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Zone Basketball Defense:
The Triangle and 2

Zone basketball defenses have never particularly appealed to me as a coach or as a player - too much standing around with your hands in the air slows the game down. But I have to acknowledge that a strong zone can be a definite asset under certain conditions, and can help you win basketball games.

The Triangle and 2 defense is a modification of the Box and 1 defense - essentially the same idea: a mix of man-to-man defense and zone.

In the Triangle and 2 defense, the zone is set up in a triangle covering the key, with the two remaining players playing man to man against the opponent's strongest players.

Zone Basketball Defense: The Triangle and 2

zone basketball defense - Triangle and 2

In the diagram above, players #3,#4 and #5 form the Triangle zone, with #4 and #5 at the bottom of the triangle. This should effectively crowd out any low post play, but may leave a weak area at the top of the key - ideally you would have a quick player with some height at the #3 position - a small forward perhaps, quick enough to get around the top of the key but also good on the boards. #4 and #5 would be your big men.

#1 and #2 would play man-to-man against the strongest players on your opponent's team. The players you choose for these positions would depend on who they will be guarding - if your opponent's strongest players are guards or wings, match up. If your opponent's strengths include an inside player, you may need to reconsider your triangle set up - if you will be using one of your big men on man-to-man, and you expect he will be playing low in the key a lot, then you may want to consider flipping the triangle so that you have two on the top of the key and one at the bottom.

Don't be afraid to adjust the set up to suit the situation - let it be fluid, changing to match your opponent - just be sure you don't get yourself in a position where you have gaping holes in the lower half of the key. Usually the smartest way to organize the zone aspect of this defense is the way it is pictured in the diagram above.

Also remember that playing zone basketball defense doesn't mean everyone gets a chance to relax - keep your team on their toes, aggressively attacking the ball whenever it is in their area and playing solid help-out defense.

More on Zone Basketball Defenses here

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