How to optimize your MyPlayer build: The best playmaking badges in NBA 2K23

The best playmaking badges in NBA 2K23 at every height.

Image via 2K Games

The first few weeks after the launch of a new NBA 2K game are a scramble to dig out the best MyPlayer builds. A huge part of making your guy a top performer in NBA 2K23 is picking the most overpowered badges.

There are four types of badges in NBA 2K23:

  • Playmaking badges
  • Shooting badges
  • Finishing badges
  • Defensive badges

We’ll walk you through all of them in separate NBA 2K23 badge guides. Today, we are focusing on the best playmaking badges.

You may assume playmaking is a skill reserved for guards and point forwards. That assumption is logical but premature. In a universe where Nikola Jokić exists, playmaking as a big man is as relevant as ever. This guide is for you, regardless of your MyPlayer’s height and position.

Before we can say which playmaking badges are the best, we should go over all the options, and there are plenty. Playmaking badges outnumber all other categories. There are 16 total options, varying from the flashy to the fundamentally sound:

  • Ankle Breaker – Increases the likelihood of successful dribble moves freezing or dropping your defender to the ground.
  • Break Starter – Boosts the accuracy of outlet passes made right after a defensive rebound.
  • Dimer – When you find an open teammate for a shot, their shot accuracy receives a slight boost.
  • Floor General – Raises all of your teammates’ offensive stats while you are on the court.
  • Needle Threader – Passes made in tight spaces receive an accuracy boost.
  • Post Playmaker – When you pass the ball from the post or after an offensive rebound to an open teammate, their shot accuracy receives a slight boost.
  • Special Delivery – Boosts the accuracy of all alley-oops and flashy passes, as well as the receiver’s ability to convert. Enables the ability to throw alley-oops off the backboard.
  • Vice Grip – Increases your defense against steals immediately after receiving the ball through a pass, rebound, or loose ball recovery.
  • Bail Out – Boosts the accuracy of passes made out of double teams, attempted layups and jump shots.
  • Hyperdrive – Raises the maximum speed at which your player can perform dribble moves.
  • Quick First Step – Your player will launch into a drive quicker out of a size-up or triple threat.
  • Unpluckable – Reduces the effectiveness of steal attempts made by opposing defenders.
  • Clamp Breaker – Improves your ability to fight off contact, protect the ball, and drive by opponents.
  • Handles For Days – Dribble moves exhaust less stamina.
  • Killer Combos – Improves your ability to chain together efficient dribble moves when sizing up an opponent.
  • Mismatch Expert – Your player receives a boost when sizing up against a much taller defender.

Based on your playstyle, you may find some badges more valuable than others. For example, if you’re running a 6-foot point guard, you’d benefit from Mismatch Expert a lot of the time. With that in mind, we’ll try to present a universal approach to badges that would work best for the largest amount of builds.

Best NBA 2K23 playmaking badges for players under 6 foot 5 inches

The shorter players on the court are ball handlers by default, which makes picking the best playmaking badges almost a requirement for success. There are a lot of directions you can go here, but these four badges stand out from the bunch:

  • Floor General
  • Handles For Days
  • Quick First Step
  • Dimer

Floor General is the ultimate teammate playmaking badge. It doesn’t directly impact you, but it raises all of your teammates’ stats. Of course, being the supposed playmaker, you could benefit from the effect in the form of assists.

This is the only badge we would recommend at each height and position, but we realize not everyone will gravitate toward a badge that doesn’t increase their own ability.

For those that want it all for themselves, there’s Handles For Days. NBA 2K23 has a new stamina system that drains your energy faster. Handles For Days will neutralize that effect to a point, allowing for a few dribble moves to be executed before passing the ball becomes a necessity.

Quick First Step gives you such an advantage in one-on-one situations that explaining its importance seems redundant. Pairing it with Hyperdrive would make you look like Flash with the ball in your hands.

Our last recommendation is sort of a downgraded version of Floor General, but one that feels like it benefits you directly, so there’s that. Still, it’s an incredibly useful badge that raises the whole squad’s scoring prowess. Exactly what you want from a playmaking badge.

Best NBA 2K23 playmaking badges for players 6 foot 5 inches to 6 foot 10 inches

As the middlemen on the court that usually spend an equal amount of time with and without the ball in their hands, and in and out of the paint, players falling in this category have to pick and choose their playmaking badges more carefully as they aren’t as intuitive.

The choice is eased up by the fact that the badges we recommended for guards are mostly applicable here as well. As we said, Floor General is a bullseye at each height and position. The other suggestion we can keep without caveats is Quick First Step. Whether you play more on the perimeter or inside the paint, getting that initial launch boost when sizing up will come in handy.

The other badges come with conditions: Handles For Days is great because of its stamina effect, but only worth it if you tend to dribble a lot. Dimer would only be recommended if you are the primary playmaker of the team.

What’s left on the plate, then? We believe there’s one playmaking badge that would suit most, if not all players 6 foot 5 to 6 foot 10, Clamp Breaker. It is a jack-of-all-trades type of badge that will keep the ball in your hands when driving and help you get through the inevitable contact that comes with playing at these positions. You can’t go wrong with Clamp Breaker.

The last badge we want to throw in here is Post Playmaker. This is reserved for the taller spectrum of players that spend more time in the paint. We’ll go through exactly why this is an amazing badge when we discuss the big men playmaking badges in a second. For now, let’s say it’s Dimer for big men.

To summarize our playmaker badge tips at this height level, we’d go for the following:

  • Floor General
  • Clamp Breaker
  • Quick First Step
  • Handles For Days (if you dribble a lot)
  • Dimer (if primary playmaker)
  • Post Playmaker (if playing in the post a lot)

Best NBA 2K23 playmaking badges for players over 6 foot 10 inches

Big men don’t need playmaking badges, huh? This couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a surprising amount of playmaking badges that work best for post players. By surprising, we mean we have more recommendations than we have for point guards.

We have to make it clear, though, this is only because we want to list every playmaking badge viable for big fellas. We recommend some over others, but they are all useful in one way or another:

  • Floor General
  • Post Playmaker
  • Vice Grip
  • Break Starter
  • Needle Threader

No need to go on about Floor General. It’s a great badge to have on your team. We’ve conserved all our argumentation for Post Playmaker.

Dimer for big men sums it up well, with an added bonus. The floor opens up when the ball is in the post, especially after an offensive rebound, and Post Playmaker really helps you get those easy assists off open three-pointers. This is arguably the strongest recommendation we can make on playmaking badges, matched only by Handles For Days on shorter guards.

Vice Grip is the other badge we want to stress on. Big men grab the most rebounds and often receive passes while guarded closely by a defender. Having that extra ball protection wouldn’t hurt a bit.

Break Starter is another way to rack up easy assists as a 7-footer. If you are a beast on the boards, having Break Starter equipped is a natural extension of your skill set.

Needle Threader is an appetizer recommendation. Its main use would be in pair with either Post Playmaker or Break Starter as it would improve the probability of your passes finding their target. We could add that playing primarily in the paint, most of your passes will come and go to areas with high traffic. In all truth, while this playmaking badge has its applications, it is the one we fancy the least here.

Every playmaking badge in NBA 2K23 has a useful effect, but there is a science to it. Our suggestions were looking at the effectiveness and frequency at which the badges would take effect. That meant that more flashy badges like Special Delivery and Ankle Breaker were left behind.

Badges usually considered a no-brainer like Unpluckable and Killer Combos feel a little nerfed in NBA 2K23. As a result, while we don’t totally dismiss them, there are other playmaking badges that are way more useful.

Custom MyPlayer builds are precisely that, custom, so feel free to equip whatever you like. If you do want to follow the meta, you know where to find the best playmaking badges in NBA 2K23.