Whether this is your first NBA 2K game, or just your first in a while, there is so much to explore in NBA 2K22. So, here are some tips to help you make the most of it.
Most of these tips apply to both generations of console, but many are focused on new-gen. That’s the Xbox Series S/X and PS5 only — sorry PC, last-gen console users.
NBA 2K22’s The W Is More Fun
While most non-quickplay modes are drenched in sponsorship and begging you to spend real-life cash, The W (new-gen only) is like the NBA 2K career mode of old. To get started in the player builder you don’t need to know exactly how you want to balance your stats, only what kind of skills you want to focus on and in which position you want to play. You can’t customise these players, they’re all just pre-built, You also don’t spend (or earn) VC here, you just get stat upgrades based on how well and how much you play. That makes The W the perfect place to start a career mode in NBA 2K22, because there’s no pressure to spend real cash, you don’t have to wander around a bloated city, you don’t have to know how you want to distribute individual stat points, and there’s much fewer barriers between creating a character and actually playing basketball (the activity supposedly at the centre of this game). If you do decide you want to play in the men’s side of the NBA afterwards, you’ll have a handle on the shot meter and a better idea of what kind of player you want to be before dropping that precious VC and committing to the grind.
Whether you’re colour blind or are just having an unexpected amount of difficulty mastering the shot meter, try changing the shot meter colour. You can do this by going to Settings > Shot Meter Color and playing around to see what works for you. If you’re still having trouble after that, you might need to brush up on your rhythm skills, but eventually it’ll become muscle memory.
If you just have a terrible sense of rhythm, one thing I find that helps is to download a metronome app on your phone and practice tapping along, trying to stay on beat. This helps you better internalise rhythm, will make you a better dancer, and make you less annoying at concerts when everyone starts clapping along to a song, so there’s added bonuses as well.
NBA 2K22: Dribbling And Defending
The right stick is your friend. In the last few years the right stick has become the most important offensive tool for dribble moves and shooting. But you might not know that it’s also key for defence. When defending a dribbler, hold down the left trigger and keep the right stick pushed up. You’ll need to be close to your opponent to make it work, but you should really notice the difference.
How NBA 2K22’s Team Takeovers Work
Team Takeovers are important, and you can unlock them by playing well and having good team chemistry (doing good stuff increases your meter, doing bad stuff, like turnovers, reduces it). You’ll know when it’s maxed out, because it’s as subtle as a firework: The meter will be flaming and it’ll flash “Team Takeover” just in case you missed the flames. Simply press down on the right stick and watch your team catch fire (in the good way).
Slow And Steady Makes The Bucket
We’re all impatient to get to the next bucket and shake off defenders, but in 2K22 the secret to accurate shooting is slowing down. The stamina bar affects your shooting bar, so don’t sprint as much if you’re wanting to make difficult shots. There are branded, paid ways to increase your stamina — but it’s better to just play smart.
The Best MyPlayer Builds For NBA 2K22
Everyone wants to know the secret of how to build the best NBA 2K22 MyPlayer, because the stakes are kind of high. All players start out kinda sucky and levelling them up to 99OVR costs a couple of hundred thousand VC, which will either take a very long time to earn, or a lot of money to buy. If you build a player you don’t like, you have to start again from zero, so there’s a lot of pressure to get it right the first time.
While I wish I could tell you the secret numbers that will make the perfect player, it’s such a personal thing. I like playing fast three-point specialists who are great at rebounds but can’t dunk and mildly suck at defence. You might want an all-rounder, or a defensive playmaker, or a dunk specialist. You can’t get every stat to 100%, so you have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and which skills you’re willing to sacrifice.
If you’re not sure what position works best for you, it’s best to practice in The W if you’ve got a new-gen console. They don’t cost VC, you can’t tinker with individual stats, and you can choose from pre-fabricated architypes so you can see what you do and don’t like, and then build a player based on that. If you’re on a previous gen console, then just make sure you test your build as much as possible before committing any VC.
When you do build your men’s NBA player, try and go for as many badges as possible, because they’re hugely powerful. Push Square has an excellent, detailed guide for this.
Just remember that the best build is the one you like the most. Unless you’re wanting to take your NBA 2K22 skills pro, this game is supposed to be fun, so try out as many builds as you want until you find the one you want to stick with. Put aside a lot of time for this.
MyCareer in NBA 2K22
While it would be ideal to just be able to jump into a new game and enjoy the career mode, there is a surprising amount of pressure placed on you from the start, so the key is to get a good handle on the game before you create your player and head off to college. It’s still going to start off less fun than any other mode because, unless you’ve dropped some cash on microtransactions, your player is going to begin decidedly average.
College, G-League, or straight to the NBA?
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, it’s best to go to college, then play through the G-League, then head to the NBA. This does mean spending a fair amount of time playing in leagues that aren’t the one named on the box, but you’ll earn much more VC during your eventual career.
If you win the single-elimination tournament in college you earn additional badge points, which will make a huge difference to the skill of your player. You’ll also earn a bunch of fans, and get to do workouts with the coach which will help you work on skills.
If you head to college you’ll have to pick which one you want to attend. There’s no overall right answer to this question – they each offer different badge points, and the right one for you is the one that aligns with your player’s goals.
In the G-League you’ll be able to build a personal brand, thus obtaining that sweet, sweet VC. You’ll also get a permanent 5% MyPoints accelerator so you can upgrade your player faster, more endorsement opportunities, a good prep for the league by playing with future players, and you can meet with the press.
The key thing is, though, that if you start by choosing the G-League, you can’t go back and do college later. However, if you start with college, you can move to the G-League.
However, when you go to college, you have to make sure you win every game, because a single loss means your championship dreams are over. There is no restart button if you lose, so if you’re down at the end of the second half, it’s not an awful idea to just fully quit the game and jump back in to try again. It’s not very sporting and it’s a terrible system, but given how much you’re going to have to invest in this player to make them enjoyable, sometimes you need to take drastic measures.
Make sure you work out at the Gatorade gym once a week to up your stats for seven days to improve your skills. You’ll play a series of exercise-themed minigames which are mostly rhythm based. They’re a bit irritating, but they’ll make a huge difference to your game.
NBA 2K22 Badges
As mentioned above, badges are critical for the success of your player, so it’s important to know which ones you should be saving for.
Defence is extremely powerful in NBA 2K22, so your Shooting and Finishing badges are going to make or break your game. For Shooting, Deadeye is going to be key in cutting down the effectiveness of the defence while shooting. Green Machine is impactful if you have good shot timing and consistently hit green on your shot meter. Sniper is key if your shot meter timing is a bit off because it’ll help you hit more slightly early and slightly late shots.
In Finishing you’ll need Fearless Finisher to help your player finish through contact. Lob City Finisher will help you complete ally-oops, which both look cool and are super useful.
If you’re a playmaker, then you’ll want these Playmaking badges: Handles for Days and Quick Chain are important to have together if you’re planning on using a lot of dribble moves (but is less useful if you don’t yet have a handle on advanced dribble moves). Unpluckable is key if you don’t want your pocket constantly picked. Quick First Step, as the name implies, ups your launch speed just a bit, which will help against the aforementioned strong defenders.
For defensive players, this is absolutely your year. The defensive badges are intense. Rim Protector makes blocks even more effective, which is insane given how overpowered they already are. Pick Pocket will help you steal and strip more often.
Outside Gaming has a really great badge guide that explains all the rest if you want to go deeper.
NBA 2K22: Locker Codes
If you’re playing MyTeam, then Locker Codes are your way to get extra stuff for free, which is always nice.
Locker Codes are often posted on the NBA 2K socials, or you can find them handily collated at lockercodes.io, which is worth keeping bookmarked.
You can input Locker Codes by heading to the MyTeam home screen, going to the community hub, selecting “LOCKER CODE” on the bottom left, and then putting in the code. You do need the dashes, but caps don’t matter here. You can also put in codes in the NBA 2K22 app.