| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
The strongest part of 2K has always been presentation, and they really took it to the next level with 2K12. The court looks amazing, the players seem twice as real and detailed, even with 2K11 doing a pretty good job last year. No more alien faces or generic-looking bench players. The soundtrack is the best I've heard on a basketball game.
Now for the gameplay: The movement is much smoother and feels considerably more realistic. Ball physics are slightly improved, but still not great in my opinion. One thing that really annoyed me in 2k11 was how you would swipe at the ball and knock it loose, but the AI would always grab it before you could. This flaw is minimized, but still exists. The shots are smoother, but it's hard to get used to each player's different release. Proximity of a defender seems to have little to no effect on whether a jump shot goes in or not. I find that I make more contested shots that open ones. I had a wide open fastbreak layup to win the game and the PG completely missed it. Once you get position in the post, it's much easier to make a shot, but it's also extremely difficult to guard the post on defense. I've quadruple-teamed guys several times down low and somehow they got it to go in, followed by the commentator saying how porous my defense is and how wide open the paint was. Defense, even on Pro and even Rookie, is much more difficult than in previous games. Staying in front of the ball-handler is nearly impossible, and it's too easy to accidentally run past your man. My team doesn't seem to listen to the defensive control pad sometimes. I'll tell them to "lock down paint" and they run out to the perimeter to double-team the PG and leave the paint vulnerable to a 1-on-3 mismatch. Also, blocks happen much more frequently and the AI seems to have a slight advantage on the boards, particularly on the offensive end.
In conclusion, this game looks amazing. The presentation will blow you away. The gameplay is fun, but will certainly take some getting used to. I've played a lot of NBA games, and I've found it really hard to win in this game, even on Pro. Some of the AI's impossible makes, especially in the paint, can be frustrating, as can some wide open misses. The defense got the biggest revamp, and I'm not sure whether I like it or not, but it's certainly more difficult. The modes have been improved, but are basically the same, with the addition of create a legend. If you're a die hard fan, you will probably love this game. If you're a casual fan, you might find it somewhat frustrating. Still, I give props to 2K for trying to improve significantly even after 2K11's success. Rosters will be updated if and when the lockout ends. Grab this game to fill that empty void left by the lack of actual NBA basketball.