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NBA 2K21 Offense Beginner's Guide: Shoot, Dunk, & Layup

Published on: 09/10/2020
By: Tim Palmieri

Drive-up the score and the leaderboard. Learn how to play and steadily become the next Kobe Bryant on the virtual court.

Jump Shot Tips

Jump Shot Tips

Press and Hold Square then release OR move and hold the Right Stick straight down then release.

Learn how to properly time the shot based on the meter or player’s jump. A tiny meter appears when you hold the stick/button. A small marker moves from the left to right across the meter. Release the button or stick at the apex of your jump, which is the exact time the marker reaches the middle of the light area toward the end of the meter to make it rain.

Perfect releases trigger an excellent (green), followed by slightly late/early and early/late (yellow), then very late (red). You’re more likely to score with better timing. For instance, there’s a chance you’ll miss a bunch of slightly early shots and nail the occasional late one.

Normal Layup Tips

Normal Layup Tips

Move and hold the Right Stick up while driving in close range.

Finishing in the paint is the same as shotting with the Right Stick, except you only push it forward. A straight push is all you need. There aren’t any ridges in the PS4 controller to lock the stick’s position in the narrow perfect center (green) release window. Fortunately, most of the slightly left or right releases will sink into the basket. Get a feel for the right release in 2KU, the game’s practice, training, or tutorial mode.

Runner/Floater Tips

Runner/Floater Tips

Move and hold Right Stick down while driving in close range

Runners/Floaters function the same way as normal layups. However, you pull the right stick backward instead of pushing it forward. The same tips apply. Pull the stick as straight back as you can to increase your shooting percentage.

Reverse Layup Tips

Reverse Layup

Move and hold Right Stick right while driving along the right baseline.

Master one of the shots in the box and you’ll drain them all. Push the right stick to the side you’re driving from to perform a reverse layup. That means right if you’re coming from the right side of the court and left if you’re coming from the other. Scoring from this distance is less about timing and more about finding openings in the defense.

Euro Step Layup Tips

Euro Step Tips

Double-tap Square while driving while holding the left stick toward the off-hand OR move and hold the Right Stick left while driving with the ball in the right hand.

The euro step layup is a great way to juke defenders and score. Condition your opponent to expect straight drives with a few consecutive layups, then mix in a euro step layup for a free basket.

Cradle Layup Tips

Cradle Layup Tips

Double-tap Square while driving while holding the left stick toward the ball hand OR move and hold the Right Stick while driving with the ball in the right hand.

The cradle layup is another option to vary your offense and trick defenders. Remember to keep opponents guessing when it comes to the approach. You have no reason to switch strategies if cradle layups consistently work, although you’ll often face players that adapt. That means remaining unpredictable via different shots, layups, and even dunks.

Two-Hand Dunk Tips

Two-Hand Dunk Tips

R2 + move and hold Right Stick up while driving in close range.

There’s no timing to secure two-hand dunks. Simply press the inputs and slam the rock. You can two-hand dunk from just behind the solid semicircle in the paint. Try to dunk from farther out and you’ll perform a layup.

Dominant & Off-Hand Dunk Tips

Dominant and Off-Hand Dunk Tips

R2 + move and hold Right Stick up left or right in close range. The Right Stick direction determines the dunking hand.

Dominant and off-hand dunks work just like two-hand ones outside pushing the Right Stick left or right and approaching the basket from a slightly different direction. Dunking with one hand can give you the angle you need to get around defenders when driving to the hoop. Every type of dunk has the same range.

Flashy Dunk Tips

Flashy Dunk Tips

R2 + move and hold the Right Stick down while driving in close range, release the Right Stick to finish the dunk.

Nothing makes a statement like a flashy dunk. It’s easy to accidentally perform a different dunk, although you can’t complain too much because a point is a point. It’s possible to trick opponents into thinking you’re going one way and then go the other with flashy dunks. However, the style is likely the main reason you’ll whip this move out.

Pump Fake Tips

Pump Fake Tips

Tap Square

Simple, but effective. Bait defenders into jumping and drive into the paint or draw multiple players to you and pass to an open player for an easy basket. Pump fakes are one of the many mind games on the basketball court. Go for it too often and it’ll quickly lose any impact on the opponent. Mix up the timing and frequency of your pump fakes to avoid falling into predictable patterns.

Hop Gather Tips

Hop Gather Tips

Tap Square while dribbling with the Left Stick deflected OR move and hold the Right Stick down left or right while driving.

Think of the hop gather like a more commital cross over. Switch between jump shots and hop gathers to create space for easier shots. You might even break the defense’s formation, opening up another teammate to take it to the hoop. Use in tandem with pump fakes and your opponent will really need to stop and think to thwart your offense.

Spin Gather Tips

Spin Gather Tips

Hold R2 + double tap Square OR rotate the Right Stick clockwise then hold while driving with ball in right hand.

Dribbling underneath the hoop is an advantageous position because you can layup, dunk, or pass in a variety of ways, making it hard for the defense to anticipate your next move. The spin gather jukes defenders and puts users in the position for an easy point. Properly time your shot after performing one and remember that you can only stand in the paint for a few seconds on offense.

Half Spin Gather Tips

Half Spin Gather

Rotate the Right Stick in a quarter-circle from right to up then hold while driving with ball in right hand.

The half spin gather is another evasive technique to dodge defenders for open shots. Convince competitors that you’re turning around, then continue in your initial direction.

Step Through Tips

Step Through Tips

At close range, pump fake, then press and hold Square OR pump fake, then move and hold the Right Stick in any direction before the pump fake ends.

The step through is literally a step around a defender. Follow with a pass under pressure or shoot if you created enough space.

Practice and play smart. Keep up an erratic pace of switching between techniques like pump fakes and hop gathers to get into the other player’s head and the basket.