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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thinking About Zone Offense

"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet." - Emily Dickinson

Oh, no. They're playing zone defense. If the zone is good, defense pressures the ball and shows good help principles away, like individual assignment defenses. 

But good offensive principles - spacing, ball movement, and player movement - apply to all offense. If we allow the defense to take away movement, then that's on us

Brevity and simplicity:

Spacing: how much is enough? 

If the attackers (dark circles) are closer, the passing lanes shrink...and deflections or turnovers are revealed. When the post players (closest to baseline) line up BELOW the defense, they become INVISIBLE. That will allow them to FLASH to various spots and SCREEN. 

Great players have the capacity to "draw 2" defenders, opening up areas. Good players penetrate into gaps...and zones show gaps.

We've discussed the utility of ball reversal and screening.

Nobody likes being screened and zones are not exceptions. The ball is reversed and the low defender screened. 

Screening the middle of the zone can be devastating. 

Generally, close to the basket, the officials allow more physical screens. 

Michigan State uses a play called 'X' (for obvious reasons) with criss-crossing screens. This allows penetration by 2 and with a roller (5) and interior pick-and-roll. 

Combination actions (multiple actions) key good offense. 

The wing (2) can draw 2 and pass across or pass behind her to the baseline cutter. 

We are "light years" away from running anything like Tom Izzo's "Fist Down." What I like about Izzo's stuff is that you can get layups off it. 

This complex zone set play attacks the middle of the zone and sets up everyone for possible opportunity. BUT, at times, violating the "don't play in the traffic" rule gets violated. 

Attack the zone; don't let it attack you.  
  1. Transition obviates the need for zone offense. 
  2. Attack and distort the zone. Fake shots and fake passes move defenders out of position...players are taught to move on the pass.
  3. When driving, think pass. 
  4. Rebound aggressively. Zone defenders have no set rebounder to block out. 
  5. Think about attacking "parts" of the zone, especially with screens. 
  6. If you don't have range, don't shoot just because you're open. 
  7. 2 second rule. Keep the ball moving. 
  8. The ultimate rules are 1) get open, 2) move the ball, 3) hunt quality shots.  

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