Superstar moves, which were a major focus in last year's version, have been completely removed from this year's game. I wasn't a fan of the moves last year, so for me their absence is a big positive. This results in a game of basketball that is more like a simulation and less like an arcade game. Of course, the rest of the system hasn't been refined that much, so you spend an inordinate amount of time dunking and shooting long balls.
Beyond that, controls feel exactly the same as last year, which isn't a good thing. The basic, fundamental controls are really easy to learn; they are just poorly executed. The right stick is used to pull off moves and works well, but the stiff animations really hurt the flow of the moves. Most of the basic mechanics are terrible. Players, even the big named ones, miss dunks and can't make fundamental moves. Shot timing is really off and the ball physics are awkward, resulting in low shot percentages.
One new addition is the ability to see player's hotspots on the court. After pressing a button, a colored overlay will come up that shows where a player has the most success when shooting. Although it does take some of the challenge away from the game, it is incredibly useful when coming up with strategies since you'll always want to try and get the ball to someone in their "hot" area. Another is a set of special moves, usually great jump shots, that big name players possess. Unlike Superstar moves, these don't unbalance the gameplay too much and instead feel like those "I can't believe he did that!" moments.
If NBA Live 08 isn't a clear sign that the series is seeing its last days on the PS2, I don't know what else is. It would have been great if the series could have gone out at the top of its game, but it really just feels like an old timer who tried for one last time and failed. If you are a basketball fan with a PS2, you should probably look elsewhere for your NBA action or consider upgrading your system.