The high percentage shots

​Difficulty levels: Rookie. Pro. All-Star. Superstar. Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame is impossible. The CPU makes ridiculous shots. They never make a mistake. They go on unstoppable runs. It’s not fair. Or realistic.

NBA 2K is just a basketball game. But still. Come on.

Why does it not feel realistic? Because, when you play the CPU at the highest difficulty, they make more shots. In real life, the best do make more shots, but only because they put themselves in better positions. Let me explain.

Just like a batting average, a good field goal percentage is surprisingly low. 50%. That means you’re doing well if you miss half of all the shots you take. 

In the upper echelons of basketball, the difference between a team that shoots 47% and one that shoots 50% is dramatic. But the difference between the former and latter is not that the team with the 50% field goal percentage are better shooters. It’s that they can get themselves higher percentage, easier shots.

They put themselves in better positions.

When do you have a higher chance of scoring? Trying to make a layup with three guys crowding round trying to block you, or trying to make a layup with no-one within ten feet of you?

It’s easy to think that we must focus on grasping every opportunity, on always capitalising on the situation, on making every shot. But perhaps our attention shouldn’t be directed towards seizing every opportunity, perhaps it should be focused on placing ourselves in a better position so that when the opportunities do arise, we don’t miss.

It’s the difference between making more shots and taking better ones.