How to Build a Championship Team in NBA Live Mobile

When the calendar flips to July, it can only mean one thing: It’s time for some basketball!

Okay, not normally, we’ll admit. But thanks to EA waiting until the real NBA season was over to drop NBA LIVE Mobile on us, that’s what we’ll be doing on our phones and tablets for the rest of the summer. The game zoomed right toward the top of the App Store upon its release, so it obviously isn’t bothering too many mobile gamers to be playing hoops out of season.

The basics of gameplay are not too difficult, but building the best possible team can be a little trickier. Since that’s one of the big focuses of NBA LIVE Mobile, a little instruction may be in order — and we’re happy to give it.

Read on and you’ll find out how to put together a squad that will make the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors green with envy. Yes, even with Kevin Durant around.

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There are levels to this, or tiers, rather

NBA LIVE Mobile uses the time-honored tradition of precious metals to give you a quick glance at how good a player is. In general, gold players are better than silver, which are better than bronze.

Players are marked with one large number to signify their overall skill level, but you can tap on their shields to see how their talents break down in six areas: speed, dribbling, 3 pointer, shooting, defense, and passing.

There are also elite or special event players that are even better than gold, and you’ll be able to identify them by the red names and numbers on their player cards.

Five lineups to fill

In one of the more non-intuitive aspects of NBA LIVE Mobile, you aren’t nearly done once you’ve put together a good starting five — or even a 12-man squad, for that matter. Instead, you have to fill five different lineups, each of which grants different bonuses.

• Two-Way: Passing and Defense
• Small Ball: Speed and Dribbling
• Defensive: Speed and Defense
• Big Man: Defense and Shooting
• Shooting: Shooting and 3 Pointer

Each player can only be used in a particular lineup, as indicated by the colored icon on his player card. Yes, this means once you get Russell Westbrook, you can only use him in certain events. That’s just the way it goes.

The important thing to remember is that you want to keep looking to improve all of your lineups, meaning players you acquire, especially early on, may be more useful than you think.

Bust some packs

The easiest way to fill out your roster is simply to buy packs of player cards in the in-game store. They can be purchased using coins that you earn from gameplay or by completing achievements, or by NBA Cash, which is the game’s hard currency and needs to be picked up using real money.

A quick tip: While the Pro Packs are affordable, NBA LIVE Mobile almost always has a promotion with better packs that are only around for a limited time. So save your coins, because those packs are generally worth it.

Other places to find players

Packs are far from the only places to beef up your roster. You’ll win players flat out from certain Live Events, and many different players, including elite ones, can be had by trading in trophies and other players to complete Sets.

If you have your heart set on a specific NBA star in particular, though, or need to fill that last elusive spot in your Small Ball lineup, the place to go is the ‘Auctions’ tab. There you’ll be able to bid on athletes other gamers have put on the block, and there’s a search function (found at the very top of the auction screen) to help narrow down the choices you see.

Trophies and collectibles can also be won at auction, and of course, you can auction off unwanted players and items too in order to build up your coin balance. Utilize all these tools in conjunction and you’ll be sure to conquer the court that much faster.