top of page

NBA 2K Game Mode Epics

I wrote the following document to highlight my vision for bringing back the game mode that was the backbone of the NBA 2K franchise. .I'm a fan of all sports franchise modes and I like to design improvements to the franchise mode concept. One of my favorite games is NBA 2K. This is very detailed because it is revamping the entire structure of the game mode so this is a very long document. Please read the other examples of the Marketing and Agile Stories based on this document.



An Odd Cover Letter

I’ve been a fan of the NBA 2K series since ‘09 and have faithfully purchased every iteration of the game. Now as a Product Manager, I’d like to contribute to the continued success of the franchise and support the needs of the community. Instead of the typical resume cover letter, I decided to highlight my interest by displaying my love affair with 2K sports in a creative and detailed way. This is why I’m giving you insight into my strategic vision of NBA2K.


I have opinions, research, and ideas for many of the game modes in NBA2K for this exercise I would like to focus on 1. For years NBA2K’s franchise mode has been under-developed despite being a traditional big draw for other sports franchises. I’ve used my Product Management skills to build a strategic product roadmap of what the revamp of the mode would look like. I organized my roadmap with 3 epics. All of the new and refactored feature work that would need to be completed will tie back to the epics. Some of the input I give will no doubt already be present in the game but if it is written here then it is not immediately apparent to users that it exists, which is a problem.


Please understand that this is a strategic vision and would still require technical analysis and user research around these concepts before full implementation.


Some Pertinent Research questions:

How many people spend the majority of their game time in franchise mode?

If 2K’s priority is to make money from micro-transactions can that be worked into franchise mode? (I have various ideas on this but first, assumptions will need to be tested)


Understand why several bugs went without attention for the entire season of NBA2K22. I’m anticipating that there is a constraint here such as prioritizing micro-transactions or enhancing other game modes based on user feedback and activity.


Technical considerations:

I need to acknowledge that many of these improvements will have a significant lift. I’m working on an MVP of some of these concepts to implement them over time into smaller chunks.

I assume that un-associating some values that are already being used in the game to prompt some sort of system behavior will have to be disassociated. With that, the changes proposed will rely heavily on values, statistics, and user actions being associated automatically and outputs being adjusted dynamically by the application. Basically, there would be a lot of dependent architecture that would need to be amended and reconnected in different ways. This makes creating an MVP on some of the larger concepts a larger chunk of technical work that will have a further-reaching application across all game modes.


Despite this being surely the longest cover letter you’ve ever seen, I hope that you find this strategic vision intriguing and thought-provoking. And hopefully, it provides you insight into my passion for 2K Sports, the NBA 2K franchise, and my love of Product Management!


Summary of Epics

Create opportunities for gamesmanship with other teams in the game. There should be increased competition across the league. Understanding your market and constraints as well as your strengths as a franchise is critical to creating your competitive niche.


Promoting growth in every fascist of the game. The NBA is an ever-evolving league where players are getting better & teams are getting smarter. If you don’t evolve in the NBA you lose.


Connecting users with the league and increasing transparency of franchise goals, team motivations, and happenings in the league. People follow the NBA in several ways and through several mediums. This is how fans learn about the league and learn about the players and teams as they evolve.


Gamesmanship Epic

Franchises have goals.

Their goals inform their strategy. The realities of their franchise are their constraints.


Team Owners / Team Owner Boards Goals (yes some teams have an ownership board)

Owners have goals that are set in a prioritized and quantified order. The following 8 ownership goals are ranked by every team’s ownership and will also change ranking over time. These are usually slow to change and changes are triggered when the team’s top priority items are being met year after year. The goals are as follows:


Marquee Players - The desire to increase franchise value

Bring in Revenue - Making money for the owner or board of owners

Team Culture - Sticking to team values (more on this when we talk about chemistry)

Win NBA Titles - The ultimate goal but for some franchises they obviously (privately) don’t care

Playoff Appearances - Just happy to make the playoffs

Build for Future - Investing heavily in G-League and Draft talent

Build a Loyal Fan Base - Pleasing the fans to gain a loyal following

Continuity of Franchise - Keeping current talent and coaching. Doesn’t change priorities as

quick as other teams


Goals - are a franchises motivation (the why behind the madness) Knicks and Spurs examples:


New York Knicks 1) Marquee Players 2) Bring in revenue 3) Team culture 4) Playoff Appearances 5) Win NBA Titles 6) Build a loyal fan base 7) Continuity of franchise 8)Build for Future


Vs


San Antonio Spurs 1) Team culture 2) Win NBA Titles 3) Playoff Appearances 4) Build a loyal fan base 5) Continuity of franchise 6) Build for Future 7) Marquee Players 8) Bring in revenue


Goals Inform Their Strategy.


Franchise Strategy

A means to achieve franchise goals

Because of their set goals, teams will prioritize decisions differently. Again this will change depending on how often you are meeting these goals. Also, teams with high Continuity of Franchise aspirations will change goals and therefore strategy at a much slower rate. Examples based on the Knicks and Spurs' Goals:


New York Knicks Strategy

Will favor spending Max salaries in Free Agency for 1 or 2 players vs spreading money around to build a solid roster.


Will favor players with big names and marketability over overall ratings. For example, won’t gamble on a Luka Doncic in the Draft, but would rather engage in recruiting Lebron James in free agency.


Will look to draft big marketable names in the draft when they have a high 1-16 pick. Uses lower-round 17 and below picks to fill holes in their roster.


Will tune financials to capitalize off of the large New York market (raising prices). Spends more on promotion and marketing of the team.


Salary Cap distribution will be really heavy for big-name players and the rest of the roster is filled with bargain players and minimum contracts


Hires coaches that have big reputations and are great at handling star players vs team concept coaches.


During In-season free-agent philosophy fills gaps with bargain talent


Would like to have a marquee player on a short-term contract than have a good player on a long-term contract


Do not listen to fan/media feedback. They won’t select picks, coaches, or make trades based on fan feedback.


Does not invest in G-League talent. They won’t put a lot of stock into their G League talent, and not as many call-ups or send-downs. Won’t fund teams to get better coaching. They don’t mirror the NBA coach's philosophy in the G-League. May chose to not associate with a G-League team.


Highly values star happiness and will give them a lot of control in their franchise. Ex. Lebron says I need Dame Lillard to win. This franchise will try to move people to get Dame at any cost.


Not high on overseas draft talent and euro stash picks unless the player's marketability is extremely high.

Vs


San Antonio Spurs Strategy

Selects coaches that are team-oriented with shared scoring distributions and balanced rosters.


Will prioritize talent that falls into team coaching strategy (archetypes and personality badges).


Evenly distributes salary amongst top players and mid-level players


Priorities overall ratings vs star power


Personality and Team Chemistry really matter. They look for players who have positive personality badges.


Listens to fan/media feedback but slightly prioritizes team culture and winning first


Sets prices for a mix of fan loyalty and market size


Not afraid to take risks in drafting players with no star power but high potential. This is true for both overseas and US players. Whether they have high draft picks or not.


Invest heavily in the G-League. Mirrors the current NBA head coaches’ system. Frequently calls up and sends down players.


During in-season free agency constantly scans for players with potential. They may put them on the roster or send them straight to the D-league.


Looks for players who want long-term contracts


Doesn’t value player opinion as much, not willing to give up franchise control to players. For example, they may not listen to a star play request to trade for a player unless it makes sense for their strategy and goals.


Looks to sign players and coaches to long-term contracts.


GM Strategy

GM Strategies support the franchise goals and are specific to the talent they are recruiting on the team. The talent they are recruiting on the team is based on the team's Franchise Goals, and Team Strategy. GMs also hire coaching staff according to franchise goals. This gives the user the feeling of Franchise alignment when franchises can successfully adhere to their strategy they meet their goals and as a GM you keep your job. When Franchises are dis-aligned you find yourself in the GM carousel regardless of some of your best efforts. This explains why 1 year you can be the coach of the year and the next year you could be looking for a job. Ownership strategy will change and they will support those changes with action.


GMs - The face of the front office

When you become the GM you select a previous career path and a booster badge from that part of your career. For example, a former scout that is now a GM gives a 5% boost in accuracy to his scouting team.


Then you earn badges as you progress in your career, similar to the current GM skills point system. However, there are no more locking and unlocking actions (other than player personal training explained later in player growth). The goal of GM growth is to become a more savvy GM. You can get better at recruiting free agents, making trades, scouting, franchise marketing, etc. The gamesmanship here comes in the fact that paths are locked out so you can’t become the all-knowing GM. You will have to use your assistant GM to make up for your weaknesses or enhance your strengths.


The GM path will follow 3 specific areas Innovative GM | Calculating GM | Charismatic GM


The innovative GM gives you strength in smaller markets by finding ways to get underrated talent & keep players you already have. The calculating GM thrives in mid-markets and is an equally good recruiter and entrepreneur. The Charismatic GM works in large markets and focuses on big-money ideas and managing star player personalities. These paths are set so choose wisely. Even though I’m using typical market examples for each GM path, be careful not to limit yourself. A small market team with the right franchise strategy can definitely benefit from having a Charismatic GM.


This is more engaging because you can’t conquer the game so to speak you have to be good at your niche to make the team successful. If you understand your own strengths and weaknesses you can start a dynasty. If you don’t you may find yourself bouncing from team to team.


GMs hire Coaches….


Coach Strategy


All coaches other than the head coaches have 1 specialty. With that, you have a limited number of slots that accommodate coaches so you have to make trade-offs in hiring coaches that support your team strategy.


The head coaches have several badges exactly like the current system and they will grow and gain badges as they progress in their careers.


There are positions for 2 assistant coaches. They all have 1 specialty such as those below and a slot for 1 negative badge that is not always used. The coach's letter grade will determine how much of an effect he/she has in their specialty.


Knicks Coaching Example:


Head CoachAssistant CoachAssistant CoachPositive Badge(can have multiple negative and positive badges)Guard GuruRejuvenatorNegative Badge Short LeashCompetitor


List of badges (-) indicates that the badge is negative

Tactician

Coaching Legend

Former Player

Teacher

Clutch

Rejuvenator

(-) Competitor

Shot Doctor

Guard Guru

Wing Whisperer

Big Man Coach

Post D Master

Perimeter D Master

Our House

Mentor

Underdog Advocate

(-) Short Leash

Mind Games

Zen Master

Soft Touch

*Player’s Coach (handles star players well and keeps their morale high)

*Team Builder (urges accountability of all players and increases team chemistry)



New York Knicks example Coaching strategy


Coach's preferred system stays the same.


Coach tends to name scoring order ex. Lebron > Anthony Davis > and Westbrook


are more likely to have star-focused offensive strategy


Tendency to believe in load management for star players only


Every team identifies what their desired lineup would look like in terms of archetype per position, ex.


Starting C: Rebounder

Starting PF: Inside Scorer

Starting SF: 3 & D

Starting SG: Long Range Shot Creator

Starting PG: 3 & D

6th man: Scorer

7th man: Rebounder

8th man: Playmaker

9th man: Shooter

10th man: Shooter

11th man: Shot Blocker

12th man: Inside Scorer

13th man: Prospect

14th man: Bargain Veteran


GMs recruit towards the lineup roles but prioritize it against their highest franchise goals.

For example, the Knicks will take Stephen Curry even though he is not 3 and D because they prioritize star players above all while the spurs may take Derrick White because he fits the 3 and D archetype.


Typically a coach in this Knicks system will use a limited roster of maybe only 8 to 9 people in the rotation regularly.



VS


San Antonio Spurs example Coaching strategy


Coach's preferred system stays the same.


Coach tends to not dictate scoring order


More likely to have a specialized offensive strategy vs a star-focused or general Inside or general Outside strategy. For example, the Spurs may have a Motion strategy or Box and 1 or Triangle, etc.


Tendency to believe in load management for stars and middle-of-the-road players


Every team identifies what their desired lineup would look like in terms of archetypes per position (see Knicks Coaching example lineup above)


GMs recruit towards the lineup roles but prioritize it against their highest franchise goals.

For example, the Knicks will take Stephen Curry even though he is not 3 and D because they prioritize star players above all while the spurs may take Derrick White because he fits the 3 and D archetype.


Typically a coach in this Spurs system will use a full roster of maybe 10 to 11 people in the rotation regularly.


Scout Strategy


For Scouts you have 2 Scouting positions. Each Scout has 1 specialty and 1 negative slot available.


Scouting hires for your team should be determined based on your franchise goals again.


Scouting will be changed in this game. Scouts are good at one thing and the rating they have in that thing will return you those results depending on that rating. The scout’s rating will determine how many reports they get during a turn and how accurate they are. This is an example of what this may look like but the values would have to be adjusted for accuracy.


Scout RatingReturned attributes closeness to player actual attributes (margin of error between the actual value and what your scout values would return)Reports per tripA+5%24A6%22A-7%20B+10%18B9%16B-8%14C+15%12C16%10C-17%8D+20%6D21%4D-22%2F+30%2F31%2F-32%2



Example: You have a Blood Hound scout with a B+ rating the scout will go out each scouting trip and randomly find players with sleeper potential (more about this in player growth) and since her scouting rating is a B+ the accuracy range of here reports will be within 10% of the players' actual attribute rating and she would return 18 reports.

The second scouting slot has a Sleuth that can find prospect potential quickly and since his rating is an A + he will return 24 reports on just player potential within 5% accuracy of each prospect's actual potential rating.


Every week your scouts update your teams' scouting lists with player information that they have scouted and their names are attached to each player to identify who was responsible for the scouting of that player. However, this will give you a very limited picture of the people eligible for the draft. To get a bigger sight picture you will also have to rely on the scouting services and possibly pay the services for additional information. Your team’s scouts are customized to your plan. The bigger picture is shared across the league and with fans but you have to balance out the sources to determine what player to take.


In the scouting example above you only have a Blood Hound and a Sleuth so you will only be able to see a full attribute line of potential sleepers and several potential ratings; in this case, you would have to use the Draft Services to fill the gaps in your picture of the draft.


Conversely, you can pair a Sleuth with a Domestic Scout. The Sleuth will return the potential of players and then you can follow them up with the Domestic Scout to get more details about the high potential players. The bonus to the domestic scout is increased accuracy on North American prospects. The downside is the Domestic Scout will still be limited to their rating percentage of how accurate overseas and g-league prospects are.


Scouting Badges will need to be modified to fit this system as follows…


BloodHound (Looks specifically for sleepers and focuses on mid-major college talent and overseas prospects) (this is a specialty role that can’t be assigned to a hand-selected set of prospects so there is a risk/reward factor here. Unleashing a bloodhound may discover some primo talent in your draft pick range or may miss the mark for you if you are constantly picking in the lottery)


Sleuth (Looks at all talent on the board and unlocks only potential) (this is a specialty role that can’t be assigned to a hand-selected set of prospects so there is a risk/reward factor here. The Sleuth is a seeker of potential and will only unlock potential for every random target he finds. It will be up to you to assign the full-time scouts to go out and find more information on the player that the Sleuth uncovered A+ potential. If you don’t have another scout to assign to players you can always use the open information in Draft Services ((explained later)).


Dedicated (Avg scouting accuracy but adds more prospects per scouting trip # dependent on scouts rating)


(-) Lazy (loses 5% on accuracy but gains 2 prospects)


Domestic College scout (increase accuracy by 5% on North American prospects)


G league scout (increase accuracy by 5% on G league prospects)


Foreign scout (increase accuracy by 5% on overseas prospects)


Connoisseur (increased accuracy by 5% on projected lottery picks)


(-) Eye test (loses 10% on accuracy but gains 6 prospects)


Spelunker (Will not automatically look at draft prospects. The spelunker needs to be assigned to look at prospects with potential B- and over but is 20% more accurate with reports.) The idea here is to use a standard scout to uncover potential and send the spelunker to dig in for more accurate information. However, if you never uncover a prospect with B- accuracy, the Spelunker will get paid for no reason other than to take up 1 of your scouting slots.


Calculator (His results are tracked on a separate team-specific draft analytics list. He organizes statistical outputs and normalizes them against leagues and locations. When you click on a prospect on the team’s draft analytics list it shows an analysis of his role fit based on his stats.) Example: Bernie Greene ranks 12th in all prospects in PPG (this is a weighted avg per 36 mins on his euro league team (( meaning it is normalized with US college player stats as opposed to the draft services just showing the raw stats). Then the analysis goes on to say the scout believes his solid scoring ability is overshadowed by his rebounding, which is his best universally agreed-upon attribute. So basically, you know that his scoring is good even though the consensus says he is primarily a rebounder. That gives you the insight that other teams may not have.


The new scouting system increases gamesmanship by giving the player the ability to uncover different information than competitor franchises. You will quickly see who the best GMs in the league are. You can’t beef up your scouting team and look at every relevant player in the draft. You have to be strategic about your approach to draft day. Depending on your team's relative position you will have to have a scouting team that supports your strategy.


Similarly Medical will only have two staff slots available each staff member has 1 positive badge and 1 negative badge slot that doesn’t have to be filled


Front office will have one assistant GM with 1 positive and 1 negative badge slot and one CFO with one positive and one negative badge slot same as existing badges for both


Owner badges are removed; this is now determined by franchise goals.



The Realities of Your Franchise are Your Constraints.


Constraints and Strengths

Teams have things working against them. You have to work within your constraints to be competitive as a franchise


Knicks Constraints and Strengths

Location is a premier destination for players. Players gain fame quickly and increase their marketability quicker than in other locations.


The Knicks’ fan base is stressful because there are so many fans. Losing seasons and not paying attention to fan/media requests means fan support takes a hit quickly. If it goes too low fans will not show up to games. Winning does not cure this! Winning will help but this is the “what have you done for me lately franchise”.


The owner has deep pockets. Willing to spend a little more to get the job done. The luxury tax isn’t an issue just an expense.


Extremely short leash for a GM, you will get fired for not reaching the top franchise goals quickly.


The owners' instance of having highly marketable talent makes you sure to get fired if you go a season or two without a marquee player


Vs


Spurs Constraints and Strengths


The location is mid-level. Not a large city but not the smallest. You will gain some marketability as a player but not as much as in a large market.


The fan base is historically great. They have patients and won’t lose their patronage after a few losing seasons.


The owner has medium pockets and would prefer to keep the cost down but is willing to splurge on franchise top priorities.


Long leash for a GM you will not get fired if you are moving towards their franchise goals. For a team like this, continuity can be a high goal.


The owner’s instance of team culture can be a detractor for some talent. You may not be able to pursue a highly rated player because of negative personality badges. The Owner will let you know that the player is not welcomed and you will lose mega-cool points with your Owner or Ownership board. Coaches may rebel as well if they aren’t player-coaches.


Vs


Jazz Constraints and Strengths


The location is terrible. It's a very small place and doesn’t have the appeal of bigger markets in free agency. You have to leverage things like Hometown preferences, Team Culture preferences, and loyalty preferences to lock players in.


The fan base is loyal and knowledgeable about basketball. They will give you a longer leash and suggest things you can do that would actually help your franchise. With that, season after season without listening to fans will be a problem for you but you do have a while to get to that point.


Who knows maybe you will find a player that wants to be in their home State of Utah.


The owner wants to win so you will have a tough road.


Not only does he want to win he also has limited funds. You can figure out a way to save money in your first couple of seasons to invest in better players and staff later on. This is a feature to be covered in the Growth Epic.


These constraints will make winning consistently with the Jazz a tough feat but a welcomed challenge for those who love franchise modes.


Summary of Gamesmanship


A franchise's goals inform its strategy. The realities of their franchise are their constraints. This is the driving principle of competition in the game. Actions feel planned and consistent. There is a conscious strategic direction to build against in the game. If you don’t make the right decisions for YOUR franchise as a GM you will have a hard time succeeding. But when you get the synergy of a ‘00s Spurs, ‘90s Bulls, or ‘80s Lakers organization it is a rewarding and worthwhile experience.


Growth Epic

The NBA is dynamic. Stay ahead to stay competitive!


NBA Grows:


Rule Changes

Better layout for understanding what rules are present in the current year of the NBA. Simple on and off switches for rules. Instead of conflicting statements.


Ever-evolving All-Star Games

No two all-star games are alike; every available All-Star city has a home and away Jersey specific to the city. Each city has its court for all-star games. You can of course create your jersey and courts for each all-star game. Certain celebrities stand out in the crowd (not real celebrities but flashy clothes that highlight their status) and they rotate per game. NBA all-stars are seen on the sidelines of the Rookie game, dunk contest, and 3pt contest. Integrate the WNBA into all-star events like adding the skills challenge and a spot shooting contest with WNBA and historical NBA players. Again, these WNBA players and historical players are specific to the current all-stars that were selected in the events. Also after the first 8 years of the franchise, you can generate random WNBA talent to simulate a changing of the guard with the WNBA.


Overseas Franchise locations

Available Locations for franchises are now worldwide. Increasing travel fatigue for overseas games based on distance. And have a rule available to mitigate travel by using in-season series ex. When teams play overseas games they play all the games in that country back to back. The Spurs go to Europe and play Rome, Italy then Athens, Greece then London before going back to the states.


Sponsorships

show on the jerseys where the current sponsors on NBA jerseys are now.

For Example, if you get a marketing sponsorship by Express they should put their logo on your jersey.


More Divisions

Create your divisions as the NBA goes on. Imagine adding a division that is overseas specific or further subdividing the current divisions and rules to go along with that.


More NBA tournaments

Road to the #1 pick / Overseas Tournaments / Opening Season and Ending season tournaments with incentives associated like earning more money for your franchise budget


Expanding G-League

New franchises drive the need for new G-League affiliations. You can create your G-League team with generic uniforms that mirror what's in the G-League currently in style. You can also put a G-League showcase together and make it a media event (more on media below)


Opening NBA G-League-like clubs

Open new clubs in other countries Basketball Across Borders - The NBA already has the Europa League and Africa league. This opens up talent pools from the countries where these start.


Under 17 Olympics

Evaluate upcoming draft talent. This can be simulated and just have a stats representation in the scouting menus.


Olympics

Implement it. Have the top current NBA talent play for those teams in tournament play every 4 years. Again 7 different locations and 7 different national jersey options for each year of the Olympics again all customizable.



Owners Grow:


Owners may want to….


Relocating the franchise

Into larger markets - The ownership stays the same


Sell A franchise completely

Ownership changes and so do the franchise goals > strat > constraints


Suddenly change direction on their goal priorities (this should happen very infrequently)


Suddenly change preference on their hiring philosophies (this should happen very infrequently)


The normal progression of Franchise Goals

Let's look at how the aforementioned Knicks goals may change over time. Notice that the changes are driven by the current state of the franchise and recent franchise history. It makes sense because of what the franchise is going through. Cause and Effect, not randomness.


Knicks Franchise Goal Progression

Starting StateChangeFuture State1) Marquee Players Knicks acquire a Marquee player from NY with a home state preference. He stars for the team and is in his 2nd year of a 4-year (long-term contract)

  1. Playoff Appearances

2) Bring in revenueMerchandise sales are up for the last 2 years coinciding with the star player's arrival money is flowing in.

  1. Marquee Players

3) Team CultureWe have built a culture to support star players and have had minimum negative chemistry effects over the last two years.

  1. Win NBA Titles

4) Playoff AppearancesWe still fell short of the playoffs despite having a better record the last two years

  1. Team Culture

5) Win NBA TitlesWe are far away from winning a title but the playoffs are in range.

  1. Bring in Revenue

6) Build a loyal fan baseOur fans are very fickle we don’t want to chase fan support

  1. Build a loyal fan base

7) Continuity of FranchiseWe need to make some changes to get us into the playoffs but not too many changes.

  1. Continuity of Franchise

8) Build for FutureWe want to strike while the iron is hot. We will save the development for a rebuild.

  1. Build for the Future



GMs Grow:


GMs may want to……


Copycat

Follows the formula of another successful franchise after a dynasty is created (the NBA is a copycat league) For instance: GSW wins 3 championships by consistently being in the top 5 of 3 pt attempts. Now a GM may want to follow that mold; this pushes the league to evolve in what players are valued. Cause and Effect


GMs Quit

Go to a franchise that has a larger budget and quit their current franchise

Go to a franchise where they have fewer constraints from the GM


GMs Gain Badges

(System called out under GM Strategy above)


Players Grow


Marketability

Players have a transparent marketability rating they earn marketability by playing in specific markets and their growth rate is dictated by the market. G-League extremely low, Overseas very low, NBA variable by franchise example Cleveland extremely low > LA extremely high


Marketability rate of growth is also partially determined by personality. Market potential, low, medium, high.


Certain player badges come with an increased marketability rating for example flashy passer, lob city finisher, ankle breaker, circus threes, etc. This will play into your fans' entertainment rating


The marketability growth rate is also increased by playing for home-state teams


Homestate and Path to NBA

All NBA players have a Home State and a Path to the NBA (College, Overseas, G-League) for example a player may have a home state of Georgia but Played for UNC before the NBA. A player that prefers to play in a home state will want to play for a team in Georgia.


Marquee Players

The most marketable and highest rated players become Marquee Players. They have special badges and their requests matter a lot.


Generating Rookies and Overseas Players

There should be a distribution rule on the level of players per their Path to the NBA example


Large historically great basketball colleges (UNC, Duke, Kentucky) the pedigree gives them increased marketability and the media usually leans into their ratings as a prospect (even though their actual ratings may not be better than others in the draft) They generally have a lower bust probability


Mid-level basketball colleges could run the range of ratings. They are not as marketable as big college players and don’t get as much media attention. Runs the gambit of bust probability from high to low and needs to be evaluated carefully. (This is where the winning and losing NBA franchises are made)


Small college players are typically lower in the range of ratings but there are some gems with extremely high potential sprinkled in. (as a strategy you could focus on a specific rating on a specific skill and try to find a high potential player to develop)


Overseas Players: Run the gambit of ratings and marketability. They are more of a wild card and the draft and stash can make them even more of a mystery. (slightly higher bust probability)


G-League: There should be an ignite G league team that has only draft prospects and they are like the Overseas players but generally more marketable than overseas players. (slightly higher bust probability )


High School Players: only when allowed by league rules: High bust probability runs the range of marketability and initial attribute ratings


Where players come from look and feel

adding realistic randomness to draft


Homestate can be different from your Path to the NBA. Example

A player is from Georgia but because of NBA rules decided to play in China

He will have an American name, American appearance, a home state of Georgia, and a path to the NBA of China


If a player's Homestate is China and their Path to the NBA is China

They should have a Chinese name and look Chinese


If a player has a Homestate of China but their Path to the NBA is Duke

They should look Chinese and have a Chinese name


Overseas players can have a home state preference but obviously can never scratch that need until there is an NBA franchise in their home country


For the Olympics, players are allowed to play for their home state teams, for example, all of the China home state NBA players are put on the Chinese roster whether they are NBA players, Free Agents, G-League, or some other league. This may or may not include some of the top-rated Chinese players in the league. So you may have a Chinese player that is rated 86 missing from the Chinese Olympic team because he declined the invite. The same is true with the USA's top-rated players. Now for some countries, this would not happen, specifically countries with generally low-rated player pools.



Motivating factors

Players have motivating factors such as…


Playing for a hometown team, influencing team decisions, winning, money, increasing marketability, positive team culture, long-term contracts, short-term contracts, player development, coaching aspirations, GM aspirations, Scouting aspirations, media aspirations (do away with all of the current systems and use these). Keep in mind your Marquee Players will have tremendously stronger needs from this list and depending on how much you cater to stars will determine how you should handle these.


These are dictated by the player's rating, starting personality, and marketability.


Note: Hometown teams for players also extends to the bordering states for that team. For example, if a player's Homestate is Utah then he factors in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Idaho as his Homestate teams. This does not work the same way for overseas players; they are only concerned with their home country specifically.


Players have changing motivations based on where they are in their careers.


Example of player growth:

Starting point:

A marquee player will be more likely to have the traits of Winning and influencing team decisions as their top wants


a top NBA draft pick or a star player will be more likely to have the traits of influencing team decisions, and money as their top wants


A mid-level NBA draft pick or a starter player could have a mix of positive team culture and winning or long-term contract as their top wants


A low-level NBA prospect is likely to have long-term contracts, player development or increased marketability as their top want.


At their Mid Career Point

A top NBA player may want to win or coach for the franchise after or play for a hometown team


A mid-level player might want to be a GM later or increase marketability


A low-level player might want to focus on money or long-term contracts


A veteran might want to focus on coaching aspirations or marketability for media aspirations


At the end of their career


A former marquee NBA player may want to win if they haven’t won a ring already or play for a home state or be a coach or the best money offered.



Skills Grow


A player’s skill growth is determined by the personal growth rate (potential rating), team investment, personal training, franchise level, and minutes played (ie G-League or NBA)


Personal Growth

The personal growth rate is inherent to their character potential D- > A+


Team Investment

Their team investment is the combination of in-season training off-season training, G-league investment rates (how much franchises put into training G-league players) This cost money to the teams that could be used to support other initiatives. Paying for a better G-league coaching staff has better outcomes. (you don’t select G-league coaching by hand but you do invest money into them)


The team investment gives specific ratings more of a boost than others for example if the player is a center and the preferred centers in the coaching plan are great rebounders then they will progress in rebounding faster both while on the NBA roster and on a G-League affiliated roster if that franchise is heavily invested in their G League team. This should be solely dependent on these factors and can not be changed to have an individualized plan because that increases the gamesmanship of the game. You need to have a training strategy that aligns with your Franchise Goals and GM/Coaching strategies.


Personal Training

Personal training is an individual investment in their development; this is where that player can influence their actual growth in individual ratings. The effect here should be minimal and only evidenced in attribute growth from the off-season into the next season. Consider a badge for Personal Training Junkie (formerly Gym Rat): these players grow at a higher rate in the off-season. The only way for a GM or Coach to influence this is to get an excellent relationship with that player. However, there will be no conversations with players in the game. As a GM your actions speak louder than your words and meeting players' needs will increase your relationship with that players. No pointless chit-chat.


Franchise Level (where you play)

Lastly, a player's franchise level will affect the growth rate percentage.

The attributes affected in the NBA and G League will be determined by the team's archetype selections for the position/role they are playing in. This can not be changed to individually meet players' needs. So you have to be specific about who you want to develop and how. Now a team's G-League affiliate can have different archetypes desired than the NBA team.

Example:


NBA starters' highest percentage of growth x% per every 36 mins played

NBA bench second-highest percentage

G League lowest percentage x% per every 36 mins played

Overseas varies by league. Euros may be high but China may be low but no league is bigger than the NBA starter or bench.

Olympic-selected players get a special boost of growth in certain attributes like x% for every 10 mins on an Olympic roster in Offensive, Defensive Awareness, Consistency, and IQ attributes.


This incentives teams to give minutes to their players for them to develop. This also gives players incentives to be with teams where they can get more playing time to further their careers.


Chemistry Grows


Players' chemistry uses cause and effect formulas that are transparent so you choose how your franchise would build chemistry


Synonymous with Culture

Chemistry is synonym with Culture in the game.


A culture can have a positive badge preference or a negative badge preference

We can categorize these by team culture philosophy = Tough (Negative Badges are welcomed), Balanced = (Looking for more of a mix of negative and positive badges), or Harmonious = (Negative Badges are minimized to the largest extent possible) choosing this stabilizes your effects on chemistry when you've built the right team but exacerbates your chemistry failures when you've built the wrong team.


Here are some historical examples of chemistry done right:


Spurs = In the Tim Duncan years they saw a Harmonious team-oriented culture as beneficial they valued Team Players, Legendary Work Ethic, On-Court Coaches, and Spark Plugs. A modern close representation of the Bucks.


Pistons = During the Bad Boy era they saw Toughness as their culture they valued Enforcers, 1 Alpha (Zeke), and Keep it Real. A modern close representation of the Heat


Bulls = During the Jordan Era they used a Balanced culture approach with Jordan as the Alpha, surrounded by Team Players, and Rodman as a wild card. A modern close representation of the Warriors.


Examples of Chemistry gone wrong:


Rockets = 1999 Barkley, The Dream, and Scottie but failed to win a Chip. Scottie more of a Legendary Work Ethic didn’t get along with Barkley’s reserved work ethic and Oljuwan’s passiveness. 3 All-Time Greats 1 epic fail. A Modern-day close representation of the Lakers.


Coaches and GMs define their culture and how it supports chemistry

To support this personality badges will need to be expanded we will also need to separate these as potentially positive or negative to simplify their effects on chemistry

New ideations for personality badges are represented by * and have a description



Positive Potential BadgesNegative Potential badgesNeutral BadgesSpark PlugAlpha Dog (too many can have negative effects)Clutch PerformerChampionship DNAEnforcer (can clash with timid personality types)HardenedLow Ego Expressive (will voice off to the media about teammates) MicrowaveFriendlyAll-Time Great (too many on one team have negative effects)Gym Rat (consider changing to * Personal Training Junkie or changing Gym Rat to the described effectReservedKeep It Real (Provides honest feedback may clash with teammates)Media Ring MasterLegendary Work EthicPat My Back (May clash with coaches for not getting enough feedback)Warm Weather FanHigh Work EthicUnpredictable (May be good and maybe bad the problem is you won’t know) Finance Savvy Laid Back*Control Freak (wants to have franchise control and make decisions. This can be true for other stars as well but the Control Freak takes large chemistry hits when hes not listened to) (two control freaks on one team will kill your chemistry) however this badge should be rare On Court CoachWild Card (Same as unpredictable) Team PlayerExtremely Confident (Overconfidence can be a killer when riding the bench for a long period of time) *Glue Guy (Gifted at giving chemistry boost to balanced positive and negative badged teams)*Marketing-Savvy (Player who wants to increase their market value and won’t like to be on a team with no marketing chops) * Win or Go home (Player prioritize winning over everything and will demand a trade immediately when the team is unsuccessful) *Outlaw (tends to cause distraction in the locker room. Finds themselves in the media for the wrong reasons. Puts the franchise in a bad place with fans if not balanced out with great supporting team culture these guys come with risk and can be suspended by the league unexpectedly (sort of like an injury) *Fragile (Injury-plagued player can only provide great play to his potential in spurts) * Marquee Player (player face of the franchise all effect badges on this player are exacerbated) This is why building teams with outrageously high attributes don’t always equal wins. However, a Marquee Player that is also a Team Player as well ex. Tim Duncan is virtual gold for a franchise


Positive and Negative Chemistry Effecting Culture


Positive Chemistry-

For instance, a franchise can prefer homogeneity

All neutral or positive personalities (classic spurs you may have 6 team players) / or a franchise can choose a homogeneity of tougher personalities (90s heat you may have 8 enforcers)


or a franchise can rely on a wild card personality or two example Positives and neutrals with one tough personality to spice up the bunch (think of Draymond in Golden State mostly team players and then you have an enforcer to spice it up)


80% veteran rosters (positive boost in chemistry players are fairly consistent and balances negative personalities of the youth on the team)


Negative Chemistry-

But there should be things that clearly don’t work for chemistry too examples


50 / 50 mixes of personality


No veterans on the team


Big 3s or Big 2s if players have the same personality example 3 Alphas same team


Players with historically high shot attempts/tendencies playing on the same team as starters


Players that get jaded for whatever reason bring down chemistry quick


Too much roster turmoil adding players into the lineup or trading core players when it's not explicitly a part of the Franchises's Goals or strategy


Direct Chemistry Clash-

Some badges clash with others immediately by having them on the team together. In most cases, the effect is localized to the two players possessing each badge. For example, they want the other person traded or removed from the starting lineup if both players are starting. The effect on the entire team's chemistry is different depending on what roles on the team the players with the conflict badges have For example if 2 core players one with Low Ego and one with Extreme Confidence won’t get along the entire team takes a big hit on chemistry. If 1 star and one salary cap player don’t get along the hit to team chemistry would be minimal. Examples of team chemistry badge conflicts are below.


Enforcers vs Reserved (enforcers dislike the lack of toughness from reserved players)


Low Ego vs Extremely Confident (Low ego doesn’t like the boasting for extremely confident players


What can the Coach and GM do? Most of this can be fixed by winning but the level of winning has to be proportionate to the level of conflict or chemistry that will get out of hand. Hence the push and pull of culture and chemistry. Other than winning you will have to be creative. Move a player out of the starting lineup, trade them to another team, bring someone in to neutralize the effects, or enact a team suspension. This is where you get to become a real GM. ABOVE ALL NO POINTLESS CHIT-CHATS TO BRING THE EFFECTS DOWN. You have to do something more than waste your time chatting.


When unchanged Positive team chemistry will get better over time and Negative team chemistry gets worse its okay to hold on to some negative chemistry when the team is built to win a chip but if protecting team culture is high on your franchise goals you will eventually find yourself on the hot seat even with championship hardware. This is good for a season or two but more than that you will get fired.


Summary of Growth


The new growth system adds dynamics and prospects to the stagnant growth system currently in place. It’s also predictable so you can choose how to place your effort and you can solve constraint problems with your franchise if you develop correctly. Free Agency becomes more of a game of what’s right for my franchise than how can I pay the top players to build the highest-rated roster. It’s the game within the game (competing with your ability to build a team while competing for success against other NBA teams in terms of finance and winning on the court).


Connection with the Users Epic


How do we understand what's taking place in the league to compete with other teams and map our strategy for success? At the very least are we engaged with our NBA environment or is it just a distraction? This epic is broken into four parts Media, Draft Services, Fans, and Analysis.


Media


The media is an enormous part of the game and you have to pay attention to it to succeed.


Weekly recap show


Game highlights - These are specific to what players are good at (you will see a typical play from a high-scoring player based on that player's archetype). We can make this a simple technical lift by limiting the highlight to only the specific player in the frame or maybe adding one opposing team player in the frame. Coming up with only 2 or 3 poses for each archetype or badge. Generalizing the background to represent the location of the game without detail. Like coloring T-shirts from the crowd to represent a home or away game. As an MVP this could be just still pictures moving to videos after getting user feedback. For instance, The warriors won by 16 points and Curry scored 32 points you would see a highlight of a Steph Curry step-back shot. (This seems trivial but as you progress in seasons you will be able to see the strengths of players you haven't seen in person like new rookies and overseas players)


Standings - Not just a display of standings but some analysis as mentioned below. Pairing team stats with standings to explain why the team is in the top 5 like leading the league with the lowest points against per game.


Transactions - discuss how a franchise’s strategy and coach preference played a role in the transaction example. Technically this can be done by identifying a list of cross-references between the Franchise's selected Goals/ Strategies / and the decisions that the team is making with the transactions. Just like in real life they won’t always be accurate even with that formula but they will be informed and meaningful commentary.


Example: The Detroit Pistons have traded Grant for a first-round pick in a future draft (decision) / It seems that they are focusing on the future (Goals) and are looking to develop talent by using the draft (strategy)


Conversely when the team makes an unlikely decision the commentary tells that story as well:


Example: The Detroit Pistons have traded Grant for a first-round pick in a future draft (decision) / I’m baffled by this trade (Goals) their fans are looking to win right away (strategy)


Another example of intelligent analysis is to Cross-reference player archetype desired and personality desired for new acquisition on the team example this player fits well on this roster because the Pistons are looking for a Long Range Shot Creator that can take pressure off of “????” who is an inside scorer. Or conversely, having two Shot Creators who need the ball to make something happen in the backcourt will be a detriment to the team.


Now of course the media is often wrong but we are getting their informed opinion. It also guides the users as a GM to know what kind of stuff to look for when building a roster and trying to align to your Franchise goals.


A monthly recap show


the same as weekly but also has….


Award Discussion - Individual award standings


All-Star game votes (who are being snubbed) what they have to do to get recognized) use some analysis here. Example “????? is statistically a better player but is playing for a losing team or in a smaller market or doesn’t have a marketable personality.


Draft News – Who are the top prospects and why (with a special one in march to talk about march madness) Also commentators in these recap shows tend to focus on top news not as in-depth as a Scouting Service or Team Scout. For instance, they may focus on a High Scorer for the month or a Big Basketball Program, or a highly ranked player from a Scouting Service. It’s nice to use the highlight system here two which can showcase a player's size and player archetype if you know what you're looking for.


NBA news - upcoming rule change proposals or expansion proposals


Olympic roster selection when Olympics are upcoming after the season.


As a bonus to the media outlets, you will see some players retire and end up as media hosts. You will have to be creative with this because I don’t think you will get voiceovers from players. So putting this in a format where you may see a new (former player) host that doesn’t have a speaking role in the show while the normal commentators speak might be a thing as long as it flows naturally. Maybe have the former player/new host run a segment of the show that doesn’t have commentaries like stats leaders or something. These players should rotate after a few seasons. If the player desires to be a scout he could show up in the scout media too.


Draft Services Media


Draft Services Youtube Channel (NBA / Draft Express / 2K) Access draft services like youtube

Draft prospect news


Overseas alerts - what players are doing overseas game scores point totals top prospects


Scouting Tapes

Pay extra to get a video of 1-2 highlights per prospect showcasing their size and archetype attributes Also this is where you will get a view of their actual stats, attributes, projected draft positions, etc. (what we can already see in the current NBA 2K)


G league News (NBA TV Show type of format) highlights and score outcomes top 5 players in each statistic.


Same as the Draft Service Media but focusing on G-Leauge


Ends with call-ups and send downs


Fans


Social Media Categorized by team fan clubs


You can see a list of social media posts for each team. The fans may suggest that you change certain aspects of your franchise or acquire some player or be fired. This is dependent on your fans' analytic ability.


Fan bases come with their attributes: How knowledgable they are (accuracy in their suggestions and comments according to franchise goals), Do they value marquee players, how much they care about winning or making the playoffs, and how much they care about the team culture, how much they care about marketing (jerseys and arena designs), how much do they care about pricing


Each NBA city and prospective NBA city has a personality. This will have to be pre-established for prospective cities by the game developers but we can make some intelligent guesses on how people feel about the franchise before they get to the city. For current NBA cities this data exists and for the most part, should be obvious. Lakers love stars, the Timberwolves like jersey design, the Spurs hate jersey design but like to win, and Toronto wants to be entertained they like high fliers and people who have exciting badges.


Fan Research Dashboard


Your marketing team provides your team a fan research dashboard


The dashboard is a place to track fan feedback with categories such as:


Team perceptions

  • Overall Impression of Team and Overall Intrest in the Team


  • Team Regular Season Success

  • Team Playoff Success

  • Recent Championship Success

  • Overall Success (Avg of all three success ratings)


  • Overall Marketing Impression of Team

  • Entertainment Level (effected heavily by teams playstyle, player badges exciting players)

  • Top 3 Players Average Marketability Level

  • Jersey and Court Design Impression

  • Sponsorship Involvement Impression (amount of fan nights per year, discount packages)


  • Overall Pricing level of team

  • Tickets

  • Parking

  • Concessions

  • Merchandise

Fan Involvement (these list are influenced by what your fans value)

  • List of top 30 draft prospects (according to the teams’ fans)

    • Each player is ranked by fan impression and has a bar chart next to it to show fan desire to draft


  • List of top 15 players you should go after in free agency or call up from the G league (according to the teams’ fans)

    • Each player is ranked by fan impression and has a bar chart next to it to show fan desire to acquire


  • List of the top 3 players from your franchise you should release or trade

    • Each player is ranked by the desire to remove them and has the removal reason next to them


Analysis


The media needs to do more than report to be informative. The game needs to revolutionize commentary based on analytics


Everything that is said in the in-game commentary and the media outside of the game is influenced by analytics by combining statistics, franchise goals, coaching goals, and trends. This makes the game much more informative


Fans attempt to make analyses too but the quality is dependent on the franchise quality of fans

All cities should have a fan knowledge rating. For instance, Knicks fans might highly value points scored and focus on talking specifically about who scored the most points or team wins. They are overly critical of star players.


Where the Philly fans might typically focus on Defense


Again if you are a franchise that doesn’t have a Loyal Fan Base as a high priority then you can ignore a lot of this feedback and still be successful in keeping your job (as long as your hitting your top franchise goals). If a Loyal Fan Base or making money is a top priority you better find a new way to make money and please your fans in other ways besides listening to their suggestions to keep your job.


Summary of Connections with Users


Often users are simulating season after season after season. People pop up in all-star games that you weren’t aware of, other teams make trades you don’t care about, other teams create superteams and you don’t react, you never go into the social media because its a mess to read, and frankly not useful, chemistry is not transparent (2K22 has even left out the actual chemistry % by accident or on purpose, I can’t tell), there are arbitrary conversations, the commentary doesn't add value Shaq and Kenny just provide entertainment which gets old.

What’s Next?

If you have read this far then I’m hopeful that my goal of keeping your interest has been fulfilled. And likewise, you are thinking we have successfully created the nuance of the NBA but what differentiates our product from just an NBA recreation? The answer to this question lies in the things I didn’t cover for example Free Agency and the struggle to compete for talent, Improved trade logic, etc. The real gem of potential in the latest (2K15) iteration of franchise mode is the sandbox options. Here is a place where the real dreams of prospective GMs, Owners, & League Commissioners (also known as Facebook analysts) can create the league of their dreams. Imagine being Adam Silver renaming the NBA and starting new the possibilities can be endless both online and offline.











Comments


bottom of page