The Combination Man-Zone Defense is so-called because it combines zone defense and man-to-man defense principles. This defense can be used as a change-up during a game or it can even be run for an entire game. The effectiveness of the Combination Man-Zone Defense is that it works well at disrupting teams that do a good job of running a motion offense and shooting the 3-pointer.
1) The rules for this defense are quite simple. As shown in the diagram, the three perimeter players, X1, X2, and X3, play a zone while the two interior players, X4 and X5 play man. The perimeter players should look to keep a toe on the three-point line so that they can get a hand in the face of the three-point shooters.
Coaching Point: Do not expect your players to automatically help out on dribble penetration. The responsibility to stop the drive is on the defender. He cannot allow the offensive player to get past him because he isn’t going to get help on the drive. Drill your players in just that situation.
2) Communication is also a necessity whenever the offense changes schemes. If the offense goes to a 4-out and 1-in alignment, then this defense should go into a 4-out and 1-in zone. The shortest of the two post players will then move to the perimeter. The match-up in this situation is shown in the diagram.
The lone post player, X5, will play behind the offensive post man whenever he sets up on the block, depending upon how good a post-up player he is.
If the post sets up high, the defender should play him from the side. If the offense sets up with two posts and they screen for each other, the post defenders should switch on any crossing or screening action.
Again, you can run the ‘Combination’ defense for an entire game or in different situations for short or long periods of time, depending upon the opponents and your personnel. This defense, with its combination of man and zone tactics, will take the offense out of its rhythm.