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How you can become a hardwood legend in ‘NBA 2K19’ MyCareer mode

NBA 2K19‘s MyCareer mode, for the second year in a row, features a robust social hub dubbed the Neighborhood. Along with going to practice and competing in the grind that is the NBA season, you can stroll over to the gym to lift, head to blacktop for pickup games against real players, and even play a pseudo version of Slamball. Neighborhood almost makes it more of a role-playing game than a sports sim. As an RPG, there’s a lot to manage and even more to do. The ultimate goal, however, is to become an NBA star with a 99 rating, the max grade a player can receive in NBA 2K19. We’ve put together a MyCareer guide that will get you on the right track towards that goal.

Position and skills

The first thing you do in MyCareer is create your player. While customizing your appearance is fun, the most important part is picking your position and skills. Personal preference is key here. Think of how you want to play the game. If you want to have the ball in your hands on every possession, pick point guard. If you want to dominate the paint, power forward or center are good options. And if you want to score from the outside, perhaps choose shooting guard or small forward.

Next, pick a primary and secondary skill. These archetypes affect the skill ceiling for certain attributes like passing, ball handling, three-point shooting, shot creating, and mid-range jumpers. Pick skills that make sense for the style of play you desire. For instance, as a shooting guard, we picked three-point shooting as our primary skill and shot creating as our secondary skill.

You’ll then be asked to adjust your height, weight, and wingspan. As you move the slider for each value, notice how certain attributes go up and others go down. While we tinkered with these values a little bit, it’s best not to go nuts, as the positive gains for stats don’t necessarily outweigh the problems you create in other categories. This is all a matter of preference but keep in mind you can become a 99-rated player no matter your position, skillset, and physical stature.

Improving your rating

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You start off as a lowly 60-rated player, which basically means that all of your stats are pretty bad. As you play, however, you’ll earn virtual currency (VC), the coin that makes the Neighborhood go round. VC can be used to upgrade your player’s attributes in the MyPlayer menu. Each attribute upgrade costs VC, and as you climb the ladder, attributes become costlier. The more you upgrade individual stat categories, the higher your overall rating becomes.

At milestone ratings (every five points until it turns to every single point at 90), you unlock new animations, items, and features in the Neighborhood. For instance, at 75, you can modify your own unique jumpshot. At 85, vehicles like skateboards and scooters can be bought to help you travel around the Neighborhood. At 91, an arcade machine containing an old school version of NBA 2K gets delivered to your loft. Pretty cool, right?

Negotiate contracts and endorsement deals

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At the end of The Prelude, the story-driven prologue that takes your player from China to the G-League, you have your pick of NBA teams. Some teams will want you more than others. If you had your heart set on playing with LeBron on the Lakers, but they only want to offer you five minutes of playing time, well, it’s not a good idea. Generally, you should pick the team that offers you the most playing time. Eventually, you can force a trade anyway, and if you’ve been performing well, the Lakers might actually want you. But since you’re an up and coming player, the teams who show interest in you are generally lottery teams.

After picking your first NBA team, you will have to negotiate your contract. The team will make you an offer that gives you a set amount of VC per game as a salary. Don’t take that offer. Instead, make a counteroffer, bumping up the per game VC. You can’t get too greedy here, but it’s pretty easy to get the offer increased at least 20 or 30 VC. The same negotiating tactic should be used for endorsement deals, which spring up each time you hit a fan milestone. While playing a game, you’ll earn fans for good play.

Once you hit thresholds such as 100,000 and 250,000, a new endorsement deal opportunity crops up. Endorsement deals typically give you appearance fees for events and rewards for good play on the court. These incentive-based offers often include bonuses for filling the box score with say, 15 points and 12 assists in one game. You get to pick the incentive(s) with each endorsement deal, so make sure to choose a qualifier that makes sense for your style of play.

Play smart to level up faster

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When playing games with your created player, notice the teammate grade in the upper righthand corner. It starts at a C but fluctuates both up and down based on your play. Each rebound, assist, steal, and quality shot you take adds to your teammate grade. Each turnover, bad shot, foul, and point you allow to be scored hurts your teammate grade. To be clear, you can pad the stat sheet with 30 points, five assists, and five rebounds, and still wind up with a D in the teammate grade if you don’t play defense and jack up terrible shots on loop.

We know, it’s incredibly tempting to want the ball in your hands making plays on every single possession. It’s simply not realistic from a teammate grade perspective. Keep in mind that every time your teammate ignores you when asking for a pass, your teammate grade takes a minor hit. This 2K19’s subtle way of telling you that basketball is a team game. You have four teammates on the court with you at all times. You can’t be expected, nor should you, do everything.

While you’ll always get your base salary for each game, your performance can earn you VC bonuses. A grade of B+ nets you more VC than a C, and an A rating dwarfs what you’d earn if you get a D. So, how can you raise your teammate grade to squeeze the most VC out of each contest?

For starters, know that the number of minutes discussed in your contract is based on a 48-minute game. By default, MyCareer has five minute quarters. Essentially, you’ll be lucky to see the court for more than eight minutes per game in the early going. While it increases the length of a game substantially, we recommend going into settings and increasing the quarter length to at least seven minutes. With seven-minute quarters, the final scores to games mostly mirror what you’d see in the NBA (at five minute quarters, scores typically top out in the low 70s). Of course, you can put the quarter length at 12 if you so choose. It should be easy to pad your stats and achieve a high teammate grade with 12 minute quarters.

The key to earning positive gains for your teammate grade on offense is good ball movement and taking quality, open shots. On defense, sticking to your man like glue is paramount. If you follow these simple guidelines, you should be able to raise your teammate grade to at least the B range on a consistent basis. If you choose to keep the quarters at five minutes for the sake of time, you’ll have to do a bit more on both sides of the floor. Assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks provide the most substantial gains. Focus on those categories over shooting to get the best teammate grade.

As you complete games and earn VC, your Cap Breaker percentage will rise. Once it hits 100 percent, the upper limit of several stat categories increases.

Work on those badges

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Outside of earning VC, you can become a better player by working towards badges both in games and during practice. The badges you have to work on correspond with your primary and secondary skills. Each badge increases your chances of being successful on the court. For instance, if you have the Catch and Shoot badge, your chances of making shots on quick Catch and Release opportunities increases. Badges are particularly helpful for when your player’s rating isn’t very high, as they allow you to perform above your grade.

Between each game, you can visit the practice facility and complete four drills. You should absolutely do these since they go towards your badge progress. You’ll also earn badge experience in NBA games, so pay attention to which badges pertain to your player and try to do things in-game that go towards them.

Boosts and Training

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The Gatorade Training Facility is located next to the practice gym. Before heading into games, check to see if you have your Turbo Boost. It regularly depletes, which means you’ll move slower in games. To replenish your boost, go to the training facility and complete three of the workouts (a collection of, sadly, boring quick time events). You can also purchase fuel bars and drinks that increase turbo and decrease turbo loss from the Fuel Station. These, of course, cost VC. Your Turbo Boost makes a difference though, so at the bare minimum, you should definitely complete the training exercises when needed.

Social activities

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Outside of NBA games, you can also earn VC by playing social activities with other players in the Neighborhood. The blacktop courts, located in the center of the neighborhood, feature pickup games where your play is rewarded with VC. Likewise, the Cages, located through the metal turnstiles, have trampoline courts where you can earn VC. Plus, the playing on the trampoline courts leads to some really neat dunks.

Should you spend real money?

Yes, NBA 2K19‘s MyCareer mode also lets you spend real money on VC. While it’s up to you if you want to spend real cash to level your player, MyCareer dishes out VC with almost every activity you do. It will take you quite a long time to get to 99, but you have a whole year before the inevitable 2K20 launches. We don’t think it’s worth it but if you want an instant flow of VC, you can purchase the NBA 2K19 Anniversary Edition for $100. It comes with 100,000 VC right out of the gate, which lets you instantly raise your player from 60 to 75.

Steven Petite
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven is a writer from Northeast Ohio currently based in Louisiana. He writes about video games and books, and consumes…
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