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Attacking the Diamond and 1 Junk Defense

By Brett Ayers

I put down some thoughts and musings about a continuity offense for attacking the traditional Box and 1 junk defense, which I think you may see come back into vogue along with the Triangle and 2 and of course the Diamond and 1.

What is the diamond and 1, since I think many are not very familiar with it? Well it is the box and one rotated to the shape of a diamond with a singular point defender on the four man zone along with two wing zone defenders, usually positioned about a step off the lane on either side and a step down from the free throw line. The back zone guy is usually positioned about a step out, in the middle of the key, from the hoop.

Teams will use the box and 1 when a team has more power inside while they try to guard the other teams best perimeter player. The diamond and 1 takes into account the team they are defending, besides the one very good perimeter player also has some good wing players and or three point shooters.

I think the best way to beat this defense is to employ many of the same philosophies I put down in the last writing I had. These keys being:

1. Just because they are trying to defend your best player man to man, that does not mean he cannot score and that you should still not look to get him open. But, you should not build your entire attack around only him.

2. Dribble penetration, or "gapping" the ball against the remaining players playing zone is critical. Now, this does not mean taking all the way to the hoop on the second pass or driving into the zone and leaving your feet to make a pass.

3. Ball reversals are crucial and should be done at least twice making this unorthodox zone shift. Not many teams can maintain good zone spacing and principles with these junk defenses for much more than four well placed passes.

Here is the scheme and set-up for the continuity offense I would use against a diamond and 1. And in fact, you could use this offense against a 1-3-1 half-court zone defense as well. The spacing and much of the principals and looks involved would be the same.

"Flood Offense"

This offense starts out with two post guys on the blocks, and a two-guard front with the man being guarded man to man on the baseline in line with the post players but outside the three-point line in either corner.

As you can see it is called "flood" because you have a defense with one baseline defender in the zone and one in man to man, but you have three offensive players. This immediately creates a quandary for the wing players in the Diamond.

Often it will serve to flatten them out and move them down to protect against a lob to one of the post players.

The basic continuity of this offense is simple. You will run the man being guarded man to man from the corner, along the baseline in the process the two post men will set what will amount to a double staggered pick for him along the baseline as he cuts across and or down underneath the bottom man on the zone all the way out into the other corner. He does this as the ball is reversed from the side he starts on. When the guard who is set up right outside the three point line about a step off the free throw lane extended get the ball he will create a spacing problem for the top man and wing player on the diamond. In all probability the top man on the diamond will not get over there quicker than the pass.

One of the keys is as the guy on the baseline comes off of those two picks the guard getting the pass from the other guard who is set up in around the same area as he is but on the other side, this guard gets that pass from the other guard and "gaps" the ball into the zone. This will have the general effect of making two men in the zone become preoccupied with his dribble penetration.

You have the baseline man running off those two picks by the post players as the guard gaps the ball and as the first post man sets that first pick he then rolls back into the middle after the baseline guy runs off his pick and depending upon what kind of dribble penetration the guard up top either gets or does not get he can either just roll into the middle around the block looking to post up that bottom man on the diamond and or he can even flash up into the open space in the middle of the zone.

Now, if none of this is open, and the guard who just got the ball from the other guard on the other side can not doe anything with it he will then try to get the ball to the man who is running the baseline in Flood. Once the ball goes there, the opposite guard up top will flare, or just kind of take a couple of steps back and around the three point arc giving, perhaps, an open skip pass from the baseline man who now has the ball over the zone for a three and or other looks.

Now, the post player who sets that second pick and now will be on the strong side with the ball being passed from one guard to the other; he then just turns and posts up on the block looking to seal his man.

Nothing open the baseline man passes it back to the guard and that guard gaps the ball and reverses the ball back as the baseline man runs off the two staggered picks, this time the post players switching what they will do once he runs off.

Some of the great action you can get, especially if you are not strong in the middle is to get that post man who sets the first pick to flash up into the middle of the zone and or to the high post ball side, get the pass than turn and look opposite to that wing player flaring out around the three point line.


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