All NBA 2K21 archetypes explained

Learn everything there's to know about the archetypes before making your decision.

Image via 2K Games

The way professional players play basketball has changed over the years. The best teams from the 1970s may not even stand a chance against the all-stars of today simply because of how much the game evolved.

As the sport has changed, NBA 2K has added archetypes. In NBA 2K21, there are new archetypes for each position, increasing the number of customization options in the process. Some archetypes are role exclusive, while some will be available for all sorts of players.

If you’re creating your characters based on how you play basketball in real-life, it may be a decent idea to hit the nearest basketball court to analyze the type of player you are. Though the options are there, some roles will require you to pick a specific archetype if you’re looking to make it to the playoffs.

Everyone appreciates a point guard who can score off the bench and contribute from time to time, but a point guard who can only shoot can create fundamental issues in a lineup.

Here are all the archetypes in NBA 2K21.

NBA 2K21 archetypes for center

  • Two-Way Athletic Finisher 
    • Takeover: Glass Cleaner
  • Three-Level Scorer 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooter
  • Glass-Cleaning Stretch Five 
    • Takeover: Glass Cleaner
  • Interior Force 
    • Takeover: Slasher
  • Post Playmaker 
    • Takeover: Post Scoring
  • Post-Scoring Stretch Five
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Sharpshooting Defender 
    • Takeover: Rim Protector
  • Slashing Rim Protector 
    • Takeover: Rim Protector

NBA 2K21 archetypes for point guard

  • Two-Way Slashing Playmaker 
    • Takeover: Lockdown Defense
  • Three-level Scorer 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Midrange Specialist 
    • Takeover: Shot Creating
  • Offensive Threat 
    • Takeover: Playmaking
  • Pure Playmaker 
    • Takeover: Playmaking
  • Scoring Machine 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Slashing Playmaker 
    • Takeover: Slashing
  • Slashing Sharpshooter 
    • Takeover: Slashing

NBA 2K21 archetypes for power forward

  • Two-Way Stretch Four
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Three-Level Playmaker 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Three-Level Scorer 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Glass Cleaner 
    • Takeover: Rim Protector
  • Interior Finisher 
    • Takeover: Slashing
  • Paint Beast 
    • Takeover: Glass Cleaner
  • Post Playmaker 
    • Takeover: Post Scoring
  • Pure Stretch Four
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting

NBA 2K21 archetypes for shooting guard

  • Three-Way Finisher 
    • Takeover: Lockdown Defense
  • Two-Way Sharpshooter 
    • Takeover: Lockdown Defense
  • Three-Level Scorer 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Offensive Threat 
    • Takeover: Slasher
  • Scoring Machine 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooter
  • Sharpshooting Defender 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Shot Creator 
    • Takeover: Shot Creating
  • Shot-Creating Sharpshooter 
    • Takeover: Shot Creating

NBA 2K21 archetypes for small forward

  • Two-Way Finisher 
    • Takeover: Slashing
  • Two-Way Sharpshooter 
    • Takeover: Lockdown Defense
  • Three-Level Scorer 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Offensive Threat 
    • Takeover: Shot Creating
  • Perimeter Defender 
    • Takeover: Lockdown Defense
  • Sharpshooting Defender 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Sharpshooting Slasher 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting
  • Slashing Sharpshooter 
    • Takeover: Sharpshooting

Which archetype should you pick in NBA 2K21?

It’s quite challenging to declare a single archetype as the best. Your choice will solely depend on the type of player you’re trying to create, or the play style that your favorite team has adapted over the years. While the most archetypes are self-explanatory, you should analyze all the takeovers before making your decision.

Each takeover will increase certain stats tied to your archetype for a limited time, allowing you excel even further during a match.

Athletic Finisher

Image via 2K Games

The Athletic Finisher increases the athletic abilities of a player when trying to score close to the basket. Dunks and layups will feel more natural since you’ll have the athleticism to get passed or over your opponents.

Glass Cleaner

Every team needs that one reliable player to secure a rebound. The Glass Cleaner Increases a player’s ability to grab rebounds when they’re close to the basket. This is an ability that you can take advantage of both on the offense and defense. Glass Cleaner players will play an essential role in both scenarios since ball possession will be vital no matter your game plan.

Lockdown Defender

Not every player has to contribute on the offense. Defensive players are just as important and are the key behind making sure you can score consecutive baskets before conceding any.

Lockdown Defender increases a player’s all-around defensive ability, turning them into a practical wall on the defense. It’ll be significantly harder to go through Lockdown Defenders, so passing the ball around may be a decent idea to avoid them.

Playmaking

Even if you may have that one star player that does it all from dribbling the ball inside to scoring, you’ll need a true mastermind on the center of the court.

Playmaking improves a player’s ability to make accurate passes. Usually preferred by point guards, you’ll be able to distribute the ball with a higher success rate with players that excel at Playmaking.

Post Scoring

You won’t get many chances to drive the ball inside and score against defensive teams. A player that can create a commodition around the paint area.

Post Scoring increases the offensive abilities of a player when playing in the paint. With a better handle on the ball and increased offensive stats, these players will be able to score through the most closed down defences.

Rim Protector

You’ll need at least one Rim Protector against players that excel at scoring from the post. Rim Protector increases a player’s defensive abilities when defending in the paint. Players with this trait will be harder to score through so trying to bypass them with three-pointers may be a more valid gameplan.

Sharpshooting

When driving the ball into the paint area isn’t an option, you’ll need to resort to long-distance shots. Three-pointers will naturally be harder to hit, but you’ll increase your odds of scoring by using players that are Sharpshooters.

Sharpshooting increases the accuracy on long-distance jump shots, helping certain players make three-pointers look like easy two-point shots.

Shot Creating

When Playmakers have the ball, they’ll look out for the best opportunity around the court to make that key pass.

You’ll need Shot Creators to go along with your Playmakers since they’ll be the best at creating chances. Shot Creating increases the ability of a player to create distance between them and defenders, or break away from other players. Players who can do this will be wide in the open for a brief period and available to receive clutch passes.

Slasher

Isolation may reduce the overall movement and momentum in a basketball match, but if you have the right players, it can win you games. You’ll need a player that can slash and dash into the rim in an isolation strategy, and pairing them with sharpshooters can help you cover all bases during an isolation attack.

Slasher improves the ability to drive to the rim and score. Players with Slasher will be more agile and have an easier time while dribbling through opponents.