MOTION VERSUS ZONE
There are many zone offenses available today but the motion rules that we are all teaching our juniors can be utilised to breakdown a zone defense.
Several principles need to be used in order to obtain the best results and they are;
- attack the seams/gaps
- dribble and pass penetration
- move the zone/distort the zone
- screen the zone
- skip pass and reversals/cross splitline
- dribble one way, pass the other
- your allignment
If the zone defense is a 2 - 3 setup then your allignment must be 3 out 2 in as illustrated in diagram 1.
This is often called "odd guard front".
Your baseline players must be "deep" at least at the level of the backboard.
3 - 2 ZONE DEFENSE
If the defense is in a 3 - 2 type zone then your allignment must be 3 deep as illustrated in diagram 2.
This is often called an "even guard front".
Your bigs here will use short corners and low post extended.
In both instances the baseline players must play "deep", at or about the line of the backboard.
Playing deep (line of the backboard) makes the zone extend itself to try and cover all areas (and players) and in doing so makes the gaps/seams bigger for attacking.
GAP DRIBBLE (ATTACKING THE GAP):
With this penetration you are looking to attack the gaps of the zone in order to have one or both defensive players sag in to defend/stop the ball.
When this occurs an open man is created for the shot and in this situation we must look for the big men inside.
At any penetration like this we want two feet in the paint and the player to land strong on a jump stop.
In this diagram #1 attacks the gap and defender #2 trys to stop him, in this instance we are trying to find the inside players (bigs).
The inside players look to step inside to receive the ball and seal the defense.
This type of penetration is not restricted to the point and can be achieved form the wing/sides of the zone.
FREEZE DRIBBLE (ATTACKING A MAN):
Another useful form of penetration is to "freeze" the defense, this is done by attacking one defender via dribble penetration.
The dribbler must attack the inside shoulder (furtherest shoulder from the point you wish to pass it to. ie: passing to the right we attack the left hand shoulder of defender #1) in order to commit the defender and create the opening via distorting the allignment.
With the freeze dribble we are usually creating a shot for the perimeter players.
Like with attacking the gap the freeze dribble can be just as effective form the wing/side of the zone.
DRIBBLE ENTRY (POINT TO WING):
Another way of attacking the zone is via a dribble entry.
If we dribble enter from the point to the wing we can make the zone move to create space on the weakside of the floor.
#1 dribble enters to the wing, #3 shallow cuts to fill the open space left by #1
In this situation the zone will move towards the ballside of the floor thus creating space for the open shot via a quick reversal or skip pass to offensive player #2.
DRIBBLE ENTRY (WING TO POINT):
When a ballside has already been created then a dribble entry from the wing to the point will create a scoring opportunity at the short corner or low post extended on the same side of the floor.
#3 offensive player will dribble at the #1 defender to commit the defense then continue on to the point, as #1 offensive player shallow cuts and replaces #3 at the wing.
As this has caused a shift in the zone then a quick pass back to #3 may create a shot but the better option would be to have #4 step out from the post (as his defense should now have sagged back into the paint) and look for the shot.
SCREENING THE ZONE:
Screens against the zone are a very effective way of creating a shot opportunity.
In order to have players screen a zone it must be enforced that the screens occur early, either within the first or second pass as a goldne rule.
#1 freeze dribbles at the defender and passes off to #3 this will cause defender #2 to sag in.
Offensive player #2 cuts down to the mid post extended area while offensive player # 5 screens the defensive player (#4) to stop them from coming out to the ball.
If the defense does fight over (#4) then #5 will step in and re-screen and seal on the #5 defender for the inside pass from # 2.
Another option for screening against the zone is to weakside screen and skip pass.
#1 passes to #3 to establish a ballside, as the zone shifts towards the ball #5 will screen defender # 2 and the skip or quick reversal to #2 should create a shot opportunity.
If the #4 defender steps out to the ball, the screener (#5) can dive and seal to create another option inside.
If the #2 defender fights over the screen to go to the ball, #5 should be open for the shot at the elbow.
Submitted by: Danny Breen based on notes from Pat Hunt
Category: Offense motion