Belmont screens the zone
Earlier this season, we looked at how William 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 the bottom of the zone could have gotten the corner runner open.
Watching the Belmont game last night, they effectively screened the bottom wing player of the zone to get an open three point shot. Watch and see how effective screening a zone can be.
Florida Gulf Coast was playing a 3-2 zone on this possession, to guard against the 3 by Belmont. The three players up top are designed to cover the three point line and defend the well-spaced shooters, instead of relying on a forward to close out to the wing.
When the ball drops below the foul line, the opposite high player must drop down to the block, turning the zone into a 2-3. This helps protect the basket and give the defense an extra rebounder. You see #17 dropping down here as the ball is on the other side of the court, the correct thing for him to do.
A great skip pass is made over the top of the zone to #21, Ian Clark. In the meantime, #13 Jon House, slides over to screen in #17 of the defense, who has dropped down to the block. This gives Clark plenty of time to catch, gather himself and shoot before the defense can close.
The man who is screened can’t get there in time, obviously but neither can #10, Hunter Miller. He is the middle player in the top of the zone and his original man was #1 at the top of the zone. He is one pass away from the ball, so he needs to be able to close out on him if the pass is made. Since the ball is skipped across the court, he can’t cover enough ground to get to Clark on time before he gets the shot off.
Clark misses the shot but it shows how a simple screen of a zone can get a teammate open. Most people don’t think of screening against a zone since there is not a man assigned to the player they want to get open. As I have said time and time again, screening a zone can be effective, yet it goes underused by many teams facing a zone.