Legendary basketball coach Hubie Brown is a master tactician – particularly when it comes to zone defense. With Brown as your guide, learn effective offensive strategies to beat tough zone defenses, no matter if it’s a 2-3, 3-2, or 1-3-1 look. These are some of the same offensive tips and schemes that Brown implemented with his teams during his Hall of Fame career, including most recently as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies from 2002-05.
A Quick Play to Beat Zone Defenses
This play is designed to beat most zone defenses, especially 2-3, 3-2, and 1-3-1 schemes. If implemented successfully, opponents should be getting out of a zone defense alignment in a heartbeat.
The Set-Up: 4 and 5 start out at the top of the key but spread out and just inside the 3-point line (elbow extended). 1 has the ball at the top of the key, while 2 and 3 are on opposite wings.
Keys to Remember
*When you leave an area, replace
*You must have a short pass and a long pass to make the offense work
*You must be able to reverse the ball
The Action: The point guard passes the ball to the big guy on the left (though he can pass to any of the two big guys if he desires). When running the big men in the transition game, Brown likes to run them to the middle of the paint. When it comes to zone stuff, he prefers to run guys to the same exact spot every time.
After the ball is passed to one of the two big guys, we run an X. The opposite big guy cuts toward the paint immediately and looks for the immediate pass in stride down low. If he doesn’t get it, he goes to the low block and the PG replaces his spot up top.
The ball then gets skipped to the player in the corner. The passer then makes an X-cut down the lane and looks for the pass. The big guy on the low block will now cut up the lane and the opposite wing player should fill the spot up top.
The player with the ball in the corner now has a short and long pass available. The skip pass goes back up to the top player on the opposite side.
Options with the Zone Offense
If it’s a two-man front (i.e. 2-3 defense), you should step right up into the two guys. This will give you two more options. If it’s a 3-2 zone, always step into between the point and the wing.
Meanwhile, any time against the zone where you throw the ball into the post, (don’t forget: post players should be set up on the first lane line, don’t be on the block), leave an area and replace. The player now has options with the skip across for the 3, a cutting player down the opposite side of the lane, and more. If you screen the zone up top, the opposite player then cuts diagonal to the box and opposite wing guy drifts to the corner.
*Now watch as the squad runs through the drill at full speed run with all of the different options.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Hubie Brown’s Secrets of Winning Basketball – Volume I.” To check out more Hubie Brown videos, including Volume II of Secrets of Winning Basketball, head over to our basketball library.