'NBA 2K21' Best Builds - Center, Stretch, Defender, Playmaker & More

NBA 2K21 features a tweaked MyPlayer Builder for current-gen consoles, and we want you to make the most of it as you wade through the insane grind that is MyCareer. Whether you're looking for an offensive or defensive Center or a great Defender, we've got some archetypes to get you on the right track on the quest to 99.

As with all build guides, it should be noted that these basic designs can be tailored to suit your playstyle as you see fit. If you notice any areas where our builds might appear weak, don't be afraid to make some adjustments of your own.

Best Glass Cleaner Center Build

If you want to be the best rebounding Center of the bunch, start with the pie chart shown below that favors Defense/Rebounding above all else. With that key skill established, the rest of your MyPlayer remains pretty balanced.

nba 2k21 glass clearer center build 1
'NBA 2K21' has a new MyPlayer builder. This pie chart is the start of a great Center build. 'NBA 2K21' is available September 4 on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC and Stadia. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Follow that up with the pie chart that favors strength and a strong vertical. That way you'll be able to easily nab any balls near the rim.

nba 2k21 glass clearer center build 2
This Physical Profile suits a Glass Cleaning Center. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Your potential stats should look something like this. By the end of it you will have unlocked a wide assortment of Finishing and Defensive Badge slots that are perfectly suited for the baller you're looking for.

nba 2k21 glass clearer center build 3
This is what the Glass Cleaning Center's stats should look like. Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Body Type: Burly
  • Height: 7'3"
  • Weight: 290
  • Wingspan: 97.0"
  • Takeover: Glass Cleaner

Badges

  • Finishing:
    • Contact Finisher [Gold]
    • Pick & Roller [Gold]
    • Putback Boss [Gold]
    • Dropstepper [Gold]
    • Relentless Finisher [Gold]
  • Shooting
    • Deadeye [Bronze]
  • Playmaking
    • Quick First Step [Bronze]
  • Defense
    • Brick Wall [HoF]
    • Chase Down Artist [HoF]
    • Defense Leader [HoF]
    • Rim Protector [HoF]
    • Rebound Chaser [HoF]
    • Pogo Stick [HoF]
    • Worm [Bronze]
    • Intimidator [Bronze]

Best Overall Center Build

While it may seem counterintuitive at first, the most balanced Center model is actually a Small Forward. After that initial selection, pick the pie chart that favors a balanced shooting edge.

nba 2k21 overall center build 1
This pie chart makes a Center that's a little more balanced. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

The physical profile will be pretty balanced too, with a slight increase in speed.

nba 2k21 overall center build
This is a solid all-around Physical Profile. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

For this archetype, essentially ignore Playmaking and fill in those extra points everywhere else. The player won't be able to steal, but they'll be able to shoot and defend with the best of them.

nba 2k21 overall center build
Here's what your Center's stats should look like. Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Body Type: Burly
  • Height: 6'8"
  • Weight: 185
  • Wingspan: 90"
  • Takeover: Rim Protector

Badges

  • Finishing
  • Shooting
    • Catch & Shoot [HoF]
    • Green Machine [HoF]
    • Hot Zone Hunter [HoF]
    • Range Extender [HoF]
    • Deadeye [Silver]
    • Pick & Popper [Bronze]
  • Defense
    • Clamps [HoF]
    • Intimidator [HoF]
    • Pogo Stick [HoF]
    • Rebound Chaser [HoF]
    • Chase Down Artist [Silver]
    • Rim Protector [Silver]
    • Post Move Lockdown [Bronze]

Best Stretch Build

On the other end of the spectrum is a Stretch, which is an offensive player that's able to make things happen from downtown. If that's the kind of MyPlayer you're looking for, make a Power Forward with this pie chart that has huge shooting maximums and balance in other areas.

nba 2k21 best stretch build 1
Every good Stretch knows how to shoot. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

The corresponding Physical Profile should favor speed and acceleration as well.

nba 2k21 best stretch build 2
The moderate boost in speed and acceleration will help your Stretch. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

This is what the granular stats might look like. In this case you want to make a MyPlayer with maxed-out shooting, high Playmaking attributes and a solid defensive core. Be aware that this model will likely stink from up close, however.

nba 2k21 best stretch build 3
This is what the stats of your Stretch should look like. Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Body Type: Burly
  • Height: 6'7"
  • Weight: 180
  • Wingspan 80.0"
  • Spot Up Shooter

Badges

  • Finishing
    • Dropstepper [Bronze]
  • Shooting
    • Catch & Shoot [HoF]
    • Clutch Shooter [HoF]
    • Deadeye [HoF]
    • Green Machine [HoF]
    • Range Extender [HoF]
    • Tireless Shooter [HoF]
    • Volume Shooter [HoF]
    • Hot Start [Silver]
  • Playmaking
    • Downhill [Gold]
    • Needle Threader [Gold]
    • Quick First Step [Gold]
    • Unpluckable [Gold]
    • Bail Out [Bronze]
    • Break Starter [Bronze]
  • Defense
    • Intimidator [Gold]

Best Pure Playmaker Build

If a pure Playmaker is what you're after, it makes sense to have a Point Guard with the Skill Breakdown pie chart that favors Playmaking. Everything else outside that stat is also fairly balanced, leaving you with plenty of opportunities to grow your MyPlayer in a few different directions.

nba 2k21 best playmaker build 1
This pie chart is best suited for a Playmaker. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Every good Playmaker needs to zip around the court, so pick the Physical Profile with massive boosts to speed and acceleration.

nba 2k21 best playmaker build 2
Playmakers need speed and acceleration. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

From here, we suggest modeling a player with top-notch Playmaking and Shooting. Finishing will also help you score points from up close. If you want defense, you won't find it in this build.

nba 2k21 best playmaker build 3
This is what the stats of a Playmaker should look like. Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Body Type: Defined
  • Height: 6'6"
  • Weight: 190
  • Wingspan: 85.2"
  • Takeover: Playmaker

Badges

  • Finishing
    • Contact Finisher [Gold]
    • Consistent Finisher [Bronze]
  • Shooting
    • Deadeye [Gold]
    • Green Machine [Gold]
    • Hot Start [Gold]
    • Hot Zone Hunter [Gold]
    • Range Extender [Silver]
  • Playmaking
    • Ankle Breaker [HoF]
    • Break Starter [HoF]
    • Dimer [HoF]
    • Floor General [Hof]
    • Handles for Days [HoF]
    • Quick First Step [HoF]
    • Unpluckable [HoF]
    • Tight Handles [Silver]
  • Defense
    • Clamps [Gold]
    • Intimidator [Gold]

Best Playsharp Build

If you want a Playmaker with a little more emphasis on shooting, try a Point Guard in this Playsharp build. The pie chart favors shooting and Playmaking alike, with slightly smaller slices in other areas.

nba 2k21 playsharp build 1
'NBA 2K21' Playsharps need both Playmaking and Shooting. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Going by his template you're best off trading some of that speed and acceleration for a slightly better vertical. Playsharps are a bit more balanced in that regard.

nba 2k21 playsharp build 2
Speed and acceleration are high but not excessive. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

That sense of balance is also captured in the build's finer attributes too.

nba 2k21 playsharp build 3
This is what the stats of a Playsharp should look like. Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Body Type: Compact
  • Height: 6'2"
  • Weight: 185
  • Wingspan: 74"
  • Takeover: Spot Up Shooter

Badges

  • Finishing
    • Contact Finisher [Bronze]
    • Dropstepper [Bronze]
    • Consistent Finisher [Bronze]
  • Shooting
    • Clutch Shooter [HoF]
    • Deadeye [HoF]
    • Green Machine [HoF]
    • Hot Zone Hunter [HoF]
    • Range Extender [HoF]
    • Hot Start [Gold]
    • Volume Shooter [Silver]
  • Playmaking
    • Dimer [HoF]
    • Floor General [HoF]
    • Handles for Days [HoF]
    • Quick First Step [HoF]
    • Bail Out [Silver]
    • Lob City Passer [Silver]
    • Unpluckable [Bronze]
  • Defense
    • Pick Dodger [Bronze]

Best Lockdown Defender Build

If all this offense is too much for you, this Point Guard Lockdown Defender concept may be more up your alley. Predictably, start with the pie chart that favors Defense/Rebounding.

nba 2k21 defender build 1
This pie chart favors big defense. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Next, push for the extra speed and acceleration required to stop your opponent dead in their tracks.

nba 2k21 defender build 2
Speed and acceleration helps in this position as well. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

In this build your Finish suffers dearly, but it allows you to design a strong defensive baller that still has the ability to make others pay from mid-range. Beyond the occasional dunk, you won't be doing much close to the basket.

nba 2k21 defender build 3
Predictably, the stats of a Defender favor defense. Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Body Type: Built
  • Height: 6'5"
  • Weight: 175
  • Wingspan: 86"
  • Takeover: Lockdown Defender

Badges

  • Shooting
    • Catch & Shoot [Gold]
    • Deadeye [Gold]
    • Green Machine [Gold]
    • Hot Zone Hunter [Gold]
    • Range Extender [Gold]
  • Playmaking
    • Quick First Step [Gold]
    • Tight Handles [Gold]
    • Unpluckable [Gold]
  • Defense
    • Clamps [HoF]
    • Pick Dodger [HoF]
    • Rim protector hof
    • Interceptor [Gold]
    • Intimidator [Gold]
    • Rebound Chaser [Gold]

These are just six of the thousands of possible builds that could be made in the NBA 2K21 MyPlayer Builder. There's still a lot to be discovered about the meta in the days after release, but these outlines are hopefully enough to get you started on your NBA journey.

NBA 2K21 is available September 4 on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC and Stadia. The demo is live now.

Which of these NBA 2K21 builds is the best fit for you? Will you be playing as a Center or a Stretch? Tell us in the comments section!