Improving the Defense

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Improving the Defense

Postby Andrew on Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:54 pm

Since I'm talking about gameplay issues and improvements I'd like to see, I'll also mention some of my complaints and suggestions regarding defense.

Movement & Physics

Simply put, the CPU is able to slip past defenders very easily through hip riding animations, as well as the fact that they feel two or three steps faster than your players. Playing good defense is less about good movement, and more about being able to constantly force the ballhandler into a bumping animation, cutting off the drive, possibly forcing the pickup, and wasting the shot clock into a contested attempt.

If the CPU gets into the paint, they're finishing unless you block the shot or foul them hard enough. There are also still too many And 1s, and not enough physicality or altered shots. Blocks are noticeably canned, as are steals and reach-in fouls. There needs to be better lateral movement, more physicality, more shots that are altered by good defense or hard fouls, less "press steal to foul" canned moments, and more organic looking/feeling blocks and steals. Player movement in general is still a bit heavy and less responsive than it should be, so further improvement there is needed.

Defensive Assist

I strongly believe this button should be defensive crouch, not defensive assist. All too often it'll pull me away from the player I'm trying to guard, leaving me out of position and opening up an uncontested jumpshot or easy path to the basket. I'm seeing a lot of support for this going back to a defensive crouch on Twitter, and I'd like to throw my support behind that. Defensive assist just feels useless, especially when its idea of helping is to pull you away from the player you're supposed to be guarding.

Blocks vs Contested Shots Inside

Reiterating a point I made above, there needs to be more altered shots in the paint, rather than blocks. The Warriors lead the league last season with 6.4 blocks per game; even on five minute quarters, it's easy to exceed that average. I'm not suggesting that the stats have to be rigidly realistic for a game to be sim, but it shouldn't be feasible to challenge records every game, especially on twelve minute quarters.

A block attempt that doesn't tally a rejection in the box score can still have an impact on shooting, and there needs to be more of them in NBA Live. There should also be more shooting fouls that result in two free throws, as hard hits limit And 1 opportunities.


Right now, it feels like the CPU is tethered to the player(s) you're controlling, easily able to keep step with them and recover defensively, and always able to get a quality contest. Conversely, when guarding the CPU, it's like they're covered in oil with rockets strapped to their feet, given the way they can give you the slip and explode past you.

The challenge from the CPU comes from difficulty that feels artificial and a lack of balance, as well as a style of play that doesn't resemble NBA basketball with playcalling and ball movement. That's something that needs to be improved upon on both sides of the ball, but defensively, it really feels unbalanced and as though we don't have the tools to play effective D.
This topic was moved from NBA Live 19 by Andrew on Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:39 pm.
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