NBA 2K has returned, and once again players of all shapes and sizes are flocking to compete in The Neighbourhood. 2K has been keen to introduce a skill gap this year to set differently skilled players apart, and it has made the online experience more challenging. It’s harder to shoot, harder to score, and overall, harder to dominate. But that does not mean it is impossible to have success on one of the game’s most fun modes! Getting wins on the park is just a matter picking the best badges in NBA 2K21.
Badges allow you to select and improve the abilities most suited to your play style. While the best fitting ones are largely subject to the personal preferences of each player, there are some badges that suit a wide variety of builds and come in handy no matter the position of your player.
So, no matter what build you’re running with, if you want to learn what are the best badges in NBA 2K21, look no further. We all know that it is a grind to earn badges, costing many, many hours of repetitive MyCareer games. You can’t afford to waste valuable upgrades on the wrong stuff, so here are the best three badges in NBA 2K21 in each category for playing on The Neighbourhood.
Scoring is harder in The Neighbourhood this year, and that unfortunately means that lay ups are not the guaranteed points that they used to be. This badge is therefore essential in order to help compensate for the higher degree of difficulty for finishing off those easy buckets. It ensures that you make more easy lay ups by reducing the effect that poorly-timed releases have on your shot. It means you can get used to the new, harder shooting timings whilst not paying the price so much with consistent and frustrating misses. Easy twos can, once again, be easy!
Much like Consistent Finisher, this badge helps you secure easy points. Contact Finisher improves your player’s ability to make lay ups and dunks when in traffic, a must-have ability when playing online. It is almost impossible to get a 100% clean lay up or dunk in The Neighbourhood, as there is always some defender covering the paint. There are no foolish AI defenders like on MyCareer, and fastbreak points are not going to be enough for you to consistently win. You have to be able to beat defenders when playing online, so being able to finish with bodies around you is essential.
Little guys, this one’s for you. The most infuriating thing for guards is the inability to get into the paint and score. Larger players have an obvious advantage there, so small players need help getting points close to the basket like Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard do in real life. This badge, in boosting the effectiveness of lay ups against taller defenders, evens that playing field. It couples well with Contact Finisher and gives smaller players that inside option when on the attack, as well as helping centres out-do taller match ups.
Catch and Shoot
Without a doubt, this is one of the best badges in NBA 2K21. If not in 2K history! This badge boosts the chance of making a shot immediately after a catch, and that is invaluable when it comes to games in The Neighbourhood. Creating your own shot in online matches is possible, but it doesn’t offer even half as many opportunities as a simple catch and shoot scenario. For wings that sit on the three-point line, or even bigs that can shoot the mid-range, catch and shoot situations offer the best opportunities to score jumpers, so this badge is cannot be ignored!
Online gameplay is fast, and defenders are quick to punish slow players. As previously mentioned, catch and shoot situations are the best bet players have for making jumpshots, but even then it isn’t easy. Good defenders can read a play and close out even the fastest shooter, which reduces their chance of making the shot. But this badge can help with that. By reducing the impact of an incoming defender on your jumpshot, Deadeye helps stop your player from skewing their shot, and increases the time window in which your player effectively shoots as if they are open. Just like with Catch and Shoot, this badge is a frequent help.
2K veterans may raise an eyebrow to this one. Flexible Release has a bit of a bad reputation for being a largely ineffective badge, but that seems to have changed. Players are reporting that the badge has a much greater benefit this year, making it a very good thing to upgrade. It reduces the impact of poorly timed releases on your shot, and that can be very helpful when getting to grips with the new shooting. The margin for error in The Neighbourhood has never been slimmer, and anything that closes the gap between hitting and missing shots is invaluable.
The definition of a great playmaker is someone who makes others better, and that is what this badge is all about. Dimer increases the chance of open teammates making their shot when you pass to them. A true team-first badge, this ability not only increases your assist total, but helps your teammates overcome the new shooting challenges. It can help a struggling shooter make a few shots, or make a sniper even more deadly, and those extra buckets can be the difference between winning and losing in The Neighbourhood.
No game is perfect, and that certainly applies to NBA 2K21 when it comes to steals. More than any other way, players often find themselves losing possession because of a steal, and it is far too often the result of an accidental bounce off the arm or leg of an opponent. It’s usual sudden, without logical cause, and is incredibly frustrating. But this badge can help. Unpluckable reduces the chance of an opponent stealing the ball from you, and that lower probability of the ball dropping from your hands, either by design or sheer chance, can help prevent points being scored against you in transition.
Not all badges are flashy and good-looking, and no ability better reflects that fact than Bail Out. By increasing the chances of successfully completing a pass from mid-air, this ability doesn’t appear to be very appealing, but it can really make a huge difference in a close game. When you pull up for a shot and a fast approaching defender makes you second guess the decision, the pass from mid-air that your player will make will be wild and inaccurate. The ball will fly through the air, most likely missing your friends and giving possession straight to the other team. This badge makes these snapshot passes more likely to go to a teammate, and acts as a form insurance for you in case your desired play goes wrong. It may be slept on, but this is secretly one of the best badges in NBA 2K21.
Even if they aren’t scoring, off-ball players can help secure points thanks to Brick Wall. This badge not only increases the effectiveness of screens set for teammates, but it also makes them drain energy from opponents trying to get around them. This means your team have a less energetic defence to score against, and also makes the other team slower on their next attack. They will need to regain the stamina required to be effective, so you have time to set up properly for their offence. It’s a badge that offers something on both ends of the court, so you can’t go wrong.
The increased difficulty of shooting has only been described as a problem so far. Thanks to this badge, however, it can be used to your advantage. Intimidator causes opponents to miss shots more often when you are defending them, and with shooting being as difficult as it is, this can lead to more stops for your team. It is effectively the opposite badge to Deadeye, meaning that even if they have that badge equipped, you are still having an impact as a defender. More misses means more chances for you to score, too, so you gain something offensively as well.
No shot is more likely to go in than an open one. The logical defensive tactic, then, is to not let your opponent get open, and that is aided by this badge. By boosting the ability to stay in front of the ball handler on the perimeter, Clamps helps you to stay with your defender as they are doing dribble moves. It helps prevents them from getting open, and thus getting open shots. The badge helps counteract the dribble badges that help players shake off their defenders, and also gives the hidden boost of keeping other defensive badges in play. Intimidator, for example, has optimised potential if you stay in front of your opponent, as you stay in a position where you can interrupt their shot. Clamps is a must-have badge for any proud defenders looking to make their mark in The Neighbourhood.