The NBA 2K franchise’s MyCareer mode is moving in a more theatrical direction, but on-the-court dominance will always be its main focus. To that end, it’s time for the latest installment in GamesBeat’s annual NBA 2K guide series, NBA 2K17: A New Hope.

NBA 2K17 changed up MyCareer creation quite a bit with the reintroduction of player archetypes (slasher, lockdown defender, etc.), changes to the progression system, and a major overhaul to your player’s off-the-court life. Don’t be scared, rookies, we’ll get through this together.

If you missed last year’s guide or its predecessors, here’s a quick rundown of how this works: I take you through the creation and progression process of your MyCareer player step-by-step until you reach an all-star caliber level, you’re on your own. I play on the second-highest difficulty (the highest setting makes your teammates too terrible) with 12-minute quarters, offensive playcalling set to auto, and play diagrams set to full (meaning it shows you exactly where to stand and move).

This is the first year NBA 2K has allowed us to create an honest-to-goodness stretch big, a power forward or center that prefers to shoot from far away (think the Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki). In previous editions, players had to cheat the system to create this increasingly popular archetype by building a tall small forward and placing him on a team with a whole at power forward.

As it is the stretch big’s first year of 2K existence, this guide will show you how to create a big man capable of punishing defenses from every spot on the court. Here is a spoiler-free guide to creating a dominant power forward.

Creation

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Above: Lowering wingspan increases shooting attributes with few drawbacks.

Image Credit: 2K Sports

Create a power forward, and select the stretch big archetype. You could create a center, but having a tough rebounder inside the paint while you bomb threes is much easier. Most power forwards shoot from three-point range in today’s NBA, so creating a center would mean all five of your players will be fighting for open three-point space with no one inside.

Set your height to around 6 feet, 11 inches. Taller height has a negative impact to many key stats, but a character this big will be able to rebound and block shots with little skill point investment. Keep your weight at around 250 pounds and drop your wingspan a few inches to increase shooting and athletic attributes, which will be your most important as you go forward.

The college you select really doesn’t matter, as you will be able to mow through anyone at this stage. If it really matters to you, make sure the college you select doesn’t have an NBA-bound power forward.

Progression

Your core attributes are, in order: 3-point shooting, agility, midrange shooting, and shoot off the dribble. The 3-point shooting trumps everything. Race to get your three-point attributes to 70, which will allow you to make a decent amount of open threes.

After that, level up each stat a few clicks, as the first few upgrades are pretty cheap. Then prioritize agility, which will allow you to get open more often. Move on to mid-range shooting and off-the-dribble, which will help your overall shooting.

Playmaking and rebounding are your lowest priorities. Playmaking doesn’t matter to a big guy, who shouldn’t be dribbling or making too many passes. Rebounding isn’t necessary because your height and (hopefully) your ability to press the jump button at the right time will allow you to gobble 20-plus boards with ease.

Earning badges (upgrades that you can’t buy) is different in NBA 2K17. You will only be able to upgrade a handful, which depend on your archetype. For the stretch big, they are all shooting-related. Make a lot of threes, and you will unlock them. Once you unlock the bronze versions, upgrade them to gold immediately.

As far as practices, skip all team drills by pressing options/start or selecting “no” when asked to perform one. These are a waste of time. Head straight for the weight room, and do the vertical jump or the agility ladder. These are quick and easy to gain gold ratings on. Two or three of these drills will get you maximum “doin’ work” points, which raises the total number of upgrades your player can buy (meaning his maximum skill ceiling).

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Above: Your attributes should look something like this by about 20 games in.

Image Credit: 2K Sports

Playing the games

We arrived at the most important section: Playing the games.

Unlike my previous guides for slashers, which still dominate in 2K17, the stretch big takes a bit of patience. It will be tough until you can get your long-range shooting statistics up to a respectable level.

Your main goal is simply to create open shot opportunities for your player. You can do this in a few ways.

Running pick-and-roll plays is the easiest way. Walk your big guy up to the ball carrier and press the screen button (Circle for PS4) while standing next to the player guarding him. Your teammate should run the opposite direction, causing his defender to bump into you. Your defender will likely start guarding the ball carrier, allowing you to either sprint toward the basket or take a few steps away from the ball to an open area behind the 3-point line.

Another option is what I call the Reggie Miller, as the former Indiana Pacer great always did this. Your defender will be between you and the basket once you cross the halfcourt line. Walk directly into him. Your player should start pushing him towards the basket, and your controller should start vibrating like crazy. When you get close to the basket, slam the sprint button and run the opposite direction — away from the basket and towards the three-point line. Your player should push the defender slightly and get some separation. Call for the ball and shoot it immediately. If you hesitate to press the shot button, your defender will make up the ground and likely block your shot.

Finally, look to score in transition. This means sprinting across the court when your team gets a rebound or a turnover on defense. Run straight down the center of the court, which will cause the defenders to bunch up in the middle, then slam that sprint button and move to the far sides of the court. Call for a pass, and you should have a quick look at a corner three.

Story mode/off-the-court notes

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Above: Justice Young, left, is the mostly non-playable character who teams up with your player in the MyCareer story mode.

Image Credit: 2K Sports

As NBA 2K17’s version of MyCareer involves a lot of off-the-court gameplay, here are a few tips.

  • Make friends with Justice, the main supporting character, as fast as possible. Do this by going to all of the practices you can in the beginning and selecting the humble speech choices. Your player and Justice will eventually form a bond that gives you both attribute bonuses.
  • Do the same for the strength trainer. You befriend him in the same way Justice is, but you trigger the relationship by going up to him during mandatory team practices and standing next to him. Don’t press any buttons, and the interactions will trigger.
  • You don’t need to go to all of the red open practices. I find that one out of every three gets you where you need to go. You do, however, need to go to every blue mandatory team practice. If you don’t, you will lose playing time.
  • Prioritize endorsements over the friendly hangout options. Endorsements yield in-game currency and take no time, while hangouts don’t really do anything.

That’s all I have. Making guides is by no means an exact science, so feel free to post any additions or alterations in the comment section.

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