If you follow these basic tips, you’ll save a lot of people from face-palming injuries. Most of the matches you’ll play will end up in ridiculous chaos, simply because most people have no clue how basketball should be played. This game is not intended to be realistic, but it’s built on simple concepts that should be followed if you don’t want to be the one that makes your team lose every time.
How to Play Better than 90% of The Players
Pass the damn ball and do it a lot. You’re not a hero. You won’t be effective if you keep shooting when guarded by an opponent. Pass the ball to someone who is actually open and has much a higher chance to make their shot.
When someone else has the ball, stop mashing the pass button like an idiot. It’s annoying, and they won’t pass you the ball if you’re not open. Instead, get open, and call for a pass once, that’s enough.
Don’t hold the sprint button for too long. Don’t do useless actions. Only jump when you need to rebound or block. Otherwise, your stamina will be depleted quickly, and you will have a big decrease in stats.
Your character’s position should determine your playstyle. If you keep on dribbling while you’re a center, and you don’t rebound the ball, you’re useless to your team. Here are the positions and their role, from shortest to tallest:
PG: Point Guard. It’s generally the smallest and the fastest player, with the best dribbling and passing abilities. You must focus on enabling your teammates, so that they can score. Move around, chain dribble moves, use screens made by others, and pass the ball as soon as you see someone who is open and in a good position. If there’s no one open, you can create an opportunity by attacking the basket, drawing several defenders on you, and then passing the ball to your teammate that just got open. You can then make yourself open behind the 3-point line and wait for a pass there. Don’t bother with layups or dunks unless there’s an open lane to the basket.
SG: Shooting Guard. A scorer by definition, generally with 3 pointers or layups, or both. For example, you can feint a 3-point shot, and if the defender jumps, use the opportunity to attack the basket instead. Even though you’re a scorer, you’re not exempt from passing the ball. If you never pass the ball and always focus on scoring, you’re no better than the rest.
SF: Small Forward. A balanced position, that can do a bit of everything. They are generally a combination of speed and power, going for dribble moves and flashy dunks. Their position is less defined than the others, they could stay on the perimeter or penetrate the paint under the basket. Because of this, they are very versatile, but not easy to play well.
PF: Power Forward. Players at that position are starting to be big, but not as big or slow as the Centers. You can still use your speed for attacking the basket and scoring with some flashy dunks. Your primary role is assisting the Center with boxing out, rebounding and blocking shots/dunks. Don’t get dragged out too far from the paint, unless your opponent is a mid-range or 3-point shooter. You can determine that by knowing their character’s stats/skills, or simply by observing their behavior.
C: Center. The tallest, heaviest, and meanest position! Your role is to guard the paint, rebound the ball, and scare everyone with your blocks. Same as the PF, you still need to keep close enough to your opponent in case they want to shoot from a longer distance. You’re slow, so don’t bother running around with (or without) the ball too much. Focus on guarding or attacking key areas.
Guard your opponent. The game chooses an opponent for you, based on your relative positions. You can see who your opponent is by looking at the colored arrow at your character’s feet. If 2 players defend the same opponent, that means another opponent is free somewhere else, and has an easy shot. In the same way, if you wait under the basket, your opponent can shoot 3 pointers without being bothered.
There are 2 kinds of defenses in basketball: position-based and zone-based.
Position defense means that each player follows the opponent that matches their own position the most, e.g. the PG guards the PG. Players can free themselves from their opponent using direction changes, sprinting, screens set by their teammates, or just taking advantage of a busy area with many players. When that happens, opponents can decide to switch who they are guarding. Forcing the defense to switch can create interesting height/speed mismatches that you can exploit.
Zone defense is less common. Each character defends a specific area of the court and doesn’t follow the opponents who leave their zone. It’s effective against some specific attacking plays.