NBA 2K21‘s allows us to build the perfect demigod player. From the ground up, you can shape your own archetype, with tools readily available to grow a player ripe for My Career, and ready to propel into NBA stardom.
As a key component of the NBA 2K experience for more than a decade, My Career, along with the player creation suite it embodies, is arguably the most detailed, engrossing and rewarding sports experience in video games. And with the My Player Builder in NBA 2K21 comes yet another expansion of the mode, with even higher standards set after last year’s fantastic offering.
The opportunity is here to build your dream player from the ground up. Will you help them grow, prosper and thrive in the NBA, or will they crash and burn, never to truly reach their potential? It’s ultimately up to you and that’s part of what makes My Career and the My Player Builder so great. With additional expansions and refinements to the badge, takeover attributes and overall crafting mechanisms, NBA 2K21 stands to offer the best player creation suite yet.
With that said, let’s take a look at the new My Player Builder, and run through some important tips to help you build the optimal player.
My Player Creation Tips
I say this every year and nothing changes with NBA 2K21: don’t overthinking the My Player Builder. It’s so easy to get caught up on what the system offers that you could find yourself going around in circles trying to build the perfect player. In reality, the perfection, quality and progression of the player you create is down to your own commitment and patience into growing their skillset.
The key here is ultimately to embrace trial and error, because it’s unlikely that you’ll create a Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan build straight up (although I can guide you through the Kobe Bryant build here). Ideally, you want a player that suits your play style, regardless of who the player represents or mimics.
The approach in NBA 2K21 is no different to other years: create as well-rounded and as balanced a player as possible, relatively to your chosen position. That’s not to say a PG needs to be evenly skilled across rebounding and passing. But they should be evenly spaced and skilled across passing, if that makes sense. Balance relative to the position.
Each position in NBA 2K21 has pre-defined builds available, and these ultimately determine which attributes will receive the high peak skill number. As an example, a PG is going to have a higher passing ceiling than a C would, and a C is going to have a higher rebounding ceiling than a PG, etc etc.
The game also does a fantastic job of highlighting skills and areas that your player is going to excel at, highlighting the highest number of badges available for that player type. As an example, if you net a Ball Handling attribute, any additional point spent in this area will ultimately contribute to a higher rate of Playmaker badges.
Now the follow is much easier said than done, but I feel it is genuinely the lynchpin of perfecting player creation: mould a player that both suits your own play style, whilst also embracing the design and gameplay philosophies of NBA 2K21.
What I mean by that is, have a real think about the type of player you want to be, and then embrace the resources and skills presented to you to reach it. If you want to be a point guard, don’t expect the game to hand you rebounding on a silver platter, so don’t bother trying to shape a player around that.
Point Guards and Shooting Guards have high playmaking potential, so you want to prioritise skill sets that ultimately fit these attributes.
The Shooting Guard and Small Forward positions are I feel are the toughest in the game although I’m sure many will argue otherwise: they require a lot of off-ball movement and screens, so I feel there’s more focus on the fundamentals of basketball with these positions, especially without the ball. Ultimately, you want to have the speed and agility to get good positioning, whilst also being strong in shooting off the dribble and off-ball movement.
Centre and Power Forward positions are as you’d expect: beastly. Rebound, block, defend, and score in the post. Defense is key here in my opinion, because the offense will come naturally given you’re so close to the basket and should have the physical strength to score.
Choosing Your Skill Breakdown
This area is something that comes over from NBA 2K21 with additional options this time around. For a deeper understanding of it, our Kobe Bryant Build guide shows how the creation works in theory.
You ultimately have a number of pie charts, which break down attributes across Finishing, Shooting, Playmaking, Defense/Rebounding. Depending on the chart you select and the type of player you’re crafting, you’ll see how the variation in maximum attributes changes.
Here’s the breakdown I feel your should prioritise per position and style. I list each attribute field in order of weighting (so, first attribute field should have the highest percentage of space on the pie chart).
- Play Making PG/SG: Playmaking > Shooting > Finishing > Defense/Rebounding
- Shot Creator PG/SG: Shooting > Finishing > Playmaking > Defense/Rebounding
- Slash PG: Finishing > Shooting > Defense/Rebounding > Playmaking
- Defensive Forward/Centre: Defense/Rebounding > Playmaking > Finishing > Shooting
- Shot Maker/Scoring Forward/Centre: Shooting > Defense/Rebounding > Finishing > Playmaking
This is all ultimately the area of the My Player builder that sets your attribute caps: the maximum number of attribute points available for a specific position.
If you select a specific cap with a higher Shooting proficiency, for example, then obviously Shooting attributes will have higher caps. Additional, the highlighted attributes are the areas your player is most likely to excel in, and thus are areas you should focus Badges on.
Choosing Your Physical Profile
This can be easily overlooked but it’s such an important component of your player creation. Even if you want to create a Kobe Bryant build, slightly adjusting the wingspan of your plan can completely change the build and mould of your player.
Once again, it depends on the type of player you’re creating, so think about that. A PG with a large wingspan might be more suited to a Slasher-type role than a Playmaking-type role, whereas a thin Centre may be more suited to a shooting forward role than that for a defense or inside shooting powerhouse: don’t expect Shaq-like numbers with a Shawn Bradley-esque frame.
I sometimes like to try my hand as a Scottie Pippen-esque forward role. I tend to focus on Strength and Acceleration here, so nice variation between Agility and Strength in the pie chart should help in creating that build.
The last thing I’d want in that example is to be weak and slow around the rim, though, so I still want some balance with my Vertical to ensure I can get that lift. Otherwise, his rebounding and inside defense scores might take a hit overall.
Your height, weight, wingspan all have an impact on your player’s attributes, whilst bodyshape doesn’t appear to dictate or change the final outcome, so that’s something important to keep in mind as well. A playmaking PG for example probably doesn’t want to be heavy around the hips, whilst a rebounding forward probably doesn’t want short arms.
Set Your Potential
Now it’s time to designed attribute points to your skills, and this is where some real focus and refined spending comes into play.
You could really approach this any number of ways, but I look to spend points evenly across attributes with both low and high ceiling caps. As a play maker, for example, I want to be a passing superstar, so many Accuracy will need focus, but at the same time I want solid Perimeter Defense, even though it may have a lower point cap. So finding the right balance there and spreading points fairly evenly is difficult, but ultimately key to building a well-rounded superstar.
It’s completely fine to prioritise areas you want to excel and grow into, but you also want to maximise areas you may otherwise struggle in. A high scoring, rebounding centre is great but if they can’t run up and down the court at a reasonable pace, well then all you’ve done is create Greg Oden (sorry, Greg).
Choosing Your Takeover
Lockdown Defender have a higher chance of locking down highly skilled players off the dribble and on step-back shot
Slashers receive extra boosts to finishing at the rim in traffic and more effective gathers to get past the defense
Playmakers can freeze defenders more often with augmented ball handling abilities, and can enhance their teammates’ shot making off assists.
Shot Creators become more effective at shooting off the dribble and can shake off defenders consistently using stepback and spin gathers.
So what is a “takeover”? Essentially, they dictate how your player can impact a match once they get “hot”. If you’re a pass-first guard, for example, then Playmaker is your ideal selection here.
And that’s all there is to it! Once you’ve created your player you’ll get a screen that details NBA superstars most like your build.
Have any tips or builds you’d like to share with the community? Show off your creations below!