The roster order doesn't affect anything in the game; it merely sets the order that players are shown on the roster and box scores. There are a few common ways of doing this:
- List the five starters first, followed by the reserves, followed by the inactive players
- Sort the roster by position, with the starter first and reserves following within each group of players at the same position.
It really doesn't matter how you choose to order your roster, however, since the only effect is how your roster is shown and the order of players in box scores. Thus whatever you find the easiest to read is what you should use.
Depth charts allow you to select between 3 and 5 players that can play at each position, as well as how much you want to use your reserves. These are broken down by position: C, PF, SF, SG, and PG. The first player listed at the position is the starter, the second is the reserve, and the third is the third stringer (who will not necessarily be used). Fourth and fifth players are optional, and are added to the depth chart only if one of the first three playrs is injured or has fouled out.
You can also select how much you want to use the backup at each position, from 1 (very little) to 5 (almost as much as the starter). You need not consider stamina when setting these values, since the player comes out when he is fatigued by a certain amount rather than after he has played a certain number of minutes.
Another option in the depth chart menu is when to declare a blowout. If you declare a blowout, you use the settings for the appropriate situation (ahead or behind) and all bench usage values are set to 5. "Rarely" means that the lead is at least 10 points + 2.5 points per minute; "most often" means that the lead has to be 10 points + 1 point per minute. Other settings are intermediate.
The final option within the depth chart control is rotation groups, which allow you to do one of the following:
Up to six players can be selected for a rotation group.
- Require that at least N players out of the group be on the court at all times. This is useful if you want to make sure that you've got at least one player with a specific skill (such as passing or perimeter shooting).
- Require that no more than N players out of the group be on the court at all times. This can be useful to ensure that you don't have all 5 third-stringers on at once.
The player options controls allow you to specify certain players to be used in special ways:
- Use when ahead/behind: Player will be moved up the depth chart in the second half of a game when you are ahead or behind.
- Shooter: Player is more likely to be called on to shoot the ball. This means that (a) he will be more likely to be passed the ball when a shot needs to be taken and (b) he will be more likely to shoot when he has the ball. Ideally your players will find the best shooters in shooting situations, but this setting gives you more control.
- Handler: Player is more likely to try to get an assist. This means that (a) he will be more likely to be passed the ball to set up a play and (b) he will be more likely to pass when he has the ball. Again, your better passers should tend to do more ball handling, even without being specified as handlers; the setting is merely to give you extra control.
- Rebounder: Player is removed from the normal offensive flow and instead tries to get in position for offensive rebounds. Use of a rebounder will effectively make you run a 4-man offense; thus you probably only want to use this when the player wouldn't be very useful for passing or shooting. Note that a player cannot be made a handler and rebounder at the same time. If he is a shooter and rebounder, he will attempt putbacks more frequently when he gets an offensive rebound.
- Redshirt (college only): A redshirted player will not play in a regular game (he can play in scrimmages or exhibitions), but will gain an extra year of elibility. A player cannot redshirt if he is a junior or senior or has already redshirted a previous year.
- Captains (pro only): Setting captains are primarily for show in basketball, but you will need to select two players to be the captain and assistant captain.
- Key Player: You can choose up to two (0, 1, or 2) key players. Such players are more likely to be on the court late in a close game; they are also more likely to get the ball.
A final piece of control you have is your players' preferred distances. Each player is given two depth preferences: position without the ball (passing depth) and preferred shooting distance (shooting depth). Both sets of settings are named by position; setting to a depth of "SF" means that the player will play where a typical small forward would normally be. You do not have to set your players to the depths corresponding to their postions, however. For example, if you had a power forward with great outside shooting you might give him a shooting depth of "SF".
The basketball game contains six situations; for each you can specify your team's style of play. Here are the six, and when they are used:
- Early: first 3 quarters in pro; first 28 minutes in college
- Late/Ahead: last 12 minutes, ahead by 4 or more
- Late/Within 3: last 12 minutes, within 3 points
- Late/Behind: last 12 minutes, behind by 4 or more
- Blowout Win: see blowout notes above
- Blowout Loss: see blowout notes above
In each situation, you can specify seven options:
A final option in the situation settings is game training. Game training gives your players temporary ability boosts (for the game only); you can divide up to six training points between shooting, passing, defense, conditioning (improves stamina), and film study (improves intelligence). Be adivsed that the more points used, the more fatigued your players start the game.
- Pace: On average, how many passes you want to make before shooting the ball. The actual number of passes can be +/-1 from this value frequently and sometimes +/-2. A 3-pass offense is the most common. Note that this is not overly restrictive; most open shots will be attempted unless you are trying to kill time.
- Motion: The motion option determines how much your players move without the ball in an attempt to get open. A low-motion offense will rely more on penetration from the guards. In general, high motion offenses are slower-paced.
- Play w/Fouls: This determines how slow you are to bench players in foul trouble. Since there is no suspension after fouling out, it is common to set this to 'most' late in the game.
- Press: Determines the percentage of time your team does a full-court press. The upside of the press is turnovers and easy buckets; the downside is fast breaks the other way. Note that full-court presses are only made following baskets; a turnover or defensive rebound rarely gives the defense enough time to get a press set up.
- Trap: Determines the amount and intensity of halfcourt trapping. As with the press, this is a tradeoff between forcing turnovers and giving away easy baskets. Be especially cautious of trapping if your opponent has a great 3-point shooter on the floor, since he may be left open to double-team another player.
- Shooting: Determines where on the floor you most like to take your shots from. Options are straight (will take anything), inside, medium, and perimeter. With all but straight, you also specify how much you care about taking shots there as opposed to elsewhere.
- Defense: Sets your defense style. There are five man-to-man defenses and five zones. Choices for defense are:
For the double defenses, you can set the amount of the time you want the double-team in effect, from 1 (20%) to 5 (100%). In double-man or box-and-1, the player receiving the special attention is determined by the first matchup from your matchup list; if none is available it will be the opposing point guard. Details of the zone assignments are found on the advanced topics page.
- Straight man: each player guards one man
- Double inside: double-cover anyone in the low post
- Double medium: double-cover anyone in the high post or baseline
- Double outside: double-cover anyone on the perimeter
- Double player: double-cover a specific player
- 2-3 zone: strongest in the low post
- 2-1-2 zone: strongest in the high post or baseline
- 3-2 zone: strongest on the perimeter
- Matchup zone: similar to straight man, but without specific matchups
- Box-and-1 zone: four men play a loose zone, one man covers specific opposing player.
- Secondary Defense: This is an optional setting; you can leave it blank or specify a second defense to be used in special situations. This is described in the advanced topics page.
If you are playing man defense or box&1 zone, you may want to specify the defense assignments. This is done with the defense matchup controls, which allow you to specify up to 14 specific matchups. Each matchup consists of your defender and opposing offensive player; you may select specific players or simply choose by position. During the game, your team will try to match up with opponents using this list, with priority given to the earlier matchups in the list. Note that a box-and-1 matches up only one player; other zone defenses ignore matchups altogether.
You can also selected 0, 1, or 2 defensive key players in the defense matchup controls, which controls secondary defense setings. This is described in the advanced topics page.
Finally, you can specify opposing players you want to attack or avoid when on offense. The effect is similar to the player assignments, in that a player being guarded by a weak opposing defender becomes more of a shooter or handler and one being guarded by a great opposing defender is less so. This can be especially powerful against a zone defense, since it lets you adjust your preferred shooting locations based on where specific defenders are assigned.