NBA 2K23 guide and everything we know so far

NBA 2K23 pre-orders are open, with four different athletes fronting this year’s game. That means we also know the NBA 2K23 release date at last: it’s Friday, September 9. What other key intel makes the scouting report? Lots, actually – all of which will be covered here between now and that important street date, from the first NBA 2K23 trailer, to player ratings, and a big old features wishlist. Below is everything you need to know so far, in our NBA 2K23 guide.

When will we see the first NBA 2K23 trailer?

It’s here – kind of. 2K released a mini-trailer to confirm Michael Jordan as one of the game’s four cover stars. You can watch it above.

As for the first gameplay footage, this usually drops later than EA games such as Madden 23 and FIFA 23. While those footballing rivals tend to unleash teasers in June to tie in with E3 and EA Play Live, 2K likes to wait a little longer to reveal video-based b-ball. Last year, for instance, the first NBA 2K22 trailer emerged on July 14. Expect it to follow the same pattern this year. Once the first NBA 2K23 trailer is in the wild, you’ll be able to view it right here.

Can we pinpoint the NBA 2K23 release date yet?

NBA 2K23

(Image credit: 2K)

Most certainly. One of the upsides to annual sports titles is that their publishers like to stick to a specific release window. For instance, NBA 2K20 dropped on September 6, 2019. NBA 2K21 landed on September 4, 2020. [On PS4 and Xbox One, anyway – the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions had to wait until the November launch of those consoles.] NBA 2K22, meanwhile, shipped on September 10, 2021. All of these dates are Fridays, and they all fall within the first fortnight of September.

Taking those past dates into account, we therefore predicted that the NBA 2K23 release date would fall during the first fortnight in September. We were right: NBA 2K23 lands on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC on Friday, September 9.

Are there NBA 2K23 pre-order rewards?

NBA 2K23

(Image credit: 2K)

Inevitably, yes. In addition to confirming the release date of Friday, September 9, Visual Concepts unveiled five different versions of NBA 2K23. You can compare them all at the official 2K Sports website. The good news is that whichever one you go for, these goodies are also thrown in should you decide to pre-order:

  • 5,000 Virtual Currency
  • 5,000 MyTEAM Points
  • 10 MyTEAM Promo Packs (delivered one a week)
  • A Boost for each MyCAREER Skill type
  • A Boost for each Gatorade Boost type
  • Devin Booker MyPLAYER Jersey
  • 95 Rated Devin Booker MyTEAM Free Agent Card

Who will be the NBA 2K23 cover star?

NBA 2K23

(Image credit: 2K Games)

The 2K series box athlete doesn’t receive as much hype as the Madden 23 cover star, but it’s still a hugely privileged gig. As a rule, more than one player usually scores the honor. For NBA 2K21, Zion Willamson (Pelicans) and Damien Lillard (Trail Blazers) fronted the current-gen and lest-gen versions respectively, while a Mamba Forever edition was produced in honor of Kobe Bryant, after the hoops icon was killed in a helicopter crash. Last year, Luca Doncic (Mavericks) and Candace Parker (Sky) shared the spoils. Parker was the first-ever female player to appear on the box.

There are four cover stars this year. Basketball legend Michael Jordan fronts the Michael Jordan Edition (well, duh) and Championship Edition. Female legends Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird are on the box of the Gamestop-exclusive WNBA Edition. And contemporary favourite Devin Booker gets the gig on the Standard Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition.

Who can we expect to top the NBA 2K23 ratings list?

NBA 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

Fascinatingly, American betting company BetUS (opens in new tab) opened a specific market predicting NBA 2K23 player ratings at the back end of 2021. Customers could bet whether an individual player would end up with higher or lower overall scores than those suggested by BetUS. There’s no hint that they had an inside information – indeed, that would be illegal – but here’s who they predicted to be the top ten players in NBA 2K23:

  • Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) – 97
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) – 97
  • LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) – 96
  • Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) – 96
  • Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers) – 96
  • Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) – 96
  • Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) – 96
  • James Harden (Philadelphia 76ers) – 96
  • Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) – 96
  • Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) – 94

What’s on the NBA 2K23 features wishlist?

NBA 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

The NBA 2K forum on Reddit (opens in new tab) is a treasure trove of credible ideas to improve the series. Handily, its moderators collate the best ones and then submit them to publisher 2K for consideration in the game.

Fans are generally happy with the modes on offer, but would like to see gameplay tweaks as the series finds its find on PS5 and Xbox Series X. “Slow the game down a little and make players’ speed realistic. David Robinson was never faster than John Wall,” writes JimboCruntz. “Fix blocks. There are too many from chase downs and not enough from poor offensive choices. Also, fix rebounding. NBA players tend to react when the ball is heading towards them.”

“Remove speed boosts,” he continues. “If players want to be dribble gods they should learn how to dribble, not hunt for random super speed animations. [Also] watch an NBA game. Players don’t miss because Kawhi randomly stands near them – he actually has to play defense to defend. As for shooting, the green zone should be larger or smaller AND move depending on the contest.”

Indeed, improved shooting is a common theme when it comes to tweaking the on-court action. “Open shots vs contested shots need to be balanced a bit more,” writes EarvGotti. “Currently open shots go in at an insanely high rate which is fine. But if that is going to be the case, contested shots need to have more of a penalty. Currently, guys are running Base 3, Set Shot 25, Base 98 and these jumpshots are super fast. Contests don’t register properly on bases like those. Shot contests need to be stronger in order to correctly penalize taking bad shots vs taking good shots. If you guys do one last patch for NBA 2K22, please please please include a buff to shot contests on the perimeter and directly under the rim.”

Over on Operation Sports (opens in new tab), there’s a push to see extra focus given to retro favorites. “I know this isn’t a huge priority, but please show more love to the historics!” pleads KobeDropped81. “Please re-create the top three or four players on every classic team. Pay someone from the modding community if you have to. The work that was done to Kobe [Bryant] and Dirk [Nowitzki] over the last two years is phenomenal. It shows that improvements are possible. Why not put the same effort into the other legends? Most of these guys have looked the EXACT same since NBA 2K16. Why does DeAndre Jordan have long ponytail Dreads on the ’14 Clippers? And Stephon Marbury? It makes no sense.”

Will we see NBA 2K23 cross-play?

NBA 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

In May, EA began testing cross-play (opens in new tab) within the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of FIFA 22, using Online Friendlies and Online Seasons. It’s a groundbreaking experiment and fans have naturally reacted in hope that the feature will be rolled out to Madden 23 and NHL 23. But EA doesn’t make a basketball game, and at this point, there’s no suggestion that NBA 2K23 will incorporate similar tech. However, it’s certainly something Visual Concepts will need to look hard at going forwards if EA’s suite of rival games make a success of it. Consider cross-play more likely for NBA 2K24 than NBA 2K23.

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