The 30 NBA franchises offer different challenges with the Governor’s personality, available draft picks, staff, roster and market size. Regardless of what team you choose, the success of well-run franchises goes in cycles of buying, contending and rebuilding. In this guide, I will take you through each cycle to build an effective MyGM franchise, although your journey in the NBA could begin at any three of these stages:
Choose your franchise and assess your roster
Here are the set-ups for every team at the start of the 2020/2021 season in NBA 2K21 MyGM:
|Los Angeles Lakers/Los Angeles Clippers||Golden State Warriors||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Dallas Mavericks||Houston Rockets||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Denver Nuggets||Chicago Bulls||New York Knicks|
|Utah Jazz||Indiana Pacers Phoenix Suns||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Portland Trail Blazers||Washington Wizards||Detroit Pistons|
|Boston Celtics||Toronto Raptors||Charlotte Hornets|
Oklahoma City Thunder
|San Antonio Spurs|
New Orleans Pelicans
If you take over a contender, then your roster should be ready-made to fight for a championship. You probably won’t need to look for trades unless things aren’t going as planned. If you’ve chosen to join a buyer, you’ll be looking to build around particular players that are already on the team. Some teams will need more work than others; some will need to form a ‘big three’ where you’re trading for stars, while others will need better role-players or more veterans. Teams that are rebuilding need draft picks and/or cap space to sign free agents at the start of a new season. Some already have great prospects for you to build around, such as Ja Morant (Grizzlies) LaMelo Ball (Hornets).
Staff and System Proficiency
Once again, the level of your staff depends on what stage your franchise is at. If your staff’s attribute grades are below B+, then you should look to replace them. Look out for blue badges next to the staff member’s grades as they will give boosts in their position such as marketing or morale. Try to avoid red badges as they will have the opposite impact.
If you can’t find a staff option that fully fits your criteria (i.e. B+ or higher attributes with no red badges), then you should try to hire a decent candidate on a one-year contract rather than granting their request for a long-term deal (usually four years).
When hiring a head coach, you need to select one with a system that fits the players you already have or the roster that you want to build. The best systems to build upon are balanced, pace & space and seven seconds. Perimeter/post-centric, defensive and grit & grind work, but they either aren’t as balanced or difficult to build.
In the ‘coach’ menu in MyGM, you can see the team’s system proficiency, which gives a rating out of five for how well your roster fits into the coach’s style. Each player also has a meter around their icon, which shows how well they fit into the system individually. Unfortunately, you can’t see your team’s system proficiency ratings for every system when signing staff in the off-season, and you can only see your current coach’s system proficiency when pressing the right-stick down on his name.
To get an idea of how well a potential coach might fit, you can ask him about the roster and team style in the job interview before you negotiate the contract terms.
You can’t see a player’s system proficiency ratings when trading with another franchise either, and you can only see this rating when he is a free agent. This means that you’ll have to make an educated guess as to whether the player you are trading for fits into your team. Here are the attributes needed to get the best out of each system:
- Perimeter-centric: -- 3pt/mid-range shooting -- Fast and decent physicality -- Good in the pick & roll
- Post-centric: -- Big players -- Strong ‘post’ statistics -- Fadeaway shooting -- Rebounding
- Seven seconds: -- Fast players -- High IQ playmakers -- Balanced roster with big men
- Defensive: -- High defensive stats and IQ -- Balance roster with big men -- Rebounding
- Grit & grind: – Similar to the defensive system – Strong in pick & roll
When you achieve goals or complete tasks in NBA 2K21 MyGM, you earn XP to level up and unlock new skills for your career. The skill tree varies in five directions: business, scouting, players, staff and facilities.
Depending on the difficulty you’ve selected, one of the core skills will already be unlocked. Regardless of which core skill you have, you absolutely must prioritise unlocking the Trade Finder skill. This will make trading much easier, especially when quickly trading an asset at the request of your head coach.
As for the rest of the core skills, the ‘change pricing’ skill is practically useless without the ‘pricing feedback’ skill, which can be unlocked afterwards. The facilities skillset is useful for boosting fan interest and revenue, but it’s nothing exciting. The relationship trees are really important if you want to keep your job and be successful in MyGM.
The ‘chit-chat’ skills mean that you can improve your relationships with staff, players and eventually the franchise governor. However, this means that you’ll have to keep on top of your ‘chit-chat’ tasks during every game week to keep things happy around the team. This is tedious but not a huge deal.
From there, you can go about acquiring new skills however you see fit.
This is something in NBA 2K21 MyGM that isn’t very well balanced and is not very fun. But in order to keep things rolling and happy, you need to master the relationships in MyGM. I’ve already mentioned the ‘chit-chat’ skill previously, which allows you to talk to players and staff and improve your relationships with each person. This feels really pointless as you literally just spam your controller to skip through the scene.
Every week you’ll be given a meeting with a member of staff where you’ll be given the choice of praising, criticising and mocking the person. Mocking is obviously out of the question, but praise and criticism can both give a positive outcome depending on the staff member and how things are going in your organisation.
Most of the time, these meetings aren’t worth doing as sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter what you do; only a negative interaction is going to come from many of these. Instead, you should ‘chit-chat’ with the staff member and guarantee yourself a positive interaction.
The governor, staff members and even players will give you tasks to complete; some are really important, and some aren’t as big a deal. Regardless, you should try to complete as many of these as possible.
Every year you will be asked to improve the fan attendance throughout the season and keep the fans interested. The difficulty in this differs between different-sized markets. Teams in big cities will almost never have an attendance problem, while smaller markets have to work harder to keep people interested. Interest is generated by winning and good pricing. If you’re in a rebuild, then you will need to make sure that you are offering the fans a fair deal to watch a team that won’t make the playoffs.
You’ll also get asked to trade assets by the Governor or Head Coach. This is usually for low-rated assets, but sometimes a coach will demand a trade for one of your star players. You’ll have to make a big decision on what direction your franchise is going in the coming seasons. Most of the time, if a coach and player are both happy and fit into the system, this won’t happen, so you’ll need to manage these things to keep the roster at its best.
If you manage to win three games in a row, your governor will ask you to extend the winning streak to eight games. This is very difficult, especially if you are simulating through games instead of playing them. Therefore, if you are not confident in going on an eight-game winning streak, then don’t even meet with the governor for this task unless you are on seven wins in-a-row.
Press conferences are not avoidable, and you’ll need to pay attention to the questions being asked. Some answers have an upside and a downside, while the correct answers for a positive relationship impact are pretty obvious. This isn’t a huge deal but try to pay attention to keep things positive.
Making money is an important part of your job as an NBA 2K GM. Making more money means that you can hire better staff, sign better players and make even more money through sponsorships and fan interest.
Setting prices for tickets, concessions, parking and merchandise is a delicate balancing act. One of the core skills unlockable is to change the franchise pricing, which then unlocks the ability to buy the skill, which allows you to see the fans’ opinion on the pricing. This determines the level of sales and attendance for each game, so try not to fiddle with the pricing until you’ve unlocked the pricing feedback skill. When setting the prices with the feedback, try to find the highest possible price while maintaining a green marker next to the price. This means that the fans feel that they’re getting a great deal which results in a huge amount of sales while making the most money possible.
Also, make sure to get as many sponsorships as possible. It’s a very easy set-up with sponsors – the bigger the franchise, the bigger the profit. Get as many as you can and balance the profit between concessions, advertising and merchandise.
Now, if you manage to develop a good team that contends for a championship or take over a contender in the beginning, then there will come a point where the team needs to rebuild. However, you don’t actually need to trade for bad players or take risks with draft picks in NBA 2K21 MyGM.
Instead, trade your high-rated players who are ageing and on big contracts for high-ranking draft picks on the off-season and not during the previous season. If you wait to see who gets which pick, you’ll be able to guarantee yourself a high-ranking pick for your valuable assets instead of taking such a high risk.
Trading your biggest contracts is essential for building an unstoppable dynasty in NBA 2k21 MyGM. Trading for a bunch of 1st round draft picks means that you’ll get good young prospects on cheap contracts, making room for big contracts to sign in free agency.
This leaves you with strong senior players (probably not superstars but probably an all-star or two) supplemented by youngsters with good to huge potential. A few years later and you’ll have top players with so many years left in their career, while you’ll also have the right to go over the wage cap at the end of their rookie contracts. Then, you can begin the cycle again and again and keep your franchise contending year after year.
NBA 2K21 MyGM is a game of balancing acts, intelligent trading, relationships and business. It’s difficult to win an NBA Championship when rebuilding a team, but it’s a great project to enjoy and a great challenge to build a championship-winning team before rebuilding and/or maintaining a great team.
Make sure you keep your relationships and interactions positive and trade intelligently. Running the business well helps massively and makes life much easier for you; keep the pricing on that sweet-spot and make sure the fans are always interested.