The ultimate NBA 2K23 MyPlayer badges guide: The best defensive and rebounding badges in NBA 2K23 at every height
Becoming a lockdown defender in NBA 2K23 is easy with these defensive badges.
Image via 2K Games
Defense is often underrated, in real sports and in virtual sports. That’s a real shame because it’s been proven time and time again that defense is the foundation of winning in both mediums. We can’t teach you anything about playing defense in the NBA, but we know one or two things about NBA 2K23 defensive badges.
For starters, you must know that they are mixed together with rebounding badges, which means some will be useless to guards and borderline mandatory for centers, and vice versa. Don’t worry, we will represent every height in our guide.
There are a total of 16 defensive and rebounding badges in NBA 2K23:
Anchor – Improves ability to block and contest shots in the paint.Ankle Braces – Lowers the likelihood of your player freezing or falling on the floor when facing dribble moves.Brick Wall – Increases the effectiveness of screens and drains energy from opponents on physical contact. This badge makes it tougher for the defense to get through or around screens. Players hit by contact from a Brick Wall lose more energy than normal.Boxout Beast – Improves a player’s ability to box out and fight for a good rebounding position.Challenger – Improves the effectiveness of perimeter shot contests.Chasedown Artist – Boosts the speed and leaping ability of a player when chasing down an offensive player down the court and attempting a block from behind.Clamps – Boosts the ability to stay in front of the ball handler on the perimeter. Defenders have access to quicker cut-off moves and are more successful when bumping or hip riding the ball handler.Glove – Boosts the ability to steal the ball from ball handlers and strip players of the ball while they are gathering for a shot attempt.Interceptor – Increases the ability of getting steals in passing lanes. The frequency of successfully tipped or intercepted passes greatly increases.Menace – While guarding and staying in front of an opponent, their attributes will drop if good defense is being played.Off-Ball Pest – Makes your player more difficult to beat while defending off the ball. You can grab and hold your matchup to establish position and will receive increased stability when chasing your matchup around the court.Pick Dodger – Improves a player’s ability to navigate through screens effectively on defense. Pogo Stick – Allows players to quickly recover and go back up for another jump upon landing. This could be after a rebound, block attempt, or jumpshot.Post Lockdown – Strengthens a player’s ability to effectively defend moves in the post, with an increased chance at stripping the ball from the opponent as they are making a move.Rebound Chaser – Boosts your ability to track down rebounds at greater distances than normal.Work Horse – Increases your player’s speed and ability to track down loose balls ahead of the opponent.
Picking the best defensive badges is a bit tricky because they are the only reflective type of badge—they go off of what your opponent does, not so much what you want to do. This is important to understand as some badges that may look decent, aren’t because they are very situational in the context of NBA 2K23.
Equipping a badge that would take effect a couple of times a game is bad for business. What you should be looking for is a combination of effect and frequency. We already did the looking and are ready to present our picks for the best defensive and rebounding badges in NBA 2K23 at every height.
Best NBA 2K23 defensive and rebounding badges for players under 6 foot 5 inches
At that height, you’ll be doing most of your defending on the perimeter, which makes the choice of defensive badges straightforward if you want to maximize their efficiency.
It’s fitting to start our detailed recommendations with Glove, easily the best defensive badge in NBA 2K23. A lot of folks would say that it’s too good, to the point of being overpowered.
Glove makes stealing the ball from the opponent almost trivial if they don’t have Unpluckable equipped, and it’s very efficient at stripping the ball even against players that do have Unpluckable.
Steals often lead to a quick bucket on the other end. Furthermore, a succession of steals could piss off your opponent to the moon and back. It’s an effect that isn’t reflected in the statline but is among the key aspects of winning in online play.
Clamps and Challenger cover the two aspects of defense you want as a perimeter guy— standing your ground against ball handlers and being able to challenge jumpshots.
This pair of defensive badges is practically mandatory if you don’t want to get neutralized by every half-decent penetration and your matchups having 70 percent shooting nights against you because your contests have zero effect on their shot.
We’d like to bring up two honorable mentions: Pick Dodger and Off-Ball Pest. Coupled together, they constitute the ultimate off-ball defense package. Particularly effective for matchups against sharpshooters that run around the court a lot.
Best NBA 2K23 defensive and rebounding badges for players between 6 foot 5 inches and 6 foot 10 inches
This is per tradition the most difficult category to pin down because of how varied playstyles can be at these heights. Since we will cover centers separately, here we’ll focus on hybrid forward builds that play some perimeter and some paint defense.
For these builds, two defensive badges stand out:
Menace is theoretically a badge that is universally applicable. It drains your opponent’s stats after all. It comes with the requirement of already playing good defense, however. This requirement is why we held back on recommending it for smaller guards. It’s much more difficult to stay in front of your man when they are a Hall of Fame ball handler.
Staying in front of your man at 6 foot 5 inches and above without having five defensive badges equipped is not impossible, though, which could unleash Menace’s potential. Of course, if you have the option to pair it with Clamps, you’d make the most out of it, but it’s not mandatory. Menace is menacing enough on its own.
Interceptor is a badge that could work for guards too. It is most effective on forwards, though, as they are much less likely to be stuck defending a ball handler. Smaller forwards in particular should benefit from Interceptor a lot as in theory, they should be roaming around passing lanes for most of their playtime.
Best NBA 2K23 defensive and rebounding badges for players over 6 foot 10 inches
The big man defensive and rebounding badge package finally brings actual rebounding badges into the fold. Looking at the list of available options, you may be tempted to go another route, but the ultimate setup is tied to these three badges:
AnchorBoxout BeastRebound Chaser
Anchor is the equivalent of Challenger and is all you need for post-defense. Post Lockdown isn’t as great as it sounds. First of all, its only use is when facing a skilled post player that also posts up a lot. That’s not something that happens all too often. Second of all, even if you’re playing against such a player, Post Lockdown doesn’t cover every post move. For example, hook shots are not affected by it. They are, however, affected by Anchor.
Considering how much more prevalent drives from the perimeter and pick and rolls are compared to post-ups, Anchor will come into effect a lot more often than Post Lockdown, which is already reason enough to prefer it. Anchor is also a good badge on its own, which turns a mere preference into a no-brainer.
Boxout Beast and Rebound Chaser are what you call self-explanatory. They are both very effective at turning your MyPlayer into a rebounding god. If you are the main rebounder on the team, you can’t go wrong with either of these rebounding badges.
Pogo Stick is a badge that appears to pair well with the trio we outlined above. Jumping for blocks and rebounds is half the game for a defensive center, the other half is running to the basket for easy dunks.
Pogo Stick is a badge that could bring that extra mobility that completes your blocking and rebounding setup. There’s no way we’d recommend it over any of the above mentioned badges though.
Finally, some returning NBA 2K22 players may be wondering why in the name of Steven Adams are we not recommending Brick Wall for bigs. Simple, it feels nerfed. Or rather, Pick Dodger feels buffed. Whichever is true, the end result is the same. Brick Wall, while still effective, especially versus players without Pick Dodger equipped, is not as effective as it used to be. Leaving us with no choice but to demote it to an honorable mention.
If you’re having doubts about some of our defensive and rebounding badge suggestions, go ahead and try them out in NBA 2K23. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so when you become the defensive beast you’ve wanted to be ever since Sept. 9, 2022.
About the author
Dot Esports general gaming writer. Loves writing, games, and writing about games. Began working in the industry in 2018 with esports.com, before moving to earlygame.com, and later joining the Dot Esports staff. Though a single player gamer at heart, he can be seen noobing around CS:GO lobbies.