2 min read

2-3 Zone Offense

Seems like so many offenses recently are out of a 1-3-1 or 3-2 set and coaches use odd front versus and even front zone and vice versa. Getting zones to match up even on even/odd on odd can at times create a lot of opportunity for a zone offense.

This 2-3 set can be used against at 2-3 zone, 3-2 zone and 1-3-1. It helps if you have two players that on the bigger size and can rebound, a shooter and at least one penetrating guard.

Basic: Baseline Runner

By putting two bigs on the low blocks and having a baseline runner you always occupy two zone defenders that have to match-up. It is important to not have the two bigs leave the blocks and with the baseline runner who needs to be a shooter, there is always 3 defenders flat on the baseline allowing the guards freedom to drive. It is important at first to keep both bigs on the block and not flash one of them to the high-post until you are ready to counter and use that option.

When the zone is flat, your guards have the freedom to drive and ready help, if there is any to drop-offs to a big, hit the shooter on the baseline or play 2 on 2 with the other guard. It is good that the runner catches the ball from time to time getting the defense to fully slide to the ball side. And if the shooter makes a shot early in the game, this set really opens up.

With the two bigs on the blocks, they are always in great rebounding position and if one of their defenders steps up to help they are open for drop off passes or to get the missed shot.

High Low

After this look has gone stale, the option for the first screener on the low block to flash to the high post creates a high-low-skip scenario out of a 1-3-1 set and have the high post player dive back to the block for rebounding and drop-offs from drives.

When one of the bigs goes to the high post it creates a great opportunity to set a weak side flare screen for the guard who does not have the ball.

High Low flare


Guards can pass to one another or to the corner and shallow cut to the opposite guard spot. This creates no help for the guard to drive or the corner runner to drive middle as well.

Guards can drive middle to the foul line and flip back to the other guard who has lifted up to create a down-hill dribble with limited help.

Shallow cut


The guards can set a guard-to-guard ball screen that can create a switch and not a favorable matchup for advantages to drive and score or pass to bigs. If you have a mis-match this set allows for a lot of space and limited help for a talented offensive player to operate.



Written by Shay Berry. Shay is Luceo’s Director, Strategic Basketball Operations at Luceo and an Assistant Basketball Coach at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. 



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