Read the following post on playing the 2-3 zone defense.
Notice how this author sees little value in trapping the wings while playing an occasional “trap the middle.”
Also notice some irony, the author is explaining how to play zone well, but still maintains the importance of playing man-to-man defense.
The 4 Most Important Rules of a 2-3 Zone
Before we get into the particulars of the zone, I want to share with you the four crucial aspects of an effective zone. Keep these in mind while you’re reading through the rest of the article.
1. Everyone must have active hands and be in stance
Great passing is one of the weaknesses of the zone. If teams are able to effectively make passes inside the zone the whole floor opens up for the offensive team. The defense must keep their hands up and active at all times to discourage passes inside and get deflections. Being in stance makes it quicker to react when a pass is made or a potential steal opportunity arises.
2. Everyone must move on the flight of the ball
Everyone must move on the flight of the ball and not on the catch. Moving on the flight of the ball means we’re in defensive position when the offensive player receives the basketball. The quicker your team can get to the player with the ball the better your defense will be.
3. Everyone must communicate
Communication is critical to every defense and that includes the 2-3 zone. Players must communicate screens, cutters, bumping, who’s got the player with the basketball, etc. All great zones have great communication.
4. No layups
This point may seem like the odd one out but it must be included. Do not allow layups against your zone. Players must not make it easy for the offensive team inside.
Notice also that a team can change how they play a 2-3 zone depending on the speed of the players on the court. Quick players trap more, slow players pack the paint and have more patience.