One of the more interesting observations about a team’s standard Defence is that it is often viewed in a devalued light. A team’s standard defence can be zone or man-to-man based. Many coaches have a preference as to which defence is the better of the two, but neither has an exclusive right’s over a team’s success on defence.
What is important in your selection of a defence, any defence really, is that it is a “stopper” defence. By stopper defence we mean it stops other teams from being able to achieve what they need to do on offense. Once this perspective is undertaken and accepted it will form the basis for change in the way a team conducts its defence, and in general goes about its business.
When a defence is viewed as needing to be a “stopper” defence, it means that the little things that are often overlooked and undervalued, become more important to the everyday practicing of defensive or offensive drills and training sessions in general. Accepting subpar effort or performance becomes sometimes a bad habit that a team’s regular defence starts to show because it is used so much that players become complacent about it only being able to drive a certain amount or style of results.
A defence though can work in a diverse amount of settings and against a variety of different counters, and still be fundamentally the same defence. A lot of the versatility built into a defence should be around being dynamic in its ability to guard on-ball screens for example in a number of different ways. The technical aspects that might be coached and presented to players on how to deal effectively with different aspects of a particular team’s offense, does not change the overall tactic of the whole defence.
The are two points worth mentioning in regards to the above example. Initially it is the knowledge and skill of the coach that must be significant enough to be able to be able to teach and instruct in a number of different defensive strategies that can be used in guarding an on-ball screen. A coach must have an ample amount of knowledge to understand the different technical options available when playing defence.
The second point is to have a team develop their standard defence into being a stopper they must have options in dealing with a wide variety of possible offensive situations. Having this knowledge is not good enough, a team must become well drilled and ultimately develop a confidence built from training rehearsal and game performance of being able to truly make their standard defence a stopper.
Once a team develops a mindset of that their defence needs to be executed to a higher level, then good habits start to be developed focusing on the one percenters. Once this happens, the sky is the limit and anything can happen as team’s commitment grows and their standards rise higher and higher so the team’s expectations become greater around what each individual can be held responsible and accountable to.
It is probably worth noting that there are an exceptional amount of specialised defences available through the universe of basketball. While these maybe very successful in the scenarios they have been designed for, they can be countered and often they tend to be inflexible in dealing with countering offensive systems. Instead of having multiple defensive sets, a team just needs to make a commitment to getting the standard defence right and gradually improving from there.