Looking for ways to consistently exploit a zone defense? Follow along with Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski as he details key offensive techniques and strategies to effectively attack the 1-2-2. Then see how you can start incorporating these terrific zone concepts into your own daily practices.
A Two-Man Front Attack
Against a one-man front zone, we use similar principles that we’ve highlighted before in the 2-1-2 breakdown. This time, however, look to implement a two-man attack and then put three players along the baseline in what we’ll call “3 Deep Against the 1-2-2.” The goal with the two-man front up top (offensively) is to exploit the gaps of the zone. It’s also vital that players remember key techniques like flashing, staying behind, shallow cuts, and ball reversal.
Spacing and Offensive Moves
After a first run through, watch as Coach K talks with his players about specifics when it comes to spacing and offensive strategies. For instance, “Look for the North-South lanes to open when the zone defense shifts.”
On the heels of one quick rep, Coach K then tells his squad to remember about using pass fakes and quick ball reversal. Use a plethora of moves against the defense. It makes a difference. Also, be aware out there when making cuts. You may get in the way of your teammates and overload certain areas, ultimately making the offense less effective.
Finally, adding a baseline runner helps confuse the defense and opens up the zone — especially if that player is a shooting threat. If you have one player doing that constantly, it also gives your teammates a chance to post. However, by staying stagnant, you actually help out the defense.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball – Attacking the Zone.” To check out more videos featuring zone principles, click here.
When it comes to game-like shooting drills, the Penetrate and Kick Series is one of the most effective drills you can run in basketball practice. For former Duke assistant coach Chris Collins, the drill series teaches players about proper spacing, how to instinctively move without the ball, how to drive and dish effectively, and how to get good game shots.
This drill series is something that Duke basketball implements all the time in practice. The drills really work on improving footwork, drive and kick ability, team communication, and getting in game shots. Start with two lines and get three players in each line. The ball should be up top with a coach. Begin by going off the right side.
Start with a V-cut where you must work to get open. Players also must call for the ball. Next, catch the ball in a strong triple threat and imagine you are being guarded by someone. From here, look to hard attack the middle. The goal: You must get into the paint.
Coaches: Get on your players if they take lazy routes or don’t get into the lane. You could also have a coach stand there in front of the passer to drive the point home.
*Tip: Drive to score. If you do this, the defense collapses and now you have options, bailouts, and kicks.
As for the shooter on the opposite wing, they cannot just stand in that spot. Any good defense will have solid helpside pressure. Therefore, you can slide behind the ball OR chase to the corner (if the defense slides up). Your feet should be locked and loaded and ready to shoot.
Meanwhile, after the passer dishes off, the passer can’t just stand there. This player must get to an open area. The coach up top will have a ball and the passer will now play off of the coach. Get to an open area for the pass and shot.
*Make it Competitive: You can run this drill with the entire team working together to reach a goal. Or you can split things up and have teams play against each other.
As you drive baseline, the opposite wing’s responsibility is to give his teammate a bailout in the opposite corner. As he drives, defenses will rotate. From here you can make two passes. The first is a baseline pass. You can actually pass out of bounds (with feet inbounds, of course) to get yourself a lane to get around the defense. The second option is that you can deliver a power skip. Jump up and let go of a powerful skip pass across for any open shot. Eventually, look to add shot fakes to these drives as well.
In this week’s edition of All Access, we visit Durham, North Carolina for a behind-the-scenes look at a Duke men’s basketball practice. Follow along as head coach Mike Krzyzewski leads his squad through a series of 3-on-3 drills. This particular practice session stems from Duke’s 2009-10 National Championship season and features the likes of Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer, and Nolan Smith.
The team splits up to two different courts. For this first drill, players go 3-on-0 full court off of a make or miss. In each rep, it’s key that the big hustles and runs the length of the floor. On the other end, the goal is to throw it ahead, look for the post, and play off the post.
Keys: Go right to the rim off the transition break. Don’t slow down and set up a play. Get the ball right to the post as quickly as possible.
This time the defense enters. Whichever team gets the initial rebound is on offense. The goal remains exactly the same in regards to getting the ball into the post for a scoring opportunity.
3-on-3 Half Court
Once again, the goal remains the same: Get the ball into the post for a high percentage opportunity. Also, listen in as Coach K offers some key advice pertaining to taking chances in practice: “This is practice right now. Take your left-handed hook, even if you go 0-for-20 today. This is what we practice. You need to come up with these kind of moves.”
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Duke Basketball Practice National Championship Season.” To check out the latest videos in our All Access lineup, including a new DVD series featuring UNC coach Roy Williams, click here.
In this week’s team concepts feature, we take offensive principles learned in previous zone features and put them all together to successfully attack the 2-1-2 defense. With his Duke men’s basketball team on hand to simulate key coaching points, coach Mike Krzyzewski emphasizes perimeter techniques, options for bigs, and much more.
Meanwhile, check out our previous articles featuring Coach K talking about how to beat zone defenses, including “Five Essential Principles for Attacking the Zone” and “Dynamic Drills to Beat Zone Defense: Box Drill and Bigs Shooting.”
The action begins 5-on-5, with the offense going against a 2-1-2 defense in a half-court setting. First, it’s key for perimeter players to remember to use pass fakes and misdirection against the zone. Don’t be predictable. Perimeter guys must be ready to shoot at all times as well.
Meanwhile, a shot against the zone is also like a pass inside, so when you take those shots, the opposite wing should crash the boards. The goal is that you want three guys on the boards against the zone.
Next, look to put in a restriction about shooting. The reason is that against a zone you often don’t pass into the post unless you think there’s a chance for a shot. Therefore, don’t take a shot unless the post player touches the ball. As a result, instead of the zone just going out, it had to go in and out. That creates more stress on the defense. That’s why you must hit the middle as well. The result: Pass to the post to move the zone and create opportunities.
Zone Tip: Work the zone to create overloads and then exploit the defense.
Next, put a man on the foul line and then look for angle penetration. Also, take advantage of a fourth perimeter guy and an overloaded defense.
Remember, every time we hit the post, something good happens, so look to hit the post as much as you can. Call for the ball so your teammates know that you are flashing.
The previous clips can all be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball – Attacking the Zone.” To check out more videos featuring zone principles, click here.
In this week’s team concepts feature, we’ll highlight key offensive drills for beating zone defense. With his Duke team on hand to simulate key coaching points, legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski breaks down the “Box Drill” and “Bigs Shooting” to show you how to run a smooth zone offense. These drills are perfect antidotes for any team looking to improve against stifling zone defenses. Meanwhile, check out our previous feature featuring Coach K and his five essential principles for attacking the zone.
Coach K uses this drill quite a bit with his team and is a great tool for perimeter players. Start by putting four defenders in a box or diamond shape to simulate a zone. You can even use managers if you’d like. The goal here is to teach the kids movement. Ask the players to have their feet set, be ready to shoot, use dribble penetration, and to keep balanced.
Offensively, use pass fakes and shot fakes to get the zone moving and to get open looks. Always be ready and use penetration to create and maintain spacing. This way, you’ll always be ready to hit your shot. This also forces the defense to come out and play you.
Also, implement quick fakes back to the direction that you received the ball – AKA misdirection moves. This creates great opportunities for you and your teammates and keeps the defense off balance. Make the defense think you are doing one thing but then go and do another.
One key principle for your big guys is to keep them behind the zone and having them flash. This is a good way of attacking the zone inside. However, they must know how to move first. Next, we’ll get into the different kinds of shots they will get against a zone. Like before with our perimeter players, they must be ready at all times to catch and shoot. This is also quite different than with man-to-man, so you must teach this in your build up as to how you attack the zone as a unit.
Start by getting one player or manager with a pad in the middle of the lane. The offensive player is going to crack into that defensive player. This creates an opening for the bigs to get a good post move. Be sure to show your hands, too.
Next, the post player comes out to the short corner. Look to get that 10-12 foot shot along the baseline.
On the heels of the short corner shots, the bigs are cracking in to the helpside of the zone. The big man should crack into the man who would normally slide down to stop him from making that move. Show a target to that perimeter teammate so he passes right to it. From this position, he can also block him out and screen the defender. Your bigs can also get lob passes after blocking out the defender, too.
After this, we move into flashes. Flash into an open area, like up around the free-throw line. Remember to flash from behind the zone. Flash, catch and face, shoot, and follow your shot.
Finally, put two guys into the post. Watch as they continue to work with each other. Both are posting, one on the ballside and helpside. Let them move around and don’t hit them every time.
The previous clips can all be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball – Attacking the Zone.” To check out more videos featuring zone principles, click here. Got any zone drills that work wonders for your own team? Let us know by commenting below or e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.