A Beginner's Guide to the Build Archetypes of the 2K League

Build Archetypes are the basis of all NBA 2K gameplay, lets take a deeper dive and find out what suits your game
Build Archetypes are the basis of all NBA 2K gameplay, lets take a deeper dive and find out what suits your game | Photo courtesy of 2K Games

If you're an NBA 2K player new or old, understanding build archetypes is a crucial part of every game mode. To keep a competitive balance, 2K game developers designed the build creations to present players with both strengths and weaknesses, ensuring that players won't have a 99 rating in every stat category. Each position has a slew of possible builds, with more seeming to be discovered every day, offering players endless possibilities of play-styles.

Beginning in 2018, the NBA in partnership with 2K Games started an professional 2K League. They held an official draft with a commissioner, draft selection process, and constructed teams to compete in the inagural season. Now going on their fourth official season, the league has been widely successful earning a recent television deal with worldwide sports leader ESPN.

To keep game skill at a premium, the league has designed a set of rules surrounding the potential build archetypes. Each position has a possible eight different build archetypes for players to chose from, this ensures that all pro players are working with the same equal set of tools. So let's take a look at each build archetype and find out what suits your gameplay best.

Point Guard

  • Scoring Machine - 6'3'' 170 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

This archetype does exactly what its title suggests. Capable of scoring both inside and out with ball-handling high enough to unlock special dribble move animations, this build is a bucket. There is a dropoff in the defensive stats but that's not what you're prioritizing with this build. 2K League superstar Nadal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser dropped 77 points this past season using the Scoring Machine, and honestly could've had even more if not for anti-competitive circumstances.

  • Slashing Sharpshooter - 6'4'' 175 lbs.
  • Takeover: Slashing

The Slashing Sharpshooter is a bigger point guard who can effectively attack the rim. With a driving dunk rating high enough to unlock contact dunk animations, this is a unique point guard. The shooting stats are not elite but certainly more than sufficient at 80+ accross the board. Like the Scoring Machine, this build has a dropoff in the defensive categories.

  • Slashing Playmaker - 6'3'' 185 lbs.
  • Takeover: Slashing

Very effective in the paint, this build focuses less on the scoring aspect and more on assisting. It's still a capable shooting build from mid and three-point ranges, but you shouldn't look to shoot-first with this build. 90 driving layup and 89 driving dunk should have you living at the free throw line.

  • 3-level Scorer - 6'3'' 170 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

Seeming to follow the trend of modern day point guards, less of the traditional set-up man and more of the straight-up scorer. Just as the title suggests this build gets bucket in the paint, mid-range, and behind the arc. It won't offer your teammates with much playmaking or defense but if you can put the ball in the basket this is the build for you.

  • Offensive Threat - 6'3'' 180 lbs.
  • Takeover: Playmaking

Third most popular amongst 2K League point guards, this is a very user-friendly build. Well rounded in all offensive categories with a particular pension for shooting and playmaking, this point guard build fits in with essentially every team construct. A top pick for novice 2K players.

  • Midrange Specialist - 6'3'' 175 lbs.
  • Takeover: Shot Creating

Not known for being the most popular build selection, this is a unique build type with a skill-set best utilized away from the paint. The shooting and playmaking stats are well balanced on this build, making it most effective as an off-ball floor-spacing compliment. Don't look to use this build unless your team is already full of paint-dwellers.

  • Pure Playmaker - 6'4'' 185 lbs.
  • Takeover: Playmaking

Another of the larger point guard builds, the Pure Playmaker has less scoring ability and instead places a premium on facilitating. 90+ in every playmaking category will allow you to set teammates up with spoon-fed layups and dunks. Utilize lob-throwing with this build to have your athletic finishers ooping the alley.

  • 2-Way Slashing Playmaker - 6'4'' 190 lbs.
  • Takeover: Lockdown Defense

The biggest and most athletic of the point guard builds, this is the defensive prototype. With the build sacrificing shooting stats for improved slashing and defensive capability, this build can be a really nice piece of a team. If your team lacks shooting they won't find it from this build, so make sure to utilize this when your team has catch-and-shoot snipers.

Shooting Guard

  • Offensive Threat - 6'5'' 195 lbs.
  • Takeover: Slasher

A well-rounded offensive player with a balance of both shooting and slashing ability, this is amongst the most balanced offensive builds in all of 2K. 80+ abilities in all three offensive categories will allow players to opperate both on and off the ball at all areas of the court. However, it doesn't boast defensive lockdown ability.

  • Scoring Machine - 6'5'' 185 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooter

Like the point guard Scoring Machine, this build is a bucket-getter. Veru solid shooting combined with decent and above-average slashing and playmaking stats, this build can light it up with a barrage of jumpshots. 80+ shooting stats for every category so make sure you're greening your release to make the most of this build.

  • 2-Way Finisher - 6'6'' 215 lbs.
  • Takeover: Lockdown Defense

Focussing on defense and slashing abilities, this is among the most athletic shooting guard build archetypes. It has good enough shooting to pass as at least a threat from the perimeter, but make no mistake this build is about getting into the paint. 91 Driving Dunk will allow you to challenge bigs at the rim.

  • 3-Level Scorer - 6'4'' 180 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

Just like the 3-Level-Scoring point guard, this build sacrafices essentially everything on the alter of getting buckets. These builds can be awesome and a lot of fun to play with but if you're not putting the ball in the basket your teammates may have a short leash with allowing you to operate. Best suited for more experienced players.

  • Shot-Creating Sharpshooter - 6'5'' 185 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

A well balanced swingman build, this shooting guard offers players with excellent jumpshooting ability. The difference between this and a pure sharpshooter is that players won't have to rely on off-ball movement to get open. The shot-creator is athletic, skilled, and mobile enough to find space to get off their j at all areas.

  • Shot Creator - 6'6'' 195 lbs.
  • Takeover: Shot Creating

This build is very similar to the Offensive Threat with some slight tweaks. The slashing and finishing stats are improved with the dropoff of points in three-point shooting. Still very effective as a playmaker this build can just about do it all on the offensive end. Defense will not be a strong suit of this archetype.

  • Sharpshooting Defender - 6'5'' 190 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

The Sharpshooting Defender is the prototypical 3-and-D type of perimeter player that it utilized so often in today's NBA. Both in the NBA and in 2K these players are coveted due to their ability to be effective on offense without the ball and floor-spacing ability. As well as their propensity to play lockdown defense on the other end. A really nice complement to virtually any team.

  • 2-Way Sharpshooter - 6'6'' 200 lbs.
  • Takeover: Lockdown Defense

Virtually identical to the Sharpshooting Defender, this build is another take on the modern 3-and-D player. Slightly improved slashing stats offers players a little more wiggle-room offensively but make no mistake, this build is a floor-spacing defensive type.

Small Forward

  • Sharpshooting Slasher - 6'7'' 205 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

A good scoring build for both inside and out, this build archetype is an offensive minded wing. The playmaking stats aren't impressive so this is best utilized in off-ball situations or with quick, decisive moves attacking closeouts.

  • Slashing Sharpshooter - 6'7'' 200 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

Similar to the Sharpshooting Slasher in both it's name and makeup, this build is essentially just an upgraded version of the former. To be completely honest it just seems to be a better overall version than its predecessor (in this list) and should be chosen accordingly.

  • 2-Way Finisher - 6'8'' 225 lbs.
  • Takeover: Slashing

This is an athletic 3 who should be attacking the rim with reckless abandon. 69 shooting stats is passable if wide open, but certainly don't look for that to be the basis of your game. Ball handling is not at a premium here but time your cuts to the rim well and your teammates should be throwing you lob after lob to dunk down.

  • Three-Level Scorer - 6'7'' 200 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

95 shooting stats should have you making it rain with this build archetype. Don't fret over the 67 driving layup stat, you're 6'7'' and 200 lbs. and will still have ability to finish inside. That being said, this build is all about spraying jumpshots and players with a particularly green release should look here.

  • Offensive Threat - 6'6'' 195 lbs.
  • Takeover: Shot Creating

Another Offensive Threat, another well rounded build. What sets this build apart from most small forward's is the playmaking stats. 83 ball handling for a 6'6'' small forward is remarkable and players should utilize the on-ball capabilities to both score and set up their teammates.

  • 2-Way Sharpshooter - 6'6'' 205 lbs.
  • Takeover: Lockdown Defense

Just like the shooting guard version of this build, this is for Three-and-D purposes. The only change is the size as this build archetype is naturally bigger than it's shooting guard version due to its position on the court.

  • Perimeter Defender - 6'8'' 215 lbs.
  • Takeover: Lockdown Defense

One of the more one-sided builds in the offered archetypes, this small forward is rather basic. If you're a defensive specialist it's a fine pick, but it won't offer much joy for players at the offensive end. Still, an athletic piece that can find a roll on a team.

  • Sharpshooting Defender - 6'7'' 205 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

A similar, but more fun version of the Perimeter Defender. This build offers very good defensive stats but allows players to be a knockdown catch-and-shoot threat at the other end of the court as well. It's honestly a good build to learn the ropes of 2K as it keeps the roll of the player very limited yet defined.

Power Forward

  • Interior Finisher - 6'10'' 245 lbs.
  • Takeover: Slashing

The title of this build tells the story. Live in the paint for 2.9 seconds at a time with this big boy. A 72 free throw rating will be nice for the times you get hacked down low. Your lowest interior finishing stat will be an 87...take this diesel to the block and don't leave.

  • 3-Level Scorer - 6'9'' 220 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

Less of a muscle-bound brute and more a finesse, skill player, the 3-Level Scorer can be a real mismatch at the offensive end. 77 three point shooting will cause major problems for opposing big's that have to come out to the perimeter and guard you.

  • Pure Stretch Four - 6'9'' 215 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

Coming in at only 215 lbs. this build ins't much of a force in the paint despite its 6'9'' stature. That being said, a 92 three point shot will give defenses headaches as it will likely take them a few posessions to adjust to the fact that you're bombing away from the perimeter.

  • Paint Beast - 6'9'' 250 lbs.
  • Takeover: Glass Cleaner

Much more of the traditional big, this Paint Beast will put people on a poster if they're not careful. Control the interior at both ends of the court with an 88 standing dunk and 88 block statistics. Be alert to the fact that smart defenders will sag off you on the perimeter, as you're not a threat from outside with this build.

  • 3-Level Playmaker - 6'8'' 220 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

A fairly balanced offensive build, this one specializes in perimeter shooting as weell as decent driving ability. Slightly undersized for the position, 85 post moves will allow players with subsequent playmaking ability to get their teammates involved.

  • Glass Cleaner - 6'10'' 235 lbs.
  • Takeover: Rim Protector

A defensive-minded build, this power forward won't offer you much in terms of interior finishing. Adequate perimeter shooting coupled with beastly defensive stats makes this an intruiging option to compliment a Paint Beast big or slashing wings.

  • 2-way Stretch 4 - 6'9'' 225 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

A modern-day big, this build focusses on perimeter shooting and adequate interior finishing, and focusses less on playmaking purposes. The 2-way builds are ultra popular for their ability to massively affect the game at both ends of the court, this build is no different.

  • Post Playmaker - 6'10'' 240 lbs.
  • Takeover: Post Scoring

A balanced big with extraordinary size, at 6'10'' and 95 post moves, this power forward can be the center-point of an offense. Still adequate shooting with 70 statistics, this is a fairly user-friendly build for beginners venturing into the big positions.

Center

  • Interior Force - 7'0'' 260 lbs.
  • Takeover: Slasher

A traditional big who brings back flashes of Kareem and Wilt, this center has a propensity to dominate the game from inside out. 95 standing dunk, 84 driving layup and 84 driving dunk means you'll be living above the rim. Don't even bother shooting from the outside, that's not what this build is meant to do.

  • 3-Level Scorer - 6'11'' 245 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

An offensive weapon at all three levels of the halfcourt set, this center is made to put the ball in the basket. I personally think using a 3-Level-Scoring center can be very effective, as the stats you're sacrificing honestly don't matter much. Your ball handling isn't necessary if you're the one setting the screens.

  • 2-Way Athletic Finisher - 7'1'' 270 lbs.
  • Takeover: Glass Cleaner

7'1'' 270 lbs. with defensive capabilities, this center can be an absolute game-wrecker. Again I'm going to endorse the 2-way players, they're just able to effect the game in so many ways. And when you're this big with those stats you can really control a game from the paint and help your team out.

  • Slashing Rim Protector - 7'0'' 250 lbs.
  • Takeover: Rim Protector

This build is similar to the 2-Way Athletic Finisher with improved stats and lessened defense. Make no mistake this can still be a solid shot-blocking build as its still a 7-footer, it just doesn't quite offer all the capabilities of a 2-way. But as previously mentioned, there is a premium with interior finishing.

  • Post Scoring Stretch 5 - 6'11'' 250 lbs.
  • Takeover: Sharpshooting

Slightly undersized and not quite as effective on the interior as some other centers, this build offers great three point shooting for the position. It will be a very strange feel for the defense to get used to, as usually it's the point guard or shooting guard bombing away from behind the arc.

  • Sharpshooting Defender - 7'0'' 265 lbs.
  • Takeover: Rim Protector

This build is the center version of the Three-and-D player that is taking the basketball world by storm. It can be a very nice piece to a team with slashing wings or guards, as it can help free up the paint for them to attack by pulling the opposing center out to the perimeter to guard.

  • Glass-Cleaning Stretch 5 - 7'0'' 275 lbs.
  • Takeover: Glass Cleaner

This build also falls into the modern day big section. Awesome defensive stats will allow you to dominate the paint on the defensive end, but don't think you'll be doing that on offense too. Stick to the perimeter in catch and shoot situations where this build can shine.

  • Post Playmaker - 7'1'' 270 lbs.
  • Takeover: Post Scoring

The biggest of the bigs, this build plays different than its appearance might suggest. The appearance of a brute force interior player, with the shooting of a stretch player, this center can really throw people for a loop. It's actually pretty user friendly, but an experienced player can really control a game with this build.

So there you have it, all the official build archetypes of the NBA 2K League. While these are offered by the pro league as selections for each position, there are many more builds for players to use in casual settings. At the end of the day, basketball is all about finding your game and what you do well on the court, 2K is no different. Find the build that suits your skillset and proceed get buckets, rinse and repeat.