The Stack 3 Zone Defense is an effective defense that can be used against a team with an excellent guard. It will also work well against a team with no inside threat.
The Stack 3 Zone Defense is so named because of how the defensive guards are in a “stacked” position near the free throw and three-point lines. The other three defenders align themselves in a baseline zone formation.
The Stack 3 Zone Defense is most similar to a 1-3-1 zone defense because the slides and coverages are kept the same.
In the Stack 3 Zone Defense, the top defender (x1) will defend against the best offensive guard. X1 will continue to defend the best guard as long as the guard remains on the top with the basketball.
While x1 is guarding the best offensive player, the other players will need to move to guard the player in their area. Your normal zone principles will apply.
The following diagrams will demonstrate the defensive alignment when the guard goes to the corner or wing and has the ball in his hands.
When the guard goes to the corner with the basketball, the entire defense becomes a zone. Player movement is shown in the above diagram with the following ‘rules’:
- x3 covers the left corner
- x4 may need to pick up the corner player until x3 arrives, especially if he is a threat to score from that position.
Other than those situations, the basic movement of your 1-3-1 zone defense should be utilized.
The above diagram shows the player rotations when the ball is in the right corner. When the ball is in the right corner, this defense basically follows 1-3-1 principles with x5 sliding out to the corner and x3 and x4 shifting over. x3 does not need to run out to the right corner as he does on the left.
This diagram shows the coverage when the ball is on the wing.
In this instance, x4 came up from the low baseline spot to defend because the low stack defender (x2) was on the weak side. x3 and x5 rotate for help.
In this case, x2 defends the wing because he was in the vicinity. x3 and x5 are prepared to help and/or defend a player that goes to the corner.
As mentioned at the top, the Stack 3 Zone Defense works well at pressuring and hassling a team with an outstanding guard that lacks a post threat. If a team has a significant post threat, this defense will not be as effective as a good team and/or post player will find the open areas in the middle.
This is also not a defensive set I would utilize from start to finish of a game. This is essentially a 1-3-1 variation that I would throw at an opponent from time to time during the course of a basketball game. It is also necessary that you and your players have an understanding of the 1-3-1 defense in order to be most effective with this variation.