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The multi-option zone offense. (Basketball).

IF I COULD CHOOSE the kind of defense I'd prefer to attack, I'd immediately pick the man-to-man. The reason is simple. I believe there are a lot of ways to beat it.

Since, however, I don't get to see much man defense, I have to concentrate on the defense I do see--the zone.

The offense that works best for us is predicated on a simple premise. If we can get one defender out of position, we should wind up with a good shot. We try to accomplish this with screening, passing, floor positioning, and attacking off the dribble.

We set up in the 1-3-1 shown in Diag. 1. It has our point guard (1) above the key, our shooting guard (2) and small forward (3) at the wings, our power forward (4) at the free-throw line, and our center (5) on a low block, depending on which side our point guard (1) will attack.

Diag. 2 shows 1 driving over 4's screen and down toward the basket at X3, 2 running a shallow cut through the lane, and 5 moving up into the lane. No. 2's shallow-cut must bring him far enough over to the wing side to create a passing lane for the dribbler, as shown in Diag. 3.

We use the screen (by 4) and the shallow cut (by 2) to free up 1 for the score. Meanwhile, our center, 5, is sealing his man, X5, from below--setting up a drop step to the basket. 5's move is shown in Diags. 2-4.

No. 1's dribble toward X3 will force the defender to make a decision. If he stays back, as shown in Diag. 4, 1 can continue his dribble drive to the basket and end up with a 4 to 6 foot jumper. We encourage him to use the glass, as it allows a bigger margin of error.

If X3 closes on the ball, as shown in Diag. 5, 1 can bounce-pass to 5 for the easy layup. If neither the shot nor the pass is available, I can look elsewhere for the pass.

Diag. 6: If XI has fought off 4's screen and closed on the ball, 1 can pass to 4 for the jumper or look for a hi-low action with 5. If 4 gets the pass from 1,5 will turn and seal X3 from the inside, putting him in position for a pass or layup.

Diag. 7: If 4 is unavailable for the pass, 1 will reverse the ball to 2 for a 3-point shot or dribble-drive to the lane.

Diag. 8: 2's dribble-drive can create a 2-on-1 situation with 2 and 3 vs X2.

Diag. 9: If X2 closes on 2 to prevent the shot, 2 can pass out to 3 for a 3-point shot or a dribble-drive to the basket.

Diag. 10: The dribble-drive (by 3) can create another 2-on-1 situation with 3 and 5 vs X4. As the ball is being reversed from 2 to 3 (as shown in Diag. 9), 4 has followed the ball to the opposite elbow with his hands up, ready for a pass.

If 3 does not take the 3-point shot, he can drive directly at 4, as shown in Diag. 10.

If X4 stays back, 3 should wind up with a 4 to 6 foot jumper.

If X4 closes on the ball, 3 can slip a bounce pass to 5 underneath (as indicated by the pass in the diagram.)

Diag. 11: If X2 closes on the ball, 3 can hit 4 at the elbow for a jump shot or start a hi-low action with 5. On any shot by 3, the player standing above the top of the key must stay back while the other four players go to the offensive board.

We rarely fail to get a good shot at the hoop, but when that does happen, we will go right into our continuity offense. It was originally created out of necessity but it turned into an effective weapon for us over the years.

With a few minor adjustments, the continuity will work against both odd-man and even-man fronts vs zone defenses.
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Author:Alcox, John M.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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