Between NBA 2K20 and 2K21, there was almost no change in the Badge List, but a few of the badges are now a little more useful than before due to some of the changes made to the gameplay itself. As always, you will want to focus on different badges depending on your player’s build, but several of the more important ones are universally good for any and all options.
As long as you go in with an idea of what kind of player you want to build, this guide should help you find what badges you need for each of the main categories – Finishing, Shooting, Playmaking, and Defense/Rebounding. Select your player’s specialties and get ready to get on the sticks and grind out the best starting badges in the game.
Best Finisher Badges
|Acrobat||Boosts the ability to hit high degree of difficulty layups. Spin, half-spin, hop step, euro-step, cradle, reverse, and change shot layup attempts receive a significant boost.|
|Consistent Finisher||Reduces the penalty for poorly released layups.Penalties for mistimed layups are reduced, allowing players to make layups more consistently.|
|Contact Finisher||Improves the ability to convert contact layups and dunks in traffic.Slashers who play below the rim finish contact layups more successfully while dunkers are able to pull off more contact dunks.|
|Pick & Roller||Increases shot percentage as the roller in a pick & roll.When rolling off the pick and roll, a shot boost is applied if the layup or dunk attempt comes within a few seconds after catching the pass.|
|Relentless Finisher||Reduces the fatigue effects from continually finishing at the rim with contact.Improves a player’s ability to take a lot of contact by reducing the energy lost when attacking the rim for contact shots.|
Slashing guards and wings will want to have at least a few of these on deck as quickly as possible. Running to the rim, roaming the paint, or just trying to keep your man on their heels is the name of this category.
Best Shooting Badges
|Catch & Shoot||Boosts the chance of hitting a jump shot immediately after a catch. For a short time after receiving a pass, the receiver’s outside shooting attributes get a significant boost.|
|Deadeye||Reduces the impact of a defender who is closing out. Jump shots taken with a defender closing out receive less of a penalty from a shot contest. This includes both mid-range and 3PT shots.|
|Difficult Shots||Improves the ability to shoot difficult shots off the dribble. High difficulty jumpers such as hop steps, spins, stepbacks, and pull-ups receive a shot percentage boost.|
|Flexible Release||Reduces the penalty suffered from mistimed jump shot released. Shot timing penalties for jump shots are reduced, making it easier to knock down attempts even when releasing early or late.|
|Pick & Popper||Elevates the shot percentage for an attempt taken off a pick and fade situation. Shot attempts that come after setting a screen are given a boost if the shot happens far enough from the rim and within a few seconds after the screen has been set.|
NBA 2K is a game about shooting. Almost every player you come across will be chucking up threes or trying to cross up their defender. Since Quick Draw is gone, you will want to focus on at least a few of these. And if you are a wing, having Catch & Shoot will make it easier to score when you inevitably get passed the ball as the shot clock is expiring by a ball hogging point guard.
Best Playmaking Badges
|Floor General||Teammates receive an offensive attribute bonus when the player is in the game. Gives offensive attributes boosts to teammates when on the floor. Also, at the Hall of Fame level, can see teammates’ potential shot percentages while on offense.|
|Handles for Days||Reduces the amount of energy lost when performing dribble moves. A player takes less of an energy hit when performing consecutive dribble moves, allowing them to chain together combos quicker and for longer periods of time.|
|Needle Threader||Increases the likelihood that tough passes can get by the defense.When passing through a tight window between defenders, a boost is given to the player’s passing ability.|
|Space Creator||Improves a player’s ability to create space from a defender. When performing any stepback move or shot, there’s a higher chance of successfully creating separation from the opponent.|
|Unpluckable||Reduces the chances of getting stripped by the defender. When performing dribble moves, defenders have a tougher time poking the ball free with their steal attempts.|
These are probably the most important badges in the game, mainly because 2K always seems to screw something up in regards to holding the ball. Handles for Days is super useful to cut down on the new stamina meter stopping you from using consecutive dribble moves in a row. The rest are just ways to help stop the general 2K cheese of losing the ball when running into an opponent or getting long passes picked off frequently.
Best Defensive/Rebounding Badges
|Clamps||Boosts the ability to stay in front of the ball handler on the perimeter. Defenders have access to quicker cut-off moves and are more successful when bumping or hip riding the ball handler.|
|Intimidator||Intimidates offensive players causing them to miss shots more often. Offensive players have less success shooting when contested by players with this badge. Also boosts the shot defense ratings when tightly guarding an opponent.|
|Lighting Reflexes||Receives an earlier cue on the Read and React system when playing defense. Gives the defender an advantage to read where the ball handler is going in the Read and React system.|
|Rebound Chaser||Improves a player’s ability to chase down rebounds. Improves a player’s ability to track down rebounds from farther distances than normal.|
|Tireless Defender||Reduces energy lost when exerting effort on defense. Allows the defender to play defense more aggressively without losing energy at the same rate as a normal player.|
Rebounding and Defense badges play similar roles in most scenarios, with players trying to control the tempo of the game without actually dominating the ball. Rebound Chaser will be a great asset to try and get the boards under control, especially for players who like to play a support role.