NBA 2K23: Best Small Forward (SF) Build and Tips

These are the best builds for a small forward in 2K23.

Arguably, the most important position in the NBA is the forward spot. They’re long and rangy yet agile and skilled, giving them a height advantage over guards and an athleticism advantage over centers. Specifically, this has led to teams searching for coveted “point forward” players. In other words, it’s a player with point guard-like skills and with several inches added to their height so they can see the entirety of the court. This allows players to assert their dominance and control the game from start to finish. From being the facilitator to the closer, they’re the primary engine of the offense as everything runs through them. 

With that being said, the best small forward build in 2K23 is the PLAYMAKING SHOT CREATOR. Some of the best players in the league fit this mold. Think LeBron James’ finishing, Luka Dončić’s playmaking, Jayson Tatum’s all-around game, or Paul George’s finesse. The build strikes the perfect balance between being an offensive juggernaut that scores at will and making others around you better to carry an NBA offense, all while still being respectable on defense. If you desire the potential to eventually be an offensive hub in the modern NBA, there’s no doubt this build will create the player of your dreams. 

Small forward build overview 

Below, you will find the key attributes to build the best small forward in NBA 2K23:

  • Position: Small Forward 
  • Height, Weight, Wingspan: 6’8’’, 230 lbs, 7’4’’ 
  • Finishing skills to prioritize: Close Shot, Driving Layup, Driving Dunk 
  • Shooting skills to prioritize: Mid-Range Shot, Three-Point Shot, Free Throw 
  • Playmaking skills to prioritize: Pass Accuracy, Ball Handle, Speed with Ball  
  • Defense/Rebounding skills to prioritize: Perimeter Defense, Steal, Block  
  • Physical skills to prioritize: Speed, Strength, Stamina  
  • Top Badges: Bully, Masher, Middy Magician, Quick First Step, Clamps 
  • Takeover: Finishing Moves, Anklebreaking Shots 
  • Best Attributes: Driving Layup (92), Three-Point Shot (81), Ball Handle (89), Perimeter Defense (86), Strength (89) 
  • NBA Player Comparisons: LeBron James, Luka Dončić, Jayson Tatum, Paul George, Khris Middleton 

Body profile 

At 6’8” and 230 lbs, you have guard-like skills, but still have the strength hold your ground against bigger and stronger forwards and centers. This truly gives you the capacity to traverse any part of the court and gives you unlimited offensive freedom. A multi-positional player who is very switchable on defense is a hallmark of this build. With the 7’4” wingspan, you can use your range to play up or down, depending on the height of the defender. The body shape that makes most sense here is built because it affords a heavier look for finishing. 


The Playmaking Shot Creator caters towards producing an all-around offensive maestro with a deep bag. As a point forward, you have a rare ability to lift others around you and attack the basket at will. 

Finishing Attributes 

With this build, your finishing is top tier at the small forward position with 82 Close Shot, 92 Driving Layup, and 84 Driving Dunk. This gives you an elite ability to finish through contact and great touch at the rim along with contact dunk packages. You also have two Hall of Fame badges, seven gold badges, two silver badges, and five bronze badges. The Masher badge is particularly helpful in scoring when you have defenders draped around you. Similar to the point guard build, the Bully badge enables you finish through contact regardless of the defender’s size. As a forward, finishing is essential for maximizing your scoring output so it’s important to lend resources towards these attributes.  

Shooting Attributes 

Pairing your finishing with a well-developed shooting arsenal can make you unstoppable on offense. With 21 potential badge points, you have access to five Hall of Fame badges, six gold badges, one silver badge, and three bronze badges. Since shooting from everywhere on the court is crucial to being a high-level scorer, this build offers 81 Mid-Range Shot and 81 Three-Point Shot, giving you the complete package. One of the more important skills at the small forward position is making difficult shots in the mid-range, which is why Middy Magician and Guard Up are valuable. Also, with Tier 3 badges like Limitless Range and Deadeye, there’s no shortage of long-distance shooting capability (Tier 3 badges require ten badge points between Tiers 1 and 2 to unlock for all four attribute groupings).  

Playmaking Attributes 

This is the genesis of the point forward position in the NBA: playmaking bigs like Arvydas Sabonis and eventually LeBron James. It’s so coveted because of how greatly it contributes to winning basketball. The ability to operate as an offensive hub as a tall wing player will always reign supreme in 2K23, which is why there are 22 badge points committed to playmaking. With three Hall of Fame, nine gold, and four silver badges, your player will be equipped with superstar-level creation and vision that rivals James and Luka Dončić. The Quick First Step badge will allow you to move like you’re a 6’2” guard and Clamp Breaker will masterfully complement the Bully badge equipped earlier to help you initiate the offense through contact. Ultimately, an 80 Pass Accuracy along with 89 Ball Handle and 77 Speed With Ball supplies you with top-notch playmaking abilities to slice up a defense. 

Defense Attributes 

Although this build doesn’t emphasize defense as much due to prioritizing other more important offensive assets, your 6’8” height gives you more of a margin of error to work with. You’ll have 86 Perimeter Defense and 82 Steal attribute along with three Hall of Fame, five gold, three silver, and four bronze badges. This unlocks badges like Clamps to help you stay in front of your defender. Moreover, a respectable 61 Interior Defense and 70 Block will pair finely with Anchor to help protect the paint as a help defender. 

Physical Attributes 

Lastly, 89 Strength coupled with the Bully badge will allow your player to finish at the glass much better than others. These differences will elevate your player to being an elite finisher. The 82 Speed and 91 Stamina are mandatory attributes for point forwards because, as mentioned, the player shoul have guard-like skills.


With this build, the primary and secondary takeovers that pair well are Finishing Moves and Anklebreaking Shots due to your player being the defense’s primary focus. When you drive in the paint, multiple defenders will be sent at you so Finishing Moves will aid in absorbing the contact. In addition, since all the attention will be on you, Anklebreaking Shots will help you score buckets with dribble combinations and counter moves.  

Best badges to equip 

The name Playmaking Shot Creator tells you all you need to know about this build. Together, the badges you receive with this build will put your player in the upper echelon of 2K scorers. The primary attribute of this build is an all-around offensive maestro, supplemented by deadly three-point shooting, electric pace, and pin-perfect facilitation. As alluded to previously, the badges will allow you to score on every level and maximize the return on your player’s sheer strength. Pairing these two facets together truly makes for a lethal combination.

Below are the important badges to note from each attribute that encompass the value they bring to this build. 

Best Finishing Badges

2 Hall of Fame, 7 Gold, 2 Silver, and 5 Bronze with 17 potential badge points

  • Fearless Finisher: This badge will improve your player’s ability to convert contact layups and reduce the amount of energy lost from contact layups. It’s an absolute must to have for players looking to drive frequently, which is the case for this build. Moreover, it strengthens your player’s ability to absorb contact and still finish. 
  • Masher: When you get mismatched on a smaller defender, the badge will elevate your player’s ability to finish well around the rim, boosting the shot percentage for a layup attempt. Pairing nice touch around the rim with finishing through contact is a solid combination. 
  • Bully: As the point forward, you’re going to be subject to defenders being draped all over you. Fortunately, this badge will improve your player’s ability to bully your way to the rim and drag defenders with you. On top of this, you’ll be more likely to receive foul calls due to the contact you generate. This will pair exceptionally well with the firm strength on this build. 
  • Limitless Takeoff: As a hyper-athletic wing, you’re constantly going to be attacking the basket. Thus, you want your player to start their dunk or layup gather from farther out to make your shot attempt unguardable. This momentum will carry you and help you convert acrobatic finishes amongst taller defenders. 

Best Shooting Badges

5 Hall of Fame, 6 Gold, 1 Silver, and 3 Bronze with 21 potential badge points. 

  • Deadeye: When defenders try closing out on you, their impact will make less of a difference. In other words, jump shots taken with a defender closing out receive less of a penalty from a mid-range and three-point shot contest. The best shooters have a knack for draining buckets while appearing to be undisturbed by commotion surrounding them. This makes it vital to equip this badge if you truly want to be an exemplary shooter. 
  • Limitless Range: With all the three-point shooting going around these days, it’s pretty much imperative to have this badge equipped. As the engine of the offense, you don’t want to be predictable, which means you have to extend your shooting range from behind the arc. When paired with a takeover listed below, you’ll be able to extend your range to create space for shots from Stephen Curry distance.
  • Guard Up: When defenders fail to properly contest, your player will have an increased ability to make jump shots. Especially with your larger frame, smaller defenders will have a tough time contesting your shot unless they play strong defense. Thus, you want to ensure you’re leveraging your height to score baskets. 
  • Middy Magician: The mid-range has become a lost art of scoring, but in 2K23 you can take advantage of this less sought-after spot on the floor. This badge will boost the effectiveness of pullups, spin shots, and fadeaways from the mid-range area. Defenders will have a tougher time guarding you because your scoring will be less predictable. 

Best Playmaking Badges

3 Hall of Fame, 9 Gold, and 4 Silver with 22 potential badge points. 

  • Quick First Step: For any guard or forward position, this badge is a staple for scoring or kicking out on a drive. You’ll be provided with a more explosive first step out of triple threat and size-ups, a crucial aspect to being able to blow by opponents. When driving out of triple threat or after a size-up, you’ll also have access to quicker and more effective launches as the ball handler.  
  • Handles For Days: With all the defensive focus on your player, you don’t want to tire out over the course of the game. As such, by equipping this badge, your player will have a reduced amount of energy lost when performing dribble moves. This will allow you to chain together dribble combinations quicker for longer periods of time. With Ankle Breaker at Hall of Fame level, you can turn the court into your own version of the And 1 Mixtape.
  • Clamp Breaker: This is one of the most important badges for this build because it helps your player win more one-on-one body bump confrontations, effectively countering Clamps. This badge complements the Bully badge and the 89 Strength extremely well, enabling you to blow by defenders with ease. 
  • Unpluckable: Driving can make your player prone to being stripped by pesky smaller defenders. Luckily, this badge will reduce the chances of getting stripped. Specifically, when performing dribble moves, defenders will have a tougher time poking the ball free with their steal attempts. As a point forward and main facilitator, maintaining possession is extremely important.

Best Defense and Rebounding Badges

3 Hall of Fame, 5 Gold, 3 Silver, and 4 Bronze with 14 potential badge points. 

  • Anchor: This will increase your player’s ability to block shots and protect the rim at a high level. With your bigger frame, you’ll want to help out in the paint by using your athleticism to be a solid help defender. Coming from the wing on the help side is also a way to nab some easy blocks on unsuspecting ball handlers.
  • Challenger: Since defense isn’t as emphasized in this build, it’s crucial to be able to hold your ground on the perimeter. This badge will enhance the effectiveness of well-timed shot contests, bolstering your tough 86 Perimeter Defense.  
  • Clamps: This is an absolute must-have badge for any perimeter player. Your player’s defense will be able to quickly cut off moves and successfully bump and hip ride the ball handler. With the small forward position seeing so many skilled players, it’s imperative you have something to help you slow down their offensive output.
  • Menace: Due to your player’s length and athleticism, you will have an easier time staying in front of your man. Since having this badge will cause an opponent’s attributes to drop when you play good defense, that is, when you stay in front of them it’ll make your job easier on this end of the court. 

What you’ll get from the Playmaking Shot Creator build 

Ultimately, this build fully encompasses what it means to be a “point forward” in the modern NBA. As a sturdy wing, your player will have the ability to light it up on offense at all three levels and carry a team. You can’t ask more of a 6’8” perimeter player. An unlimited scoring potential combined with exceptional passing skills makes for a true offensive weapon. You’ll have all the tools at your disposal to create a player that mimics the likes of James, Dončić, Tatum, George, and Khris Middleton. 

With the Playmaking Shot Creator, you’ll be sure to quickly join their ranks in NBA 2K23’s MyCareer.

Looking for the best builds?

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