NBA Playgrounds: Tips, Strategies, and Guides

Our strategies and guides are sure to set your NBA Playgrounds' skills ON FIRE.


Saber Interactive's NBA Playgrounds picks up the torch held by NBA Jam and passed to NBA Street during previous generations of game consoles. Playgrounds features fast-paced, over-the-top basketball that emphasizes fun more than a rigid adherence to the rules.

To thrive against your friends—or the cutthroat AI—in NBA Playgrounds, you'll need to exercise tight control over your team of choice and master essentials like nailing threes and breaking billboards by performing cinematic dunks. This guide offers tips, tricks, stats for players, and other advice to transform you into the Michael Jordan (or more recently, the Lebron James) of NBA Playgrounds.

Tips and Tricks

  • Perfect Shot: Sinking a perfect shot awards you one extra point on top of the points you'd have earned from shooting normally. That means a two-pointer nets you three points, while a three adds four to your board. To hit them consistently, hold the shoot button then release it at the peak of your jump. This might sound straightforward, but it's not. NBA Playgrounds gives you an extremely small window to land perfect shots—which only makes sense, because anyone who learns to land them consistently will quickly and easily run away with scores.
  • Lottery Picks: The Lottery Pick bar sits in the upper-right corner of your screen. Performing different types of moves fills or depletes the bar. Once it's full, you'll get a power-up. Fill the ball by successfully performing dunks and alley-oops, blocking shots, and stealing the ball from your opponents. Be careful, though: shoving your opponents lowers your lottery bar dramatically.
  • Stealing: Stealing isn't as effective a way to claim the ball as shoving, but it doesn't drain any stamina, allowing you to conserve your energy for moves like dunks. Players with higher steal stats are more successful at this maneuver.
  • Pushing and Shoving: Shoving your opponent to the ground automatically knocks the ball loose from their hands. There are downsides, however. Pushes consume lots of stamina, and drain your lottery meter.
  • Alley-Oops: This move adds a significant amount to your lottery move. To pull it off, hold L2 on PS4 or LT on Xbox One until your teammate jumps into the air. Once they're airborne, release the trigger and press the pass button to serve them the ball. Be careful not to pass too early or too late; your teammate could wind up missing the ball, giving your opponents a prime chance to recover it.
  • Crossover: The crossover is one of your most powerful offensive maneuvers. While performing a crossover you can't be pushed or have the ball stolen. The cost of so much strength is a large chunk of your stamina bar. Only use this move if you have stamina to spare.


Complete Roster and Player Stats

Get your NBA jam going with our guide to the complete roster and player stats.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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