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View Full Version : Go with the zone as primary defense ?



HillBillyZag
12-13-2010, 08:33 AM
Jim B , and Syracuse, among others, have been pretty damn successful over the years with their zone , and one can always press until half court to gain time to set up against faster moving teams . What kills G.U. when we play a lot of zone is just poor execution , not the defense itself . hands must be up to shield the passing lanes and defenders sliding with the ball movement , and once it goes inside , the off (weak ) side defender must go to the aid of the guy on the prospective shooter . And when that ball goes up , four guys should be crashing the boards , with only your best and fastest defender dropping back to defend the break . If you stick to your basic 2-3 against most opponents and utilize the 3-2 and 1-3-1 versions in specific instances , you can protect one or two productive offensive players who are a liability when using a man to man , which would seem to be our exact situation right now ?

cbbfanatic
12-13-2010, 09:53 AM
outside of syracuse, who has really had sustained success running primarily a zone defense?

beilien has had some mixed results, but outside of that, who else has really done this well?

and to implement something like this the right way, it has to start with recruiting. boeheim runs a good zone (most years) because he recruits kids to play his system. recent guys like kris joseph, hakim warrick, wes johnson, rick jackson, paul harris, etc can make it work.

not convinced that GU has the personnel to make it work at a high level. you think they give up too many 3s as is, just imagine how bad it would be if a zone was the primary defense?

Beer_Engineer
12-13-2010, 10:55 AM
ABSOLUTELY NOT. We give up too many open 3's as it is.

duper
12-13-2010, 11:41 AM
I don't think GU should play a zone as its primary defense but I don't mind it mixed in on occasion.

FYI: The old school zones gave up outside shots, thats not the case now. Many times a team will go to a zone now to limit outside shooting. That pesky 3pt line has changed the game in so many ways and most if not all are positives.

VinnyZag
12-13-2010, 12:31 PM
The zone will do little to solve GU's problems guarding the 3-point line.

GU had to play zone in the past, when the Zags' perimeter players weren't quick enough to keep up with the other teams' guards or the Zags' big guys weren't big enough to neutralize the other teams' bigs. This team, however, has no athletic defficiencies preventing it from playing man effectively.

I like the zone as a change-of-pace to keep the other guys guessing, but mostly I wish they would extend their man-to-man and apply pressure. Take the other guys out of their comfort zone.

U Zig, I Zag
12-13-2010, 01:12 PM
I think man to man is still the best option for the Zags, most of the time. A zone can work to keep a team honest if they are brutalizing us down low or just to mix it up. To conserve energy on the defensive side it's the best option, especially if the opponent is mediocore both inside and out (read: half the WCC on any given night).

mgadfly
12-13-2010, 01:40 PM
I like the zone as a change-of-pace to keep the other guys guessing, but mostly I wish they would extend their man-to-man and apply pressure. Take the other guys out of their comfort zone.

This is the actual problem. It doesn't matter whether we run man or zone if our coaches don't extend the defense to put pressure on the ball. While some zones trap and some m2m trap, we almost never trap. While some zones press the ball handler, wherever he is, and some m2m stresses pressure on the ball, some zones and m2m don't.

Whoever teaches defense at GU is risk averse to a severe degree. Apparently the goal is to keep the ball in front of them at all costs (which makes our zone the most "old school" packed in zone in the country). In forcing our opposition to turn the ball over we have ranked between 132nd nationally and 317th nationally (in other words, we don't create turnovers/scoring opportunities by pressure defense). Starting with this year and going backward here is how we've done: 243, 271, 132 (2009 season which was loaded with exceptional defenders), 163, 292, 312 (we were 29-4 and only a meltdown against UCLA away from E8 while being one of the worst teams in the nation in generating turnovers), 317, 306, 217.

I am one of the last people to criticize the coaching staff on any aspect. In my opinion results speak for themselves and GU plays elite level basketball while having a fraction of the resources that a lot of other schools have. This is, in an extremely large part, due to the excellent coaching and continuity at GU. However, as a pure fan of the game it is hard for me to watch season after season of us packing it in and providing almost NO ball pressure (whether in zone or man to man) and then wondering why a team can reverse pass for an open three pointer over and over and over against us. Ball pressure forcing difficult passes is the only way a defense can rotate quick enough to keep up. If it is a race between a passed ball and somebody on foot, the passed ball wins almost all of the time.

So, whether we play more zone or man isn't that important to me, it is whether we ratchet up the defensive pressure. The reason I'd like to see us trap is because I wish we would change our entire mindset on defense from "pack it in, keep them in front of us, no easy buckets" to "ATTACK!" But I'd settle for just good consistent on ball pressure with denying one pass away from time to time.

john montana
12-13-2010, 01:44 PM
A zone can absolutely be designed to stop the outside shot, or designed to collapse in the middle. It is a misconception that the outside shot is automatically open vs. a zone...it depends on the zone! Personally, i think with our personnell a zone makes a ton of sense (good length, but not great foot speed) but so far this year we have stunk it up in the zone. probably where i'd get the most critical of Few...he's done a poor job of teaching the zone to this group of kids.

It is pretty astonishing what a difference real coaching can make, and what a guy can and can't teach. Syracuse has a devastating zone, and Coach K has tried to implement some of that at Duke after working with Boeheim (specifically last year) and the results were no where near the same. every time i saw duke go zone, they got schooled. Duke plays incredible man to man pressure d, but they stink at zone D.

I do with this years zags would settle into more zone (assuming the coaches do a better job of teaching it, and we play an extended zone...leave rob one on one in the post down there and get out on shooters).

titopoet
12-13-2010, 03:13 PM
There are several m2m and several zones. It looks like Gu plays a pressure man with 2-3 zone to mix it up. ASU is another team that uses the zone successfully.

Now, my personal preference is for a pack the line m2m (this is Bennett system) or the older sag pressure that Don Haskins used. (Currently, Tim Floyd is following his mentor using that system.) Few concentrates on teaching offense. Most College coaches have to concentrate on one or the other.

To become a zone team would be hard midseason as the responsiblities changes. The key is to adjust the system to weakness.

bballbeachbum
12-13-2010, 03:57 PM
some nice posts in this thread, thanks.

GU played some good m2m D vs. ND for stretches, but consistency is not there; this is very general, but the second unit needs to pick it up here imo

anyway, the zone as a changeup can be very effective, as can implementing a zone or m2m in different ways, as others have discussed already. Versus ND, the changeup worked the very first possession, as memory tells me ND immediately threw it out of bounds for a TO. they missed an open shot on the second possession vs. the zone, but had already adjusted their offensive set to get a good look. Then ND fully adjusted and lit it up after that and got a rhythm vs. it, hurt us.

maybe a switch back to m2m OR a change to a different zone look might have stemmed that ND run?

my arm chair 2 cents: unless one D is really working (stay with that one then, obviously), then switch and disguise the defense more, especially in the 2nd half when making adjustments to those things can be trickier to do on the fly. GU has made effective defensive halftime adjustments routinely over the years, taking the hot hand for some team and shutting it off, for example, and other things like this.

but the trick is to not trick yourself while trying to trick the opponent--that's a simplified version of the trick, but you get the point. Everyone needs to be on the same page big time to switch defenses effectively, or you have 4 guys switching to a 2-3 zone while one stays in the m2m, or whatever.......

GO ZAGS!!!

montanazag88
12-13-2010, 10:01 PM
This is the actual problem. It doesn't matter whether we run man or zone if our coaches don't extend the defense to put pressure on the ball. While some zones trap and some m2m trap, we almost never trap. While some zones press the ball handler, wherever he is, and some m2m stresses pressure on the ball, some zones and m2m don't.

Whoever teaches defense at GU is risk averse to a severe degree. Apparently the goal is to keep the ball in front of them at all costs (which makes our zone the most "old school" packed in zone in the country). In forcing our opposition to turn the ball over we have ranked between 132nd nationally and 317th nationally (in other words, we don't create turnovers/scoring opportunities by pressure defense). Starting with this year and going backward here is how we've done: 243, 271, 132 (2009 season which was loaded with exceptional defenders), 163, 292, 312 (we were 29-4 and only a meltdown against UCLA away from E8 while being one of the worst teams in the nation in generating turnovers), 317, 306, 217.

I am one of the last people to criticize the coaching staff on any aspect. In my opinion results speak for themselves and GU plays elite level basketball while having a fraction of the resources that a lot of other schools have. This is, in an extremely large part, due to the excellent coaching and continuity at GU. However, as a pure fan of the game it is hard for me to watch season after season of us packing it in and providing almost NO ball pressure (whether in zone or man to man) and then wondering why a team can reverse pass for an open three pointer over and over and over against us. Ball pressure forcing difficult passes is the only way a defense can rotate quick enough to keep up. If it is a race between a passed ball and somebody on foot, the passed ball wins almost all of the time.So, whether we play more zone or man isn't that important to me, it is whether we ratchet up the defensive pressure. The reason I'd like to see us trap is because I wish we would change our entire mindset on defense from "pack it in, keep them in front of us, no easy buckets" to "ATTACK!" But I'd settle for just good consistent on ball pressure with denying one pass away from time to time.

Wonderful Post!

Clearly pointing out with statistics (as if any are needed) the huge coaching gap here. If Mark had solved this one blatantly obvious flaw years ago, there would have been far more impressive banners hanging from the rafters and some really big-time point spreads in the WCC.

That said, Mark is the primary driver who put it all on the map for GU. The program just needs that one dimension to break through the ceiling when the players are great and to maintain the winning ways when they are not so great. This truly is the mark of the other great schools with great coaching.

WELL DONE MDGADFLY!!!!

MickMick
12-13-2010, 11:44 PM
I saw the Seahawk dime defense get beaten with long bombs by Phillip Rivers.

It is the players more than the scheme.

If your guys are getting screened and not switching efficiently when playing man, then go to a zone. Otherwise, GU doesn't need to be doing it as a primary defense.

Yes, I understand that zones can get exotic enough to help on the perimeter, but no defense can effectively extend the guards out deep better than a man defense. The guys get run ragged chasing the ball around the perimeter in zone. Two swing passes and a skip will have a GU defender flying through the air from 10' away in a vain attempt to block a shot.

Another reason I don't like zone is it is more difficult to find a guy to block out for rebounds.

GeorgiaZagFan
12-14-2010, 04:32 AM
PG - Steven Gray
SG - Moenninghoff
SG - Arop
PF - Harris
C - Sacre

Run a 1-3-1 zone most of the time with Sacre in the middle...this should help defend the three.

Use Goodson off the bench to energize and "run" for some short spurts...same with Carter.

ronh_pm
12-14-2010, 06:27 AM
If they are going to run a zone they had better be more effective than what they did against ND who went on an 8-0 run (two 3's and a long two) that sealed the deal.

VinnyZag
12-14-2010, 08:12 AM
PG - Steven Gray
SG - Moenninghoff
SG - Arop
PF - Harris
C - Sacre


Good luck getting the ball from free throw line to free throw line with that group.

I've always believed that zones are for teams that can't play man. So I'm biased against the zone.

My observation has been, it's been something different in every game. Against Illinois, Harris wasn't switching on pick and rolls. Against Notre Dame, they played the worst zone defense I can remember. Other times, they've lost shooters in transition. I'm still not convinced a zone solves any of those problems.

HillBillyZag
12-14-2010, 08:50 AM
Although I thought I made it abundantly clear , as another poster ot two stated , NO defense is effective if the players involved don't do their job .
And my original points are FACT , Here are a few of the basic concepts from Jim B. , himself ;
1.Extend your zone as far as necessary and double team the ball as soon as it gets in the paint .
2. Keep sliding and moving , adjusting your position as it follows the ball .
3. Keep your hands up and out to reduce the passsing lane .
4.When the offensive dribble penetrates ,close the gap as quickly as possible .
5.Know your opponent, overprotect against the best or "hot' shooter ", sag off the guy who seldom shoots .
6. Trap the corners . ( one of our weak points )
7. When the ball goes up , I want everyone but our safety valve crashing the boards .
And theres one thing all of hyou one on one NBA fan types have to face ; if the zone was'nt effective ?, they would not have outlawed it !

GoBulldogs
12-14-2010, 09:19 AM
I don't think people are arguing the effectiveness of the ideal zone, they are questioning whether the zone would be an effective defense given our players and our program's commitment to defense.

gamagin
12-14-2010, 09:22 AM
Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.
Mike Tyson

titopoet
12-14-2010, 09:24 AM
And theres one thing all of hyou one on one NBA fan types have to face ; if the zone was'nt effective ?, they would not have outlawed it !

The zone is not effective for the most part in the pros. It has been legal for the last 7-8 years and only used to surprise teams. Last year it took the Lakers too long to figure out out to beat the Sun's zone, but it hurt them and that was big news.

Finally, the rules to "outlaw the zone" were more about being a number of steps away a player and no doubles on players without the ball, the effect then was also to outlaw certain types of effective M2Ms like pressure, straight sag etc. as well as the zone. Those rules actually were put in place not to outlaw the zone put to clear the lane. As example, Maunte Bol could go the 3 line and a player had to follow him out and the 76s then played a 4 on 4. The changed the rules to take away that (made for boring basketball) and by adding a 3 second rule for all players (Offense and Defense) in an effort to clear the lane.

mgadfly
12-14-2010, 09:58 AM
The zone is not effective for the most part in the pros. It has been legal for the last 7-8 years and only used to surprise teams. Last year it took the Lakers too long to figure out out to beat the Sun's zone, but it hurt them and that was big news.

Finally, the rules to "outlaw the zone" were more about being a number of steps away a player and no doubles on players without the ball, the effect then was also to outlaw certain types of effective M2Ms like pressure, straight sag etc. as well as the zone. Those rules actually were put in place not to outlaw the zone put to clear the lane. As example, Maunte Bol could go the 3 line and a player had to follow him out and the 76s then played a 4 on 4. The changed the rules to take away that (made for boring basketball) and by adding a 3 second rule for all players (Offense and Defense) in an effort to clear the lane.

But a zone isn't a zone if you can't stand in the key. So essentially, the zone is still outlawed.

HillBillyZag
12-14-2010, 10:04 AM
The only boring basketball to HBZ is losing basketball . I played the game in the late fifties and early sixties , so yes, it has changed , in many ways for the better . But as the cliche goes " beauty is in the eye of the beholder " ?
For this fan ?, a back door cut fed by a beautiful pass , excites me more than
a rim rattling dunk . A true "back to the basket " center who has a nice soft hook with either hand , a decent turn around jumper , and can pass his way out of the inevitable double teams, and feed his cutters , excites me more than a guard with a crossover dribble who can dunk on the run or sink a three from midcourt . And an undersized , less athletic gym rat like our own Pendo , who loves the game and has the cajones to compete with and more than hold his own against kids who will play in the Pro's , and inspire team mates with more talent to bust their butts to keep up with them are my favorite players ! And that kind of kid is what this bunch needs , the talent is there , they just need a lunch bucket leader to bring it out ! Go Zags !

titopoet
12-14-2010, 02:58 PM
Don't misundersatnd me. The old NBA rule led to boring basketball not because of the defense but the offense. Bol stood out in no mans land while the player guarding him would stand with him and look at the play. In college, a team would not have bothered with him and sent the extra guy to help out in the interior. The NBA, you had players waiting for the right time to double less they doubled too quickly and a ball rotation left them scrambling to find the open man to get near him and not get called for d-tech. Those techs were called at least once a quarter for both teams.

bballbeachbum
12-14-2010, 04:19 PM
Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.
Mike Tyson

but of course we have it all figured out; one takes many blows to the mouth from the armchair :D