Game Guides

NBA 2K21 – How to Shoot – Shooting Basics and How to Be a Better Shooter

Learn to shoot with the best of them in NBA 2K21.

by William Schwartz


Shooting in NBA 2K21 is similar to previous years, but this year you have some new mechanics to learn and adopt if you want to be a better shooter.  In this guide we’ll explain the basics of shooting in NBA 2K21 as well as some tips to be a better shooter and make more shots.

2k21 Shooting Basics

There are a number of different types of shots in NBA 2K21.  There are dunks, lay-ups, jump shots, post shots, and more.  Shooting is similar to previous years in that you have multiple options to choose from.  You can either shoot with the buttons or you can shoot with the stick, whichever you choose you have some things to think about.

How to Shoot in NBA 2K21

  • Press the X Button (Xbox) or Square Button (PlayStation) to Shoot.
  • Shooting can also be done with the Right Stick

Shooting with Buttons

When shooting with the buttons and using the Shot Meter, you will press and hold the shot button depending on your platform and then hold it until the gauge is lined up with the center of the shot meter.  The closer you get to the middle of the shot meter then better and more accurate your shot will be.  If your shot is perfect the meter will flash green to let you know that you’ve released the shot at a good time.

Tip – Your controller will also vibrate to let you know when it’s time to release the shot.

Shooting with the Stick

The button shooting option is definitely the easier to learn of the two methods, but shooting with the stick is an option as well.  However, instead of holding down the button to shoot you pull the right stick down and then flick it up to release the shot.  The closer you flick the stick to center the more accurate your shot.

These two methods use timing and aiming to determine how accurate your shots are going to be, but there are ways to change this as well.

Change Shot Settings

You can change the settings to determine whether you make or miss a shot to the player’s stats.  The Real Player % option can be changed in the Controller Settings under the “Shot Timing” section.  Change this to Real Player % if you want your shots to go in depending on how good your player’s ratings are.

The menus also allow you to experiment with having the shot meter on and off, or changing things like the Shot Timing.  You can also choose to turn your shot vibration on and off as well.  There is no one path to becoming a better shooter in NBA 2K21 so experiment with different settings until you find one that you are comfortable with.

Becoming a better shooter in 2k21

Putting it all together is easier said than done, but there are plenty of feedback tools to use in 2K21 that’ll make you a better shooter.  While you’re learning the basics of shooting and getting your timing down, there is a shot feedback tool that will pop up at the top of the screen to let you know how good your shot was and what the rating was for the shot.  Pay attention to this as it pops up right after you release your shot and can give you valuable information in terms of what you did wrong or right on the shot.

There’s more to shooting in NBA 2K21 than just pressing a button at the right time.  There are variables that come into play in a live game like being guarded, for example that can throw off even the best shooters.  Players also have hot zones where they are better shooters.  Knowing these as well as taking good shots AND using the correct timing and aiming is the only way to get better at shooting in NBA 2K21.

NBA 2K21 Advanced Shooting Tips

These shooting tips come from the gameplay director for NBA 2K21

  • Tap the left trigger at the ideal release time for a boost when shooting.
  • If you’re using the Shot Button turn off the Shot Meter for a boost.
  • Try to get green release, obviously.
  • If you want the game to be more like last year you can turn off Shot Aiming completely to have Shot Timing on the Pro Stick as it was in last year’s game.

- This article was updated on:September 4th, 2020

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