Principles of the 1-2-2 Zone Defense

Often used to counter a strong outside shooting team. The top man on the zone plays the top of the key area, while the next two take care of the wings, and the high part of the key; the bottom two control the paint. Though this defense is somewhat weaker than the 2-3 in the post (because it only has two in the paint, instead of three), it is considerably more successful in shutting down the other team’s shooters.

Oftentimes, when a team runs a large amount of on-ball screens for their shooters, the 1-2-2 is a great way to counter, as each defender figuratively hands off the shooter to the next defender as the shooter tries to free himself up for a shot by moving across the court. Otherwise, the motion is similar to that of the 2-3 zone: defend your area, communicate with each other, and do not allow penetration into the lane.

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