The new 2K21 has made some changes to the franchise and with it the builds you’ll need to succeed in the NBA and in online play. Builds are custom basketball avatars you create, which are made up of pie charts consisting of four main pieces: finishing (blue), shooting (green), playmaking (yellow) and defense/rebounding (red).
The pie chart and attributes you assign to your build will determine the type of player you get. If you’re coming to the court for the first time, or are a regular that wants to try out whatever’s advantageous this year, we’ve compiled a list of the best builds and some tips on how to make them extra effective.
1. Playmaking shot creator
In this year’s 2K, it’s critical to have a high 3-point percentage, and the Playmaking Shot Creator is the only multicoloured build that gives you high enough stats to dominate from behind the line. In 2K21, the playmaking pie chart is the fastest and shooting is by far the slowest, so this even split yellow and green player allows you to increase your speed on the court, making it easy to get open to make shots.
If you're able to get open and sink threes, you will be much deadlier than a purely green player. This build is a great choice for point guards, or even shooting guards, and plays similar to Stephen Curry or Damian Lillard.
2. Stretch four
Spacing the floor is becoming more instrumental to winning games, so making a high percentage shooting big man is critical to efficiently executing this strategy. A big who can hit threes forces the opposing centre to come out of the paint. This creates opportunities for your teammates to attack without worrying about a massive paint protector staying under the rim the whole game.
Creating a pure green at the power forward position is advantageous because you get 10 defensive badges, allowing you to protect your own paint and putting the other at a disadvantage if they don't have a stretch big. Think of this build like the Slim Reaper himself, Kevin Durant.
3. Glass-cleaning finisher
There is no better centre build than the Glass-Cleaning Finisher. This even-split, red and blue build, offers you hall of fame finishing and defensive badges so you can make a huge impact on both ends of the floor. This build gives you access to all the contact dunks and dunk packages all the way up to 6’10, which is insanely tall for the amount of finesse you’ll have finishing at the rack.
Since this is not a shooting build, you can max out the wingspan, giving you to an extra 10 inches. Even though you’re not as tall as the 7’ bigs, your wingspan makes up for the height discrepancy, making you feel well over seven feet tall. This will help you protect the paint and guard perimeter scorers, like the stretch bigs, more than seven foot centres would. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the closest real life example to this build.
One of the newer builds in 2K21, Slasher plays like Kobe Bryant, with a blue and green pie chart that is heavier on the blue. Higher finishing than shooting is better than an even split because finishing allows for higher ball handling and athleticism, making it a more impactful build on both ends of the court.
It’s harder to shoot the lights out in this year’s 2K, so having a higher specialization in finishing is a smarter route to take as an even split pie chart will have significantly less finishing, while their shooting won't be up to par with the other great shooting builds. We recommend you apply this build to a shooting guard since you will be awarded more badges than any other position.
5. 2-Way finisher
Since the Playmaking Shot Creator is such a dominant scoring build this year, most of the best teams have one running at the point guard position. We recommend, if you want to make a pure defender, that you also put it in the PG position. This ensures that you have the best possible defender guarding the other team’s Play Shot.
A lot of this year’s top point guards lack interior defense so when they come up against your 2-Way Finisher, they won't be able to stop you from scoring in the paint. Opposing teams won't be ready for your elite finishing skills and the contact dunks that come with being a pure defender. A similar real life player to this build is Ben Simmons.
6. Post playmaker
This playmaking finisher is best played at power forward because you’ll have a maxed out wingspan and insane athleticism. This build lets you protect the paint while undersized, hustle for rebounds over larger opponents, and offers great perimeter defending, since the Stretch Four is such a popular build this year.
We recommend you make this build at 6’7 to ensure you have the highest athleticism and ball handling. This starts you on the path towards eventually unlocking all of the pro dribble moves so you can run circles around your opponent’s best defenders. This build comes with all the contact dunks from the start, while the hall of fame finishing and playmaking badges make you a force to be reckoned with when attacking the rim, just like LeBron James. Post Playmaker can shoot the ball too, spacing the floor out more than the other dunking bigs.
7. Point forward
This pure playmaker excels at the small forward position for match up and all around badge distribution. We recommend building it a little taller than you’d expect, like 6’6, because having a taller baller on both ends of the court is beneficial for transition passes and breaking down the larger defenders.
The pure playmaker has always been the jack of all trades and 2K21 is no exception to that, making you a threat from all levels of the court, just like Jayson Tatum. It’s also the fastest build in the game, letting you blow by or step back from defenders at will. Great badges to give your Point Forward are Hall of Fame Floor General and Hall of Fame Dimer so all of your teammates will get boosts to their offensive stats with you on their team.
8. Sharpshooting facilitator
This pure green build is best as a shooting guard, since it’s not necessary to have elite playmaking abilities at the off guard position. We recommend this matchup because it’s very helpful to have a player that will almost never miss when they’re open, forcing the other team to always keep a defender on them behind the three point line.
Sharpshooting Facilitator acts as an off ball mover, constantly running around the perimeter looking for an open shot, causing confusion among the other team’s defenders and, potentially, forcing a failed rotation or defensive error. Manoeuvring like this will likely result in you, or your point guard, getting an open shot behind the line. This build best emulates players like Ray Allen or Klay Thompson.
9. Interior finisher
For anyone who grew up watching the best bigs in basketball history, like Shaquille O'Neal or Wilt Chamberlain, you can imitate their play with the 7’ plus pure finishing centre build, the Interior Finisher. This is the ultimate Post Scoring build, letting you use your great size, strength and finishing skills to bully and wreak havoc down low.
Although this is not a common build you'll see in the modern NBA, it is an insanely fun one to play in 2K21. Due to its size and strength, you’ll be setting immovable screens for your guards, improving the amount of open shots your team receives. This build also comes with great interior defense, shot blocking and rebounding, allowing you to guard the other bigs effectively.
10. 3-Level Scorer
This shooting defender excels as a power forward because, due to the height restrictions at the centre position, this build needs to be under 6’9 to consistently make shots. If you make this even split red and green build with an increased wingspan, they will be an elite defender, able to guard all positions and swat all kinds of shots away from the rim.
The longer wingspan also makes you a better finisher, expanding your offensive game. You shouldn’t expect the 3-Level Scorer to have the same shooting abilities as the Stretch Four, but you can still rely on it to make the majority of open shots, allowing you to space the floor. Players that play like the 3-Level Scorer in the NBA are Kawhi Leonard and Toronto Raptors’ Serge Ibaka