So, you launched up NBA 2K19‘s MyCareer mode, created the world’s greatest undrafted rookie, and now it’s time to take to the hardwood and show what you’re made of. There’s only one problem – you’re not actually any good. Your created pro comes out of the creation engine as a lowly 60-rated player, which means that whenever he’s on the court, he can count on being the worst player out there. For a game mode where you can only control one player, this is not ideal.
While the game does offer the opportunity to purchase VC to quickly improve, and those who purchased the $100 version at launch can begin their careers in the mid-70’s, if you’re not looking to break the bank just to learn how to hit a bank shot, you’ll have to master leveling your player up quickly on the cheap.
Earn Your Badges
When you create your character, part of choosing a primary and secondary skill are the badges they award you. While these don’t provide benefits initially, they are a rapid way to improve your player and unlock new abilities which make your life easier. Check out the badges page of your pro to see what’s available to him. Badges are unlocked in two ways. First, you can complete tasks relevant to the badge during games, or you can participate in drills designed to improve the relevant skills. Once you’ve earned enough experience on a given badge it unlocks, granting your player new tricks to use on the court.
Making the Grade
Every game you play your teammates are watching you and judging you, and they’re not a particularly kind audience. Your teammates aren’t just an abstract concept to worry about, either, as their grade serves as a modifier to your earnings. Happy teammates mean more virtual currency to spend on becoming the kind of player who belongs on an NBA court. If you play selfishly, chucking up bad shots or making hero drives to try to pad your stat line, expect your teammate grade to suffer. Instead, particularly early in your career when everyone around you is more deserving of the big moment, play unselfishly to speed up your development.
- When in doubt, pass the ball. Making a good pass is an easy way to get a small boost to your grade, and also means you don’t have the opportunity to earn a negative mark.
- Keep things moving on offense. Holding onto the ball with no signs of offense can get you dinged. This can be frustrating, particularly in situations like holding for a last shot only for your teammates to get mad you aren’t forcing things, but it’s important to know so you avoid picking up dumb negatives.
- Don’t be a chucker. If you have an open look, you get rewarded even if you miss. Throw up a shot under heavy contest from the opposition, on the other hand, and your grade is going down.
- Screens are your friend. Whether you are on the ball or off, a screen is a useful tool in the box. Helping to screen an opponent gives teammates clean looks, while calling for a screen offers both the breathing room to get off a shot or an opportunity to hit the screener on a roll for an assist.
- Avoid dishing the ball into heavy traffic. Turnovers are a massive hit to your grade, and it gets worse if the opposition scores off your bad play, so err on the side of not forcing the difficult ball. This is particularly important early in your NBA career, when your minutes are likely limited, leaving you less time to make amends.
- Hit open spaces for each praise. Just finding an open spot on the floor can earn you a bump for good spacing if your team uses it well.
- Don’t sleep on the defensive end. Getting beat for a bucket usually leads to a defensive breakdown which is a massive shift of your grade in the wrong direction.
- Defensive posture and raising a hand up is a safe bet. By keeping your man in front of you with a hand in his face, you make it as difficult as possible to get clean looks. Particularly when you are new to defending, sometimes avoiding disaster is good enough to keep your grade up.
- Don’t get spam happy with the steal button. Learning to time steals is an important skill for certain builds of guards, but if you just hammer steal over and over like you’re playing NBA Jam, you’ll be riding the pine in foul trouble before you know it.
Signing Your First Contract
Following the end of your run overseas and in the G-League, you finally get the opportunity for a cameo appearance in the NBA. After that game, the off-season begins and you’re in a position to sign on with an NBA team. Your contract is a vital part of developing your player, as it’s money in your pocket to spend on new skills. There are a few things to keep in mind when negotiating your first contract.
The first tip is to not care where you play, if possible. If you’re really wedded to suiting up for your favorite team, by all means, do it. Games are here to be fun. However, limiting yourself to just one team does greatly reduce your negotiating ability. Your contract is negotiated in a simple process where you go back and forth a couple times, choosing wages, contract length, minutes and teammate grade bonuses. If you’re wedded to a team, you’ll have to be a bit conservative. You can angle for a bit more money, but push too hard and they’ll leave the table.
If you’re less tied to a given team, you have thirty possible teams to play for, so you can afford some more ambitious efforts as there are likely at least a few comparable offers at the top of your list.
It’s easy to see the benefit of your wages and bonus, but don’t overlook your contract length and playing time. Remember that playing well also earns you VC, so a team offering a slightly higher wage packet but with significantly lower minutes doesn’t just mean less playing time, you may even develop slower as your loss of minutes cancels out the higher wage.
Avoid locking yourself down in a long-term contract your first time. Your wages are not going to be great, but your goal is to develop greatly over the season, so ideally you’d like to be back on the market next summer. This is particularly helpful if you mess up with your chosen team. Lock up a one-year contract with the best room for growth, then try again with your dream organization after the season when you have more bargaining strength.
Don’t Sleep on Your Extracurricular Activities
Once you make it to the big show you’ll have a proper agent and can begin making use of your fancy new lifestyle. Endorsement deals make themselves available as you improve your player from game to game. With just a quick promotional appearance you get a free injection of some VC to pour into your player. You also unlock your personal court and training area.
In addition to helping you unlock badges, practice includes several fun modes which let you work on your skills so you’re ready to perform when it counts. Personal training and Gatorades keep your player at peak performance, improving his on-court stats when he’s tired. If you feel off, you may just be in need of a little extra work.
Have you been enjoying the MyCareer mode in NBA2K19? Where did you sign your first contract? Did you opt to play for your favorite team or did you prioritize finding the best contract available? Let us know in the comments below!