Defensive Basketball Plays – 2-3 Zone Defense

Here you’ll find defensive basketball plays utilizing the 2-3 zone defense. Just follow the key to understand the diagrams and follow along with the text descriptions.

Practice, practice, practice until you can run these plays in your sleep. Only after hours and hours of perfect practice will you be ready to DOMINATE!


Red Triangle = Defenders

Blue Circle = Offensive Players

Red Dotted Arrow = a pass

Black Straight Arrow = player movement

Each play is separated by a horizontal line running across the page.

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2-3 Zone Defense


2-3 Zone Defense
You want to force the offense to start back farther than they want to with your 2-3 Zone Defense.

1 & 2 (guards) get up to defend the 3-point line while the 3 players in the back line will line up with the first marker above the block.

2-3 Zone Defense
As the offense sets up, the defense matches up as shown. A key aspect of playing zone is constant communication between teammates.

If O1 passes to O2, then defender stay with their original matchups. If O1 passes to O3 (shown), then “bumping” occurs. D1 bumps D4 down (D4 won’t bump down until D1 tells them to).

“Bumping” occurs if a back line defender is out guarding a perimeter player.

Here, the offense has a player in the high post, so D5 guards O5. D1 & D2 help D5 by getting their hands in any passing lanes to O5.

D5 tries to keep O5 as far away from the basket as possible on any shots taken by the offense.

Here, the “O” overloads one side by sending O2 cutting through the key. The “D” must communicate well on this. D2 yells “cutter” and tries to slow O2 down, as do D3 & D5.

D1 bumps D4 down to guard O2 and D2 rotates over to fill in for D1.

Now “O” overloads the opposite side as O3 makes the cut. D4 yells “cutter” and tries to slow O3 down as D3 moves out to guard O3 in the corner.

D5 slides over to guard strongside low post and D4 slides into weakside low post position.