The release of NBA 2K13 is right around the corner, just 10 days away now until Oct. 2. A lot of things have been revealed so far about the game from the 1992 Dream Team being featured on it to the new game mode “My Team.”
The bread-and-butter of any basketball game is actually playing the game. We’ve heard the game is now much smoother than before, there are of course many new animations and more realistic physics.
The best way to reenact actual NBA game play is with the deep play calling system that NBA 2K has. It began in NBA 2K11 when you could assign each player four different plays unique to them. Then last year in NBA 2K12 that expanded to where some players could have 20-30 different plays called for them in a single game.
After playing hundreds of games with the Oklahoma City Thunder, I had their playbook down pat. I could call the plays quickly on the fly, knew where everyone would be on the floor and it enhanced the gameplay like never before.
But not every play the Thunder ran in real life was represented in the game. And not every play was a perfect replica either.
Here are the top five Thunder plays that need to be in NBA 2K13 to make the game the best it can be.
5. Double High Screen
The Thunder were one of the only teams in NBA 2K12 to not really have any double high screens in their playbook. They don’t run a ton of this in real life either but they do occasionally on some pretty important plays. The first option is Russell Westbrook looking to score. He has a double come to him at the top of the key, goes to one side then the screener rolls, then he gets the other screen, comes to the middle of the floor and looks for his pull-up jumper. The other option is Kevin Durant being one of the screeners, Westbrook goes off the other screener who then sets a downscreen for Durant to pop up to the 3-point line. This second option is kind of in the game but it needs to at least be tweaked some to be more like how the Thunder run it.
4. Harden-Collison handoff/pick-and-roll
When James Harden and Nick Collison are in at the starts of the second and fourth quarters, they always run the same play at least a few times. The point guard will have the ball and receive a screen from Collison at the top of the key while Harden waits in the opposite corner. Collison fades to the 3-point line after setting the screen and the point guard passes him the ball as Harden begins to move up toward Collison. Then it becomes a 2-man game between Harden and Collison where decision-making is crucial and that’s why it is so effective. Harden can cut backdoor here, receive a handoff/screen and shoot the three or get the ball and run a pick-and-roll with Collison. This play was in NBA 2K12 only the way handoffs were in the game made it much less effective than real life. The different options from this set were pretty much impossible to pull off as well.
3. The Skip Pass play
This is another set play that we always see the Thunder run with their second unit. It starts with Harden having the ball on the left side of the floor. He receives a pick so that he can drive toward the left baseline but meanwhile another back screen is being set on the opposite end of the floor for Daequan Cook so he can flare to the opposite corner. Harden is money at making this pass and Cook loves the quick catch-and-shoot from the right corner. This play is somewhat in the game but you can’t run it designed for Cook when Harden is in the game. It needs to be tweaked as well so the first option of the play is Cook and it can be more easily called.
2. Durant-Westbrook pindown
This is a set that the Thunder went to a ton vs. the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals and they killed them with it. Westbrook has the ball to start and waits for Harden to come off a double screen on the left side of the floor. After Westbrook passes to Harden he runs to the right elbow area to set a pindown screen for Durant. The options are Durant popping to the top of the key where he can shoot immediately or have the space to isolate. Westbrook is often open slipping backdoor as well after setting the screen. In NBA 2K13 the other option will be Harden coming off the double for the outside shot. This play was not in the game in this way last year but definitely needs to be in NBA 2K13.
1. Westbrook-Durant pick-and-pop
It sounds simple and there were some variations of this in NBA 2K12, just not in the way that the Thunder usually ran it. The way OKC runs it most often is with Westbrook on the left wing and Kendrick Perkins setting a screen to free up Durant coming across to set the screen and pop for Westbrook. The key to this play being most effective is that there is no one on the left side of the floor except for Westbrook and Durant. This will also allow for Perkins and Serge Ibaka to crash the boards from the opposite side. For this play to be truly authentic for NBA 2K13, Durant must be able to barely the set the screen and quickly pop or cut to the basket. I don’t have to tell you that this play is very effective for the Thunder and in the NBA 2K13 world, it would be run all the time.