Newsletter #166

August 7, 2019


Today's Quote:  "If you make every game a life-and-death thing, you're going to have problems. You'll be dead a lot." - Dean Smith

Today's Theme... The Point Zone Defense

The "point-zone defense" was devised by Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina.  Coach Smith always maintained that it not only is effective, but is easy to teach, requiring little practice time.

The point-zone defense has the advantage of pressuring the ball while still protecting the paint.  It confuses the opponent, looking like a 2-3 zone, and at other times a 1-3-1 zone.  It can be used against both one-guard and two-guard offenses.

Partners:  X1 and X4 work in a straight line as partners, and similarly X2 and X3 are partners.  In diagram A, the ball is on the top and X1 points to the ball while his partner X4 is on a straight line to the basket in the paint ("point-partner-paint").  The X2 and X3 defenders are in a line perpendicular to X1 and X4 creating a defensive "X"... and if you can imagine X5 in the middle, our zone would look like a 1-3-1 zone.

 Point Zone partners

When the ball is on the wing (diagram 2), and the wing (X2) points the ball, while the opposite wing (X3) drops into the paint protecting the weakside block and has weakside rebounding responsibility.  X1 drops to the free-throw line and denies the pass into the high-post, while X4 moves to the ball-side block - short corner area.

Point Zone wing partners

X5's Rules:  Diagram D shows how X5 moves as the ball moves.  X5 is always in a line between the ball and the basket and fronts the low-post player O5, keeping the ball out of the paint.  If O5 moves out to the arc, X5 goes with him man-to-man.

Point Zone X5 positioning

Start the possession in the 2-3 zone set and then rotate as above.  If the ball is dribbled middle, it looks like a 1-3-1 zone.

See the full article: The Point Zone Defense for more details about:

  • Defending a 2-guard offense front

  • X4 defending the corner

  • X1 pointing the wing to point pass

  • Defending the dribble to the wing or corner

  • Defending skip passes

  • How to teach the Point Zone defense



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