The greatest strength of the 1-2-2 zone is its adaptability. If
the opponent exhibits excelent perimeter shooters, the defense can
spread, still keeping good interior defense while covering all perimeter
shooting areas. However, if a team does not have the excellent perimeter
attack, the three perimeter defenders can sag inside, completely
closing off the area near the basket.
with poor ball handlers or poor passing teams cannot consistently
defeat the 1-2-2 zone defense. Trapping and doubling ball handlers
are integral parts of this defense. Playing the passing lanes
forces the dribble from opponents who prefer not to dribble. Proper
sags inside and closing the gaps outside will prevent dribble
penetration from those teams that want to use the dribble.
The entire lane area is an open seam. Penetration there and easy
passing into the lane without proper defensive coverage, results
in high percentage shots or a pass out which leads to a high percentage
corner shooters can force the big men to concede the corner or
open another high percentage area inside.
1-2-2 zone can be overloaded in the deep and very dangerous scoring
area. Two big attackers, stationed on the big blocks, and a great
scorer-passer, breaking from the baseline towards the high post,
give the offensive team an unstoppable triangular overload directly
in the heart of the team defense.
offensive rebounding teams will get many second shots. With only
two dependable defensive rebounders, an attacking team that plans
overloads in the primary rebounding areas will obtain enough extra
shots to defeat the 1-2-2 zone.
and Positioning of Personnel
The 1-2-2 zone blends itself towards several coverages. Those
coverages and the rules of your match-up dictate what type of
personnel you will need.
are three theoretical types of 1-2-2 zone coverage (Figure 1-1).
X1 can sag into the center as the ball goes toa wing, and coulc
cover the low post strongside when the ball is passsed to the
corner. This occurs when you use X1 as a tall defender, capable
of defending the inside as well as the perimeter.
the wings, X2 and X3, would have coverage of the guards, wings,
and corner areas. This forces X2 and X3 to cover a large area,
but it leaves your two top rebounders, X4 and X5, near the basket;
rebounding is a major weakness of the regular 1-2-2 zone. An alternative
coverage is to let X4 and X5 go to the corner and X2 and X3 cover
the strongside low post. This removes a perimeter alley from the
defensive wing's coverage, but it also means that your wings must
be capable of defending the inside low post with the ball in the
corner. It does leave the opposite low defender in the primary
rebounding area. In both cases, X2 and X3 must be extremely quick
and fast to cover the area assigned to them.
most popular coverage is the third theory. As the ball moves to
the corner, the low defenders operate on a string; as one of them
moves to the corner to cover the pass receiver, the other low
defender comes to cover the strongside low post. The weakside
wing drops immediately for weakside rebounding. This means your
wings don't have to be quick, but they must be capable weakside
rebounders. This is the most popular slide because it requires
less specialization of skills from each defender. while it fits
the personnel of most teams, it does have the disadvantage of
utilizing those principles against which most teams drill daily.
must be your best perimeter defender and must be a quick and fiesty.
On most teams the point guard fits this mold. He has to channel
the offense in a pre-determined direction. Once having done that,
X1 must prevent lateral penetration. Quickness, therefore, is
more a premium than size. If X1 also has size, it'll just make
your zone and match-up that much tougher. X1, when channelling,
should initiate his coverage at midcourt and when not channelling,
should line up at the top of the key.
should be your second best perimeter defender. Because many teams
use a two guard offensive set against the 1-2-2, X2 will frequently
cover the other guard. He must cover any quick moving attacker
laterally without allowing dribbling penetration. In the match-up,
size takes a back seat to quickness. If you intend to have this
man cover weakside rebounding or inside in the regular 1-2-2,
then he must have some size. Because most teams attack the right
side of the court, the majority of time, X2 should be left of
is the weakest of the three perimeter defenders. In fact, this
is an ideal place for one of your best offensive players. This
defender can be big and slow. When you match up, he usually gets
the weakest wing or corner attacker. In the basic zone this defender
frequently has weakside rebounding responsibilities.
and X5 can be slow, but they must be talented inside defenders.
They are the reason you choose the 1-2-2 match-up. They are your
matchers. The bigger they are the better. X5 should be a better
high post defender. X4 might have to cover perimeter players more
oftern than X5. X5 must be a better inside defender and a better