Basketball Offense - Attacking "Junk" (Combination) Defenses

By Dr. James Gels, From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
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Junk, or combination, defenses feature one or two defenders playing tight man-to-man denial defense on the opponent's best player(s), while the remaining defenders play a zone. These defenses are usually used against teams with one or two star perimeter players. Examples are the "box-and-1", the "triangle-and-2", the "diamond-and-1", the "1-3 and a chaser", and others.

In attacking these defenses, to keep things simple, some coaches simply advise using your favorite zone offense vs box-and-1 defenses, and your regular man-to-man offense vs the triangle-and-2 defense. Here, we'll discuss the "BB-offense" ("Big-Blocker") that can be used against most of these defenses. Also see "Attacking the Box and 1 Defense" (more specific X's-and-O's)

The "Big-Blocker Offense" (BB-Offense)

The "big-blocker" offense uses a big post player ("BB") set at the high-post (free-throw line) area. He/she acts mainly as a screener for our star perimeter players that we want to get open. If nobody guards the "BB", he/she could be a scorer as well.

"BB-Offense" Vs the Triangle-and-2 Defense

See diagram A below. Here we are assuming that our two best offensive players are perimeter players O2 and O3 (but it could also be O1). We place our two star players on each wing, and our third perimeter player, here O1, at the point. Our "BB" (O5) is at the high-post and O4 is on the baseline. The defense is in a "triangle" zone created by X1, X4 and X5, while X2 and X3 are playing O2 and O3 tight man-to-man, trying to deny the pass.

Triangle-and-2 offense Triangle-and-2 offense Triangle-and-2 offense

O1 dribbles a little to one side, trying to get the top defender guard him. The ball-side wing player slides down a little toward the corner. Meanwhile, O5 screens the X2 defender. O2 comes around the "BB screen" for the pass from O1 and an open jump-shot at, or just inside, the free-throw line (diagram B). Notice that O4 ducks under the low defender for a possible pass inside. We can run this to either side, getting pull-up jump-shots for either O2 or O3. If the X4 defender starts to "cheat up" to defend this jump-shot - after screening, O5 seals and back-door cuts to the hoop for the pass from the jump-shooter.

If O1 is a good shooter, see diagram C. Have both wing players slide down to the corners, creating a 2-on-1 situation at the top with X1 having to guard both O5 and O1. If O5 is a good shooter, O1 could pass to O5 for a shot. Or, O1 engages X1 with dribble and O5 back-screens X1. X1 dribbles around the screen for an open shot.

"BB-Offense" Vs the 1-3 and a Chaser Defense

See diagram A. Here the defense keeps three defenders low inside (like in a 2-3 zone defense), to clog the paint against your post players, while defending your best perimeter player O2 with tight man-to-man defense. They place a good athletic defender X1 in the middle at the top, who tries to contain your remaining two perimeter players (O1 and O3).

1-3 and a chaser offense 1-3 and a chaser offense

Once again, O5 is at the high post (diagram A). O1 dribbles opposite our star O2 and engages the top defender, as O3 slides down toward the corner. O5 screens X2, and O2 comes around the screen for the pass from O1, and the pull-up jump-shot near the free-throw line (diagram B). Once again O4 cuts inside underneath for a possible pass.

"BB-Offense" Vs the Box-and-1 Defense

With the box-and-1... (more)

"BB-Offense" Vs the Diamond-and-1 Defense

Versus the diamond-and-1... (more)

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The complete article also includes:
  • "BB-Offense" Vs the Box-and-1 Defense
  • "BB-Offense" Vs the Diamond-and-1 Defense

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