David Blatt began his coaching career in 1993 as the assistant coach of Galil Elyon (Israel). Later, he has become the team's head coach, and stayed there until 1999. He was named Coach of the Year in the Israel National League in 1996. He became also assistant coach of the National team of Israel. In 2000 he went to Maccabi Tel Aviv as the assistant coach, taking over the head coaching duties in 2001 (winning two national titles and playing in the Euroleague Final Four). He was again Maccabi's assistant coach in 2003-04, and then in 2004 he went to Dynamo St. Petersburg, where his team won the 200405 FIBA EuroCup and was named Coach of the Year for the Russian League. Since 2005 he has been coaching Benetton (Italy), where his team won the 2005-06 Italian title. He became the Russian Men's National team head coach in 2006.
Nothing can replace solid fundamentals and strong individual and team defense. But there are players and teams with clear problems in their defensive match-ups, or with the inability to deal with the basic defensive situations. The main reason for these problems comes to the difference in technical and physical skills.
A better strategic approach to this concern can help hide these weaknesses, and can change or ruin the opponents' offensive flow.
One of these strategies can be the use of the 1-1-3 zone defense to face the three most common offensive plays of European basketball:
- Double high post with series of screens.
- High pick-and-roll.
- Play with the double exit for the guard.
RULES FOR DEFENDERS
These are the main rules for the single defenders:
- The first defender must be in front, putting constant pressure on the dribbler, pushing him to one side of the court.
- The defender on the free-throw line must switch on every screen, defend against the high post, or guard the first pass to the high-post player.
- The defender against the low-post player must prevent any pass to the post player, defending in front of him (or 3/4 in front of him, depending on the single defensive system or philosophy).
- The player on the wing must play against the offensive player on the wing, forcing him to get higher or lower (depending on how the post player is guarded).
- The defender in the paint must protect the rim and be responsible for the defensive rebound on the weak side.
DEFENSE AGAINST THE DOUBLE HIGH POST WITH A SERIES OF SCREENS
On the screen for 1 made by 5 against X1, X2 switches and defends against 1, who comes out of the screen and dribbles in the wing position, while X5 goes high to the free-throw line in order to guard 5, who rolls to the basket after making his screen (diagr. 1).
If 4 comes off the lane and goes to the central side of the court to receive the ball from 1 and change the ball side, X1 goes to guard 4 and X5 defends against 5 (diagr. 2).
When 4 passes the ball to 2 on the opposite side, X3 goes to guard 2, X1 moves to the elbow on the strong side and X2 moves to the free-throw line, while X4 protects the basket (diagr. 3).
If 4, after passing to 2, makes a screen for him, X3 switches and goes against 4. X1 guards 2, while the other three defenders have the usual responsibilities, as explained before (diagr. 4).
If, after our switch, 4 rolls to the basket and 5 cuts along the baseline to the opposite side, X5 goes high to guard 5, X3 goes low to guard 4, X1 guards 2, X2 is on the free-throw line, and X4 covers the paint (diagr. 5).
DEFENSE AGAINST THE HIGH PICK-AND-ROLL MADE BY1 AND 4
The offense sets up a 1-4 set, with a point- guard and four offensive players on the same line. 4 and 5 go high and make two screens: if 1 uses the screen made by 4, X2 switches and goes against 1, while X1 guards 4 (diagr. 6).
If there is a single screen with 5 going high to pick for 1, X2 must be ready to switch against 1, going out to the right or the left side, depending on which side uses 1 to get out of the screen (diagr. 7).
If 1 passes the ball to 3, X1 goes to defend against 3 and X5 guards 5, who cuts to the basket. X4 helps against 3, in order to make easier the recover of X1 and then goes against 4, who has gone out to the corner (diagr. 8).
PLAY WITH DOUBLE EXIT FOR THE SHOOTING GUARD
2 cuts in the lane and can choose which side to go off the screen, using the screen of 4 or 5. In this particular example, 2 goes to the left and uses the screen made by 4.
X3 goes to guard 2, X5 goes against 4. X1 then goes to the elbow on the ball side and X2 on the free-throw line, while X4 is protecting the basket (diagr. 9).
If 5 screens against X3, X3 defends against 5 and X1 defends against 2, while X5 goes high to the free-throw line, and X2 goes against 1 (diagr. 10).
The new situation will now have X3 guarding 5 and X1 against 2 (the player with the ball). X5 is on the free-throw line, X2 defends against 1, and X4 is low on the help side (diagr. 11).
If 4 cuts from the low post in order to screen on the opposite side, X1 switches and goes against 2. X5 helps in the middle and X4 is on the help side, while X2 stands on the free-throw line and X3 (if the ball isn't close to him) goes back to his position in the low post (diagr. 12).
If 2 goes to the central side of the court, cutting around 5 and 1 dribbles to the wing, X1 defends against 1, X2 follows 2 and stops on the free-throw line, when 2 gets out of the lane. X4 guards 4 and X5 guards 5 (diagr. 13).
If 1 passes to 2, who is on the central line of the court, and then cuts into the lane, X2 keeps on guarding 2 and, if 1 cuts in the paint, X1 prevents him from receiving the ball. While 1 cuts in the paint, if 3 cuts along the baseline, X3 follows him until X5 can guard 3. X5 can "leave" him to X4 (diagr. 14).