Ah, the NBA offseason...a time for introspection, video games and half-hearted attempts to watch baseball.
It's a boring, melancholy time of year for basketball fans, and the only real answer is firing up 2K and trying to humiliate strangers online. Which brings us to the NBA 2K17 Playoffs pack—MyTEAM's final hurrah of the season commemorating playoff stars past and present.
The following is a run-down of the best cards from the collection by position, as well as their current ballpark price etc. in the MyTEAM auction house (prices shown are from the PlayStation network).
I hope this helps you finish out 2K17 strong. And I hope you manage to make it to 2K18 without being humiliated by Daniel Gibson.
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Honorable Mention: Steph Curry card
This goes for either of the diamond Stephs. If you have the means and desire the latest and greatest in online cheddar, far be it from me to stop you from being that guy.
5. Daniel Gibson
I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but a few weeks ago some dude murdered and hung me by my entrails in MTO with nothing more than ruby Daniel Gibson and a flock of forgettable diamonds.
Price: Almost literally free.
Strengths: Decent three-ball. Aggressively medium stats. But after watching this sentient pipe cleaner burn my entire world to the ground, I tried Gibson out in practice mode and realized his shot release is a gridlocked highway of green lights as far as the eye can see.
Weaknesses: Terrible passer ratings, shockingly poor mid-range shooting. None of which matter, apparently.
Recommended Strategy: Run him around the perimeter and chuck green wildfire into the basket like it’s King’s Landing.
4. Marcus Smart
One of the NBA’s most underrated role players finally gets the recognition that everyone hates to admit he deserves.
Price: ~6,000 MT
Strengths: Defense, catch-and-shoot threes, annoying the sweet goo out of everyone.
Weaknesses: Less effective at switching onto and disrupting bigs than he is in real life.
Recommended Strategy: Play him off-ball and have him lock up/goad your opponent’s go-to guy into foul trouble.
3. Steve Francis
Stevie Franchise gets the last laugh over Diamond D-Rose.
Weaknesses: Still not a lockdown defender, but no longer a constant liability on the defensive end.
Recommended Strategy: Heavy diet of pick-and-roll and dribble moves at the top of the key.
1. John Wall
The ideal John Wall and a fitting tribute to a scary, scary man.
Price: 100,000 MT
Strengths: Speed, rebounding and more speed. He’s 6-foot-4, has 99 Speed With Ball, 97 Driving Dunk, great passing stats and a workable three-pointer. You know what to do.
Weaknesses: Not 6-9 or Magic Johnson. Disappointing, I know.
Recommended Use: Use as you please. He’s the best “true” point guard in the game, in my opinion.
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Honorable Mention: Tim Hardaway Jr.
An amethyst by any other name.
5. Jimmy Butler
Neither sexy nor cool but damn if he isn’t effective.
Price: ~40,000 MT
Strengths: Lockdown defender who can rebound and disrupt any go-to scorer’s flow. Exceptionally useful in the most boring manner possible.
Weaknesses: Spotty three-point shooting, low driving dunk tendency. Plays a lot of country in the locker room.
Recommended Strategy: Spray liberally on the John Walls, Klays and Bradley Beals of the world and watch them vanish.
4. Jaylen Brown
A budget beast that has no right being this good.
Price: ~1,800 MT
Strengths: Dunking on every single person in Blacktop.
Weaknesses: Needs a speed shoe to get around stauncher defenders.
Recommended Strategy: Throw him in your Blacktop rotation and profit from his inexpensive and brilliant in-game mechanics.
3. J.R. Smith
He's earned a diamond but this will have to do.
Price: ~45,000 MT
Strengths: Canning threes, locking down opposing swingmen.
Weaknesses: A touch on the slow side, but nothing a speed shoe can’t fix.
Recommended Strategy: Place at the two and let him go wild.
2. James Harden
The crowning edition of 2K17’s most versatile backcourt card.
Price: ~180,000 MT
Strengths: Most things. Every James Harden card cooks, cleans and pays its own way within a few games’ time, and diamond Playoffs Beard is the pinnacle piece for the MyTEAMer who wants a hybrid backcourt player that does it all.
Weaknesses: Cannot be your entire team. Unfortunately, you cannot field an entire team of James Hardens in 2K.
Recommended Strategy: Put him at the point, space out the floor and run pick-and-roll until your opponent quits or begins bleeding from the mouth.
1. Klay Thompson
I knew from the moment I saw this card that I’d be willing to lose friendships over it.
Price: ~300,000 MT
Strengths: Regulating, draining moving 30-footers, making people quit video games as a form of entertainment. Diamond Klay’s near flawless three-point ratings result in shots going down that LaMelo Ball wouldn’t even take.
Weaknesses: Quick release takes a couple games to re-master if you haven’t had a Klay card in rotation recently.
Recommended Strategy: Run him at the one or three and
1) Shoot over shorter guards
2) Lose slow-footed SFs in traffic for open threes
Honorable Mention: Joe Ingles
The Australian coffee monster a.k.a. WHITE-BRON JAMES.
5. Peja Stojakovich
Way too tall to be this good at shooting.
Price: ~55,000 MT
Strengths: He’s canned tuna from three, a solid rebounder and his 87 lateral quickness makes him a demon in Blacktop. Oh, and five three-point pertinent HOF badges.
Weaknesses: Could go for a higher steal rating but I’m not complaining.
Recommended Strategy: Run Peja at the two. He can shoot over most guards easily, and if that gets boring, back him down into the post and drop that money post-fade on smaller defenders. It’s unstoppable and highly amusing.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Too long, too strong. Somehow a real person.
Price: ~140,000 MT
Strengths: Being tall, being coordinated while tall. Pretty much everything but outside shots.
Weaknesses: Struggles from deep on contested shots. Angelic conscience keeps him from reaching his full potential by consuming his brother for his powers.
Recommended Strategy: Use him at the point like a plus-sized Magic Johnson for unstoppable, high-release pick-and-rolls or station at the four and swerve around slower bigs.
3. LeBron James (95 Overall)
The second fiddle ‘Bron, but by far the most well-rounded and attainable diamond in the game.
Price: ~100,000 MT
Strengths: Everything within reason. This is 2017 Playoffs LeBron, so you’re getting the kitchen sink and the garbage disposal.
Weaknesses: Three-point shooting isn’t as good as it looks on paper, but Bron's perfectly fine at knocking down open looks from the perimeter.
Recommended Strategy: Pick on your opponent’s weak spot, counter and create mismatches.
2. Kevin Durant
Price: 1,000,000+ MT
Strengths: Scoring from anywhere, creating mismatches all across the court, being like the super dinosaur from Jurassic World but for basketball.
Weaknesses: Passing, physical strength, winning titles in the manner your dad prefers.
One of the highest rated and most well-rounded rubies in the game.
5. Antoine Walker
An improved version of one of the game’s best reward cards that no one likes, for some reason.
Price: 25,000 MT
Strengths: One of the best ball handling power forwards to ever lace them up and an absolute pleasure when finishing in transition. Also a scratch golfer and pretty huge jerk, according to a friend who caddied for him back in the day.
Weaknesses: 6-8, so height is a double-edged sword.
Recommended Strategy: Excellent change-of-pace guy to bring off the bench and keep opponents on their heels.
4. Larry Nance
He’s listed as a small forward, but let’s be real.
Price: ~10,000 MT
Strengths: A 6-10 rebounding monster with strong defensive tendencies and a salvageable three-point shot.
Weaknesses: By no means a strong shooter. Feels like he blocks fewer shots than he would in real life.
Recommended Strategy: Play at the three or four to blanket smaller opponents and vacuum up the boards.
3. Bob McAdoo
Price: ~14,000 MT
Strengths: Another OP “center” unleashed by the Playoffs collection. Bob Mac is money from anywhere inside the perimeter and stands as the only challenger to diamond Shawn Kemp’s throne as the smoothest big man to push a basketball full-court.
Weaknesses: Absolute buns from three, which feels unfair to one of the leading progenitors of the stretch big movement.
Recommended Strategy: Plug at the four and maul anyone who doesn’t have a Kristaps to counter.
2. Draymond Green
Price: ~300,000 MT
Strengths: Everything. Everything.
Weaknesses: Dray can do everything but he’s also 6-7, so not a first option against opponents who have tall, vertically-inclined monsters like diamond KG at their disposal.
Recommended Strategy: Run him at the three against diamond LeBrons or use him to counter other undersized and overpowered bigs like Wes Unseld and Bob McAdoo.
1. Shawn Kemp
For the money, Shawn Kemp is the most dangerous power forward in the game.
Price: ~50,000 MT
Strengths: Extremely mobile, extremely aggressive. Shawn Kemp would love the hell out of this card.
Weaknesses: Three-ball isn’t as strong as advertised.
Recommended Strategy: Transition alley oops and pick-and-roll stuffs at the basket until the cows come home.
Honorable Mention: Zydrunas Ilgauskas
The largest man LeBron has ever carried.
5. Myles Turner
A card in honor of Myles Turner averaging 11 points and 6.5 rebounds over the course of Cleveland’s four-game sweep of the Pacers in the first round. Never forget, never remember.
Price: ~8,500 MT
Strengths: Strong three-ball for a big and DeAndre-like blocking tendencies.
Weaknesses: Slow foot speed and low alley-oop tendencies hinder Turner's usefulness in fast-paced offenses.
Recommended Strategy: Sell unless you need a cheap, reliable pick-and-popper.
4. Al Horford
Another mildly stretchy, forgettable Horford card. Which feels right.
Price: 9,000 MT
Strengths: Mid-range shooting.
Weaknesses: Wonky three-ball for a supposed floor spacer.
Recommended Strategy: Unless you need a tall, decent-shooting power forward, sell Horford and use the MT on someone you really want.
3. Brad Daugherty
Neither the best nor the worst.
Price: 33,000 MT
Strengths: All-around center with a hidden magic three.
Weaknesses: Cumbersome defender. Hairline has clearly decided that the ears are lava.
Recommended Strategy: Sell and save up for Ralph Sampson.
The closest we’ll get to a Gundam Wing mech in 2K.
2. Rudy Gobert
Price: 25,000 MT
Strengths: Shot-blocking, covering ground. Flying like a beautiful, French pterodactyl.
Weaknesses: Shooting basketballs.
Recommended Strategy: A great rim protector who’s also a joy to terrorize slashers with in Blacktop.
1. Ralph Sampson
Stands literally and figuratively head-and-shoulders above the rest of the centers in the Playoffs collection.
Price: An unbeatable deal at around 65,000 MT.
Strengths: Height and athleticism. No card in 2K can match the size, speed and physical dominance around the basketball of diamond Ralph except maybe 98 overall Kareem, who’s two inches shorter and costs roughly 4.5 Ralph Sampsons.
Weaknesses: The game-breaking 80 open three in Ralph’s stats isn’t as cheesy as you'd hope.
Recommended Strategy: The right way to use Ralph Sampson is as a general-use center who can do it all on both ends.
That being said, there is another strategy I’ve been tinkering with that involves putting Sampson at the point (stay with me) and running pick-and-roll with another fast, sure-handed big (I used Game Breakers Bill Russell) for unstoppable catch-and-stuff dunks at the basket—a game-break-y dynamic that seems to work due to Sampson’s passes' high release point and his dribbling animation rarely allowing him to be stripped.
I can’t explain why this is so, and I wouldn’t recommend this strategy against actual thinking humans. But Point Ralph is a real thing that worked for me against the final god squads in Historic Domination.
Dan is on Twitter. He is taking up needlepoint to pass the time between now and Summer League.