Ladies and gentlemen, I have been waiting to write this piece of literature for as long as I can remember. There is only one, single, solitary thing in this world better than sports—and that is NBA 2K17. With the next version on the horizon already, let’s hand out the 2K17 Awards—or, as I like to call them: The Yammies (I am so sorry).
Best New Feature: Circular Shot Meter
If you are a human with a pulse, the first thing you noticed (and hated) was the change in shot meter, and having a shot meter on layups. Why would you change two of the most fundamental elements of the game? Everyone said that…until you learned how to use the meter. And until you figured out that you could hit tough layups if you nailed the timing. And when you found out that the meter length was actually indicative of how likely the shot was to go in from there. And when you found out that even if you had a tiny bar from half court, you could still have some say in whether or not the shot was close. Yeah, about that meter we all hated? They better never change that, because that is without a question the thing that separates 2K from every other game. You get a say in every single shot, no matter how ill-advised. GIVE ME THOSE!
Best Game Mode: Start Today Franchise
There were many worthy runners-up for this, including Expansion League and MyCareer, but Start Today was another ingenious idea. It became as easy to do as an exhibition game: do a start today with the Celtics, pick a superstar to try to get at the deadline, and if you don’t start winning championships, try another league. Is your favorite player having an amazing season? Take over today, with today’s stats, and get him his double-double average. Are you a Miami fan and wanted to sneak into the 8-seed with the Heat? Well, I don’t care—you stole Ray Allen. Stop reading my blog (just kidding, but seriously. Kind of.)
Best Player to Use In-Game: Steph Curry
Steph was fun to play with before. Once the new shot meter arrived, the Warriors became the Falcons of Madden 2004. You could be anyone except the Dubs. The 2K17 shot meter’s best feature was the indication of how good a look you had—for Steph, you had a pretty fat circle around you no matter where you went. And he hit DEEP shots, regularly. Which does make sense—Curry’s shooting percentage from 25 feet is honestly just stupid.
Worst Player to Use In-Game: Andre Roberson
If you hit random and got the OKC Thunder, no one said “Yes! The Thunder!”. They said “Yes! Westbrook!”. Until that slimy, no-free-throw-hitting clown was parked in the corner with no one on him. This was for good reason; Roberson’s meter from 3-point land was smaller than anyone’s chances of stopping Westbrook going to the rim (note: the chance of that is very small.)
Most Fun Team to Play With: The Utah Jazz
Nothing is funnier than playing with an original 2K roster and having Rudy Gobert be an 84. Once the Jazz’s overalls were adjusted for the great season they were having, they took the lead as both the deepest roster in the game (Hayward, Gobert, Favors, Hill, Hood, Johnson) and the most fluid. Ball movement could sometimes be a problem in this game, but it seemed like every time I used Utah, every player had between 5-10 points, 3-5 assists, and Rudy Gobert had 77 boards. I think this team is also so fun to use because you can’t really tell who you’re passing to, or taking it to the rim with. No one aside from Gobert stands out from a physical standpoint in the game, and all of their top players are super well rounded. Sorry for ruining that for you, Utah (I’m actually kidding. I’m glad the Celtics got Hayward. Idiots.)
Worst Team to Play With: The Brooklyn Nets
This doesn’t deserve a full paragraph, unless you really love Brook Lopez’s hook shot 40 times a game. I don’t, and I was able to deal with DAR on the Lakers, or Dirk on the Mavs. Speaking of…
Most Unstoppable Move: Classic Dirk’s Post Fade/Up and Under
Was anyone else even on the classic Mavs team? I seriously wouldn’t’ know. Here’s the first verified NBA 2K17 cheat code: give it to Dirk in the post. Score. Repeat. 99 is not high enough to represent how frequently that God-forsaken shot went in. Oh, did you time the block perfectly? Up and under. FU.
Best Downloadable Expansion Team: Las Vegas Aces
God bless whoever was sitting in their basements making these themes. They were great, but I only made one once or twice—that shit is a lot of work. Some of the ones you can download from the server are pretty awesome, though, and none more so than the LV Aces. The home and away’s were very steezy, but nothing is steezier than having someone you don’t know do the work for you!
Top 3 Best Innovative Game Modes: Here’s a little subsection. Sometimes, even 2K’s numerous game modes simply aren’t enough for you, and you have to do a little improvising. These works of art are courtesy of @banks1096, @troy_costa21 and @kickedtothakirb on Twitter.
- Random Number Generator
This game mode requires one guy on a computer, and one guy manning the controller and a cell phone with a “Random Number Generator” app. The goal is to build two teams of 13 players and duke it out in a one game, winner takes all type event. First, you are given a random team. Next, you are given a random number. The idea is to take your number and see if it matches the uniform number of a player on the team you received. If it doesn’t, random another number until you get a jersey match. Once you get a match, mark down that player—he’s on your team now. Do this 12 more times until you build a complete team. The coolest thing about this is the wide range of team you’ll get—you could get a bunch of bench players, or you could roll a 23 and a 13 and have a superteam. This one never gets old.
- Value Draft
Same goal as the RNG game—you want to put together a team of 13 guys from various clubs, except this time, it’s not the jersey number you need to know. Just like last time, you random a team. Let’s say you get the Boston Celtics. Now, you can pick ANYONE on their entire roster! Sounds great, right? Here’s the catch; the 13 players you choose fill one slot each. Each slot represents how good a player is relative to his team, so you can take 1 player who is the best player on his team—after that, you can only take someone who’s the 2nd best or lower. If you take LeBron, you can’t take Kawhii, Isaiah, or Anthony Davis. This is the most strategic game ever—if you get the Lakers, you should really only spend a 13th or 12th best player. If you get the Jazz, who’s 5th best player is Rodney Hood, an 80, you just hit a minor jackpot. This also increases the value of teams who have a big-3—that third guy could be an integral part of your team. It also makes your best player a tough choice. Sure, you could take Isaiah Thomas, but what if you get the Warriors? (Also; Klay Thompson. Best value pick).
- Co-op My Career
This actually has nothing to do with the MyCareer game mode, but it’s even better… trust me. Instead of taking a terrible player and grinding through the worst years of his career, you create a player. And even better, you can create 2, 3, or 4! Create guidelines—overalls can’t be higher than an 80, potential can’t be higher than a 90, etc. Now, you can completely control your play style, and pick where you want to play. Once you’ve finished making your rookies, edit a roster, put them on teams, and start up a franchise. If you end up playing in a game, make sure you lock on your player. If you’re lucky, you and your buddy’s teams will meet in a big-time playoff series, and you can square up one for one and look at the stat lines after.
Best 2K Drinking Game: Threes and Blocks
Are you looking for a drinking game? Why not make your drinking game the best video game ever created? 2K, exhibition. Pick teams however you please. If your opponent hits a 3, you drink. If your opponent blocks you, you drink. Losing is fun.
Best Franchise Player: Karl-Anthony Towns
This was actually hard—Anthony Davis is higher rated, and only a few years older, but for some reason I never win when I manage to get him. Ben Simmons at 19 is also a surefire way to rocket your team to the Finals, but Karl-Anthony Towns is simply a monster. Finding someone who can be a star at the 4 is hard; KAT can do that. Finding someone who will ALWAYS resign with you isn’t easy; KAT does that. Finding someone who makes literally every post shot at the end of games is… well, you get the idea.
Player That Got Screwed the Most: Rudy Gobert
Even though the bumped him to an 88, it’s still not enough. If you controlled him for a whole game, and no one else, you’d probably finish with 10 Blocks. Kyle Lowry is an 88. Rudy is a top 10 NBA player. Don’t come at me on this.
Player That is Way Too Good: Jae Crowder
I’m sorry—I’m sure there’s someone who is more over-blown with their attributes, but JAE CROWDER’S OPEN SHOT THREE WAS HIGHER THAN KLAY THOMPSON. STOP THIS. Love you Jae, but that is atrocious.
Best Shot in the Game: Kevin Durant
Steph and Klay are close, but KD’s stroke is so smooth, whether you’re a big or a guard. However, I feel like I’m more successful with that shot on created player than when it’s actually Durant. Maybe I suck? On second thought, it’s definitely that.
Worst Shot in the Game: Al Horford
My favorite thing to do is watch people’s facial reactions when they press “X” or “Square” and see what Al Horford is about to do. That meter is straight out of a horror movie.
Best Prospect in an Online Draft Class: Michael Porter Jr.
I’ve downloaded the most popular draft class for both Xbox One and PS4. Lonzo is amazing for a franchise, and so is Mo Bamba, but Porter Jr. at the 4 is just unstoppable. People are overhyping him as “the next Kevin Durant”, but he certainly develops that way with the potentials they’ve given him. Also, he plays the 4, which is the hardest position to acquire a star at. UNPOPULAR OPINION: Use generated draft classes! The players are much more varied—one year, I got an 84 first overall. The next, a 75. The downloadable ones are too top heavy for my liking.
Worst Game Glitch: Jumping Into a game Mid-Simulation with No Timeouts
Really, 2K? You’re telling me that not a SINGLE coach in the NBA would save ONE TIMEOUT with FIVE MINUTES to go in GAME SEVEN?!
Assistant Coach: Pop, there’s 6 minutes left and we’re up by 5.
Gregg Popovich: Call the last timeout.
GP: We need to figure out if we should have Shane Larkin or Elfrid Payton as our backup point. What, are we gonna need to make a plan in the dying seconds of the game?
Best Classic Player to Use: Michael Jordan
Look, if you know which button is shoot, you’ll be okay with the ’96 Bulls. Seriously. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t close. Other honorable mentions: 2004 KG, 2012 LeBron, and 2002 Dirk.
Stupidest Thing in the Game: The “Intangibles” Attribute
So, one of the hardest things to do when creating a player for the Co-op My Career franchise (see above) is lowering your attributes enough to meet whatever overall maximum you’ve given yourself. How come I can’t have my player be a 90 in all types of shooting and still have him be a 76 overall? One category that influences your overall significantly is “Intangibles”, which means things that can’t really be quantified. I thought, okay, must be the clutch gene, or the “It” factor, right? Nope! Someone did way too much research on this and found out it was literally just a way to boost player’s overalls to create a balance with the new rosters. What a bust.
Top Feature to be Improved in the Next Game: Volatility of Player Overalls
2K17 is detailed, well made, and contains endless opportunities. However, if you play enough Franchises, you’ll realize that players sort of end up doing the same things over the course of their careers. In 2K18, the developers should make a player’s career arc more unpredictable. A perfect example is Jaylen Brown—in every franchise, he tops out at about an 84. How cool would it be if, for one out of every 20 franchises, Jaylen ends up being a 95? Like, everything goes his way and he develops into a superstar? Potential is a good indicator of how good a player is projected to be, but what was Giannis’ potential when he was drafted? Probably not a 91. In the real NBA, highly touted prospects end up falling through, and absolute nobodies end up being stars. The game should reflect that. (Realistically, I just want to see an 88 overall Marcus Smart).
Whew. What a ride. So many nights of listening to “WHTY YOU THINK IM OUT HERE ACTIN CRAZY?”. If I didn’t have 2K, I probably would’ve studied a lot harder. Oh well!
MA! YOU KNOW IM STILL YA LITTLE BABY!
*Editors Note—I am in no way affiliated with 2K, the NBA or anything even remotely that cool. I wish, though.