6 Best Tips For Improving Defense In NBA 2K24

There is no shame in taking a defense stance in NBA 2K24 as it allows you to carefully asses the situation and turn the tide of the match.

One cannot rule the court in NBA 2K24 relying on offense alone. Having the patience to assess the flow of all the individual members of the opposing team when the ball isn’t in your hands is 50% of the recipe for success. While it is tempting to go for the ball and the hoop the first chance you get, there is a lot more strategy involved to come out on top.

In this guide, we’ll review the six best defense tips for NBA 2K24, from reading your opponent’s patterns and selecting the right badges and settings to swapping between players and perfecting your steal timings. Read on to find out more.

1. Nail your steal timings

NBA 2k24 defense

Stealing and blocking is a defender’s bread and butter in NBA 2K24, capable of drastically shifting the game’s momentum. While you can try spamming the relevant buttons and hope to successfully steal the ball, such careless tactics are liable to a foul.

As such, you must observe your opponent and time steals when the opportunity is ripe. Try to gauge the ball handler’s dominant and weak hand and set up your position so that your dominant hand is always open to stealing.

Also, when the opposing character is in the middle of a dribble, they are more liable to having the ball stolen from them as they sacrifice ball control for more forward momentum. Also, when opponents are cornered or sufficiently under pressure, keep an eye out for any open teammates.

Most won’t be reckless enough to attempt a wild break / outmaneuver and will be looking to pass the ball on. Assess the positioning of various players and try to intercept the pass where possible. It still amounts to an educated guess despite careful calculation, but you must take the leap of faith, especially against strong opponents.

2. Read an opponent’s patterns

Many opponents in NBA 2K24 will have a set of strategies they autopilot no matter how skilled. They go for too many dribbling fake-outs on one character, will pass to only some specific members, go for a shot when backed into a corner, cannot angle their screen properly, etc.

There’s a myriad of nitty-gritty that an opponent may not apply perfectly, and it is in those cracks, you can find an opportunity to push through and either score or steal the ball back.

3. Swap between players

As the ball handler is liable to change immediately, you must be glued to them like white on rice as much as possible. Fortunately, the ‘swap player’ button does just that, allowing you to automatically switch to the player closest to the ball handler when you press it.

To be good at defense in NBA 2K24, simply swapping to the closest player on a reactionary basis will only get you so far. You must make sure to predict some scenarios in advance. Look at where each of your players currently are and shortlist which are in high probability pass zones by the opponent, which of the opponent’s characters are silently worming their way into your perimeter, etc.

Swapping on a semi-proactive basis and knowing exactly which player to expect to swap into will help you keep the momentum going even better and eventually even let you steal the ball.

4. Improve your shot block timings

NBA 2k24 defense

When the paint is compromised and you are down to your last line of defense in NBA 2K24, panicking is the worst thing you can do. The main thing you need to worry about is the character taking the shot and intercepting that shot.

The ordeal may seem impossible to most, but by relying on visual cues, you can reduce your chances of jumping too early out of pressure and time your jump to intercept the opponent’s shot/dunk, denying them the score. Focus on their body motion and the split moment they end up airborne. You’ll still have a bit of a leeway for block timing.

Of course, this is a reaction-heavy tactic. Still, it is all the more rewarding if you invest in it since your interior defense will shoot up dramatically and frustrate the opponent, making them more liable to take big risks and lose control of the ball.

Of course, NBA 2K24 comes with a few different controls than the previous entry. While the general concept of On-ball and off-ball defense controls in NBA 2K24 remains the same (i.e., control layout when you have the ball in your possession and when you don’t), a few new options are available. These are:

On-Ball Defense Controls

Move PlayerLeft Stick
Hands Up / Shot ContestRight Stick Up
CoachingDirectional Pad
Double TeamLeft Bumper
Intense-DLeft Trigger
Intentional FoulBack Button
SprintRight Trigger
PauseMenu Button
Icon PassRight Bumper
Block / ReboundY
Take ChargeB
Player Swap (Closest to Ball)A
Onball StealRight Stick Down
Hands Out LeftRight Stick Left
Hands Out RightRight Stick Right

Off-Ball Defense Controls

Move PlayerLeft Stick
Deny BallRight Stick
Player SwapA
Take ChargeB
Block / ReboundY
Post EngageLeft Trigger
SprintRight Trigger

5. Dial in your defensive settings

Another great way to play defensively is by tweaking and experimenting with the defensive settings in NBA 2K24. You’ll want to tweak the Coach Game plan settings within the MyTeam section of the game. below, we’ve given the best defensive settings, but feel free to experiment and switch them around according to your preference

On Ball PressureTight
Off Ball PressureTight
Force DirectionAutomatic
On Ball ScreenAutomatic
HedgeSoft Hedge
On Ball Screen (Center)Automatic
Hedge (Center)Automatic
Stay AttachedAutomatic
Off Ball ScreenGo Over
Post¾ Top
Double Team PerimeterManual
Double Team PostManual
Switch Rules Off BallSwitch Guards
Screen Help RulesNo Help
Drive Help RulesNo Help
Outer Help RulesNo Help
Extend PressureAutomatic
Double Hand OffAutomatic
Down ScreenGo Over
Back ScreenGo Over
Flare ScreenGo Over
Transition DefenseNo Threes

6. Pick the right badges for your build

NBA 2k24 defense

Badges significantly alter the way your player functions on the court. If you’re a defensive player, plan your build and badges around a defensive playstyle. Below is a list of some of the best defensive badges in NBA 2K24 and what they do.

AnchorPrevents the opponent team from landing any balls into the basket
ChallengerHelps you go up against the best perimeter shooters by increasing your well-timed contest effectiveness
GloveAllows you to safely steal the ball from the ball handler
ClampsLets you land a successful bump on your opponent.
Brick WallBoosts your screen effectiveness

Ali Hasan is writer at SegmentNext.com with a deep love for immersive action role-playing games and well-crafted narratives. His weapons of choice include controllers and keyboards.