then add all the plays in the order you wish to see them in your player playbook in game. For example: PNR plays. Lets say I have a PNR play Horns 15 alley as the 1st play on my page I select that 1st, then I want PNR Mid Play 2nd, & another PNR play 3rd, followed by a PNR option play 4th on the 1st page of my playbook. Now they will not list like this in your playbook BUT they WILL use them in the order you choose them. The game separates plays in the viewing of your playbook differently. Don’t fret as long as you entered them in in the order you want them in your book your good. If you want to change your order then just delete a play type and start over 1st to last in that play type in the order you want.

In my personal book I like to order PNR Plays like this

Page 1 - PNR plays

1- Top Key PNR
2- Top Key PNPop middle
3- Wing PNR
4- Side PNR

Page 2 - PNR Plays
I will put all my double screen plays like fist 19 up, etc…

Page 3 - PNR Plays
I will put my exotic PNR plays or longer to develop ones here / Special PNR plays

Keep in mind these are rough drafts and I will likely be tweaking them here and there. Enjoy!


07-08 Houston Rockets

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07-08 Boston Celtics


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04-05 Phoenix Suns

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03-04 Minnesota Timberwolves

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03-04 Detroit Pistons

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03-04 Los Angeles Lakers

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02-03 Dallas Mavericks

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01-02 New Jersey Nets

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01-02 Sacramento Kings

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00-01 Los Angeles Lakers

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01-02 Philadelphia 76ers

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99-00 Portland Trail Blazers

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99-00 Toronto Raptors

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98-99 New York Knicks

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97-98 San Antonio Spurs

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97-98 Chicago Bulls

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97-98 Los Angeles Lakers

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97-98 Utah Jazz

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96-97 Miami Heat

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95-96 Seattle SuperSonics

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95-96 Chicago Bulls

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94-95 New York Knicks

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94-95 Orlando Magic

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93-94 Denver Nuggets

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93-94 Houston Rockets

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92-93 Charlotte Hornets

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92-93 Chicago Bulls

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90-91 Golden State Warriors

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90-91 Portland Trailblazers

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90-91 Los Angeles Lakers

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90-91 Chicago Bulls

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89-90 Cleveland Cavaliers

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88-89 Chicago Bulls

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88-89 Detroit Pistons

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86-87 Los Angeles Lakers

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85-86 Atlanta Hawks

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85-86 Boston Celtics

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1985-86 Chicago Bulls

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84-85 Milwaukee Bucks

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User Playbook 1

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User Playbook #2

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The following teams do not have playbooks in the game so assign them the following…

15-16 Golden State Warriors - Assign Current Warriors Playbook
13-14 Indiana Pacers - User Playbook 2
12-13 Memphis Grizzlies - User Playbook 2
11-12 Oklahoma City Thunder - User Playbook 2
11-12 New York Knicks - User Playbook 2
10-11 Dallas Mavericks - User Playbook 2
10-11 Chicago Bulls - User Playbook 2
07-08 Denver Nuggets - User Playbook 2
07-08 New Orleans Hornets - User Playbook 2
06-07 Golden State Warriors - User Playbook 2
06-07 Cleveland Cavaliers - User Playbook 2
05-06 Memphis Grizzlies - User Playbook 2
04-05 San Antonio Spurs - Assign Current Spurs Playbook
Comments
# 1 STLRams @ Oct 5
Beautiful Work!
 
# 2 Agame @ Oct 16
Best READ EVER! In the history of Operation Sports.
Love it. Turning on 2k now downloading your labor of Fun.
 
# 3 ataman5 @ Oct 18
As always unbelievable work and dedication thanks for your time and effort and knowledge share, you make me remember what os were and hopefully will stay as like that..
 
# 4 vannwolfhawk @ Oct 26
Thanks Guys! @ataman5 I agree with you man, OS used to be people sharing findings, info, etc. Now everyone keeps a lot of that close to the vest until they release a roster or something. What's the point? I'm all about sharing so others can do the same thing and understand the logic behind what I'm doing. I do look at a few things others might not notice though as a basketball coach as I can't even watch a game without watching everything going on off ball... Glad you appreciate the depth and work! Enjoy!
 
# 5 jeebs9 @ Nov 21
Very Very nice!
 
# 6 Hyperballer21 @ Dec 2
What do recommend we use for the teams from the 60s and 70s?
 
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