Welcome to a new weekly feature on DIMER, 7 Things I Like and Dislike, NBA 2K Pro-Am edition. It’s quite clearly a rip-off of Zach Lowe, but he’ll forgive me, I hope, for adducing some practical analysis to NBA 2K19.
For this inaugural edition, the clips all come from either Dimez’s stream of the first Breakout/SelfTaught rematch, or his stream of the Breakout/MakeItHappen beatdown, or from SlayIsland’s stream of game 2 of the IslandGang/SpaceJam series. In the future, I want to include clips from a wider variety of streams, so don’t hesitate to tag me in streams or clips. These happened to be good, well-discussed games that I was able to re-watch post-facto.
- Let’s go diving
GetOnMyLevelWrapDive – Clipped by aj113_os
SelfTaught’s GetOnMyLevel exploits the levels of Breakout’s defense pretty well in this one. After some initial purposeless pick setting and re-setting from PeteBeBallin for ExposeHim at the top of the arc, ExposeHim heads for a sliver of open lane to the left. Goofy steps up to fill the lane while HBOScretty pinches down.
GetOnMyLevel wraps around the top of the arc with Pete screening for him. Importantly, Scretty goes over the screen. That leaves GetOnMyLevel ahead of his man an open path to the hoop, with Goofy guarding the pick-and-roll high.
Cleverly, GetOnMyLevel doesn’t just top outside the arc because that’s what his original goal was on the wrap. That would have allowed Scretty, a step behind, to catch up and negate a potential three-pointer opportunity. Rather, GetOnMyLevel sees the lane and continues to curl into it, with Scretty behind him, and finishes the dunk for an easy two.
- The corner isn’t for sleeping
The emergence of locks in NBA 2K19 has meant that point guards find themselves guarded by the opponent’s lock, rather than their point guard. Consequently, the point guard is often stuck in the corner on defense.
DimezSniperOop – Clipped by aj113_os
That’s no excuse to fall asleep for the back-cut, as ExposeHim does here. Sniper exposes his matchup, going baseline without the ball, and Dimez finds him for an easy alley-oop. ExposeHim is hardly the only one to fall asleep in the corner.
The most effective thing you can do without the ball is to actually do something without the ball. That means not standing stock-still in the corner waiting on a possible pass. Move, and good things happen. Conversely, the corner assignment is no excuse to slack off.
- Non-centers can set screens too!
One of the things that consistently boggles my mind constantly about NBA 2K gameplay is why no one even tries to set a screen if they don’t have the right badges. Setting a screen sows confusion. The real-life Golden State Warriors burn teams by having their best shooters screen for each other.
ScrettySetsScreen – Clipped by aj113_os
So it was nice to see a sharpshooter in Scretty screen a little for Dimez, even if it was just in the backcourt. Nothing came directly from the screen, but the point is that it was effective in springing Dimez into the frontcourt. Not every screen has to crush someone.
- Dimez, still not cutting hard
One of the things I noticed about Dimez while he was on the shot-creating slasher build in the first season of the NBA 2K League was his near-complete refusal to cut hard to the basket. He prefers to stay outside the paint and collect the ball for a reset. That’s resurfaced in Pro-Am (as bad habits do).
DimezNoCut – Clipped by aj113_os
There are four MakeItHappen defenders on the left side. Dimez has miles of space on the right after the ball recovery, but he stays outside the arc before quickly coming to collect the ball at the top. He could have cut, earning either a high-percentage two-point attempt or—perhaps even better—drawing the lone MIH defender out of the corner and opening up his teammate in the corner for three.
There are plays you believe in, and plays worth accepting as they come around. It’s worth it to believe in the opportunities that arise organically.
- Pressuring the center might be a good idea
Conventional 2K wisdom holds that you don’t want the center dribbling with the ball for very long, especially outside the paint. The archetypes just aren’t constructed to allow for an Anthony Davis. Their ball handling ratings are just lower
So it’s a nice change of pace to see a team put on-ball pressure on a center outside of the paint. When the lock forces the point guard to advance the ball to the center across the timeline, I think it’s well worth the gamble to put pressure on the center while the point guard catches up to the play.
MakeitHappen’s Snubhub passes out of the lockdown defense, up to Dayfri, who takes it across the time-line. Goofy comes up to challenge him, and Breakout’s lock pokes the ball away from behind.
This won’t always work. Sometimes you’ll probably get burned. But there are a lot of centers whose recognition is much worse than Dayfri’s, and so trying to capitalize on something that makes sense according to the game’s numbers is likely to be worth doing often.
- Too-easy transition buckets
IslandGang came back from way down in game two against SpaceJam by flying out and throwing down in transition. They’re hardly the only team who leaks out a lot and scores a lot of points in transition.
There are ways to combat this! It’s not inevitable! It starts by not loitering in the corner on offense and allowing all five opponents to get moving in transition before you start running back. Trailing all five opponents is not the path to success.
SlayLoitersLow – Clipped by aj113_os
I understand the desire to stay fixed on offense. An offensive board and kickout gives you a pretty good chance for points. But there’s a balance between hoping on an offensive rebound and actually playing preventative defense. If your center gets the board, great. You can re-set or you’ll just get the kickout elsewhere on the arc. But if he doesn’t, try and make sure you’re not toast.
JTDoesn’tStayBack – Clipped by aj113_os
There’s about a 0.01% chance JT gets this offensive rebound. There’s about a 90% chance that Nate, leaking out in transition before JT turns around, scores a basket here. Those aren’t good numbers for SpaceJam.
Don’t let the offense keep throwing Hail Mary after Hail Mary. Sometimes, you have to play prevent defense. Rare threes off offensive rebounds will help you stay in a game. So will stopping the much-likelier transition basket.
We started with a smart play from GetOnMyLevel, and so it’s poetic justice to end with one.
Breakout knows what’s coming. The wing-down/corner-cut action is pretty familiar to most teams by now. Wizards DG ran it a ton in season one, too. It’s pretty recognizable.
Comp Matchups ! #NBA2KLeague !sub !donate – Clipped by FamousEnough
GetOnMyLevel throws a brilliant wrench into the works. He pulls up short of swinging down to the corner and drains a three. That’s just a smart offensive adjustment. Keeping the defense guessing is pretty good offense.