Strategy Guide - Guide for NBA 2K1

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by Greg Colombo (GJ) ([email protected])
v1.25 - the "I'd rather not fight this battle" update
copyright Greg Colombo, 2000. All rights reserved.
You can't distribute this outside of personal use without asking me first.

1. Introduction
2. Version History
3. Basic Gameplay
   3.1 Offensive Controls
   3.2 Defensive Controls
4. General Strategies
   4.1 Offensive Strategies
   4.2 Defensive Strategies
5. Teams
   Table 5.1 - Team Ratings w/o Trades (and some commentary to boot)
6. Modes
   6.1 Exhibition
   6.2 Season/Playoffs
   6.3 Franchise
   6.4 Tourney
   6.5 Street
   6.6 Network
7. College Teams
8. Cheats
9. Submissions
10. Credits & Copyright

This game was #13 on the GameFAQs request list and I got the game for
Christmas, so I thought, "How about a nice chunky FAQ that everyone can enjoy?"

Have fun, kids.

a little info about the author: he currently takes up shack in Central Illinois
and is currently in high school. he has both played basketball and coached
basketball and has a strong background in video games.

version 1.25 - added further information about my copyright given a
near-legal-battle I had. see the bottom of the document if you'd like to know
exactly how to get permission to use this file. I still need to work on the
Duke and Connecticut college teams; nobody has sent me any basic numbers on
Duke, so that'd be appreciated.
version 1.2 - added the college teams section.
version 1.15 - somebody from California wrote to inform me that my comments
weren't particularly funny. so I took them out, but it wasn't worth the upgrade
to 1.2, which should be out somewhat soon.
version 1.1 - alllmost an update major enough to go straight to version 2 but I
decided against it. threw in a table of contents and the Game Modes section.
version 1.0 - constructed the entire guide from scratch.

The goal of basketball is simple: score more points than your opponent does.
You do this, obviously, by scoring points - and containing your opponent's
scoring capability. Here, then, is an overview of the tools at your command to
do this.

A button - Passes the ball. If you do it with no pressure on the analog pad,
the ball is passed to the closest player. If you specify a direction on the
analog pad, the ball is passed to the closest player in that direction. Of
course, if you are looking for a specific player it is easier to use the direct
passing system (see Y button).
When direct passing this passes to the point guard.
Without the ball this switches you to the player with it.

B button - Does a crossover dribbling move. This switches the hand that the
ball is in and is most useful for getting a pesky defender off your back.
Unfortunately, trying to take it right to the D with this move is costly as you
will see the ball stripped away and returned for a layup :) If you hold down
the turbo button (R button) and do a dribble move, you will do a spin move
instead. The spin move is very effective at burning defenders and getting an
easy layup or dunk.

The skill of the player is taken into account with these moves; for example, a
center will appear to have a much clumsier crossover than a point guard.

When direct passing this passes to the shooting guard.
Without the ball this sets a screen.

X button - Shoots the ball. This is the most useful thing you can do on offense
:) Shooting has all kinds of mechanics which I will overview here.

Tapping the X button produces a pump fake. Faking out a defender allows you to
shoot over him (go up as he comes back down) or do a 'show and go' where you
fake out a defender and run past him to get a better look. This doesn't work as
well on computer players as it did in NBA2K; most of them won't be fazed by
your mad X-button-tapping skills.

Holding the X button has your player (I originally wrote 'character',
ha ha) go up for a shot. When you release the X button, the player releases the
ball. You want to release the ball at the crest of the player's jump to get the
best possible shot. Sometimes it is critical that you get the timing right;
sometimes it is not. Factors that affect the need for timing are the player's
shooting ability and the range from which he is shooting. You can figure out
how you're doing in Practice mode - when you shoot in Practice you'll see a
pop-up informing you of how well the shot was timed.

The analog pad tweaks your player's motion in the shot. If you are running
towards the basket and shoot, your player will do a running shot. This isn't
always a great idea because the game likes to call charging fouls if you bump
into somebody, so be careful with its use. If you pull back away from the
basket when you shoot, your player will do a fadeaway shot, which was formerly
MJ's trademark. Fadeaways require better timing than normal shots, but they
provide extra separation from the defender and seem to go in more often than
other shots. Holding a direction parallel to the basket causes your player to
lean left/right relative to the basket. These shots look kinda neat and also
offer separation from the defense but the fadeaway is all-around a better deal.

You can pass out of a shot by holding X to go up for a shot and tapping A while
in the jumping motion. Letting go of X to hit A causes a shot to go up, so
watch it :)

When direct passing this passes to the small forward.
Without the ball this jumps for a rebound.

Y button - Direct passing button. Hitting this button and then A, B, X, Y, or R
passes to a specific position. A is for point guards, B for shooting guards, X
for small forwards, Y for power forwards, and R to centers.

As was just mentioned, this button passes to power forwards when direct

R button - Turbo button. Hold it down and get some extra speed. Holding it down
and pressing B results in a spin move. You only get a certain amount of turbo -
it refills when you're not using it.

L button - Back to basket. If you hold it down, your player (I keep writing
'character, #$*@ it) will back up slowly to the basket. He'll post up on his
defender if his defender is nearby. The player will either back closer to the
basket or be held off - this is determined by the skills and heights/weights of
the players. Shooting while holding the L button results in a hookshot.
Releasing the L button while still holding the direction of the basket has your
player spin 180 degrees out of his position for a shot or layup or dunk.

Directional pad - Playcalling screen. A, B, X, and Y select plays from this
screen. Pressing R after the directional pad calls for an alley-oop; the player
with the ball throws it up and someone will try his darndest to get to it. If
no one's in the area, then the ball will dramatically sail out of bounds.
Pressing L calls for a screen. One of your players will come and set a pick for
the player with the ball; this is of some assistance when trying to drive on
your man. If you lose the man effectively, you can do all kinds of stuff -
drive for a layup, for example, or kick back out to the guy who set the pick.


A button - Switches players to the player nearest the ball. This does some
pretty funky stuff when your defense isn't in order and the ball is being
brought upcourt :)

B button - Tries to steal the ball. If you get a piece of the player's arm, a
reaching foul is called. There are a number of factors that affect your
player's success rate/foul rate: the dribbling skill of the player with the
ball, the stealing skill of the defender, whether the player with the ball is
dribbling (if they're not, it's easier to steal), and whether the player with
the ball just got it off a rebound (a number of steals happen under the basket
because of this.)

X button - Jump for a block or a rebound. If you hold turbo while jumping for a
block, you do a swat block, which has a higher success rate but is also more
likely to swat the offensive player instead.

Y button - Last man back. Selects the player closest to the opposing basket.
This is useful when the opponent is breaking down the court as you can
instantly take control of the defensive player who has to deal with him.

R button - Turbo again.

L button - Wing-spread defensive stance. If you hold this down and a player is
backing into the basket you will automatically try to defend him against
posting up. This also changes your player's stealing motion and makes him
harder to drive by.

Directional pad - Playcalling screen from which you can call a half-court
standard, a half-court trap, a full-court trap, or a full-court press. Pressing
R after the D-pad calls for an intentional foul to stop the clock.


1. Get the ball to the big men. If you feed the ball to a big man you have a
number of options - go up for the score, get fouled, or kick the ball back out
to a guard on the three-point line.
2. Alley-oops are your friends, but be careful when you use them. If the
receiving player bowls someone over, it's a charging foul.
3. Sometimes a post player will call for the ball by waving his hand in the
air. The announcers will sometimes point this out for you, but don't count on
it. If they are waving it's also a sign that they want an alley-oop pass.
4. If you're playing a season, your playbook stays with you the whole way
through. Therefore, the first thing you should do in your first game is get
into the Coaching menu and pick four effective plays. Playcalling leads to
5. But the game is intelligent, like NFL2K and 2K1. If it picks up on patterns
in your offense and playcalling it will start to exploit the patterns.
6. A combination of #1 and #5 can lead to a great offense. Hammer inside until
the defense starts to collapse on the big men, then let your shooters handle
the scoring.
7. It's not a bad idea to use the two custom lineups in a season. I like two
lineups: the #6 lineup, which is a group of players designed to hammer inside
first and shoot second, and the anybody's-game lineup, which is a group of
players who are good free throw shooters and passers, as well as a center who's
decent on the inside. This combination allows me to score points if I'm ahead
by 2 or 3 and intentionally fouled, and it allows me to score without fouling
if I'm down by 1 or 2 and need a quick basket.

If you have any lineups that you like, send them to me at [email protected]
Note that I don't want lineups for a specific team; I want general concept
lineups (one player with these abilities, etc.)

8. Don't overdo the three-point shot! Pure shooters that aren't created players
are hard to come by; don't jack up threes all the time, especially early on in
a game. Later after you've established that you need to be guarded under the
basket, you can kick the ball out to a capable shooter and get some serious
9. Drawing fouls is a great way to take command of the game. The easiest way to
do this is to hammer inside (again!) and draw fouls on all your shots. On the
other hand, if you're playing, say, the 76ers, you'll want to get their best
player (Allen Iverson, in the hypothetical example) out of the game. To do
that, you'll need to be creative. He plays shooting guard, so get a driving
guard in there and start trying to drive on him. Also, you can kick to a
shooter-type shooting guard and start immediately. If the defender is playing
back away from the man, then he's likely to come leaping in and foul on the
10. Of course, there is an alternative to all this "hammer inside" crap: a
balanced attack, not unlike that of the University of Illinois in NCAA
basketball. (They're my hometown team so I may as well brag about them ;) The
Illini's starting five is very balanced; four of those five players can all
score effectively. Then there's one who can't shoot but can make layups and
play hard defense, and he's a senior, so we keep him around anyway ;) I'm
hinting, however, at a balanced attack, where the defense can't afford to leave
anyone unguarded, or that player will start scoring. An attack like this is
deadly, especially with effective playcalling and ball movement.


1. The full-court press can take a few precious seconds off the shot clock, and
every so often you get a ten-second call. Use it often.
2. Even if you can't block a shot, get in the player's face! A hand in the face
is quite valuable, especially against your shooting types (I play SG, so I know
this too :) If a player can't see what he's doing it's rather hard to make
3. Never commit stupid fouls. The easiest way to avoid this is to steal only in
favorable conditions - read about stealing in section 3 to learn just what
"favorable conditions" are.
4. Switch players often to make sure that you're guarding the one with the
ball. This keeps you from being tacked with illegal defense calls and is just
generally a good policy.

Here's an overview of all the teams and their team scores. I'll add stuff like
plays and situational players in future updates.

Table 5.1: Team Ratings w/o Trades
|76ers       | 74 | 83 |  80   |
|Blazers     | 90 | 95 |  93   |
|Bucks       | 83 | 72 |  80   |
|Bulls       | 68 | 70 |  69   |
|Cavaliers   | 65 | 60 |  62   |
|Celtics     | 86 | 66 |  72   |
|Clippers    | 61 | 63 |  62   |
|Grizzlies   | 76 | 71 |  73   |
|Hawks       | 68 | 70 |  69   |
|Heat        | 89 | 90 |  90   |
|Hornets     | 82 | 80 |  81   |
|Jazz        | 82 | 82 |  82   |
|Kings       | 88 | 66 |  75   |
|Knicks      | 78 | 81 |  80   |
|Lakers      | 95 | 89 |  91   |
|Magic       | 93 | 76 |  83   |
|Mavericks   | 84 | 68 |  74   |
|Nets        | 78 | 75 |  76   |
|Nuggets     | 83 | 73 |  77   |
|Pacers      | 91 | 75 |  81   |
|Pistons     | 80 | 67 |  72   |
|Raptors     | 79 | 71 |  74   |
|Rockets     | 83 | 67 |  73   |
|Sonics      | 82 | 80 |  81   |
|Spurs       | 90 | 87 |  88   |
|Suns        | 85 | 84 |  84   |
|Timberwolves| 80 | 76 |  78   |
|Warriors    | 77 | 66 |  70   |
|Wizards     | 60 | 60 |  60   |

Just a standard game of basketball between two teams of your choosing. On the
team select screen, the team on the left is the away team, and the team on the
right is the home team. "With Trade" changes the ratings and rosters to reflect
any trades or customizations you might have made. The Options menu takes you to
the regular options screen.
The Quick Start option plays an exhibition game with two randomly selected

6.2 - SEASON:
Play a season with your favorite team, game by game. You don't have any GM
functions in this mode; instead you must use the Customize menu to edit
rosters/players/teams/etc. You can pick a season length and quarter length and
do a fantasy draft.
Also available from the season menu is a playoffs function. You can pick the
number of games in each round and the game will simulate a season to determine
the playoff teams. Then you can pick as many teams as you want and go at it on
the road to the championship.

Oh joy! The GM mode! You can now consciously sign, cut, draft, and trade
players, all in a salary capped environment! Instead of salaries, you get
points with which to work your deals. Each team has 950 points to spend on its
players. If you run out, you can't sign anyone else.
Drafting players isn't particularly difficult. Spend your first pick trying to
fill a hole in your team - if you are particularly weak at center, for example,
draft a center. If you are weak all around, then you need to do a rebuilding
strategy like this one:

1) You want to get rid of any players who aren't very good/are too old to last
much longer and trade them for late draft picks or cut them. Because the game
has player development in this mode you can turn up gems in the late rounds by
developing them into star players.
2) Of course, if you have a young player who is already very good, like Elton
Brand or Steve Francis, you want to keep that player and build around him.
3) Then go through a season and expect to lose most of your games. This will
get you a great first-round draft pick.
4) You should also have a few other mediocre picks going into the draft from
your trades with other teams.
5) Now go into the draft, keeping in mind any players you picked out in step 2.
If you are drafting as the Bulls, for example, you'll want to get a new player
at center right away, and maybe a point guard who can capably shoot from the
outside. Look at your players in Scouting mode to figure out how to rebuild the
6) The Bulls, while they've been my example, are a special case because they're
bad but they do it with a lot of young players who are potentially good. In
this case you might want to take the reins of these players and develop them by
making them do well in games.

You can actually play your games too, and in fact this is recommended every
once in a while, to boost your record and keep your players developing.

There's a LOT of stuff to write on this one, so I'll come back to it in the
next update.

6.4 - TOURNEY:

Set up your own little tournament. The Help menu will explain how to do it. You
can have four, eight, or sixteen teams.

6.5 - STREET:

"No rules" basketball. You can play 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, or 5v5 on any of four courts
on this mode. The only rule is out-of-bounds - there are no fouls to be had.
The best strategy in this mode is to pound inside like the devil. Drive with
spin moves for guards, post up for big men. The more dunks and layups you get,
the better. Of course the comp will be doing this too, so you'll have to steal
the ball from him or get the occasional three-pointer to take a lead for any
significant amount of time.

6.6 - NETWORK:

I don't have enough experience with this mode to tell you much... but you
should be able to set it up for yourself just fine.

This is a new section, an innovative one at that. I decided that I wanted to
play with the players on my favorite college basketball team (Illinois) and
figured that information on how to recreate college players could go into this

Illinois is the only team I have. If you want your favorites posted, send me
the team name, and six players - their starters plus a veritable sixth man (I
picked Lucas Johnson for the Illini.) I'd really appreciate it if you threw in
some attributes so I only have to do tweaking. Please make the attributes
_realistic_ - don't give them attributes that aren't realistic just to make
them have a 100 player rating. I've done my best at that with the Illini - and
yeah, these players are often this good :) I'll tone them down as I see fit.

I'm only putting in player attributes to save table space.

Ball = Ballhandling
Pass = Passing
FT's = Free throws
Shtg = Shooting
3pts = 3 point shooting
Dunk = dunking
Post = low post
Oreb = offensive rebounding
Dreb = defensive rebounding
Sblk = Shot blocking
Stls = Steals
Spd. = Speed
Stam = Stamina

SCHOOL: University of Illinois Fighting Illini
Williams  | Frank      | 10.0 | 10.0 |  9.0 |  7.5 |  7.0 |  6.5 |
Bradford  | Cory       |  8.0 |  7.5 | 10.0 | 10.0 | 10.0 |  5.5 |
McClain   | Sergio     |  6.0 |  5.5 |  7.5 |  5.0 |  3.0 | 10.0 |
Cook      | Brian      |  5.5 |  5.0 |  8.0 | 10.0 | 10.0 |  6.0 |
Griffin   | Marcus     |  6.5 |  6.5 |  7.0 |  7.0 |  2.5 |  8.0 |
Johnson   | Lucas      |  6.0 |  6.0 |  5.5 |  5.5 |  4.0 | 10.0 |
Williams  |  6.5 |  5.5 |  6.0 |  4.0 |  9.5 |  9.5 |  9.0 |
Bradford  |  5.5 |  6.0 |  6.0 |  6.0 |  6.0 | 10.0 |  9.5 |
McClain   | 10.0 | 10.0 | 10.0 |  5.5 |  9.0 |  9.5 |  9.0 |
Cook      |  7.0 |  8.0 |  8.0 |  7.0 |  7.5 |  9.0 |  9.0 |
Griffin   | 10.0 | 10.0 | 10.0 |  9.0 |  3.5 | 10.0 | 10.0 |
Johnson   | 10.0 | 10.0 | 10.0 | 10.0 |  5.0 |  9.0 |  9.0 |


-Enter "vc" at the cheat prompt to get some special Sega Sports teams.
-Franchise mode: If you feel a rookie is demanding too much you can get him to
change his offer. Lower your bargain to the point where he feels it's ludicrous
and says "We don't think this is a serious offer." Then offer to him again and
see what the new deal is. Repeat as desired.

Submissions of anything can go to [email protected]

I like polite submissions more than anything. The guy who precipitated v1.15
made some rather crude assumptions about my race but tried to take the edge off
it by using a synonym. People, don't use "n-----" or any reincarnation with the
same intent. Thanks.

Me - for the writing

this document is copyright Greg Colombo, 2000. you may not distribute it
without my permission which can be obtained at [email protected]
all rights reserved.

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT COPYRIGHT: After giving and receiving a legal threat
I decided to add this section. Realize, if you will, that this FAQ is written
by a one-man operation who has no legal department working under him.

There is obviously infringement if you take the guide without my permission. I
will be suspicious if I get a poorly-explained and poorly-worded e-mail in my
inbox, which happened in this first case.

The threat isn't empty, but it's not likely to be used. Remember, though, that
I might just decide to pull the sword off the wall and take a few slashes if
you do some thievery, so be careful :)

When asking permission to use my FAQ please add the following:
1. The name of your website
2. The domain or base directory of your website (if you're really that small)
3. The general audience you get, such as number of visitors
4. Whether or not ads will be placed on or near my FAQ, and if so, their
5. Good grammar and spelling are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for following my guidelines. Apologies in advance if I'm edgy
in my reply; I've been under a good bit of stress lately.


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