Monthly Archives: October 2013

Potential – The 2013 NBA draft and how it affects NBA2K14

Yesterday I wrote about how potential has changed in NBA2K14 (from previous versions of the game), to cut the long story short (although it will help if you read the article); potential now acts as a static cap (once a player reaches an overall level equal to his potential, the game will stop “growing” the player during the end-of-season player changes), previously potential would rise as a player improved, that is no-longer the case. Potential can only rise by putting a player through training camp. This change has had a profound effect on Association Mode (read the article for more info).

While writing about potential, I used last year’s no1 draft pick Anthony Davis as an example. I never really considered applying the potential cap to the 2013 draft, until now!

NBA 2013 Draft – NBA 2K14 Potential and Overall Rating.

(NBA 2013 draft, sorted by NBA2K14 Potential – high > low)

Pick Name Pos Team (original!) POT OVR
6 Nerlens Noel C New Orleans Pelicans (traded to Philadelphia)[A] 88 71 17
1 Anthony Bennett PF/SF Cleveland Cavaliers 86 76 10
2 Victor Oladipo SG/PG Orlando Magic 86 76 10
7 Ben McLemore SG Sacramento Kings 85 72 13
9 Trey Burke PG Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Utah)[B] 85 73 12
10 C. J. McCollum PG/SG Portland Trail Blazers 85 72 13
11 Michael Carter-Williams PG/SG Philadelphia 76ers 85 69 16
3 Otto Porter SF Washington Wizards 84 74 10
8 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG Detroit Pistons 83 70 13
4 Cody Zeller PF/C Charlotte Bobcats 82 68 14
5 Alex Len C Phoenix Suns 78 62 16
13 Kelly Olynyk C Dallas Mavericks (traded to Boston)[C] 78 68 10
12 Steven Adams C Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto via Houston)[a] 73 57 16
18 Shane Larkin PG Atlanta Hawks (from Houston via Brooklyn,[b] traded to Dallas)[D] 73 70 3
17 Dennis Schröder PG Atlanta Hawks 72 66 6
23 Solomon Hill SF Indiana Pacers 72 62 10
24 Tim Hardaway, Jr. SG New York Knicks 72 69 3
29 Archie Goodwin SG Oklahoma City Thunder (traded to Phoenix via Golden State) [E][G] 72 68 4
30 Nemanja Nedović PG Phoenix Suns (from Miami via Cleveland and LA Lakers,[c][f] traded to Golden State)[G] 72 63 9
21 Gorgui Dieng C Utah Jazz (from Golden State via Brooklyn,[d] traded to Minnesota)[B] 71 64 7
14 Shabazz Muhammad SG/SF Utah Jazz (traded to Minnesota)[B] 70 65 5
15 Giannis Antetokounmpo G/F Milwaukee Bucks 70 60 10
19 Sergey Karasev SG/SF Cleveland Cavaliers (from LA Lakers)[c] 70 60 10
25 Reggie Bullock SF Los Angeles Clippers 70 64 6
20 Tony Snell SF Chicago Bulls 68 62 6
22 Mason Plumlee C Brooklyn Nets 68 61 7
26 André Roberson PF Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Houston,[e] traded to Oklahoma City via Golden State)[E] 68 63 5
27 Rudy Gobert C Denver Nuggets (traded to Utah)[F] 66 52 14
16 Lucas Nogueira# C Boston Celtics (traded to Atlanta via Dallas)[C][D] 0 0 0
28 Livio Jean-Charles SF San Antonio Spurs 0 0 0

Key:
POS – Positions player can play (taken from wikipedia – not all are reflected in game!)
POT – Player potential: the maximum overall level a player can reach.
OVR – Overall: the starting statistic for the player (not including any +/- for team chemistry)

Note: All values are v1 preseason stats and may change in future updates. Players with 0/0 are not currently in the game. Should you notice any mistakes please tweet me @NBA2KBlogger (in the current game database, please don’t contact me a month or more from now to rectify a stat, because in that first month+ of the season 2K has likely updated the stats to reflect the Zeitgeist!).

(draft information is from the Wikipedia NBA 2013 Draft page all other information is from the NBA2K14 game database).

How does this affect NBA2K14?

In the article yesterday the 2012 no 1 pick, Anthony Davis, had a potential of 93. I think the potentials above are a fair reflection of this year’s draft, if Davis had been available for this draft he would have been the favourite for the no1 pick again (although it will take a while to properly assess the 2013 draftees!).

Interestingly the only player who has a chance of hitting a true 99 overall without using Untapped Potential at least twice (and doing a lot of extra training) is Nerlens Noel, who would probably reach 99 with just a single Untapped Potential and a lot of training (he should hit late 90s with a single Untapped Potential if you use it in the first season, and with team chemistry he could hit 99 without training. But as a rookie you would probably put him through some drills/training anyway to smoove off those rough edges/increase his best stats! I showed yesterday that you can break the potential “cap limit” by using training camps/drills).

There are a lot of players who are already very close to maxing out their stats. Shane Larkin and Tim Hardaway, Jr. are only 3 points away from reaching their potential (so you will probably max them out in the first season, or see very little gain!). Snell will probably max out in a season or two, as will Shabazz Muhammad (which is a shame because he has some great dunks and a nice set of skills and even worse, I’ve just signed him on my Bulls save game!). It is arguable whether it is worth keeping these players at all! You can’t send them to training camp until after the first season has finished (and the rookie season usually sees the biggest boosts in stats), and even then the potential will only be high 70s/low 80s. They aren’t going to turn into superstar players (without cheating or a boost later in the year from 2K). They certainly aren’t first team caliber and you might be better to trade them for a player with higher potential or better base stats!

The biggest gaps (between starting rating and potential, effectively the players with the most room to grow; although you should note, that is NOT the same as a list of the players who will turn out to be the best! For example, Gobert is listed here as 14, but only has 66 potential, the difference is high because he starts with even more terrible base stats!) are:

Nerlens Noel (17)
Michael Carter-Williams, Alex Len and Steven Adams (16)
Cody Zeller and Rudy Gobert (14)
Ben McLemore, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and C. J. McCollum (13)
and finally Trey Burke with (12)

(the rest of the players from the first round of the 2013 draft are all 10 or under in overall>potential ratio).

So what have we learned about the 2013 draft? Certainly those players at the top of the list are worth getting. A team consisting of Burke, Oladipo (who isn’t listed as a PG in the game currently), Porter, Bennett and Noel would grow into a great team and you’ll have a lot of fun with them, especially if you can gain enough points to use untapped potential early enough in their careers (although you’d probably be better off picking one or two players from any one draft year, due to the limit on points available for Untapped Potential, expensive at 75 points a pop!).

I think the first thing I’ll be aiming for in my current game is a Davis, Noel pairing! As an aside, I wonder if Wiggins will enter NBA2K15 with 99 potential? (I believe only James has 99 pot’ in the current game. Durant has 98, I haven’t seen any others as high as that, although Paul George has had a nice increase with 95 potential and will become (already is!) a beast!).

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NBA2K14 and Player Potential: Why it is now so important!

Potential! I think this part of the game deserves a full post on this blog because it is perhaps one of the biggest changes moving from NBA2K13 into NBA2K14 (for the better, although you may not agree!). The change in potential has certainly changed how you should view the value of certain stats in Association Mode; for young players it is now THE most important stat!

If you read the “What team should I be? (part 1)” post, you’ll know I talked a lot about potential, without going into too much detail at the time (I didn’t fully understand the changes which had occurred between releases at the time, for example I stated Anthony Davis was sure to hit 99; I’ve since realised that isn’t true! At least; not without some training!).

In previous NBA 2K titles potential wasn’t a fixed figure, it shifted as a player improved. I’m going to stick with Anthony Davis as he is a perfect example (and one I’ve used already). I went back to NBA2K13 (which I hadn’t uninstalled. Luckily!) and quickly sim’d through 3 seasons as the Hornjazzicans (Pelicans, AKA; Hornets) so I could take the following screenshots of Davis.

2012-2013 Season

Anthony Davis 2012-2013: Potential

Anthony Davis 2012-2013: Potential

2013-2014 Season

Anthony Davis 2013-2014: Potential

Anthony Davis 2013-2014: Potential

2014-2015 Season

Anthony Davis 2014-2015: Potential

Anthony Davis 2014-2015: Potential

You can clearly see all of his stats rising year on year, including his potential going from 93 in the first shot, to 95 in the second and jumping to 96 in the third year (in NBA2K13 this would have continued to grow as his other stats grew and by his fifth or sixth season he would be a 99 overall rated player!).

NBA2K13 – Potential

When taking the screenshots above I whizzed through the seasons and didn’t use the training camp to improve his potential. As you can clearly see, as Davis’ stats climbed his potential was rising too. Whether this was intended or a bug is unknown, but this did cause a widely reported problem in NBA2K13 that only players who played deep into Association Mode (I.E. more than a few seasons) would encounter; tons of superstar players spread across all teams (and even lots of big superstar names available after free-agency if you stuck with the game long enough!).

The longer you played association mode, the more unrealistic the game became (also not helped by the high potential on many rookies. Some draft sets were created specifically to address this problem for NBA2K13). This had the effect of eventually making all teams 90+ rated, with very little difference between the best and worst squads (again; if you played through for long enough. This became more noticeable the more years you played into an association mode game).

NBA2K14 – Potential

In NBA2K14 potential is fixed. This means that the potential of a player never changes (except through end of season training camps), players already in the game have a fixed potential (you can see the potential of any player, on any team by using “Edit Player”). Rookies that are generated come with a potential rating that is revealed by scouting them twice and then you get back a rough guide (C-, B or ideally A+!). Better scouts give you a more accurate potential reading, as does scouting them more. If you are on track for a high pick make sure you scout the player(s) you desperately want a few times. Aim for young (ideally 19 or 20 years old) players with A+ potential, know that if you go lower than that you might be required to spend skill points to increase their potential to allow them to fully realise their potential. Needless to say; upgrading your youth scouts should be one of the first things you do if you intend to build through the draft!

The potential of every player in NBA2K14 never improves without your intervention; the only way to increase potential (without cheating!) is to put a player through training camp, and it will cost you a whopping 75 Reward Points to increase a player’s potential by 10 (however, as we’ll see, this has now become perhaps the most important skill to increase, especially on young rookie players who are loyal and you intend to keep). If you only have 75 points, and you have a squad full of young players who you don’t intend to trade, you should spend those points on untapped potential!

NBA2K14 Anthony Davis 2013-14 season.

NBA2K14 Anthony Davis 2013-14 season.

NBA2K14 Anthony Davis 2015-16 season.

NBA2K14 Anthony Davis 2015-16 season.

As you can see in these screengrabs (one taken at the start of the game in 2013, and one taken at the start of the 2015 season), all of Davis’ attributes have increased apart from his potential, which has remained at 93 (contrast with NBA2K13, above!).

What is potential? What does it do? Why is it important?

John Elliott (generated rookie). Second year: 88 rating.

John Elliott (generated rookie). Second year: 88 rating.

Potential is, in the simplest of terms, the maximum level a player can reach (it is a little more complicated than that, I’ll come to that later). I incorrectly stated that Davis reached a 99 rating in the Jazz article. This was because I roughly knew what potential he started NBA2K13 with, had played through tons of seasons of Association Mode in that game (where Davis always became a “99” player) and saw his potential in NBA2K14 was the same. I hadn’t realised at the time 2K have stopped potential from growing along with the other stats. As we can see in the screengrabs above, his potential is 93, so the maximum level he can reach without training is 93. Once he reaches 93 overall rating, the game will stop increasing his stats (at the end of the season when all players’ attributes are increased or decreased). This is a massive change to how things were previously, instead of potential being a guide to how much a player will grow by, it is now, in effect, a player level cap! The game will just stop levelling your player when your overall = your potential.

Cory Hubbard - 82 rating, second year (+2 team chemistry).

Cory Hubbard – 82 rating, second year!

I noticed this while playing an Association Mode game and trying to improve a squad by using only generated drafted players (for one of the parts of the ongoing “What team should I be?” feature). I got really lucky in a draft and got a couple of high picks, one of which I used on a 6’11” SF, who had a rating of 82 and A+ potential (see picture above; this was taken in his second season and so his stats have risen). The other player I got was also 82, and was a PG with B potential (picture to the side – again, second season!), you’ll notice this player is still 82 (he has +2 due to team chemistry being turned on). When the season ended the SF’s stats increased along with the rest of my team (who are all young (<25)). I was shocked when my rookie point guard’s stats didn’t increase, especially as he was a year younger than the small forward. He was the only player in my entire squad who’s stats hadn’t increased (he has a really smooth shot on him too! I was slightly gutted!).

Hubbard; potential = 82!

Hubbard; potential = 82!

I initially thought this was a bug (perhaps his stats had increased but they weren’t being shown on team page?), which lead me to going into his “edit” (to view the stats, not edit them), and I noticed his potential was stuck at 82. The 82 rated player who I had drafted was 82 when I drafted him and will remain (more or less) stuck at that level forever unless I spend 75 points on upgrading his potential in the next training camp; but even if I upgrade him now he’s lost the massive stat upgrade first year players receive at the end of their rookie year. As you can see; Mr SF jumped up 6 points to 88! His potential is 93 btw. I really would like a 99 overall, 6 foot 11, “small” forward! Miami can keep their “small ball”, I like “tall ball”. So I shall be sending my SF to untapped potential at the end of the season! Then I just need a 7’4″+ C with A+ potential to be generated. 🙂

I have noticed you can push a player slightly past his potential rating by training him (I increased Hubbard’s Perimeter shooting in training camp and he went from being “stuck” at 82 to being an 83 rated player), but still; the game wouldn’t increase his stats any further at the end of the next season while the rest of your squad improved (hence why I said it was a little more complicated than potential being the maximum level your player can reach; you can push a player slightly beyond his potential, but not by far, and he’ll soon drop down again as he ages!). These are only small steps, you wouldn’t be able to massively increase your (young) players’ stats by just using drills and camps. For sure it will round off a few rough edges but you won’t get the big increases which you do with having high potential (and young age; potential stops being a factor in the mid-late 20s and players generally start to decline each year instead of improving).

Hubbard 92

Untapped Potential. Hubbard 82 > 92. Note: the “84” rating includes +2 team chemistry.

This change has helped improve Association Mode for long term players, because there is a set limit on how far any one player can grow (outside of your control) before he stops improving. Potential should certainly be your first consideration when drafting generated players, but also keep an eye on the young players you already have in your squad. It really is worth spending the 75 points on improving a (e.g.,) 20 year old’s potential, it could be the difference between having a player maxed out at 89 or the 99 beast of a player (and no1 in his position and perhaps the entire NBA) that all NBA2K players want to have on their association mode team.

Potential is now more important than it has ever been in an NBA2K title, and if you’re building with youth and intend to keep players throughout their career then you may have to reconsider what you use training camps for (perhaps even exclusively using points to improve potential!).

Exercise some caution, use Untapped Potential (the camp which increases potential, incase the name didn’t give it away!) wisely on players. Age, loyalty and whether you can afford to keep the player (salary wise; if you are pushing up towards the hard cap) should all factor into the decision, otherwise you won’t just be wasting 75 reward points, you could also be sending a 99 potential player (a Lebron or a Jordan!) to a rival (a far worse fate than losing a few reward points!).

P.S. If you have a chance to land Davis in Association Mode, definitely send him to untapped potential!

NBA Live 14 – Next Gen Gameplay trailer.

I’m not going to be blogging about NBA Live, but given I’ve just posted a video of NBA2K14 on (next-?)next-gen hardware I thought this video would make an interesting comparison, as it has also just been released.

You might probably expect a “fanboi” bias on the “NBA2k Blog”, but even trying to put my neutral hat on for a second, this trailer makes the next-gen version NBA Live look worse than the current-gen NBA2K14! The graphics certainly look current gen (I’m tempted to say “last gen”! It almost looks like a PS2 title!).

The section were Derrick Rose scores looks terrible, it doesn’t look like real basketball (either televised or playing/watching the game in real life) the play runs too quickly, the movement is jerky and the players don’t look fluid whilst in motion. It just doesn’t look realistic, and who the hell did they find to do the graphics for Steve Nash? Seriously, just pause it between 16 and 20 seconds and tell me who you think that looks like (answers on a postcard, or a comment, because it sure as shit doesn’t resemble Nash, in the slightest!). The majority of the comments under the video on youtube are very critical.

Despite what you may think I’m taking no pleasure in this looking bad. Believe it or not I actually do WANT this game to be good (and I may even review the real thing), for the purely selfish reason that I think it will help improve future NBA2K titles (and as you may have guessed, I am an NBA2K addict!). I think it is healthy when there is competition and while NBA2K took a massive step in 2011, the improvements since then have been somewhat subtle and gradual in nature (with each successive title building on the previous one).

If NBA Live turns out to be a good game and it is successful it will hopefully push 2K games into adding extra features and also encourage them to improve existing features more than they may do if NBA Live is a bust. Another great leap forward might catch everyone by surprise like NBA2K11 did (which IGN called “the best sports game of this generation” and G4tv stating “not only the best basketball game I’ve ever played, it’s one of the best sports games I’ve ever played, and a serious contender for Game of the Year”).

So should we (self proclaimed NBA2K fans) care about NBA Live? Yes, because it might help keep 2K sports on their toes!