Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Bruce Weber & the Principles of Zone Offense

Hey's been a little while since I last posted.  I wanted to share some notes from a recent video purchase, Bruce Weber: Drills & Plays for Scoring Against Zone Defenses.

I've always found Bruce Weber, Head Coach of Kansas State University, to be an intriguing coach. Maybe it's because, if I'm honest, we share some offensive sensibilities. He's been quoted as saying about shot selection:

"Closer isn't always better. Open is better." ("K-State basketball under coach Bruce Weber has unique tempo, strategy", The Collegian, February 7, 2013)

And regarding his offensive philosophy:

Weber’s offense has been predicated on the ability of his players to make open jumpers. His fluid motion system is meant to create these opportunities. Players are constantly on the go, making instant reads on how to react. What it does not do is present a plethora of opportunities to get to the foul line. (The Collegian, February 7, 2013)

When he was at the University of Illinois, it was said...

“Weber's offense…requires players to create significant spacing in a half-court setting to spread out defenders and establishes roles for players either to screen or cut for the ball with astonishing quickness.

The players are in constant motion without a distinct directive, making it extremely tough for opponents to scout the Illini. Each time Illinois runs motion, its unpredictability leaves even Weber guessing what might happen next.

"I lose control; they have freedom," Weber said. "Some coaches can't deal with it and can't run motion." ("Poetry in Motion", Chicago Tribune, February 11, 2005)


Regarding his thoughts on zone offense as he shared in his new video:

“You want to teach them how to play. The more you teach them how to play, it makes it easier on you as a coach. If you have to draw a play and have them execute it every time down the court you’re going to fail as a coach.”

Against Zone
1.)   Push the basketball. Don’t let the zone set up. Worse thing you can do is see that they’re playing zone and start to walk it up. Get into a secondary break.
2.)   Take the basketball up to the defense. Have the confidence to make someone guard you.
3.)   Reverse the basketball. Move the ball and make the defense work.
4.)  Get the basketball inside every 3 or 4 possessions. Make the defense drop in and open up the outside.
5.)  Attack the gaps of the zone. Make two guys guard one. Attack closeouts so you can get into the gap. That gives you an advantage.
6.)   Use the skip pass to distract defenders.
7.)   Overload the zone to create advantages. Put more players on a side than they have defenders.
8.)  Use screening actions against the zone. Screens are difficult to defend. Use the same screening actions from your man offense, you’ll put the defense in a bind. Ball screens can lead to overloads and the defense scrambling. Cross screens to put defense and let someone flash, you’ll put the defense in a disadvantage.
 9.)   Space the court. You want to be where they’re not…like the short corner, mid-post.
10.) Use the misdirection. Take the ball one way to pull the zone and then go back the other direction, you get the defense to shirt.
11.) Rebound.

Here is a clip from Coach Weber's video: 

In the clip below, is one of Team Hurricane's favorite sets, VCU "Flood".

And here is another clip of some quality zone offense plays:

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