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2-1-2 Zone Offense -
Use This Against Any Zone Defense
Ages: All Ages Youth Middle School High School+
Here is a simple, yet effective zone offense that you can use against any zone defense. It will create constant overloads on each side of the court. I tend to use this against odd-man zone defenses such as 3-2 zone defenses and 1-3-1 zone defenses.
You need two guards that are comfortable dribbling and passing the ball from one side of the court to the opposite side of the court.
- Here is the initial 2-1-2 set. Two guards are at the top. Post player is on the free throw line. The two forwards are in the short corners behind the defense.
- The first offensive motion is initiated when either guard dribbles toward the ball-side wing.
- In this case, 1 dribbles to the right wing.
- 3 cuts to the corner.
- 5 flashes to the high post.
- 4 cuts to the ball-side short corner.
- This will create an overload on the ball-side.
- Players can look for the seams and kick-outs.
- If defensive player #3 takes away the reversal pass to 2, then 5 may be open in the high post. If 5 comes out to guard 3, 4 may be open for a short corner pass.
- If nothing is open, we swing the ball to the opposite side of the court.
- 1 passes to 2.
- 2 dribbles to the left wing.
- 4 cuts to the ball-side corner.
- 3 cuts to the ball-side short corner.
- 5 cuts to the ball-side high post.
- If 2 passes to 4 and 4 passes to 5, there are several high post options.
- High Post Options
- 5 can shoot or attack the basket.
- 4 can relocate to the corner.
- 3 can seal the low post defender and look for the hi-lo pass.
- 1 can look for an opening on the opposite side.
- Pin Screen Option
- After using this offense for a few possessions, the zone defense might start to overload with the offense. As a result, the opposite side of the floor could be open.
- In this situation, 1 pin screens for 2.
- Delayed Short Corner Cut
- Another variation is to delay the short corner cut.
- If defensive player #5 sees that 3 is on the opposite side short corner, the defensive player might start to cheat towards the player in the high post. As a result, the cut to the short corner could be wide open.
- Double Pin Screen Option.
- The delayed short corner cut also opens up another option for a double pin screen.
- 1 and 3 pin screen the outside defenders on the zone.
- Guard to Guard Exchange
- If you are going to use pin screens, I would consider having the top guard players exchange after every pass to the corner player. This will get the defense accustomed to the ball-side guard cutting away from the ball-side. After a few possessions, the defense may become lackadaisical to the cutter and that's when you can surprise them with the pin screen or double pin screen.
Depending on the quality of the zone defense that you face, you can have the offense pass the ball corner to corner 2 to 4 times. This will loosen up the defense and allow better passing angles to the post players. As a result, we will get inside looks or kick-outs to our 3-point shooters.
You can replace the high post player with a guard. Some coaches like to put their best ball handler in the high post in order to attack the defense and make great passes out to the perimeter players.
And the common thing among all good zone offenses is that they have good players, so be sure to work on your fundamentals and skills.