All Forums > Hoops Dynasty Basketball > Hoops Dynasty > How much of a disadvantage is zone defense?
5/1/2014 2:53 PM (edited)
Posted by bbunch on 5/1/2014 12:52:00 PM (view original):
Posted by gillispie1 on 5/1/2014 12:04:00 PM (view original):
i ask the same question with a zone team i coach with a guy in d1. zone is the only off or def i haven't won with, so im not the best source, but it seems pretty decent to me when the talent disparity between your players is large. i think its disadvantaged in championship play across the board, especially in d1, because the depth of talent on top teams tends to be very substantial, where getting more minutes to a starter over the backup just isn't that useful. zone isn't as common as other sets, and i think it is a good set, very possibly the best set, for a number of rebuilding situations - but you still hardly ever see zone teams win titles it seems.

anyway looking at your team, you have some good players but zone definitely suggests, to me, teams should be doing everything in their power to get super stars. studs go further on zone teams than in other defenses, taking walkons as necessary to accomplish this is worthwhile. i think you could do a bit more on that front. overall the talent gap wasn't as big as the seeding suggests, which happens all the time, so thats probably part of it, too (that and a little bad luck). that said, the one thing that really sticks out is rebounding. your rebounding is really bad for a d2 team, it seems to me, and you are getting killed on the boards over it (if you look at your team overall, and are seeing that +1 reb in your favor on team stats with that #2 sos, and not understanding why i still say you are getting killed on the board, let me know, and ill elaborate). zone is weaker than man on the boards in the first place, with those rebounding rating, its trouble. losing to a press team who has huge advantages over you in TOs and rebounds is going to be VERY easy. your offense/defense quality just in terms of shooting on both sides can overcome some of that stuff but its so easy to not have a great off/def night, and lose games, when you have to substantially beat the other team on raw off shooting/opponent shooting def just to break even.
I see the rebounding now, gillipsie. At first I thought...."What is he talking about?" being that we outrebounded Bakersfield by 4.......but they had 13 more missed shots, so we should have had a lot more rebounds. 

Very helpful post. So do you think a solid zone team is often one that's pretty top-heavy with superstars, and might only go 9 or 10 deep? I agree that I probably focus to heavy on FG% offense and defense while missing some other factors. This game was a prime example where we significantly out-shot them, and still lost. 
well, he also had you beat on offensive rebounds pretty bad. when i really want to compare rebounds, the best way, IMO, is to compare the % of rebounds each team got defensively on their end of the court. using your game as an example, on defense, you got 24 rebounds, and they got 14 offensive rebounds, so your defense got 63%, their offense got 37%. on the other end, their defense got 15, while your offense got 9. so their defense got 63% while your offense got 37%. so, thats a wash - but their rebounding is *awful*. playing a team like that, you need to be beating them badly on the boards, or its really a loss - when an underseeded team can tie you on rebounds, its just going to increase the odds of upsets from other areas.

what i was really talking about was your team line. the year stats for you are 299 off and 1034 total boards, for them (your opponents), 388 and 998. So your defense got 735 boards, while their offense got 388 - that gives your def a % of 64.6%. your offense got 299 boards, while their defense got 610, so their defense got 67.1% of the boards. this may not sound huge and really im surprised its so low, but its definitely significant. when you are a 1 seed trying to compete for a title, thats a higher level of play than a #2 sos, generally speaking, but usually its a significantly higher level you are trying to achieve than breaking even. really as a prospective champion, you should have a good looking stat line against your opponents - i mean, you are almost undefeated, after all! 29-1 going into the NT is fantastic especially on that SOS. i think if you gave up a bit of talent elsewhere for some reb, it would be to your benefit. so anyway, if you were breaking even, that STILL could be a weakness - so being behind by that much, from a champions point of view, thats getting killed. if the average team you played with that great sos was say, 50th, that means the 50th team is still significantly better than you (on average), from a rebounding standpoint. you don't need to be top 5 in everything but being borderline top 10 or at least like top 20-25 quality on something as important as rebounds, thats pretty important to position yourself as a 1 seed that is well protected from volatility and well positioned for a deep run! 

on the 9-10 man rotation thing, you should definitely be exploiting 3 man rotations and guard and big when there is a decent talent gap between your 3rd and 4th man. this means in general, you could have as few as 7 players (everyone except the backup sf, the least important position player you got, in general) carrying almost the entire load, without even starting to get in fatigue trouble - 8 if you could the backup sf who could easily play as little as 10mpg in close games (don't look at overall mpg, especially if you check those boxes on team game plan - pull up the players game log and look at the close games and quickly mentally average those - that is a MUCH better indication of your "true" rotation - nobody gives a crap who plays how much when you are beating down someone by 20 points, and neither should you :) so you can definitely take it further than 9-10. we have 3 walkons on our d1 team with 3 freshman and are 26-1, 9th on the projection report, without a championship contender level of talent on the team. being not very experienced with those walkons, the reason it doesn't hurt us much, is in close games, our starters are playing high 20s, low 30s minutes. so those freshman and walkons don't really get the opportunity to hold us back too much, but we only have a b+ and a few of our stars are beastly, 2 guys are scoring about 20ppg at high efficiency, which leaves a much lighter load for "the rest of the team" than you usually have after your top 2 guys. by focusing on studs first and depth second, we take advantage of the key advantage of zone - which is simply that you get to play your best guys more and your bad guys less, than anyone else.

5/1/2014 2:49 PM
The two things that stand out the most:

1) Your rebounding. The way to make up for the TOs is to win the rebound. Think of a Reb like a TO because it ends their possession. Your opponent gets 32% of their missed shots, you only get 30% of yours. You have two great D2 rebounders at C, but only 1 is on the court at a time,  and Jefferson is great for playing at the SF. You need better reb from the PF position.

2) Your zone positioning. The Bakersfield team only shot about 25% of their shots from 3, so a 3-2 +1 is overkill. That should've been no more than a 2-3 at -2. Playing in the 3-2 keeps Jefferson off the boards and he's very good as a SF in a 2-3.

Good luck with your next season.

5/1/2014 2:59 PM
Posted by killbatman on 5/1/2014 2:44:00 PM (view original):
You guys are saying Zone allows worse FG% than Man, all else equal?  Admittedly I haven't played Zone in a long time, but I thought FG% defense was supposed to be one of the strengths of Zone.  My understanding was Press was the worst in oFG%, with Zone being the best and Man in the middle.  Is that wrong?
That's what I am saying.

How I see the defenses are:

Man- Best oFG%, flexible matchups,  middle ground for causing TO, middle ground for fatigue
Zone- Middle oFG%, flexible positioning, worst  at causing TO, least fatiguing
Press- Worst oFG%, no double teaming, best at causing TO, most fatiguing
5/1/2014 3:15 PM
Interesting, not sure where I picked up that 'fact.'  Maybe an old timey forum fact.

Would you agree 2-3 Zone in general defends 2-pointers better than Man?
How would you compare Man and 3-2 Zone at defending 3-pointers?
5/1/2014 3:21 PM
Posted by killbatman on 5/1/2014 3:15:00 PM (view original):
Interesting, not sure where I picked up that 'fact.'  Maybe an old timey forum fact.

Would you agree 2-3 Zone in general defends 2-pointers better than Man?
How would you compare Man and 3-2 Zone at defending 3-pointers?
3-2 is definitely the best 3 point defense in the game. not sure about 2-3. maybe zone is better, like i said i put it more on par, maybe to very slightly disadvantaged, unlike TJ - but i also am not that good at playing zone yet. it may be the best by a small margin if you play it right, i could definitely believe that. the top zone teams i've had all had very good looking fg% and 3pt%, thats really what i was getting at. our team last year (the same oh st/smith) was where i'd want an elite man team in a similar situation. i dont know why i always thought man was supposed to be the best in fg%, but thinking about it now, that really doesn't make a lot of sense. i totally agree 2-3 zone should be the best, i just don't know if it is. i was getting lit up with 2-3 zone by itself and never used 3-2 till recently, i think getting a more opponent-appropriate system in place, last season being probably the first time i ever felt the two (3/2 2/3) were mixed effectively by myself, albeit far from optimally... and the results looked pretty damn good. we had pretty damn good defense if i remember correctly, but i doubt it was up to the par of my d1 title teams, while the fg% and 3pt% were. the schedule was somewhat weaker, however... in previous experiences with zone, when i was totally clueless, i definitely felt it lagged behind but again, its hard to count that for anything.
5/1/2014 3:50 PM
Posted by killbatman on 5/1/2014 3:15:00 PM (view original):
Interesting, not sure where I picked up that 'fact.'  Maybe an old timey forum fact.

Would you agree 2-3 Zone in general defends 2-pointers better than Man?
How would you compare Man and 3-2 Zone at defending 3-pointers?
I think this really depends of def setting. 2-3 -5 vs. m2m -5 - I'm not really sure but I think 2-3 -5 would have better results lowering opponent fg% if opponent only shoots 2's . With zone if you have shot blockers in a 2-3 against a team trying to attack the paint - you'll generate more blocks - not sure if m2m does that.

3-2 is the best per d in the game. Agree with coach gill on that.
5/1/2014 4:04 PM
Thanks for the great advice, everyone. 

I think the biggest mistake is that I really didn't notice or try to resolve my rebounding issues - I was still getting more rebounds overall than the other team.....but in really, that was only because we were greatly outshooting the other teams percentage wise, and were really just getting many more defensive rebounding opportunities. We were relying very heavily on having superior scorers and strong defense, but the rebounding was much more weak than I had recognized. 

If I had recognized that, I would have ran a 2-3 in that game, and very possibly been more successful. Fair enough. Thanks for all the feedback (and feel free to keep it coming)!


5/1/2014 4:59 PM
Posted by killbatman on 5/1/2014 3:15:00 PM (view original):
Interesting, not sure where I picked up that 'fact.'  Maybe an old timey forum fact.

Would you agree 2-3 Zone in general defends 2-pointers better than Man?
How would you compare Man and 3-2 Zone at defending 3-pointers?
I don't know if this is right but I think of the 2-3 like a man -1 and a 3-2 like a man +1.
5/1/2014 5:02 PM
Zone sucks, switch to man or press
5/1/2014 5:22 PM
Posted by tannermcc on 5/1/2014 5:02:00 PM (view original):
Zone sucks, switch to man or press
I've won titles with man or press. I guess the challenge of zone appeals to me because I can't quite master it. 
5/1/2014 11:04 PM
i was asked via sitemail to explain how i figured that rebounding comparison, so i figured i may as well answer here.

all im suggesting is comparing the % of defensive rebounds your team gets, to the % of defensive rebounds the other team gets. a lot of factors affect the actual numbers - like shots taken, shots missed, etc - but your % should not be affected by these things. per seble and old admin, rebounding is rebounding, there are no long or short rebounds. all that this really leaves out is free throw rebounds, which of course are different, but not easy to determine. you could try to compensate for this i suppose, but i never have. high ft shooting teams (by attempts) probably get a slight distortion up, meaning they are not as good as their % of defensive rebounds suggests.

anyway, if you are willing to ignore free throws (which is a MUCH smaller distortion than just looking at the rebounding totals), you can just look at the % of defensive rebounds each team gets - the higher, the better, for that team. of course, as off and def rebounds are all the rebounds, looking at one is equivalent to looking at the other. 

so, to figure your teams defensive rebounding %, you have to look at your total defensive rebounds, and the opponents offensive rebounds - together, they are the total defensive rebounding opportunities your team had. any time you got an offensive rebound, or the opponent got a defensive rebound, it was clearly on the offensive side of the court. you just want the defensive side. your defensive rebounds are simply your total rebounds minus your defensive rebounds. the opponents offensive rebounds is listed in simple form. your % is (defensive rebounds) / (defensive rebounds + opponent offensive rebounds) *100%. 

the opponent is calculated similarly. their defensive boards are their total board minus their offensive boards, and your offensive boards are listed in simple form. their defensive % is (opponent defensive rebounds) / (opponent defensive rebounds + your offensive rebounds) * 100%.

in the end, you may get say 68% of boards, they may get say 63%, and you will know you have a significant advantage. of course, if you are doing this on a team scale, comparing your team to another, you need to factor in sos. however, if you are just concerned about how you did against your opponents, all you need is your team stats page, all the way at the bottom, thats where the off/total rebounds and the opponents off/total rebounds are listed. or, if you just want to know who was more effective on the boards in a game, you just need the box score from that game. 
5/1/2014 11:47 PM
I've read in the forums that the zone defense allows for a weaker defender because it averages the defenders together for the perimeter defenders and the post defenders. I feel like I have a pretty decent understanding of zone defense but maybe I just have a *feel* for what works in zone and not a great understanding of the specifics of the defense. So here is my question and I'll use post defenders for my example

Two post players in a 3-2 each have a 70 defensive rating and a 70 athleticism makes for a pretty solid DII defense. Obviously averaged out they are 70/70. Now switch to a 2-3 defense with those two players and the third player with 60 defense and 60 athleticism. Average the three out and you roughly 67/67. Sure it's only slightly lower but does that mean it isn't as good with the extra player down low? There has to be some level of bonus for which ever you choose to play the 3 players. Does anyone know how much that bonus would be?

5/2/2014 1:22 AM
Posted by gillispie1 on 5/1/2014 11:04:00 PM (view original):
i was asked via sitemail to explain how i figured that rebounding comparison, so i figured i may as well answer here.

all im suggesting is comparing the % of defensive rebounds your team gets, to the % of defensive rebounds the other team gets. a lot of factors affect the actual numbers - like shots taken, shots missed, etc - but your % should not be affected by these things. per seble and old admin, rebounding is rebounding, there are no long or short rebounds. all that this really leaves out is free throw rebounds, which of course are different, but not easy to determine. you could try to compensate for this i suppose, but i never have. high ft shooting teams (by attempts) probably get a slight distortion up, meaning they are not as good as their % of defensive rebounds suggests.

anyway, if you are willing to ignore free throws (which is a MUCH smaller distortion than just looking at the rebounding totals), you can just look at the % of defensive rebounds each team gets - the higher, the better, for that team. of course, as off and def rebounds are all the rebounds, looking at one is equivalent to looking at the other. 

so, to figure your teams defensive rebounding %, you have to look at your total defensive rebounds, and the opponents offensive rebounds - together, they are the total defensive rebounding opportunities your team had. any time you got an offensive rebound, or the opponent got a defensive rebound, it was clearly on the offensive side of the court. you just want the defensive side. your defensive rebounds are simply your total rebounds minus your defensive rebounds. the opponents offensive rebounds is listed in simple form. your % is (defensive rebounds) / (defensive rebounds + opponent offensive rebounds) *100%. 

the opponent is calculated similarly. their defensive boards are their total board minus their offensive boards, and your offensive boards are listed in simple form. their defensive % is (opponent defensive rebounds) / (opponent defensive rebounds + your offensive rebounds) * 100%.

in the end, you may get say 68% of boards, they may get say 63%, and you will know you have a significant advantage. of course, if you are doing this on a team scale, comparing your team to another, you need to factor in sos. however, if you are just concerned about how you did against your opponents, all you need is your team stats page, all the way at the bottom, thats where the off/total rebounds and the opponents off/total rebounds are listed. or, if you just want to know who was more effective on the boards in a game, you just need the box score from that game. 
Thanks for the explanation. What would you say is a good percentage for D2 teams looking to make the tournament?
5/2/2014 2:05 AM
i have no idea, i usually don't pay that much attention anymore... but you can easily check a couple teams in a world you are in to get something specific.
5/2/2014 9:50 AM
Posted by milwood on 5/1/2014 11:47:00 PM (view original):
I've read in the forums that the zone defense allows for a weaker defender because it averages the defenders together for the perimeter defenders and the post defenders. I feel like I have a pretty decent understanding of zone defense but maybe I just have a *feel* for what works in zone and not a great understanding of the specifics of the defense. So here is my question and I'll use post defenders for my example

Two post players in a 3-2 each have a 70 defensive rating and a 70 athleticism makes for a pretty solid DII defense. Obviously averaged out they are 70/70. Now switch to a 2-3 defense with those two players and the third player with 60 defense and 60 athleticism. Average the three out and you roughly 67/67. Sure it's only slightly lower but does that mean it isn't as good with the extra player down low? There has to be some level of bonus for which ever you choose to play the 3 players. Does anyone know how much that bonus would be?

I have the same question. 
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