Why the new NBA 2K21 MyPLAYER Builder is the most competitive one yet

© NBA 2K21
Sports games like NBA 2K21 have players hooked on living out their basketball fantasies. We look at the new aspects of the game and why it’s worth the upgrade.
By Molly GattPublished on
The next generation of consoles is right around the corner and with it comes the newest, most improved sports titles, like the world-renowned, top-selling NBA 2K franchise. Released on September 4th, 2020 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and Google Stadia, this is the 22nd instalment in the franchise by 2K Sports and Visual Concepts.
What is it about the 2K series that keeps players coming back to spend their time and money whenever a new title drops? A lot of fans may not admit it right away, but the game lets them live out their fantasy of being a professional basketball player and they love it. MyCAREER is the most popular game mode in 2K21 and all the new upgrades are keeping people coming back to grind for badges and buckets.

What's new?

Damian Lillard is the cover athlete for current gen releases, with Zion Williamson being showcased for the next generation titles. They added a Mamba Forever Edition with Kobe Bryant, to pay tribute to his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time, and gamers who don’t want to purchase the game again, once it’s re-released on the new consoles, are encouraged to buy the Mamba Forever Edition. It crosses over into the next gen and has a bunch of extra perks to help speed up game progression for MyCAREER and MyTEAM.
Something that will stand out right away as soon as players hit the court, is the use of the Pro Stick. In previous titles, aiming the right analog stick in any direction could land a jump shot. The team behind 2K21 decided that there was untapped potential for more competitive play using the right stick, so they added a slew of new offensive dribble animations on top of the standard jump shot. A new shot meter has been added that is much smoother and easier to time once mastered. Shot-stick aiming is also back and improved upon since it was last seen in 2K17, going from a timing bar to a targeting system. These features have added a new level of difficulty to making shots that will force players to leave their comfort zone and improve their skills.
Most of the game modes have a lot of great little additions to give players more flexibility in their experience. MyCAREER has an additional endorsement system in place for players who want to hit the Neighborhood and gather fans through their performance in that venue instead of grinding the NBA. The custom jump shot is available after character creation and controlling the speed of your jump shot release in the creator removes the need to have the Quick Draw badge. Now the badges players would have spent on Quick Draw can be used elsewhere. MyLEAGUE has a new feature that allows players to upload challenges to the rest of the MyLEAGUE community. MyTEAM introduced Seasons with prizes for those able to reach the final level. You still can’t create a female character in the MyPLAYER Builder, but there are rumors that it might come in the later version.
The Neighborhood is now at the beach, with a fun and brightly colored vibe to it. Who wouldn’t want to feel like they’re playing pickup basketball on Venice Beach? It’s more than just an aesthetic change, though. The beach doesn’t have buildings surrounding the courts, like in the previous, casting shadows that could impair your vision while playing at certain hours of the day. The soundtrack’s been updated as well, with 48 new songs featuring The Weeknd, Cardi B, Rick Ross and even Dwyane Wade is featured on the song “Season Ticket Holder''. Just like other games, more songs will be added throughout the year to keep it fresh.

MyCAREER and the MyPLAYER Builder

This time around players will start their MyCAREER as Junior, a high school basketball prodigy whose father passes away as one the greatest players of all time. Junior tries to get out from under his father’s long shadow by showcasing his skills to get into a good university and become one of the top picks in the NBA Draft. For those who want to skip this storyline, they can simply recreate their build, which will give them the option to go straight to the NBA.
This year follows the same MyPLAYER Builder with an additional four new pie charts to allow more variation in the types of characters you can create. Pie charts are separated into finishing, shooting, playmaking and defense/rebounding. Where you choose to put your skill set will determine what kind of player you’ll become. The physical attributes of your player in 2K21, such as wingspan, weight and height have more of an overall effect on your player’s physical profile, an inch can make a world of difference. The height lock for certain positions has also been increased to allow for more flexibility in character creation.
Building your character around your preferred position is more crucial than ever. The overpowered builds from previous games were nerfed, such as the 2-Way Slashing Playmaker and certain Offensive Threats that allowed you to get contact dunks, speed boost, shoot the lights out and play great defense. Basically, you were too good at everything, which caused a lot of players to default to running with one of these builds. This, in turn, reduced the strategy of building characters around teammates’ skill sets. Last year, two-way players were so offensively gifted that most competitive teams were only made up of these kinds of builds.
One way two-way builds were nerfed was making players max out their wingspan to be good at finishing, which reduced their shooting capabilities significantly. The new 2K21 has placed extremely high importance on the three-point rating for players who want to consistently hit shots from downtown. Who you’ll become on the court is now more defined by how you balance your pie chart with your physical attributes. These reasons, among others, will cause more realistic builds to be put together, simulating what a real basketball team would need to consist of to play competitively.
The new changes to the competitive aspects of 2K21 level out the playing field. As a result, new types of player builds are coming into the Neighborhood’s spotlight. The Playmaking Shot Creator looks like it will be one of the more dominant guard builds in the game. If you need some pointers on how to make this build to get the best possible badge layout, check out Raptors Uprising GC NBA 2K League reigning MVP Kenny Got Work’s YouTube video below on how he chose to create this build. It will be interesting to watch teams like the Raps Uprising adapt to the new changes so they can stay competitive.

The verdict

2K21’s updates, especially the ones to MyCAREER, are a welcome sight to basketball fans looking to be entertained and occupied going into the winter months, but there are some setbacks. MyCAREER players who buy the Mamba Forever Edition for current consoles can’t carry their MyPLAYER over if they choose to upgrade their Xbox or PlayStation. This may result in players choosing between waiting to buy the new game or waiting to buy the new console. There is a bit of solace in knowing that, at least, MyTEAM content passes over to the new generation of systems. New controls, like the updated Pro Stick functionalities, are a huge highlight across all game modes. The developers of 2K21 know that, even if they ask for it, not everybody likes change, so these additional functions come with the option for players to disable them.
Spending extra money on in-game currency is almost a must, if you want to upgrade your character so they’re good enough to play online. If you’re trying to play competitively in the Neighborhood the same day you purchase the game, you could find yourself spending at least $50 on VC in addition to the $79.99 for the standard 2K21. This can get annoying, especially for people who remember when you could play online for free, but this has become a common trend that has been adapted across a lot of popular games. Save the grind and spend the dime.