Tips & tricks beginner’s guide

Learning the dark arts to a sports game that you need to be successful can be a long and stressful road, and NBA 2K20 is no different.

If you’ve played any of the previous titles before, there isn’t much you need to know. However, if you are a complete novice, the range of game modes, challenges and controls can make it a tricky game initially.

Here’s RealSport’s beginner’s guide to NBA 2K20, including everything you need to know when playing 2K for the first time.

Where do you start?

As with any sports title, the ideal way to start is to familiarize yourself with the controls. Our complete controls guide has everything you need to know, but the best place to practice these controls in 2K20 is hitting the courts in 2KU.

2KU has five different game modes, namely:

  • Training Game – This is the best mode to begin, it offers a range of tutorials, including shooting, dribbling and passing, etc. This gives players the opportunity to hit the gym and learn each of the basic skills with no competition.
  • Freestyle – This mode sticks players in the court to practise those moves that you have honed. You can also learn your Hot Zones in the freestyle court, which will teach you which players shoot best from where.
  • Scrimmage – This is the first mode where you will come up against an opposition, playing in a traditional 5v5 format. Losing in scrimmage isn’t the worst thing though, it is an opportunity to practise your defending and continue to learn those all important Hot Zones.
  • Practice Plays- This mode gives the user the opportunity to learn pre-set plays, both on offense and defense. You can also watch the CPU run the plays for you so you can see how it’s done. This is one way to quickly level up your play.

Controls and Tips – A full rundown of all of the controls in the game can be found here.

READ MORE: How to shoot the perfect 3-pointer

Basic Basketball Rules

  • Shots made outside the arc are worth 3-points, inside the arc are worth 2, foul shots are worth 1 point;
  • Excessive physical contact with an opponent can lead to a foul;
  • Your team has 24 seconds to take a shot once taking over possession of the ball;
  • Once you pass the mid-court line, you cannot take the ball back across it;
  • You must keep the ball within the outside lines of the court;
  • Game consists of four quarters of play

Quick Play/Play WNBA

Once you have mastered your controls and feel comfortable in 2KU, the next port of call is to play an actual game.

There are two modes that we would advise for your first match. QuickPlay or Play WNBA.

These two game modes allow you to choose your team and your opposition, either from the NBA roster in the Quick Play mode, or the WNBA in Play WNBA.

There is a whole range of teams to choose from, from present day to the all-time greats. Being able to choose your opposition means the game can be as laid back or competitive as you want. It’s the most laid-back game mode for new players.

Picking your settings before this first match is important too, as you need to ensure that the difficulty you pick matches your skill level. There are five game difficulty choices.

  • Rookie
  • Pro
  • All-Star
  • Superstar
  • Hall of Fame

We advise you start with Rookie and work your way up, however if you feel more confident you can start at Pro or All-Star.

READ MORE: NBA 2K20 Review: MyCAREER has the best story you’ll play this year


Another good mode when starting out is BlackTop. There are five options when selecting your match set-up:

  • One vs One
  • Two vs Two
  • Three vs Three
  • Four vs Four
  • Five vs Five

You can select the players which you want on your team from the whole of the NBA database. Whether it be building your dream team or practising with players who you might want to add to your MyTEAM side, BlackTop is a great place to practice your skills.

Playing Online

There are a whole load of different online game modes for players who prefer to take their game against those around the world. The two main modes being Play Now Online and MyTEAM.

Play Now Online

Play Now Online is so simple. It’s the exact same as playing against the computer except you will come up against someone online rather than the CPU.

READ MORE: NBA 2K20: Which edition should you buy?

You will be paired up with players on a similar skill level to yourself. Starting in the Freshman League, players work their way up the division by winning matches, suffering relegation if you fall out of form. This makes for fair and competitive matchups.

There is also a tier system. Players select their team from one of three tiers, with each tier containing teams of a similar quality, again this is done to make matchups fair.


MyTEAM however, is a lot more complicated. As a player, you have control of your entire team, from your choice of playbook to players, build your team from scratch as you attempt to turn it into a Championship winning setup.

It takes some work though, it’s not as simple as just picking five great players and sending them out on the court. You will have to play around with the different play styles and players that you unlock along the way, to see which best suits your style and which will help you pick up the most wins.

Whilst MyTEAM is classed as an online game-mode, there are also single player modes available. So whilst you are beginning and learning the ropes, it might be worthwhile taking on the computer, to work your way up the ranks.

The weekly challenges are a really important feature too. Completing these challenges will help players earn a range of rewards, helping to improve their squad.


MyCareer in NBA 2K20 is a must play game-mode. Create your player from scratch and take them from the streets to NBA as you work your way through the incredible storyline mode. 

This is another game-mode where you have total control of how your career pans out. You will be given many decisions to make along the way, will you choose to go to a higher-rated team with less game time, or start at the bottom of the league and make yourself their star? The choice is yours.

Taking the advice of your manager and sponsors will favor you in terms of monetary rewards, helping you gain that all important VC as you build your player into an MVP candidate.

The storyline this year was written and produced by Spring Hill entertainment. Focusing on some serious real-life issues, the visuals and storyline is better than ever. We advise every NBA 2K20 player to delve into this mode.

READ MORE: Top 5 dunkers in NBA 2K20

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