on the defense subject, i think the zone defense has its place. i think most coaches try to play it like you would man, and that is plain wrong. defenses are a LOT more different than the 3 major offenses. you can generally play them all the same and it wont kill you - although they are definitely not as similar as many think (and fb is a lot different). but with defenses, it is critical to tailor your play to the set.
i do agree that zone is an inferior offense in some situations, especially in d2/d3 at the championship level of competition. but in most cases, it is as viable as anything else. the biggest the disparity in the quality of your players, the better zone is - and the converse is true, too. you can't just build a team of equally talented guys who are all great at defense and expect zone to be effective. the goal is to focus on getting some REALLY good players, with a couple REALLY good offensive players - and then leaning on those guys, hard. you don't need the depth, and you get less minutes to your young players.
in the press, and to a significant but lesser extent, in man, one major goal is to get great depth. sign all your spots every season, and try to maximize the quality of your backups, because they play a lot. in zone, you can play 5 guys at 30-35mpg each without trouble, and only need 2-3 guys to make up the 25-50 minutes left. in press, you might have 5 starers averaging 22, for 90 minutes left, and in man, maybe its 24 avg, for 80 minutes left. that reality is the single greatest advantage in the zone defense. you can focus more on your stars, so your best players are better, and then you play them more, so you are REALLY getting a lot out of them. its important for this reason, to pair zone with something other than motion offense, IMO, particularly in d2/d3 - because you want an offense that is as efficient as possible when you lean hard on a couple exceptional players.
if you are not doing everything you can to exploit the above in the zone defense, you will simply never be as successful as you would be in another defense. but i strongly feel its incorrect to say that if you struggle with zone, you should switch and you will automatically do massively better. its very possibly you will do better, because you are building the right kind of team for (like in jonesy's case) man, so if you play man, you might do better. but another option is to learn to play zone.
mduncan - i think its unfair to say man defense is clearly the best defense, the press is damn good. in high level d1, the shape of players makes man defense the predominant choice, but pressing teams are VERY effective in most contexts. it is still the defense most likely to give an underdog a chance, that will naturally make the better team ***** about how the press is broken (which, i strongly feel, is not the case - but its definitely not holding you back, at least in d2/d3). and i think zone is pretty damn good too, but like fastbreak, the reality is people don't like it because they just aren't very good at playing it. if you look at the conventional wisdom in HD, it really tailors to teams who play triangle/motion/flex paired with man or press. most of the discussions on this forum have some generally pretty good advice in them - but so often, it really pertains to one of the "big 3" offenses or man/press, and people just dont really talk about the right way to play something for fb or zone teams. i played fb/zone not long ago (maybe 1.5 years ago) in d1, previously i was not very familiar with either, and it was a lot of fun - both are perfectly viable, and i actually would be quite comfortable arguing that fb/zone is THE premier set for low to mid level d1 teams.
11/12/2012 1:02 AM (edited)