23 Zone - The Guards

Updated: Jun 8

In this post, we are going to take a look at the Responsibilities and Steal Opportunities for the Guards in our 23 Zone.


The Guards are sort of like the engine of your 23 Zone. They are tasked with some of the most critical elements of the defense including; guarding the ball, responding to perimeter swings, and preventing the pass to the middle. With that in mind, we want to strategically place two good perimeter defenders in these positions. This is not a place to "hide" players as we need these defenders to anticipate well, guard the basketball effectively, and will be able to box out players crashing the offensive glass. If we can get these players to be aggressive there are four great steal opportunities in the 23 Zone for guards to take advantage of as well.


The three most common ways to break down a 23 Zone are through dribble penetration, perimeter swings, and touching the ball to the middle of the floor. The Guards will play a critical role in trying to prevent all three of those things from occurring. Because of this, it is critical that these two people are more connected than any other two players on the floor. Throughout the possession, they will constantly be readjusting themselves based on the movements of the other. Good guard tandems should not just be responding to the movement of the basketball but anticipating when it will go next.


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Responsibilities of the Guards -

Remaining connected and keeping the basketball out of the middle are the two core responsibilities of the Guards. They are constantly guarding the two most dangerous people on the floor; the man with the ball, and the man in the middle. As the basketball is being swung they should be shifting the responsibility for those people between the two of them. The movements of the Guards should be constant readjustments to the positioning of their partner.