Thursday, January 13, 2011

NBA Playbook: The Hawks Struggle Against Toronto's Zone

Sebastian Pruiti analyzes the video evidence of Atlanta's stagnant zone offense:
The reason why the Hawks’ struggled against the zone is because it seemed that they reverted to their ISO tendencies once they saw the zone. The ball really started to stick, and that is the worst possible thing that you can do against the zone.


The Atlanta Hawks did just about everything they could to look bad against the zone, making just about every mistake you can against it. Despite that, they were able to eek out a win with a Mike Bibby three. It was against man to man defense.
Sebastian also breaks down how the Hawks got Mike Bibby open for his game-winning three.


Adam Malka said...

This is something I've wondered for awhile. Why don't all teams just use this defense against the Hawks? I recall Dallas used a variation of it to great effect, and it absolutely baffled me last night when Toronto abandoned it on the Hawks' in-bound play with 9 seconds left. As soon as they switched to the zone the players looked confused--almost as confused as their coach.

Bret LaGree said...

Adam --

Most coaches oppose using the zone on aesthetic grounds (usually expressed in terms of player effort or susceptibility to offensive rebounds) so they simply don't spend time practicing playing it.

One other interesting thing regarding Toronto's use of the zone was that they did a better job on the defensive glass (I think that's a legitimate reason no to play a lot of zone defense) out of the zone than they did playing man-to-man.