Updated: Jun 12
In this post we are going to take a look the Responsibilities and Steal Opportunities for Wing Players in our 23 Zone.
Your Wing Players are arguably the most important people in your 23 Zone. They need to be quick enough to deter Catch & Shoot Opportunities on the Wings and tough enough to rebound the basketball in traffic. Putting the wrong players in these positions can be an easy way to give up easy three point shots or get massacred on the offensive glass. Getting two good athletes in these positions will help with coverage, but will also help in creating turnovers for the offense.
Let's talk about two great opportunities for steals for the Wing Players.
I. Skip Passes -
When the basketball is on the opposite side of the floor the Wings now have the responsibility for covering the entire backside of the defense.
The Wing Player must position themselves along the lane line. This will allow them to cover the rim if the ball is entered to the Short Corner - but also put them in great position to steal the Skip Pass.
Teaching Point -
Get your body weight leaning towards the Skip Pass.
II. Middle Touches -
When the ball is entered the a player in the middle of the defense the Wing Player must dive to protect the rim. This becomes especially important if there is a player roaming along the baseline.
Getting yourself to the block area will help the Wing Player get steals / deflections, but will also put them in good position to help X5 guard a good driver.
Teaching Point -
Constantly have your head "on a swivel" so you know where those baseline players are.
Concluding Thoughts -
Getting the "right players" in these Wing Positions is important, but coaches must also instill an aggressive, risk taking mindset in these defenders as well. These players must anticipate where these steal opportunities will appear and then react on the flight on the basketball. I think this is an area where I can improve as a coach - designing these situations in practive and then getting our guys to really attack the ball in the air and be hunting for these steal opportunities.
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Take a Look at these 23 Zone Resources:
Search #23ZoneTips on Twitter
Joe Gallo | 'How we Create Steals in our Zone' - https://bit.ly/2ZagfAO
Matt Cline | '23 Zone' - https://bit.ly/2QLa80Y
Radius Athletics | 'Syracuse Zone' - https://bit.ly/3dpsxJJ
Contact info for Coach Lynch