Team USA Basketball: Why the 2-3 Zone Could Be the Key to Victory

August 23rd, 2010 by Dmitriy Ioselevich Leave a reply »
In the closing seconds of Team USA's 86-85 victory over Spain, assistant coach Jim Boeheim called out, "Let's go orange."

The defense reacted by switching from man to a 2-3 zone, allowing Kevin Durant to block two Spanish jump shots and seal the game. Spain never knew what hit them, and neither will the rest of the top basketball teams in the world.

Although Team USA has stuck to a man defense almost exclusively through three exhibition games, they would be well served by making the 2-3 zone their primary defense.

The 2-3 zone has been trademarked, and some might say perfected, by Boeheim, the head coach for the Syracuse Orange. It requires two players, usually the guards, to defend the top of the zone. Two more players, usually the forwards, guard the sides of the zone. And the center guards the lane.

The idea behind the zone is to force opposing teams to move the ball and settle for outside shots. Another strength is that the zone can mask poor defenders or mismatches.

A strong zone typically requires very long and athletic players, exactly the type of players Team USA has on its roster. Rajon Rondo (ultra quick with a f ...

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