Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NBA 2K15 Roster Update (2/3/15) - Skills/Badge changes

In today's roster update 2K Sports re-evaluated the following six badges league-wide: 
Volume Shooter, Microwave, Deadeye, Posterizer, Tenacious Rebounder, and Lob City Finisher.

In many regards, badges are just as important (if not more-so) than player ratings, and the scale of this update could have considerable impact on gameplay.

"A high volume of shots can heat him up, but a lack of shots can make him cold."
GOLD (23)
Tony Wroten (PHI), Jamal Crawford (LAC), Dwyane Wade (MIA), Chris Bosh (MIA), Carmelo Anthony (NYK), Nick Young (LAL), Monta Ellis (DAL), Paul George (IND), C.J. Miles (IND), Tyreke Evans (NOP), DeMar DeRozan (TOR), James Harden (HOU), Isaiah Thomas (PHX), Russell Westbrook (OKC), Kevin Martin (MIN), Shabazz Muhammed (MIN), LaMarcus Aldridge (POR), Damian Lillard (POR), Stephen Curry (GSW), Klay Thompson (GSW), Marreese Speights (GSW), John Wall (WAS), Nate Robinson (FA)
Ersan Ilyasova (MIL), Jared Sullinger (BOS), Marcus Thornton (BOS), Kemba Walker (CHA), Gary Neal (CHA), Kobe Bryant (LAL), Jrue Holiday (NOP), Ryan Anderson (NOP), Brandon Jennings (DET), Alexey Shved (HOU), Thaddeus Young (MIN), Leandro Barbosa (GSW), Bradley Beal (WAS), Jordan Crawford (FA), Will Bynum (FA)
Michael Carter-Williams (PHI), Derrick Rose (CHI), J.R. Smith (CLE), Andrea Bargnani (NYK), Josh Smith (HOU), Dion Waiters (OKC), Jeremy Lamb (OKC), Ray Allen (FA), Andrew Bynum (FA), Jordan Farmar (FA)

Pump up the Volume.

Volume Shooter is the only skill badge that openly mentions a drawback to using it.  Gold tiered players are some of the best volume players in the NBA, while the Bronze players are so bad I'd consider it a net negative.  Sure, you could put effort into making Andrea Bargnani or Dion Waiters a good player, but that's effectively choosing the greater of two evils.

Gold: High reward, low risk
Silver: Medium reward, medium risk
Bronze: Low reward, high risk

Given the abundance of Gold VS players I would avoid using the others if at all possible.  In many ways the badge forces you to play through players if you're going to give them court time.  Turning Derrick Rose into a spot-up shooter in the Pau Gasol show would not have a desirable impact. Using Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, and Ryan Anderson while exclusively feeding Anthony Davis is inadvisable.  This badge requires some build-around more so than any other, but the reward is certainly there if you can make it work (for reference, see any online player who chucks threes exclusively with Damian Lillard).

MICROWAVE (77 total)
"Can heat up with a limited amount of made shots."
GOLD (13)
LeBron James (CLE), James Jones (CLE), Jamal Crawford (LAC), Kyle Korver (ATL), Dwyane Wade (MIA), Carmelo Anthony (NYK), Monta Ellis (DAL), James Harden (HOU), Isaiah Thomas (PHX), Kevin Durant (OKC), LaMarcus Aldridge (POR), Stephen Curry (GSW), Klay Thompson (GSW)
Robert Covington (PHI), Brandon Knight (MIL), Jimmy Butler (CHI), Derrick Rose (CHI), Kyrie Irving (CLE), J.R. Smith (CLE), Mike Miller (CLE), Chris Paul (LAC), J.J. Redick (LAC), Tim Hardaway Jr (NYK), Nick Young (LAL), Kobe Bryant (LAL), Dirk Nowitzki (DAL), Jarrett Jack (BRK), George Hill (IND), C.J. Miles (IND), Anthony Davis (NOP), Eric Gordon (NOP), Brandon Jennings (DET), D.J. Augustin (DET), Louis Williams (TOR), Jason Terry (HOU), Manu Ginobili, Patrick Mills (SAS), Goran Dragic (PHX), Gerald Green (PHX), Russell Westbrook (OKC), Reggie Jackson (OKC), Anthony Morrow (OKC), Mo Williams (MIN), Damian Lillard (POR), Wesley Matthews (POR), Marreese Speights (GSW), Paul Pierce (WAS), Ray Allen (FA), Nate Robinson (FA)
Jason Richardson (PHI), O.J. Mayo (MIL), Mike Conley (MEM), Courtney Lee (MEM), Beno Udrih (MEM), Vince Carter (MEM), Jeff Teague (ATL), Paul Millsap (ATL), Shelvin Mack (ATL), Kemba Walker (CHA), Gary Neal (CHA), Gordon Hayward (UTA), Steve Novak (UTA), Jeremy Lin (LAL), Wayne Ellington (LAL), J.J. Barea (DAL), Mirza Teletovic (BRK), Alan Anderson (BRK), Luke Babbitt (NOP), Jodie Meeks (DET), Kyle Lowry (TOR), Alexey Shved (HOU), Dion Waiters (OKC), Troy Daniels (MIN), Leandro Barbosa (GSW), Martell Webster (WAS), Rashard Lewis (FA), James Anderson (FA)

Educational stuffs.

Microwave is different from Volume Shooter is that there appears to be no risk involved.  It should be noted that most Volume Scorers also have a Microwave badge.  Unlike Volume Shooter, getting hot is dependent upon MAKING shots (rather than taking) - which means it can have a huge impact when given to a spot-up shooter.  A great example would be Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals when Mike Miller hit 7-8 3PT (Miller was 0-3 through the first four games.  It. Just. Took. One).

A substantial number of shooters have been given Bronze/Silver badges in this update, which should make 3PT shooting more consistent across the board.

Gold: Some of the best scorers in the world... and apparently James Jones.
Silver: Rest of the best stars, and many of the top scoring reserves.
Bronze: Anyone else in the league who ever had their name associated with "scoring in bunches".

DEADEYE (31 total)
"Can knock down contested shots at a higher percentage than most."
GOLD (15)
LeBron James (CLE), Kyrie Irving (CLE), Kyle Korver (ATL), Carmelo Anthony (NYK), Kobe Bryant (LAL), Dirk Nowitzki (DAL), James Harden (HOU), Isaiah Thomas (PHX), Kevin Durant (OKC), Russell Westbrook (OKC), LaMarcus Aldridge (POR), Damian Lillard (POR), Stephen Curry (GSW), Klay Thompson (GSW), Paul Pierce (WAS)
Chris Paul (LAC), Kemba Walker (CHA), Brandon Jennings (DET), Manu Ginobili (SAS), Ray Allen (FA), Matt Simon (FA)
Kevin Love (CLE), Chris Bosh (MIA), Dwyane Wade (MIA), Gordon Hayward (UTA), Monta Ellis (DAL), Joe Johnson (BRK), Anthony Davis (NOP), D.J. Augustin (DET), Louis Williams (TOR), Kevin Martin (MIN)

Just watch.

Unlike the rest of the badges, which were given out quite liberally, Deadeye is reserved for the elite shooting scorers of the league.  The biggest difference between a great NBA player and a good NBA player is the ability to hit contested shots.  Deadeye gets that done.  

Deadeye might be the most annoying badge to play against, as it effectively NEGATES YOUR DEFENSE.  Glued to Steph Curry's hip?  You don't say.  Hands were up?  Time to rewrite Mark Jackson's catchphrase.  Your defense needs to be PERFECT to stop these guys, who more than likely already have up to 10-20 other skill badges aiding them (or in LeBron's case, 32 others).  It's not a coincidence that the teams with TWO Gold Deadeye (Cavs, Thunder, Blazers, Warriors) require by far the least amount of skill to use.

Gameplay-wise, the badge will deliver consistent scoring particularly when paired with the aforementioned Volume Shooter and Microwave (each of these players either have one or both).  Reducing the impact of defense only makes it easier to get these players rolling. 

The downside to this, from a gaming perspective, this means n00bs can conceivably play like dumb-asses and still do well.

Gold: Closing out?  Might as well order another drink.
Silver: A couple undersized scorers who often have to shoot over the defense.
Bronze: Anyone else who takes and makes contested shots with regularity (read: NOT J.R. Smith luck chucks).

POSTERIZER (87 total)
"Will succeed at dunking on opposing defenders more often than others when the opportunity presents itself."
GOLD (18)
K.J. McDaniels (PHI), Giannis Antetokoumpo (MIL), Blake Griffin (LAC), DeAndre Jordan (LAC), James Ennis (MIA), Rudy Gay (SAC), Victor Oladipo (ORL), Kenneth Faried (DEN), JaVale McGee (DEN), Paul George (IND), DeMar DeRozan (TOR), Terrence Ross (TOR), Dwight Howard (HOU), Kawhi Leonard (SAS), Gerald Green (PHX), Harrison Barnes (GSW), John Wall (WAS), Matt Simon (FA)
Jerami Grant (PHI), Taj Gibson (CHI), LeBron James (CLE), Iman Shumpert (CLE), Jeff Green (MEM), Paul Millsap (ATL), Mike Scott (ATL), Gerald Henderson (CHA), Jeff Taylor (CHA), DeMarcus Cousins (SAC), Ben McLemore (SAC), Wesley Johnson (LAL), Mason Plumlee (BRK), J.J. Hickson (DEN), Andre Drummond (DET), James Johnson (TOR), James Harden (HOU), Brandan Wright (PHX), Kevin Durant (OKC), Russell Westbrook (OKC), Damian Lillard (POR), Thomas Robinson (POR), Andre Iguodala (GSW), Nene (WAS), Xavier Henry (FA), Jared Cunningham (FA)
Tony Wroten (PHI), Jabari Parker (MIL), Evan Turner (BOS), Vince Carter (MEM), Jeff Teague (ATL), Kent Bazemore (ATL), Thabo Sefolosha (ATL), Tyler Johnson (MIA), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA), Lance Stephenson (CHA), Cody Zeller (CHA), Gordon Hayward (UTA), Jeremy Evans (UTA), Elijah Millsap (UTA), Ryan Hollins (SAC), Derrick Williams (SAC), Tim Hardaway Jr (NYK), Ed Davis (LAL), Nick Young (LAL), Aaron Gordon (ORL), Tyson Chandler (DAL), Chandler Parsons (DAL), Alonzo Gee (DEN), Solomon Hill (IND), Anthony Davis (NOP), Jonas Valanciunas (TOR), Trevor Ariza (HOU), Corey Brewer (HOU), Josh Smith (HOU), Marco Belinelli (SAS), Eric Bledsoe (PHX), Reggie Jackson (OKC), Steven Adams (OKC), Kevin Martin (MIN), Andrew Wiggins (MIN), Wesley Matthews (POR), Nicholas Batum (POR), Robin Lopez (POR), Klay Thompson (GSW), Jordan Crawford (FA), Isaiah Austin (FA), Ronald Roberts (FA)

No, seriously.

Posterizer has long been the bane of realistic (sim) basketball gaming, creating all-too many situations where there was absolutely nothing the defense could have done to stop the offense from scoring.  More-so than any other badge update, this should transform the game.  Just about every player capable of dunking in the game has Posterizer.

With improvements to defense and an overall reduction in scoring efficiency around the rim in NBA 2K15, many players have complained about dunks missing too frequently, in unrealistic situations.  Now that dunking is somewhat under control, this is likely 2K's hedge, While too many contested dunks are absolutely not a good thing, one of the major complaints of gameplay this year has been players missing shots or dunks even without a reasonable contest (for example, the defender is beaten, not in stance, but a dunk will miss simply because the player was close in proximity (rather than factoring their exact location).  With 2K liberally giving some degree of Posterizer to just about every half-decent dunker in the league, this may rectify that.  Or ruin the gameplay.  Time will tell.

Gold: While this isn't the qualifier, it's basically every player from the last 5 years who participated in a dunk contest.  Except for Zach LaVine, who LOST the badge.
Silver: These guys make highlight reels on a semi-regular basis.
Bronze: Can you dunk?  Yes.  Is your name Zach LaVine?  No.  Congratulations!

"Catches and finishes alley-oops better than others."
GOLD (27)
K.J. McDaniels (PHI), Tristan Thompson (CLE), Blake Griffin (LAC), DeAndre Jordan (LAC), Hassan Whiteside (MIA), Jeremy Evans (UTA), Derrick Williams (SAC), Carmelo Anthony (NYK), Aaron Gordon (ORL), Tyson Chandler (DAL), Mason Plumlee (BRK), Kenneth Faried (DEN), JaVale McGee (DEN), Paul George (IND), Anthony Davis (NOP), Andre Drummond (DET), Terrence Ross (TOR), Dwight Howard (HOU), Trevor Ariza (HOU), Eric Bledsoe (PHX), Gerald Green (PHX), Andrew Wiggins (MIN), Zach LaVine (MIN), LaMarcus Aldridge (POR), Harrison Barnes (GSW), Matt Simon (FA), Ronald Roberts (FA)
Taj Gibson (CHI), LeBron James (CLE), Timofey Mozgov (CLE), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA), Gerald Henderson (CHA), Rudy Gay (SAC), Ben McLemore (SAC), Ryan Hollins (SAC), Victor Oladipo (ORL), J.J. Hickson (DEN), DeMar DeRozan (TOR), Corey Brewer (HOU), Josh Smith (HOU), Brandan Wright (PHX), Kevin Durant (OKC), Russell Westbrook (OKC), Thomas Robinson (POR), Andre Iguodala (GSW), James Michael McAdoo (GSW), John Wall (WAS), Nate Robinson (FA), Isaiah Austin (FA)
Nerlens Noel (PHI), Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL), Evan Turner (BOS), Jeff Green (MEM), Mike Scott (ATL), Cody Zeller (CHA), Bismack Biyombo (CHA), Cleanthony Early (NYK), Ed Davis (LAL), Julius Randle (LAL), Maurice Harkless (ORL), Jonas Valanciunas (TOR), Alex Len (PHX), Miles Plumlee (PHX), Anthony Bennett (MIN), Wesley Matthews (POR), Robin Lopez (POR), Nene (WAS)

Fair and balanced NBA 2K gameplay.

Unlike Posterizer, this badge is top-heavy, with mostly Golds given out to the players who met it's criteria.  As one might expect with a skill named after a team with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, mostly quality dunking bigs have this badge, though there are a few exceptions (of the 67 badges given out, only fiave went to Point Guards - and yes, rest your heart, Zach LaVine was one of them).  With more Golds given out this should increase the overall effectiveness of alley-oops, as players have been missing at a high rate even when the defense has poor position.

Gold: Pair this guy with a Lob City Passer and it's pure cheese.
Silver: That awkward moment when I found out Russell Westbrook and Nate Robinson were in the same class.
Bronze: Just be forewarned that most of these guys also have worse dunk ratings.  They'll convert but don't go crazy.

GOLD (28)
Joakim Noah (CHI), Taj Gibson (CHI), Kevin Love (CLE), Tristan Thompson (CLE), Timofey Mozgov (CLE), DeAndre Jordan (LAC), Zach Randolph (MEM), Hassan Whiteside (MIA), Bismack Biyombo (CHA), Derrick Favors (UTA), Rudy Gobert (UTA), DeMarcus Cousins (SAC), Reggie Evans (SAC), Nikola Vucevic (ORL), Tyson Chandler (DAL), Mason Plumlee (BRK), Kevin Garnett (BRK), Kenneth Faried (DEN), Anthony Davis (NOP), Omer Asik (NOP), Andre Drummond (DET), Greg Monroe (DET), Jonas Valanciunas (TOR), Dwight Howard (HOU), Tim Duncan (SAS), Gorgui Dieng (MIN), Andrew Bogut (GSW), Marcin Gortat (WAS)
Pau Gasol (CHI), Jared Sullinger (BOS), Al Jefferson (CHA), Enes Kanter (UTA), Louis Amundson (NYK), Cole Aldrich (NYK), Ed Davis (LAL), Jordan Hill (LAL), Carlos Boozer (LAL), DeWayne Dedmon (ORL), Jerome Jordan (BRK), J.J. Hickson (DEN), Ian Mahinmi (IND), Joey Dorsey (HOU), Alex Len (PHX), Miles Plumlee (PHX), Nikola Pekovic (MIN), LaMarcus Aldridge (POR), Chris Kaman (POR), Draymond Green (GSW), David Lee (GSW), Marreese Speights (GSW), Kris Humphries (WAS)
Larry Sanders (MIL), Zaza Pachulia (MIL), Anderson Varejao (CLE), Marc Gasol (MEM), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA), Lance Stephenson (CHA), Amare Stoudemire (NYK), Tarik Black (LAL), Jusuf Nurkic (DEN), Alexis Ajinca (NOP), Kawhi Leonard (SAS), Joel Freeland (POR), Festus Ezeli (GSW)

Tenacious Rebounder fittingly has a "long reach" in terms of gameplay.  Having a player with this badge is crucial to controlling the boards on both ends in NBA 2K.  Frustrated that you stopped a 3PT spamming Curry twice and Andrew Bogut grabbed the rebound both times?  Blame Tenacious Rebounder.  Give up 10 Offensive Rebounds in a half to the Cavs?  Blame Tenacious Rebounder.  It's effect is further overpowered when you consider that the top rated players also have the badge.  Does Tristan Thompson REALLY need a Gold rebounding badge when he already has 99 ORB rating?  Apparently so, when you look at 2K's solution.

How does one rectify this problem?  Fix and re-balance the gameplay?  ERRRRRRRRR, WRONG.  Do what 2K did and give the badge to just about EVERY Power Forward or Center!  Seriously.  About 75% of rotation bigs have this badge.  Twenty teams have their very own Gold (while the Cavs have THREE).  Can't grab rebounds now?  It's your own damn fault for improperly managing your subs.  They've re-balanced the game by breaking EVERYONE!  It's so genius that it's absolutely, positively, hilariously unintentional!

Bronze: Rebounds
Silver: More rebounds!

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