# How much of a disadvantage is zone defense? Topic

Zbrent - I've played my zone the same way since I started using it. Who are the primary scorers determines if I play 3-2 or 2-3.

Billyg - So what you're saying is the pg/sg/sf are all the same % of defensive contribution in 3-2 and c/pf/sf in 2-3. This raises further questions though.

1. As someone else asked is the defense weakened by a weaker defender even though there are 3 of them? (ex def = pg-70, sg-70, sf-55. Is this 3-2 combination stronger because there are 3 of them, or weaker because the 3rd guy is not as good?). Ignoring the effect of ath and spd.

I think the best way to think of it is this: Is the defense totals averaged, or is the defensive total the sum of its parts? (Avg: 65 vs sum total of 195)

2. Is their a weight added to the per def in 3-2 and post def in 2-3. Ex. again we can look at this by sum so 2 defenders are sum total less than 3 making the 3 stronger.

Or do we go by the average and then add some sort of multiplier. For example in a 3-2, per def avg is multiplied by say 1.05 while the post defense s multiplied by .95, so the avg of the 3 defenders above would be the 65X1.05 = 68.25 of permiter defense.

In all honesty, my mind if blown by the SF/PF only pairing in the 2-3 and I'm a little confused how this works. Are they rated as one player and the C is his own player.

3. A side question from what you asked. is a 3-2 specifically geared for 3 point defense only, or is it geared for perimeter player defense? So like zbrent said, If my opponent has guards as his top 4 scorers, but they don't shoot many 3's or are primarily slashers, should I being playing a 3-2 (effectively putting more bodies on the guards) or should I play a 2-3 (taking away the paint, but players aren't really on the guy unless he comes inside). What if they are not 3 pt shooters, but they are not slashers either? It's difficult because we can't actually see what is happening on the court to make the proper adjustments.

5/2/2014 9:55 PM (edited)
Posted by Trentonjoe on 5/2/2014 9:40:00 PM (view original):
My question is how does the forwards value effect game play in the 2-3? Why are they not lumped in with the Center?

This certainly does explain why my 2-3 teams suck though.
well, i think theoretically, this kind of makes sense. the center in zone barely moves, and the other two players not on the perimeter are basically performing the same role, depending which side of the court the ball is on. i would guess the center matters more sb wise, and overall defense wise, as he does in the zone in general. but that may not be the case in HD. i really wonder how important speed is, relatively speaking, at these different points... i mean obviously its going to be a gradient, mattering most for the pg/sg in the 2-3, then the sf/pf, then the c. well, assuming this works like everything else in HD, that is.
5/2/2014 10:05 PM
Very interesting.  Thank you for posting, gil.  The comments about 3-2 are exactly what I expected, but apparently I've stranded some D3 Centers alone on an island with great SB ratings and ****** ****** ****** DEF ratings and no one helping.
5/2/2014 10:06 PM
Posted by poncho0091 on 5/2/2014 9:55:00 PM (view original):
Zbrent - I've played my zone the same way since I started using it. Who are the primary scorers determines if I play 3-2 or 2-3.

Billyg - So what you're saying is the pg/sg/sf are all the same % of defensive contribution in 3-2 and c/pf/sf in 2-3. This raises further questions though.

1. As someone else asked is the defense weakened by a weaker defender even though there are 3 of them? (ex def = pg-70, sg-70, sf-55. Is this 3-2 combination stronger because there are 3 of them, or weaker because the 3rd guy is not as good?). Ignoring the effect of ath and spd.

I think the best way to think of it is this: Is the defense totals averaged, or is the defensive total the sum of its parts? (Avg: 65 vs sum total of 195)

2. Is their a weight added to the per def in 3-2 and post def in 2-3. Ex. again we can look at this by sum so 2 defenders are sum total less than 3 making the 3 stronger.

Or do we go by the average and then add some sort of multiplier. For example in a 3-2, per def avg is multiplied by say 1.05 while the post defense s multiplied by .95, so the avg of the 3 defenders above would be the 65X1.05 = 68.25 of permiter defense.

In all honesty, my mind if blown by the SF/PF only pairing in the 2-3 and I'm a little confused how this works. Are they rated as one player and the C is his own player.

3. A side question from what you asked. is a 3-2 specifically geared for 3 point defense only, or is it geared for perimeter player defense? So like zbrent said, If my opponent has guards as his top 4 scorers, but they don't shoot many 3's or are primarily slashers, should I being playing a 3-2 (effectively putting more bodies on the guards) or should I play a 2-3 (taking away the paint, but players aren't really on the guy unless he comes inside). What if they are not 3 pt shooters, but they are not slashers either? It's difficult because we can't actually see what is happening on the court to make the proper adjustments.

tough questions... now that i play zone on teams i care about, ill be researching this stuff myself (i actually am researching stuff to a smaller extent again).

for #1/#2, they are averaged together, so generally speaking, that sf is almost always going to bring down your average in the 3-2. however, im sure you get a bonus on per defense for having all 3 guys. i doubt its as small as 1.05, but its not clear exactly what the situation is. its got to be enough that  good sf, yet a guy who couldn't play guard, still helps, right? one thing im wondering about is, are these averages for defense only, or also for defensive rebounds?

anyway, #3 is a tough one. one of the very few questions i asked myself back in my prime, that i never answered, is if a + or - defense helped against guard scoring that wasn't lp based (which was all guard scoring back then). its still not clear if there are different kinds of 2pt shots, and i wish i could see my previous posts on the subject, because i used to have a better guess than i have now - and it wasn't even that long ago. but really, i have no idea about the jumper thing. its one of the central questions i was never able to answer, even in my prime. consistently, if i tried to defense non 3 pt guards with a + or -, it didn't seem to work. maybe the answer is the mid range jumpers are unaffected? that would seem a little crazy though. so as far as what the zone does for mid range jumpers, either in the 3-2 in your question, or in the 2-3 for the sf/pf in TJ's question, i have no fricken idea. i never figured it out for press in my prime, and i have not studied zone one tenth as much as press, so really, i have no clue. if anyone has a clue, i'd love to hear about it.

my thoughts are, this info from seble is ground breaking - the c averaged alone thing is huge, the using the exact same metric for the sf in the 3-2 as the pg/sg is big, too. im sure some assumed it worked that way but using the exact same formula for players computed in groups, i definitely didn't take that for granted. to me, this is a lot of new information (or really a small amount of information with a great deal of ramifications), and its going to take us all a while to digest and try to adapt. i think if we mull this over for a week or so, and come up with some focused additional questions, seble might answer some more. we collectively have a pretty good idea how man and press work, although there are obviously uncertainties, but i think zone is the least understood, and if we can boil down all the uncertainty to 1 or 2 key questions, maybe we can get a bit more insight before we all set out to figure out what the heck this all means for us, and how we build and play our zone teams. man i really wish i wasn't the CT finals on this one team ;)
5/2/2014 10:12 PM
Posted by gillispie1 on 5/2/2014 10:05:00 PM (view original):
Posted by Trentonjoe on 5/2/2014 9:40:00 PM (view original):
My question is how does the forwards value effect game play in the 2-3? Why are they not lumped in with the Center?

This certainly does explain why my 2-3 teams suck though.
well, i think theoretically, this kind of makes sense. the center in zone barely moves, and the other two players not on the perimeter are basically performing the same role, depending which side of the court the ball is on. i would guess the center matters more sb wise, and overall defense wise, as he does in the zone in general. but that may not be the case in HD. i really wonder how important speed is, relatively speaking, at these different points... i mean obviously its going to be a gradient, mattering most for the pg/sg in the 2-3, then the sf/pf, then the c. well, assuming this works like everything else in HD, that is.
Yea it makes a ton of sense from a real life perspective. The C is the single most important player in the zone because they are the primary shot blocker and rebounder being right under the basket. Like you said the wings would be interchangeable as are the top two.
5/2/2014 10:41 PM
It makes sense but what does it mean? When does the game use the forward's defensive rating and when does it use the centers?
5/2/2014 10:54 PM

That's a very important question right there.

5/3/2014 12:11 AM
Good stuff, billyclyde! That answer is actually exactly what I would've expected if the engine were trying to mimic real life. After all, in a real life 2-3 zone, the SF and PF are doing the exact same thing, and the center is doing his own thing.

But the question about whether a weaker defender helped or hurt never exactly got answered, did it?
5/3/2014 1:31 AM
Posted by tarvolon on 5/3/2014 1:31:00 AM (view original):
Good stuff, billyclyde! That answer is actually exactly what I would've expected if the engine were trying to mimic real life. After all, in a real life 2-3 zone, the SF and PF are doing the exact same thing, and the center is doing his own thing.

But the question about whether a weaker defender helped or hurt never exactly got answered, did it?
no, but from experience, i'm almost positive my earlier conjecture is correct. that is, the lower def SF brings down the average, but not by enough for having 3 guys not to be a net benefit. i have played a decent amount of zone in the last couple years and felt pretty strongly it was beneficial even when playing a big at sf, or for 2-3 with a guardy sf (as low as 40s reb/sb). frankly, its about one of the only things i felt confidence in, with respect to zone. i just pulled advanced stats on the ohio state/smith team, put almost all the games in a spread sheet (used a program i wrote to help compute the advanced stats so it wouldnt take me a whole day), including stuff like opponent 2pt% compared to avg 2pt% of the opponent on the whole season, same with 3pt%, 3pt attempts, 3pt attempts as a % of field goal attempts, and defensive reb%. overall some stuff was not what i expected, but the 3/2 very clearly defended better against 3s, even with a big man center, and the 2-3 clearly defended better against 2s. of all the data, that was really the one clear thing about how things went. we didn't have enough data, or really, it was too skewed, to look at the impact of a guard or big type sf in the 3-2 or 2-3, as our early games were the only with a guard at sf and he was a freshman, so terrible IQ and lower ratings and the works, makes it kind of impossible to draw real conclusions.

anyway, i do think based on the overall forum sentiment and my own experience, the 3-2 even with a good defender averaging with two great defenders, gives a very substantial net benefit on 3pt defense as compared to a 2-3. i cant say so much the reverse is true with 2pt, as the data this year cannot reflect on that, but the 2-3 with a big sf was way better for 2pt defense than a 3-2 with a big sf, which suggests having that 3rd person, when on similar (albeit still lesser) footing than the 2, makes a major difference. presumably, with a lesser big-type defender at sf, it would still be noticeable, just less pronounced, kind of more how the 3pta looked.
5/3/2014 2:33 AM
Great stuff, Billy. I said earlier that I don't have a great tangible understanding of zone and intend to play it based on what I feel works best. Well, I was dead on with that. Well, at least that I didn't understand how the zone actually works. Combining the SF and the PF helps explain why my VU team has had some success so far this season.

That was amazing that you were able to get a response like that from Seble, and it only took 30 minutes! Are you actually Seble? ;-) great work putting this info out there. Thank you
5/3/2014 8:31 AM
One maybe-meaningless oddity is that the SF and PF are lumped together in a 2-3, despite the fact that they work independently of each other and on opposite sides of the floor.  More complicated, though more accurate I'd guess, would be to lump the PF/C or the SF/C together based on where the shooter is.
5/3/2014 10:32 AM
The "center averaged alone" thing would have been good to know....because on my S. Ark team, my Center had a DEF rating of 44, and my PF had a DEF rating of 95.
5/3/2014 10:40 AM
Yeah but what is the center averaged against? The other center? Driving guards?
5/3/2014 10:47 AM
If we can get him to answer specifics, I wonder if they actually use the average .. OR .. randomly pick one of the players based on location (ie, either SF or PF for wing shots, random pick of PG, SG, SF for perimeter shots. (that is for a 3-2 .. the first example would be for the 2-3).

Or do they really just use an average.

The reason I bring it up is because, in reality the closest player to the ball at the time of the shot actually really defends the shot.  So I would think that picking one player to match up makes the most sense.  It would also LOOK like an average as one time, it would be PG, the next it might be SG, against the same shooter, etc.  So if a random number of shots were picked from a specific position, sometimes the PG and sometimes the SG would do the defense .. so the results would be an average.

Or they could just do a numerical average every time and the results would likely be similar.

5/3/2014 11:08 AM
Posted by milwood on 5/3/2014 8:31:00 AM (view original):
Great stuff, Billy. I said earlier that I don't have a great tangible understanding of zone and intend to play it based on what I feel works best. Well, I was dead on with that. Well, at least that I didn't understand how the zone actually works. Combining the SF and the PF helps explain why my VU team has had some success so far this season.

That was amazing that you were able to get a response like that from Seble, and it only took 30 minutes! Are you actually Seble? ;-) great work putting this info out there. Thank you
i've always said seble is a huge upgrade in the communication department, he really does put in effort on that front. he tries to listen to people and to give accurate answers. not to say hes 100% successful, but overall, huge upgrade on both fronts.
5/3/2014 1:28 PM
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How much of a disadvantage is zone defense? Topic