NBA Playgrounds Articles RSS Feed | NBA Playgrounds RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network NBA Playgrounds: How to Start Playing With Friends Mon, 22 May 2017 15:26:19 -0400 Nick Lee

Since its release on May 9, players of NBA Playgrounds have noticed one vital feature missing from the game -- a true online mode that allows them to play with or against friends. NBA 2K and most other sport games have normalized the fact that when you get a modern sports game, you're going to get online play, too. But as of right now, Playgrounds users can only engage in random-match online game modes or a classic offline co-op mode with friends.

Yes, you read that right: you currently cannot play with your friends in online mode -- only in the local offline co-op.

So until a true online co-op mode appears, players can still get comfortable with the local multiplayer feature to challenge their friends on the basketball court. For those who would rather ball solo, you can participate in ranked play (unless playing on the Nintendo Switch). 

How to Play With Friends in Offline Co-Op for NBA Playgrounds

The classic fun with friends around one TV is brought to life in Playgrounds. To access this local mode, head to the the main menu select an Exhibition Match. From there, you'll see be four spaces that you can choose, which represent the four characters in the teams. Players will then choose a team and a player, and then you can start the fun.

If you have played a single-player Exhibition Match previously, the characters you choose may already be pre-selected, so just press the circle/B button until all four boxes are cleared.

How to Unlock Online Play in NBA Playgrounds

If you want to hop online and test out your skills against people other than your friends, there's a mode for that! But to play online in NBA Playgrounds, you first have to unlock the mode. Unlike a lot of a games that have you go through tutorial runs before you can access some of the game's core features, NBA Playgrounds requires a full unlock.

First, you need to unlock Tournament Mode in order to get online, but that won't be too difficult. To unlock Tournament Mode, you need to reach level two, then open the player pack you receive.

From there, you only need to reach round three of the tournament. With the tournament finished, you'll be able to take on friends or participate in ranked play for online modes.

Will Online Mode Ever Let You Play With Friends?

Saber Interactive promised to include a full-fledged online mode a few days after launch -- but now two weeks later, players are still on the bench. We hope to see a patch in the coming months that will upgrade online for the Switch, but can't say for sure if that's actually going to happen. 

 As you wait and grind through Playgrounds, check out our other guides to get ahead of the game:

NBA Playgrounds: How to Get Gold Packs Sat, 20 May 2017 20:22:02 -0400 Nick Lee

Every NBA Playgrounds player knows that in order to win any card packs you have to win a match -- but in order to grab those essential gold packs, you'll need to do a bit more work than that. Getting gold packs comes down to leveling and winning matches -- two tasks that don't have to be as difficult as they may seem.

By focusing on these two goals, you'll be able to unpack some gold in no time. So what level do you need and how exactly do you win tournaments? Let's hit the blackboard to find out.

Farming For Gold Packs in Tourneys in NBA Playgrounds

While farming in most games relates to XP, experience takes a back seat to opening new card packs in NBA Playgrounds. The true measure of success in the game will be grabbing those gold pack cards. And getting those means you'll have to grind through regular matches and gain as much XP as possible.

Once players reach level 50, every win thereafter will reward them with a gold pack. While this is a helpful piece of information, you might drive yourself crazy playing regular old matches that yield rewards you've seen before. So to skip the mundane match after match grind, you'll have to liven it up by playing tournaments -- or by employing following methods.

Utilizing Tournaments for Gold Packs and Experience

Tournaments are essential for both leveling and gaining gold, so competing in them will best prepare you for advancing in all aspects of the game. And like we've mentioned in our beginner's guide for NBA Playgrounds, you'll need a solid team that you've leveled up enough to be a dominant playing force. 

When playing tournaments, you want a well-rounded team that can push you past multiple obstacles with a diversified set of gameplay styles. The reward for winning these tourneys gets you a gold pack while you level, so you want to do this as often as possible if you're trying to grind for them.

Grinding Regular Game Modes for Gold Packs in NBA Playgrounds

Currently the tourneys-to-time ratio isn't quite suited enough to seem like a viable option to keep replaying for gold packs -- so instead, you can utilize the online and exhibition game modes to tear through card packs. The added bonus in this method is that you'll gain XP. But more importantly, it's an easier route that can be replicated endlessly. 

Online Mode

Winning games online grants the most XP and levels you up the fastest, but you obviously can't guarantee winning. Another unfortunate side effect of this method is the classic NBA 2K carry-over of your opponent rage quitting upon losing that plagues this game as well. 

While this method itself can be more time-consuming and high-risk than exhibition mode, the rewards are plentiful if you can win.

Exhibition Mode

With a little work, you can turn farming this mode into a science and win basically any match in under a minute, turning you into a true NBA farmer.

Like we outlined in our card farming guide for NBA Playgrounds, you'll want to pick your best players and match them up with a CPU player team with the lowest stats on your roster.

After the match starts, immediately go to the settings, select the map, and enter match options. Under "Match Finish," set score to 10 points. Another important aspect is to make sure the match with difficulty is on Rookie for an even faster win.

If you choose two players with a higher steal rating and a three-point rating, you can win matches even faster while perfecting your timing for both. Once the match is over, select "Replay" to skip most of the loading screens. Then rinse and repeat after until you're satisfied with the number of packs you have. While this won't guarantee any gold packs, it will level you high enough to start earning them regularly.  


Farming for gold card packs is a relatively easy process, though it can be time consuming. Luckily for you, you now know all of the ways to farm for packs with the added bonus of leveling as you go. (And if you want to know the best players for NBA Playgrounds, we've got you covered there, too.)

As you hit the playground, remember to shoot for GameSkinny to get more NBA Playgrounds tips and tricks

NBA Playgrounds: Card Farming Guide Wed, 17 May 2017 10:15:42 -0400 Craig Snyder

For those of you who've managed to get your hands on NBA Playgrounds this early, you know it's one of the most unique and different NBA games ever since the time of NBA Ballers or the NBA Street series.

In NBA Playgrounds, progressing through the game and winning tournaments gets you card packs. These card packs can contain some of the best NBA players of all time -- referred to as Legends in-game -- but it's very rare that you'll find a pack that contains a Legend. As such, NBA Playgrounds has a bit of a grind like you'd expect out of an MMO. Want the best players? Well, you'd better be ready to farm a lot of card packs.

Luckily for you, I've done the dirty work and found the easiest way to grind these packs. While it may not be the most fun way to experience NBA Playgrounds, it's definitely efficient. Here's my step-by-step guide.

How to Farm Cards in NBA Playgrounds

Step 1: Enter Exhibition Mode

Head into Exhibition mode from the game's main menu. Exhibition mode in NBA Playgrounds is often used to practice your moves, whereas participating in tournaments around the world is the game's more competitive mode. Tournament games are three minutes, with five-minute championships, but we'll be spending much less time in Exhibition mode.

Step 2: Pick Your Best Players and Weakest Opponents

You're going to want to select your two best players, preferably a great three-point shooter and then a rebounder. A good example team would be Danny Ainge for shooting and Robert Parish for rebounding. The reason you want a team composition like this is because the faster you can fire off and make three pointers, the less time you're going to be spending in these games.

If you've already put some time in and unpacked some Legends, another strategy you can try is playing two players with a very high three-point rating and steal rating. Stephen Curry and Magic Johnson are a good example duo. With a team like this, you're banking on making every shot and forcing turnovers on defense.

For your opponents, pick the lowest-ranked players you can find. Marc Gasol and Goran Dragic are particularly bad. If you've got a rebounder on your team, then it helps to pick two terrible shooters (even if they aren't the very lowest of your choices).

Step 3: Tweak Your Match Options

On the park selection screen, go to Match Options. For the Match Finish option, choose a score of 10 and then set the difficulty to Rookie.

Step 4: Play, Replay, Repeat

Play your game out to the finish -- hopefully dominating the court in the process and steamrolling your opponents as much as possible. Then reap the rewards for a job well done, which will include new card packs for you to open in hopes of getting those coveted Legends players. 

After each game, you can select Replay and it'll bypass all of the annoying loading screens and effectively let you grind out games to your heart's content.

That's all there is to it!

Assuming you've got some decent players, picked horrible opponents, and tweaked the Match Options appropriately, each game should take a minute or less. 

Many will argue that playing online is the best way to progress and get packs -- and it would be if only you could guarantee a win for every match and that opponents wouldn't drop before losing. However, that's not the reality of online play (in my experiences, at least). So in reality, grinding games in Exhibition mode is the way to go.

Let me know in the comments below if you've found a better way to grind for card packs in NBA Playgrounds! Make sure to check out some of our other NBA Playgrounds guides:

10 Best Former and Current Players You Can Draft in NBA Playgrounds Fri, 12 May 2017 17:38:41 -0400 Nick Lee

The massive roster for NBA Playgrounds certainly rivals any basketball game predecessor in memory, but certain players carry magic in their game that's undeniable on the court and in-game. While this list won't be limited to the usual greats of the game like Michael Jordan (who aren't in the game at all, actually), there are certainly some stat-based best players you'll want to look out for as you round out your team.

So which players made it through our list of the best based solely on their stats? Which ones should you be looking out for when you play the game? Let's find out.

Lebron James: Cleveland Cavaliers

Well, you knew he'd be on this list, so let's get "King James" out of the way now. Easily one of the most famous players IRL, his athletic ability and freakish stats transfer into NBA Playgrounds, making him a top-tier player with stamina to match. Currently, his legend card status will make him a harder find for most players, but once you've got him, pairing him with any other Cavalier is a good idea.

Lebron James' Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Points 2-Points Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
Lebron James 10 6 8 5 3 7 8 6 Legend

Stephen Curry: Golden State Warriors

When chef Curry comes into the Playgrounds kitchen, you're sure to dish baskets beyond the three-point line. Also a legend status card, Curry made it to this list because he's well rounded offensively. The only setback to using him in the game is a low block or defensive stat. To remedy this, be sure to pair him with a teammate that has strong defensive abilities, which will afford Steph a better chance to shoot and score.

Stephen Curry's Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
Chris Mullin 3 10 9 8 2 7 9 4 Legend

Anthony "Spud" Webb: Atlanta Hawks

The first epic card rarity player on the list, Spud Webb is proving you just can't judge a player by his size. Along with Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, another epic rarity character, these two bolster the current (and more common) Hawks roster. The likelihood of getting both players around the same time is quite rare, so if you could magically pick one, it ought to be Webb. His speed and stamina stats alone make him an offensive explosion waiting to happen, but like the previous entry, he might need help on defense. 

Spud Webb's Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
Spudd Webb 8 5 8 8 2 10 8 3 Epic

James Harden: Houston Rockets

Harden solidifies his place on this list due to his well-rounded stats. which lend to more combinations on your roster. "The Beard" may be a step down to legend status in rarity, but players will get more for longer utilizing him. Plus, if you're waiting to build up to a rarer player card, having Harden on your team will help you grind out some wins to get there.

James Harden's Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
James Harden 5 7 8 6 4 7 9 5 Legend

Shaquille O'Neal: Los Angeles Lakers

While most on the list will help you get quick points, no one can put up defense like Shaq. His stats reflect his defensive strength while dominating in the paint on offense as well. The only downside to his dominance is a lower, but not awful, speed and stamina stat. Lucky for us, the game doesn't factor in any career free throw percentages for his in-game stats. Whew!

Shaq's Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
Shaquille O'Neal  8  2  9  4  8  5  5  9  Legend

Kevin Durant: Golden State Warriors

KD may be a new(er) addition to the Warriors, but his stats reflect the well-rounded play needed to succeed in Playgrounds  -- at least until the rarer characters are unlocked. While his stats may make him appear average when compared to most on this list, his ability to fit into multiple roles makes him a dynamic character worthy of your roster. It's odd his rarity level isn't legend, but maybe future updates and added characters will remedy this.

The "Durantula's" Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
Kevin Durant 5 8 9 5 4 7 7 5 Epic

Allen Iverson: Philadelphia 76ers

With a rarity status of legend, some might argue AI still isn't getting the credit he deserves, but with stats as good as his, it's hard to fully argue. With the ability to really turn on the jets, once this character gets going it's going to be hard to stop him -- at least until his stamina runs down. Where Iverson's defense fails, his ability to score away from the basket can provide some interesting plays if utilized correctly.

"A.I.'s" Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
Allen Iverson 6 7 8 9 3 10 9 3 Legend

Patrick Ewing: New York Knicks

This NBA Hall of Fame legend is no stranger to dominating the court, and in Playgrounds, Ewing's defensive ability is his strong suit as usual. With the ability to transition strong defense into offensive points based purely on his in-game stats, Ewing is vital. One challenge players will have with Ewing, however, is to remain patient: rushing to steal will likely result in failure. 

"The Beast of the East's" Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
Patrick Ewing 8 2 8 2 8 5 7 8 Epic

Dominique Wilkins: Atlanta Hawks

Mentioned earlier in the list, Wilkins maintains a diverse range of abilities that when paired correctly, will lead to more points for players. One aspect that will be difficult to manage when playing as this legend is balancing stamina with other moves. For example, Wilkins' high-dunking ability will be useless if you can't make it down the court due to charging through your stamina moments before.

Wilkin's Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
Dominique Wilkins 10 6 7 4 3 7 7 5 Epic

John Stockton: Utah Jazz

Another epic rarity character, Stockton boasts one of the more dangerous combinations in the game. With a whopping 10 pts in both speed and steals stats, utilizing this legend correctly could easily turn the tide of an entire game. Combine those with his high shooting numbers, and you've got one player who is seemingly unstoppable. While he can fly down the court and score, his defense is the most lackluster on this list, proving that you'll truly need a dynamic duo to succeed in this game.

Stockton's Stats:
Player Dunk 3-Pts 2-Pts Steal Blocks Speed Stamina Rebound Rarity
John Stockton 2 9 9 10 2 10 8 3 Epic


Though an already massive roster, you can tell from even this list that NBA Playgrounds isn't done adding legends and amazing players to the game. While the format will likely remain similar, adding new dynamic players will have us rethinking this entire list somewhere down the court. 

Throughout this article, there are mentions of pairing these greats to make them their most effective selves. As you work to unlock these characters through winsIn Playgrounds, remember that as the game grows, so will the roster. So don't lose hope: you'll get that perfect dream team eventually.

Looking for more tips on NBA Playgrounds? Check out this guide of essential tips for starting off strong

Fast Break: Essential NBA Playgrounds Tips for Starting Strong Tue, 09 May 2017 16:43:26 -0400 Nick Lee

With over 200 current and former basketball players at your fingertips, there are a number of ways to go into NBA Playgrounds and dominate the court. To actually stake your claim in the Hall of Fame, you're going to need to divide your game into a few essential elements every time you play. These include scoring points, successful defense, utilizing the special meter, and upgrading your player. Combining these elements will ensure more wins than losses.

So what do you need to do with each of the mechanics listed above? Let's take a look.

Learn Animations to Time Your Shots Right

The most essential element in all sports games, NBA Playgrounds follows NBA 2K17 in that the timing the release of your shots is vitally important. And to get that timing just right, you'll need to learn the shooting animations inside and out.

At the exact peak of shooting, you have to quickly release the shoot button in order to score. Additional points are rewarded as you get closer to perfection with your shot timing. This is true for layups and dunks, in addition to regular shots within or beyond the three point line. Learning the animations will ensure you can time your releases well and rack up as many points as possible. 

Time Your Defensive Maneuvers, Too

If you're playing defense, timing your shot blocks is essential -- because no one wants to be poster-ized, and getting dunked on in this game is always in grand fashion.

Don't Be Afraid to Play Dirty

Stealing is half the game in Playgrounds, and angering your opponents is a big part of the fun in this game. When going for the steal however, you'll have to know when to sprint away and when to keep going.

This game also has another exclusive feature that allows you to play by street rules -- the push button. This does exactly what it says. When your opponent has the ball, you can just push them down. While a little cheap at times, this move won't become a major crutch while you play, because the special meter reduces with each of the "dirty" tactics you use. So luckily you won't get pushed down every time you get the ball, but you also won't be able to use it freely on your opponent either. So pick the best times to utilize it and maximize your control of the court.

Keep Your Special Meter Full

The lottery pick system is the Playgrounds' version of in-game bonuses rewarded during play. Performing the moves like alley-oops, blocks, steals, and monster dunks will fill up your special meter. Once that special meter is full, your team gets a randomly selected bonus to their shots. This includes things like a guaranteed shot the next time you shoot, or bonus points for every successful offensive or defensive action.

The pushing tactic we mentioned earlier comes back to bite you here, as you'll notice the special meter decreasing as your play style becomes more aggressive and dirty. So playing a clean game will get you more bonuses, but effectively playing dirty will rocket a good player into unstoppable greatness.

Stick With A Core Team and Level Them Up

At the end of each match-up, you can upgrade your players of choice to continue using them down the line. If you win your match-up, the game gives you a player card pack that unlocks more players on the massive roster. So when you start your career in this game, it's probably best to find your team and stick with them. Players with leveled XP on a team will outmatch lesser developed teams before the match even begins. Changing teams too frequently will essentially restart your progress and hurt you in the long run.

In addition to this, certain players also have signature moves that can give you a certain edge depending on your specific playstyle. So find the team members who vibe best with how you like to approach the game, then level them as much as possible so you can keep slam-dunking on your opponent in every match.


NBA Playgrounds is more intricate than most older arcade basketball games, and it rewards players for skillful gameplay without being too hard to pick up. Follow these tips each time you play, and in no time you'll be dominating the game with your team of choice.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks in NBA Playgrounds here at GameSkinny!