Monday, October 10, 2011

Play-Type Assignments

What’s happening Family.

I wanted to talk briefly about team play-type assignments. I know we have many expert playbook editors in the community. I am in no way trying to take away from the great work they do. There is no secret the disdain our community has for the stock tendencies that ship with the game each year.

Just some notes and some background information that you may want to know before requesting changes or establishing your own set of play edits.

For the play-types to be absolutely authentic you would need two things that are not present in NBA 2K12. One you would need each teams complete playbook. While the plays in 2K12 are a significant authentic upgrade over any previous effort. Let’s not pretend that 25-40 plays is the complete sum of any NBA teams arsenal over 82 games plus playoffs.

Secondly you would need for every single play-type to be accounted for. 2K12 has 8 play-types. A few obvious omissions are ally-oop and handoff play-types. These types of plays are grouped differently depending on the team, other plays in their play-book’s and personnel at the time.

Since we are missing both of those key ingredients. The play type assignments will not be as rigid as some may hope for or that other’s may have feared they were.

It might help to know that the play-types are NOT tendencies. The actual player tendencies will still play a role in determining what plays the AI decides to call for each player. The play-types just give a player access to a group of plays. With a slight preference for the order the groups appear in. There will be players who have authentic plays they actually ran last year in a play-type that they may not be “known” for.

So just because you see a player who is not a 3 point specialist with 3 point plays it does not mean he will be chucking 3’s all day long. It simply gives him access to those types of plays. If you eliminate a team’s perimeter players from having 3 point plays they can’t run them when they need a 3. So don’t think 3 point specialist think off screen plays that happen to get him open on or around the 3 point line.

For some teams you will severely limit your floppy action or other offscreen plays by only having a player with one or the other. (Screen_Mid, Screen_3PT)

The play-types were not meant to be rigid lines separating one player from another but simply groupings of plays. The design decision was made to increase the amount of plays available in the game and reduce the manual administrative overhead involved with plays concerning personnel moves.

Another thing to consider is the variability in each teams play-books for the same type of plays. For instance Boston’s mid range plays differ greatly from the Bobcats. The Bobcats mid range plays are much more suitable for athletic slashers rather than pure shooters. Some of them could even be considered Cutter plays.

Many times NBA teams do not pass to a player and clear out for their isolations. Some use floppy plays or other off-screen action sets to get a player the ball. Casual observers oftentimes just see the ISO because they are following the ball and that player happens to catch it and go one on one. The play that got him in position to iso is the playtype not what he chooses to do after he receives the ball.

So if you simply judge the play-types without also considering the team specific play-books, it can lead you to eliminate plays that a player may have actually ran last year.

If we look at the bulls for example. Many may scoff at D Rose having mid range as his 3rd option. Perhaps thinking that means he would be running floppy plays like Ray Allen. When in fact the majority of the Bulls mid range plays like CHI 43 floppy is a play the Bull’s actually run get Rose the basketball. Whether he Iso’s after the catch or shoot’s off the screen is up to his tendencies.

Another mid range play is the Chi hand-off they ran for him. Because there is no hand-off play-type it goes in the mid range play type. You will notice a stark difference between Chicago’s mid range plays and Boston’s.

Similarly each team has their own offensive identity. I urge you to get familiar with the actual plays AND branches rather than just making your decisions based on the play-type.

Every year until this you were severely limited in the offensive variety and execution of each Player in the NBA. It is only fitting that with 4 plays you needed those to be the one’s that represented the most important aspects of what that star player means to you as a fan.

This year you have the ability to represent a much broader scope and therefore more authentic version of your favorite superstars and role players. I hope you can see the beauty and replay-ability that lies in the variety of authentic offensive options; not the limitation of the same.

While there are undoubtedly mistakes like some pg’s being labeled with pnr_screener as opposed to pnr_ball_handler those can and will be easily rectified. There was a considerable amount of thought put into the play grouping and team play assignments. Although that doesn’t make them correct it does represent a much more thorough attempt than you have seen from this company in the past.

One other small bit of info that you can’t see in the front end is that if your team has 8 pick and roll plays and 4 were designed for the pg and the other 4 were designed for the sf. The AI will prefer to run the SF pick and roll plays for the SF and the PG pick and rolls for the PG. This further differentiates the plays to players as was the original intention.

At the end of the day however the MOST important thing is that you have to tools to have the players play as YOU see fit.

As always , don’t play video-games... Play BASKETBALL


  1. now this addition to 2k12 is LOVELY. i already can see how it works out and you're correct Czar. leave the plays alone unless you know what you're doing. lol. i'm in an online association. and i just setup mine. i had to pick the 76ers. its a DRAFT league. so i have their coach. but since i cant change coaches. i had to change how the coach ran his plays. as well as the playbook. the team i have and are trying to acquire via trade, draft in the following season.

    i need more of a portland playbook. a lot of curl action from multiple guys. where the pg has multiple options on either side of him.

    which makes for a lot of mid range jumpers going up. high post work, and pick n rolls or pick n pops that can be ran by the pg or sg.

    so i basically changed all the plays to portland plays accept for a couple that were not 76er only plays. they were miami plays. that the 76ers also run.

    i then manually went in and changed the play TYPES accordingly for each player. how i saw fit.

    not just how they play in real life. but how i would like them to play since i know their abilities.
    that the big thing about it. if you know a guy like say billups can post up but isnt getting post up options enough in real life new york hoop. then you can choose to give your billups more of those play options. or if you dont like him down there because you dont like how it actually translates on the game. take low post, off for him all together.

    i'll tell u a little secret. if you have sorry bigs on your team or a sorry big that isnt a low post threat at all. take a look at the low post plays. if it forces that guy to post up. vs just cut and stop then rebound. change the play to CUtter.

    bynum-1. low post
    2.roller(pick n roll),
    3.high post

    Blake griffin
    2.roller (pick n roll)
    3. mid range(semi iso plays but where he catches it 18ft and in)
    4.cutter(lob plays)

    tyson chandler
    1.roller (pick n roll)
    2. cutter
    3. cutter
    4. roller(pick n roll)

    sure i could leave the duplicates blank. but why do that and leave it up to the AI to choose for me. if the pick n roll isnt open i want tyson to be slipping back door in and out, diving thru the middle in and out. then go back to the PnR.

    ^^thats how i would do it if i was coach.

  2. great article brother Czar, found myself nodding alot - made a lot of great sense. Will be thinking this stuff when im flicking through the playbooks.