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Basketball Playbook > Zone Defenses

Junk Tandem Zone Defense

1) The Junk Tandem Zone Defense can be a valuable defense to utilize against an opponent with 2-3 great offensive players.

The Junk Tandem Zone Defense combines man to man and zone principles; much like the triangle-and-two or the box-and-one.  As shown, it is sort of a jump defense with the three best (quickest) defenders matched up against the opponent's three best offensive players.

The other two defenders, called the 'Tandem', play what amounts to a zone.  They set up in the lane, behind the other 3 defenders.  They must remain constantly active and vocal, talking to each other as they work at three things; playing helpside defense, cutting down the passing lanes, and rebounding.

The three 'matchup' defenders offer no helpside defense.  Their primary job is to deny the basketball to the offensive threats.

The matchup defenders are instructed to:
1) Jam and force their assigned players away from his their strongest side.
2) Never leave their man.  Always remain within two steps whenever he does not have the basketball.
3) Whenever a shot is taken, block out.

By aggresively pursuing these tactics, they will frustrate the opponent, encourage the opposing coach to remove his players from the game, and wear them down by forcing them to work so hard to get open.

2) If one of the opposing threats happens to be a post player, we match up by fronting the post and sandwiching him with a tandem defender.  The matchup defender uses his quickness to help offset the opposing players size (if there is a size differential).
3) Whenever a full court press is desired, and one of the matched-up offensive players is not handling the ball, we have the top tandem player pull out to guard the 'non-matched-up' dribbler in the backcourt.
4) If one of the unmatched offensive players flares out on the baseline for a pass from the wing, as shown, the back tandem defender should move out and challenge the shot.  The top tandem defender should retreat low and at an angle to the edge of the paint/low block area.

Understand that whenever the opposing baseline man is an offensive threat, he must be guarded.

Remember, this is a junk defense, and a team cannot generally sit back in it for an entire game.  Still, it is very effective from a tactical standpoint and can be very successful.

If you adjust the Junk Tandem Zone Defense to your team needs and personnel, you should have fun and success with it.

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