NBA 2K21 can be a tough game to master if you don't try new things
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NBA 2K21 tips: 6 tips that will help you master the game

Between a new Shot Meter, a few changes to how the game works and some new mechanics, NBA 2K21 can be a very hard game to master. Luckily, we're here to help.
Written by Dom Peppiatt
Published on
Getting to the high levels of play you may have enjoyed in previous NBA 2K games isn't going to be easy this year. As well as some pretty big changes to how shooting works, the developers over at 2K have also loaded the game with other small tweaks and changes that alter the experience quite a lot from what you're used to.
Learning how to work your way back up to a decent level of play takes time and patience. And because the game can sometimes be a little obscure in how it approaches teaching you how to take advantage of its new tricks, we've decided to outline it all here. Here's what you need to know if you want to be a better NBA 2K21 player.

1. Know how to shoot

NBA 2K21 OK
NBA 2K21
The developers are really making you work for your buckets in this year's version of the game. Instead of the green meter that existed in previous titles, you now have to time your shots and release the Pro Stick or shoot button at different times, depending on where you are in the court. Learn the court, get to know how it feels to shoot from different places in the arena, and be aware you're never making the same shot twice.

2. Turn off shot meter

If you're after an experience more in-line to previous years' take on the game, you can instead turn off the shot meter in the settings to take back a little bit of control. If you do this, you'll be focusing more on the player – rather than a distracting bit of UI – you'll need to release the shot button or Pro Stick at the height of your jump in order to get your best attempt on the bucket lined up.

3. Learn Hot Zones

NBA 2K20
NBA 2K20
To balance the focus on the fiddlier and trickier shot meter, the developers over at 2K have decided to buff Hot Zones quite a lot. What does that mean for you? Well, from Hot Zones, your player is going to get a better boost. Practice with your favourite players and figure out where their Hot Zones are to make their shots a little more consistent. You can learn these in practice mode, too.

4. Badges are life

NBA-2K21-Stephen-Curry
Channel your Stephen Curry and you'll be just fine
Learning and knowing your player’s Badges is essential to their success on the court. Understanding what each Badge is, how it applies to their play style, and then picking the correct Badges when levelling up MyPlayer is essential to making them stand out. Playing consistently in MyCareer and in The Neighborhood, and you will start to acquire points in Shooting and Playmaking (and these can make all the difference in the long run!)

5. Shoot clean

NBA-2K21-Zion-Williamson
Zion Williamson knows how to make the points in NBA 2K21
In NBA 2K21 more than any other NBA title, you're going to see possession taken away and your shots intercepted if you try and shoot when you're being heavily guarded. Sniff out open space and do the best you can to get away from defenders and you'll have more success with your shots. Hit L1/LB to have friendly players provide a screen for you to better allow you to set yourself up.

6. Defend bravely

NBA-2K21-Damian-Lillard
Damian Lillard celebrates after a victory on the court
Basically take the tip we've given you above and flip it: if you know an opposing player has a very good offensive athlete in their possession, do everything you can to stay on them and deny them the space they need to make a shot. Hold O/B to stand your ground and make it more difficult for enemy players to get the layup or dunk off you.
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