If I'm not reviewing a game, I don't regularly sit down for 20+ minutes straight to play on my phone. Yes, you can alter quarter length, but four minutes always feels good to me… surely you can't go much below that and have a satisfying game. So, to have a sports title on my phone that resets in the middle of a game without ever offering me the opportunity to save that game—and not having that opportunity is the heart of the issue—is problematic and deeply frustrating.
NBA 2K13 allows you to do an exhibition game, a minimalist franchise mode, or play a "Greatest Game" which allows you to repeat feats of various famed basketball players (Jordan, Shaq, etc.). All of that is well and good (seriously, if it didn't have a season or multi-season mode would they ever have put it out?), but games themselves don't put you in the driver's seat as much as they should.
The controls scheme offers two basic types, a regular and a simple one. The simple one is, understandably, more basic and just allows passing and shooting, but the classic doesn't give you terribly much more. You can jump and block and steal, but it's not controlled by a myriad of buttons, just a few (switch player, block/shoot, jump, alley-oop), and they're all so close together that you often hit one when you want the other. The virtual buttons are semi-transparent so as to not block your view of the screen, but once you throw your fingers over them, it's tough to tell which one you're on. Plus, as they're so close together that you're hitting one instead of the other, it regularly makes it hard to learn which is which.
Between problems saving and problems controlling on court play, much of the fun has been sucked out of the title. The animations are good; the feel for season progression is good; and even if you don't get into the nitty gritty of managing a team as much as you might on a console sporting title, there's an enough to keep you occupied.