'NBA 2K21' Shooting Guide: Tips to Get Greens & Fix the Broken Shot Meter

NBA 2K21 has made major changes to how shooting works in the popular basketball sim franchise, meaning even some seasoned fans might be throwing up air balls. In this guide, we outline the essentials of Pro Stick shot aiming, percentage boosts and more. We'll also show you a few in-game settings you can tweak to make shooting simpler across the board.

The shooting system in NBA 2K21 focuses largely on leveraging different shooting styles that offer boosts to a player's shot percentage based on how difficult the shooting method is. Here are the shooting methods one can use ranging from the highest percentage boost to the lowest.

  • Shot stick aim + left trigger for timing
  • Shot stick aim and no left trigger for timing
  • Shot meter off

NBA 2K21 Pro Stick Shot Aiming Tips

In previous iterations of NBA 2K, players got used to a shot meter that essentially rewarded you for releasing at the very edge of the shot. As you can see from this screenshot, however, the system in NBA 2K21 is very different. The effective area is on the side of the meter, and that area can change based on where you're taking the shot. In essence, this means every shot in NBA 2K21 requires slight variations in how you move the stick. This makes the skill ceiling for shooting way higher than it's been in the past.

nba 2k21 shot meter
'NBA 2K21' features a new shooing system and shot meter that are way more challenging. Use these tips to score easy greens. 'NBA 2K21' is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC and Stadia. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Here are some tips for getting greens using the Pro Stick Aiming option, which is enabled by default.

  • Pull down on the right stick. Note that the meter starts close to the center, not to the left or right.
  • After pulling back, tweak the stick's position ever so slightly to the left or right based on where the high-percentage area is. You genuinely need to have very steady hands to aim your shot correctly.
  • When using Pro Stick Aiming you don't have to release the shot. Just pull down on the stick, adjust the aim and your character will take care of the rest.
  • There are no penalties for mistiming your shot with the trigger, but if you get it right you get a bigger boost.

In tandem with this boost concept, it's worth noting that shooting has been nerfed in NBA 2K21 across the board. Developers have made it such that sharpshooters really need to have overalls in at least the high 70s or low 80s to consistently score buckets. So, if you're taking advantage of these tips and still not scoring, you may just be using the wrong baller.

nba 2k21 hot zones
Take advantage of the blue Hot Zones to get a major boost to your shot percentage. Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Simply put, using the Pro Stick is about just pulling back, tweaking the stick's position slightly closer to the shot area and optionally using the trigger for an additional timing boost. If you can master that fine movement, you'll be getting regular greens in no time.

How to make shooting easier in NBA 2K21

If you find this aiming and timing method too challenging, here are some tips that may make shooting easier.

nba 2k21 options
You can disable aiming altogether if the mechanic is too difficult. Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Hot Zones matter a great deal for all shooting methods in NBA 2K21. Even when aiming or timing is off, shooting from the blue areas of the court can still get your player an easy bucket. It may help to go into 2KU with some of your team's top athletes just to see where their Hot Zones are.
  • You don't necessarily have to use the right stick to shoot. It's still possible to shoot with square (PS4) or X (Xbox). This changes the shot meter into something that may feel a little more familiar. To get the advantage of a boost, turn off the shot meter.
  • You can also go into control options and disable shot aiming altogether. This makes your Pro Stick function a bit closer to its NBA 2K20 state. Some timing and specific shots will still feel a bit different, but this is about as close as it gets to actually reverting the changes.
  • If you really want to make NBA 2K feel closer to arcade street ball, you can also disable shot timing in favor of a player's real-time percentage. This is the simplest shooting method and should only be used by those who truly hate sim basketball.
  • If you're in MyCareer, upgrading your baller's shooting Badges will also make them shoot better regardless of their stats.

That's all you need to know about the basics of shooting in NBA 2K21.

NBA 2K21 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC and Stadia.

What are your thoughts on how shooting works in NBA 2K21? Should developers make shooting easier, or do you prefer the higher skill ceiling? Tell us in the comments section!