Thursday September 1st, 2016

The people at 2K Sports will roll out their newest game, NBA 2K17, in stores on Sept. 20 with hopes of giving users more control over the outcome of their on-court battles.

With the help of two new producers—a former player and a critic of the game—2K has decided to require more action from the user to complete various actions on court. Gone are the days of random animations triggered by a single button, and here are the times of shouldering the blame for allowing your opponent to beat you. What 2K has attempted to do is give its gamers complete control, so when you miss a layup or a rebound, it’s on you.

10 NBA off-season questions: Discussing Kevin Durant, the Olympics and more

I recently had the chance to sit down with senior producer Rob Jones and chose to play the game with the New York Knicks, only to get absolutely shellacked by the Golden State Warriors (I did hit a halfcourt shot with Brandon Jennings).

On the whole, the biggest project developers took on appeared to be the transition offense, which they completely re-wrote. With that said, there are several features of the gameplay that they have taken time to polish up.

Here are five changes we can expect to see in the game.

Courtesy of 2K Sports


This was, by far, my biggest takeaway from playing the game. You will now have control of your layups, as opposed to hitting the ‘X’ or square button and praying the shot goes in. You will move the shooting stick to either the left or right, choosing the hand you will lay the ball up with and timing the release correctly, just as you do with any other shot. This will be annoying to get used to, but it should help eliminate those random missed open layups.


No one wants to see shooting on here, I know, but this is another feature developers think will ultimately help eliminate moments that leave the game up to chance. When you take your shooting stick back before releasing it, you’ll need to keep it straight. This is particularly difficult when you’re moving across the court, or shooting a stepback, or pretty much at any time. After using it, though, I’ll say it feels like previous versions were cheating. There should be some aim involved in a basketball video game.

USA Basketball, 2K partner to bring 2016 Olympic team to NBA 2K17


This one is very cool. You know how players in 2K will slowly tire throughout the game, and if you spend a lot of their energy they’ll be sluggish in the fourth? Well, that’s dead and gone. The developers recognized that Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry look as fresh as ever in the fourth quarter of games, so they’re not going to have tired legs in 2K17. The turbo is a bit different though, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. It seems like you can’t use it at will like you used to, and it goes away quickly.


Jones was particularly excited to tell me about this adjustment, and I was thrilled to hear about it. If you box out and have good position, you’re going to get a rebound. There will be no more random, unrealistic offensive boards from players who should not get them. Plus, they added tap-backs, so Tyson Chandler may actually be of value in a video game.

NBA 2K17 Legend Edition to feature Kobe Bryant on cover

Signature traits

This one, admittedly, will take some time really notice. 2K has added more tendencies to its star players instead of the canned signature animations we’ve seen in the past. So, when I was playing with Carmelo Anthony, it really felt like Carmelo Anthony was on the floor because he caught the ball, faced up and dribbled the way the Knicks star would in an actual game. And the players seamlessly transition into the the signature moves they’re known for.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.