The Mikan Drill

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William and Mary screens the zone of Syracuse

with 4 comments

One aspect of offense that is often lost in playing against a zone is the use of the screen. When used properly, the screen can still be effective against a zone defense.

W&M showed they were committed to screening the zone against Syracuse to find some openings. They screened in several different ways and was often effective in getting open looks.

Screening the top

Nearly every possession featured at least one screen of the top two men on the zone. This attempted to get open lanes for penetration, passing or shooting.

Even though the defensive players do not have specific individual assignments, they can still be screened. Watch as Scoop Jardine gets screened, leading to an open jumper.

W&M sets the screen sets the high screen right at the three point line. Brandon Triche must respect the swing pass and Fab Melo needs to protect the paint, so the ball handler has a brief opening.

Although the jump shot was missed, it provided a good look for the offense and showed that screening the zone is a viable option.

Here is another clip that shows the openings screening the zone creates. Although the primary ball handler did not get an opening, the screener was open. The opposite elbow defender had to guard the wing player, so he was not able to rotate over, leaving the screened player to guard to screener.

Dion Waiters went under the screen to stay with the ball but that left the screener open for an open shot.

Screen the bottom of the zone

W&M ran a similar set to start many of their possessions, which included a screen on the top of the zone and a man running baseline. I think this was a great place to set a screen, that W&M did not exploit.

W&M could screen the outside defender and give the baseline player either a corner three or a wing three, depending on the angle the screen is set. However, the potential screener has been too concerned with getting the ball themselves, instead of setting the screen.

I think this would be a nice halftime adjustment for W&M, as the bottom players of Syracuse have a tendency to cheat up and could be screened. Look for it in the second half.

Written by Joshua Riddell

November 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm

4 Responses

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  1. […] of Basketball has also posted a feature on the zone. Here’s another interesting piece from The Mikan Drill that discusses how William & Mary found success versus Syracuse last week. There’s also a nice ESPN Game Day video that’ we’ve embedded […]

  2. […] I took a look at W&M screening the top players of the zone, helping them get open looks (seen here). One thing I noted I would have liked to have seen them do is screen the bottom players of the […]

  3. […] and Mary screened the one of Syracuse to get players open to drive the ball or get open looks (see post here). They mainly focused on screening the top 2 players of the 2-3 zone and I remarked how a screen on […]

  4. […] several posts highlighting how screening a zone can be a successful action against the zone (see here and here). One screen that is under-utilized is screening in a shooter in the corner. I briefly […]


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