NBA 2K24: The one addition to revolutionise MyCareer

NBA 2K's MyCareer mode has long been one of the most popular game modes in each new title, as players create their own athlete and chase glory at basketball's top level. In NBA 2K24, it's time for the game to go back to school and explore the highly-competitive world of college basketball.

With NBA 2K23 overlooking the majority of the build-up to beginning an NBA career, players missed out on opportunities to fine-tune their created star before they hit the big time. Not only this, they were deprived of a multitude of possible story angles that showcase the highs and lows of fighting for a top draft spot.

A real-life NBA player's college roots are a part of their identity in the pro leagues and are something that they carry with them throughout their entire career and beyond. Given the close ties that stars have to their collegiate affiliations, there is a gaping hole in the MyCareer experience that needs to be filled with a run at the NCAA level.

March Madness marketability

It is no secret that America's collegiate-level sports have an incredibly high marketability and are followed by fans just as passionately as their senior equivalent. Basktetball is a huge money-maker for colleges, with their games attracting up to 20k attendees live and copious amounts more on television. It is time that NBA 2K had a genuine attempt at tapping into this market and shedding the spotlight on the young up-and-coming players, coaches, and even commentary teams that have fans flocking to games.

A created player in NBA 2K23 standing next to NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Draft Night
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Credit: NBA 2K23
2K23's MyCareer player got drafted 18th, with players having no choice in the matter

One area in particular that the next 2K title could really capitalise on is March Madness, which sees over 60 Division 1 teams vying for the top spot in the country. This would be a great tournament to generate a lot of pre-NBA interest and to give the created player some high-pressure game experience before the spotlight of the NBA. The results of a March Madness run could play the most significant role in determining a player's draft position.

With avid fans from around the country and beyond making their own March Madness prediction brackets each year for the tournament, there's no doubt that this would be an entirely unique MyCareer experience and would tie in perfectly with players hoping to achieve a place in one of the NBA's top teams.

Opting in and fighting for a draft spot

One of the most exciting parts of previous NBA 2K MyCareer modes has been the arm wrestle that comes with fighting for the coveted number one pick in the NBA Draft. Various approaches have been taken over the years to experience this fight for the top spot, all of which have triggered some interesting storylines. Some of the previous titles that featured more in-depth looks at the pre-NBA experience have explored how player decisions off the court can impact draft stocks as much as on-court performance.

Prior to their drafting into the league in NBA 2K23, players are given just one game to establish themselves as a young, up-and-coming talent by overcoming rival Shep Owens in the Summer League championship game. The player's performance determines their role in their future team, with the best performers achieving the Sixth Man status on the roster. Unfortunately, there is no avenue to channel the likes of this year's number-one pick Victor Wembanyama and secure a starting spot from the beginning of the season.

A created player in NBA 2K23 standing in his office from MyCareer mode.
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Credit: NBA 2K23
A more in-depth backstory for MyCareer mode in NBA 2K24 will take it to the next level.

Having an in-depth look at the college basketball experience will open doors for more exciting storylines that can involve the real-life draft prospects that are so heavily in the spotlight even before they step on the NBA court. Whether it be with a fellow college teammate fighting for the same starting spot in a prestigious school's starting 5, or igniting some of college basketball's biggest rivalries, there is plenty of potential to attract more interest in college basketball both in and out of the gaming space.

With more games to prove their worth, players can have more of a say in where they are drafted. Given draft picks are based on player performances, rewarding players who perform well with skill, ability, or VC boosts would make for a far more appealing race to the top spot. The option at the end of a college season to either opt in for the NBA Draft or continue at the college level would be the next step in a truly authentic MyCareer experience..

Giving players a fighting chance

One of the most noticeable setbacks with MyCareer mode in NBA 2K23 is the discrepancy in player rating between created players and the rest of the league.

While it is more than reasonable that a rookie does not share the same skill level as MVP-caliber players, it doesn't make much sense that their abilities be so far under the level of collegiate talent that enters the league each year. With former number 1 draft picks like Cade Cunningham having a rating exceeding 80, 2K are short-changing players in MyCareer mode.

Without being given the option to train and boost a player's skills, rookies are being thrust into America's top basketball league with a meager rating of 60. Considering that top players such as Steph Curry, Nikola Jokic, and LeBron James are all boasting ratings of over 95, this makes for an incredibly significant mismatch.

The only option players have is to struggle through it until they have the VC to boost their ratings, or reach into their pockets to give themselves a head-start on rookie season.

While some revel in the challenge of having an underskilled ball player against the NBA's best, the majority of the player base has experienced frustrations from having such an uphill battle from the start.

College basketball would solve all of the issues associated with low player ratings, while still giving those seeking the challenge to opt-in for the NBA Draft straight away.

While a full college season might be too long for most, having the opportunity to play a half-season worth of games would give players the opportunity to improve their created star's abilities in preparation for the top level. For those wanting to put themselves in the best possible position to be an instant superstar, the option to stay in college for multiple seasons can reward the patient gamer with a much higher player rating in their rookie NBA season.

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