S Tier- Necessary
Intimidator: The only badge we recommend to max out for every player, as it helps you defend shots on both the perimeter and in the paint.
Clamps: A necessity to max out for perimeter defenders, as it will help you stop opposing players from getting past you for easy buckets.
Interceptor: Playing passing lanes is overpowered this year, and Interceptor will help you get some crazy steal animations on passes. While every player should have this badge, we only recommend maxing it out for defensive-focused players.
Rim Protector: A necessary badge for every player, but especially needs to be maxed out for big men. Will give you the fire power to block shots and be a top-tier paint defender.
A Tier – Necessary for Some Builds
Rebound Chaser/Box: Both necessary badges for big men, as you won’t be able to get rebounds without both badges. Although big men will need to max Rebound Chaser, Box can typically be equipped one level below Rebound Chaser.
Chase Down Artist: Chase downs are way too OP this year, but you can take advantage of this with Chase Down Artist. You will get some crazy block animations and get some key stops on defense.
Ankle Braces: A good badge to counter the crazy number of dribbling badges this year. It’s only necessary for on-ball defenders, and should be on a higher level in most cases.
Brick Wall: Necessary for builds that set screens, but otherwise useless. Big Men should realistically be the only ones with this badge.
B Tier – Great for Extra Badge Points
Ball Stripper: No one should realistically have this badge on higher levels, but it is great to have on lower levels to get the occasional steal when an opposing player tries to dunk on you.
Pogo Stick: A great badge if you sit paint or defend the rim, and should be close to maxed out in those instances. But otherwise your badge points are better spent elsewhere.
Pick Dodger: Another perimeter defender-specific build, but it is always underwhelming. Honestly it’s probably a good idea to have it, but we are still under the impression there are better ways to defend around picks.
C Tier – OK for Specific Builds
Pick Pocket: Although a bit better this year, you still get too many fouls when trying to use Pick Pocket on-ball. Though it has its uses, we can’t really recommend it for any players at this point.
Menace: This badge looked promising at the beginning of the year, but we have yet to really see it have a noticeable effect in-game. It claims to help you defend on-ball, but we haven’t seen this work in reality.
Tireless Defender: While it does help with your player’s stamina in a game, Park players and even most Rec/Pro-Am players won’t need this badge.
Post Lockdown: While we have seen instances of this badge working very well, it has not been consistent enough in a longer time period to be recommended for most players.
D Tier – Too Specific
Worm: Worm animations can be crazy and help you get some crazy rebounds, but it does not work enough and honestly most players are not good at activating the badge.
Hustler: A good badge to have on MyTeam players, but it isn’t worth having on your player for MyCareer or the online modes.
Defensive Leader: The boosts it gives teammates is nice, but boosts to defensive stats do not have the same effects as boosts to offensive stats. It’s not worth it for most teams.
Off-Ball Pest: Despite claims it helps on Pick and Rolls, Off-Ball Pest is not a strong enough badges when guarding off-ball to justify using badge points.