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NBA LIVE 19: One-on-One Improvements

Last year, a big focus for the NBA Live gameplay team was to make playing on-ball defense fun, impactful, and skill-based. We introduced the one-on-one system for the on-ball defender and ball handler matchup. This allowed the ball carrier to try and break down defenders while giving the defense the ability to cut off and stop counter moves. With NBA LIVE 19, we’ve not only made some improvements to the on-ball system but created a brand-new one-on-one system for off-ball play.



When playing in a player-locked game, users spend most of their time on offense without the ball, leaving them to either try to get into position for a rebound, or trying to get open for an opportunity to try to score from a pass. From a defender’s perspective, users are stuck without any way of trying to slow down their movements, and were stuck chasing the player around the court, hoping to be there to contest the shot if their check got the ball. Now, in NBA LIVE 19 players will finally be able to make explosive off-ball cuts and push-offs to create the perfect opportunity for a catch-and-shoot or a catch-and-finish, just like Rip Hamilton, Reggie Miller, and Manu Ginobili did back in the early 2000’s. As a counter, defenders can impede movement, jostle off-ball movement, or hold their check to prevent spacing, just like Gary Payton, Kawhi Leonard, or Klay Thompson would.

When playing off-ball on the offensive side, you can use the Right Stick to make cuts. The direction you flick the Right Stick will determine what kind of cut you make. For example, flicking the Right Stick away from the hoop will perform a quick cut that fakes a cut to the basket and moves back out to the perimeter. You can also flick the Right Stick more to the side to make L and V cuts. Use these to quickly create space and throw off the defense to get an open shot or use an off-ball screen.

On the defensive side, defenders can now tightly guard their check all over the court as well. As a defender, you can disrupt the offensive player’s movement and slow them down in off-ball jostles. Use LT off-ball to square up to your check and jostle them around the court when they make contact with you. You can also change positions as a defender, between being in front of the offensive player or riding their hip. To do this, use the LS towards the offensive player in the direction you want to go.

When in the off-ball jostle, the offensive player can counter the defender by pushing off, swimming around, or spinning off their defender using the Right Stick. For example, flicking the Right Stick away from the defender will push off to create space. To counter this as a defender, you must guess the correct way the offensive player goes using the Left Stick; like how to defend in on-ball defense. The off-ball defender can also hold the offensive player to allow more time to react by flicking the Right Stick down at the time of the counter move. Defenders beware in games with full rules, you might get called for an off-ball foul making it a high risk, high reward play.


On-Ball Improvements

We have also made some noticeable improvements to our on-ball one-on-one system. In NBA LIVE 18, players could often feel stuck or on rails when entering jostles. In NBA LIVE 19, players on offense or defense can more easily escape these jostles, freeing up movement on both sides of the ball. In NBA LIVE 19, the jostle angles to the basket also differ based on the matchup. A bigger, stronger player like LeBron will be able to force their way to the basket at tighter angles than smaller players. Step backs have also been improved, in that the ball handler now can step back in two directions. Ball handers can step back towards the way they are going or back to where they came, making it harder for the defender to close out the step back. We’ve also added some more counters from jostle that will be talked about more in the dribble moves article coming soon.

Bringing one-on-one everywhere has opened more options for players to show off their skills and create new ways to dominate their opponent on both offense and defense. In NBA LIVE 19, whether you are on the ball or not, you’ll always be involved in the play. Hope you are looking forward to using these new ways to play.


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