Thursday, March 26, 2009

CSKA: Zone Offense Concepts

Watching CSKA’s games can help your development as a coach. Last Tuesday on their Euroleague quarter final’s first game, they played a lot of minutes against Partizan Belgrado’s zone defense. And some very interesting and simple offensive concepts were shown by the Moscow’s team. I’ll try to explain them today.

First, the control of defense’s key areas, in this case, the free throw line area and the baseline. Those areas belonged to CSKA all along the game.

Second, offensive rebound. Against a zone defense, go for the offensive rebound. If you want to punish a zone defense, your players MUST have a big desire for the offensive rebound.

Let’s take a look at the video.

In the first images we see how CSKA has a clear idea: either to attract Partizan’s centers, specially Slavko Vranes, (remember he’s 7’5”) and make them play away from the rim, or to have a lot of space for their “4’s” to play. CSKA have Lorbek, Smodis, Morris and Khryapa, and all of them can hit mid range shots from that area and also move the ball against the zone or play pick and roll situations, useful against that kind of players. In case Partizan tried to defend those shots, CSKA would have the control of the low post and baseline.

From that point we can see how patient the Russian team is. They play against the zone, and sometimes they don’t need to dribble at all, they swing the ball, give it to the high post, then to the wing, then to the low post, they move without the ball…

In the following situations we watch CSKA’s offensive rebound strategy. Two, and sometimes three players, going for it. They start their movement even before the shot goes off the shooter’s hands.

But a very important detail is the way they believe in going for the offensive rebound. Sometimes is impossible to catch the ball, but even then, they try to touch it, and to deflect the ball towards a teammate. While all the defenders are trying to catch the ball (you can imagine their coach shouting at them “everybody must go for the defensive rebound!!!” but do they really understand the meaning of that command?) CSKA’s players just touch it and send it to their open teammates. Desire and Basketball IQ.

Tonight we have game 2. Stay tuned.

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