Junk defenses such as the Box-and-One, Triangle-and-Two, Diamond-and-One, or any other combination a coach may come up with are essentially combination defenses because they combine both man-to-man and zone principles.
These types of defenses are generally not what a team utilizes so you can’t really prepare for them in a ‘normal’ manner. Because there are many variations and because they are used so sporadically, it would be nearly impossible and downright foolish to practice a special offense for each situation.
Therefore, as the coach, you must prepare your players by simply familiarizing them with the various situations and by teaching offensive principles rather than an abundance of set plays or patterns. Set plays may work but they should be simple and easy to install. They should also be easy to remember and execute come game time when a junk defense is thrown at you!
The 4 offensive principles discussed below and the movements required will be determined by where the defense is setting up and what type of ‘junk’ they are playing. The player movements will also be determined by where and who the defense is focusing on — a guard, a wing, a post player — however, the basic movements should follow these principles:
- Overload the defense much as you would against a conventional zone defense. That means place more offensive players on a side of the court then there are defenders. This helps to minimize the amount of help that can come from the weak side of the defense.
- Use screens to free the key player(s). By setting numerous screens for the key player, you are forcing the defense to stay aware of where he is at all times. You are also making the individual man-to-man defender work tirelessly to stay with his man.
- Place the offensive players in positions that will force the junk defense into a conventional zone defense. One example of this is to place the offensive player who is being guarded man-to-man in a box-and-one on the free throw line. By having him work the free throw area you will cause the box-and-one to become a conventional 2-1-2 zone defense.
- Place the offensive players in positions that will force the junk defense into a conventional man-to-man defense. For example, set up in a low doublestack alignment (2 players on each side of the lane at the low block area). You can also place the player or players that are being guarded man-for-man into the stack. With this alignment, the defenders will have to guard a player rather than an area, otherwise at least one of the players will be wide open for a layup. Regardless of the junk defense, the top defenders will have to drop down low to defend. The stack players can screen and cut to get open, but this also gives the point guard the opportunity to penetrate into the lane area with virtually no defensive help.
These principles should be practiced from time to time so your players understand the concepts and are prepared for when a junk defense is thrown at them. For more plays and strategies to utilize against junk defenses, take a look at the Zone Offenses vs. Junk Defenses page.
Are there any other concepts and principles that can be utilized against junk defenses? Please share in the comments below.