The Best Zone Play & How To Disguise It

This is an extremely effective double screening action that gets you lay ups and wide open three point shots.

This is one of our favorite plays because it consistently gets you lay ups and open shots by taking advantage of the weakness of any zone defense.

In fact, this play is so effective you can continue running it over and over with results. This play also works against man-to-man defense (in case the defense switches after you call this play during a time out).

Double vs 2-3 Zone

  • 1 passes to 3. If the entry is not open, 1 can dribble at 3 for a shallow cut. Or 3 can v-cut to get open.

  • 4 cuts to the mid-post.

  • 3 reverses the ball back to 1 and cuts to the opposite post.

  • 1 continues to reverse the ball to 2.

  • After looking inside, 2 reverses the ball back to 1.

  • 4 and 5 set a double screen. 3 cuts off the double screen looking for the shot on the wing. 1 can pass fake to 3 to draw the defender.

  • 4 steps in to screen the middle defender in the zone. 4 can set a traditional screen or back into the defender (sealing for position). It's important for 4 to wait and set the screen after player 3 clears. Note how 1 is positioned right on the free throw lane extended for a good passing angle.

  • After 4 clears the center defender, 5 should be wide open for a lay up. If the bottom defender does not guard 5, then 3 will be open for a three point shot. It's important for 1 to read the defense and make the appropriate pass. Either 3 or 5 will be wide open.

  • If player 3 receives the ball and does not shoot, they can look inside for 5 posting up or 4 flashing.

  • Notice where 4 and 5 set their double screen. If they set the screen low enough, 5 will get a lay up. If the screen is too high, 5 may have to settle for a short jump shot.

  • How To Easily Disguise The Play, Confuse The Defense, & Score More Points

    An easy way to disguise the play is to change the starting formation.

    Additionally, you can start with a different action like a ball screen or any other cut.

    It's so easy that your players can pick it up in a few minutes.

    And it is great for playoffs. You don't have to spend much time working on it. You should already be really good at the play. And your opponents won't know that it is the same play!

    Disguising The Play - Double Stack

    A simple way to disguise the same play is to confuse the defense. In this play we use the stack entry, however, you could use any entry you want (1-4 high, 1-4 low, box, etc). Player 3 is the shooter.

    • Players start in a stack set. 1 dribbles to right wing. 2 cuts to top of key.

  • 1 passes to 2. 3 cuts off the double screen.

  • The play continues with the same options and reads as the "base double play".

  • Disguising The Play - Double Fake Ball Screen

    This is another disguise of the same play. We use a fake ball screen to disguise the play so the defense doesn't know what's coming. Player 2 is the "shooter".

    • 1 passes to 3. 4 flashes to mid-post, 2 cuts to weak side block, and 1 sets a ball screen.

  • 3 can take a quick look inside, then use the ball screen to reverse the ball to the opposite wing.

  • After looking inside, 3 passes the ball to 1. 2 cuts off the double screen.

  • The play continues with the same options and reads as the "base double play".

  • This is an excerpt from Beating the Zone - 75 Set Plays to Score Against Zone Defense

    What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


    Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

    Chris Brown says:
    2/2/2018 at 3:32:06 PM

    What action should 4 take if no shot is taken, I'm asking because if the ball is not passed quickly, the 3 second call could come into play for player 4. I really like the play, and looking to incorporate it into a motion offensive scheme.

      1 reply  

    Jeff says:
    2/10/2018 at 8:00:58 AM

    After setting the screen 4 should open up and cut into a gap (possibly at high post). Then flow into your motion or continuity offense or set. This is a quick hitter play you run through once and then usually flow into something else. If you're running a 1-3-1 zone offense set, then it's pretty easy for this play to flow into that -- 5 goes to short corner, 4 to high post, and 1/2/3 on the perimeter.


    James Crockett says:
    2/1/2018 at 10:23:46 AM

    Never mind


    James Crockett says:
    2/1/2018 at 10:23:14 AM

    I’m not seeing the play drawn up. Am I missing something?


    James says:
    2/1/2018 at 7:48:46 AM

    I love this play! Thanks for sharing.


    Leave a Comment
    Email (not published)
    Five times five is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
     Load New Question
    Leave this Blank
        Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.