Win a Game With Less Physical Talent , Play 2-3 Zone the Great Equalizer by Dr. Tony Pappas

Scritto da: Chris Hungerford



Tempo di lettura 4 min

About the 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer 

This awesome Great Equalizer 2-3 Zone Defense can help you win against physically talented team, dictate tempo of the game, minimize the number of points scored, perfectly close the key etc. Dr. Tony Pappas believes that you can win with less talent by using the 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer. Also, many great coaches such as Jim Boehiem used this type of defense to win tough games. By taking care of your turnovers and rebounding the ball after the shot, you can take advantage playing the 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer and compete on the highest level.   

Advantages of the 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer 

This defense has plenty advantages and Dr. Tony Pappas is perfectly explaining  every one of them during this coaching clinic. The advantages are:


  • You can dictate the tempo of the game.
  • The 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer protects the key from penetration.  
  • Your opponent will be forced to take a lot of long shots, which is a good thing especially if you are playing against non-shooting team.
  • You can protect your 5 Player/Big man. The 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer gives you the opportunity to help a lot on the low post, so you can save your big man from foul-trouble situations.
  • If you are shorter team, with this kind of defense you can manage to play with taller opponent.

Alignment and Responsibilities

The basic alignment of the 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer is very important. You have to make sure that you put every player at the right spot, so you and your team can benefit the most from it. 


For instance, put your best defenders on the strong-hand side, and your best rebounders on the opposite side. 


Therefore, Position 1 will be on the top right side of the court, at the free-throw line. 


On the left side is Position 2, as a little bit weaker defender. 


 In the middle of the key is Position 5, and that would be your tallest player. 


Position 4 is on the left post-spot, and since the most of missed shots will be bouncing there, that should be your best rebounder. 


Position 3 should be your best athlete and player who should be able to move fast, since the most of the attacks come from the right-hand side. 

2-3 Zone Defense has a couple basic rules, and you have to make sure that your players follow these rules in order to defend your basket successfully. For instance, famous Coach Jim Boeheim puts these rules as a priority.


  • The first rule is: all five players have to move with the ball. There is no one single situation where the player can stay in the same position before the movement of the ball. 
  • The second rule is: even if lots of teams play Zone Defense to provoke a three-point shot, there is no open thee-point shot. You must put all you have to make that shot as hard as possible.



Dr. Tony Pappas explains two ways to protect the basket when the ball is in the middle. The first one is that both top players stay at the free-throw line with he hand up and ready to react on the first pass. You can do that in case that a point guard with the ball is not a great shooter and you don't want to put pressure on the ball. 

Another way is that one of your top defenders put the pressure on the ball, and another one stays in the help position. This is a more common situation, and in this case everybody except Position 1 is "at Home", protecting the key. 

In the both cases, Position 5 will make one step head to be ready for a potential help. 


Positions 3 and 4 will get in the front of their players if they have any on the post-positions.


Mark "6:05-8:34"


The next very important thing is when the ball goes to the wing, and Dr. Tony Pappas explains very clearly what are the key responsibilities of the players involved. 


It's crucial that you have mobile players on Positions 3 and 4. These players must be able to bump-up(Position 3 on the picture below) until player at the top (Position 1) comes and put the pressure on the ball. 

After Position 1 gains control over the player with the ball, Position 3 goes back to his primary position.

In case that player with the ball penetrates before Position 1 gains control over him, Position 3 must contain him and cut that drive.

Pressure/Weak Points 

This is one more of plenty awesome key-points that Dr. Tony Pappas covers during this coaching clinic. You have to make sure that you players know where are the pressure points in 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer. 


The first pressure point is on the wing (left or right). When the ball reaches to the wing, you can allow your players to pressure the ball even above the three-point line. 

The second pressure-point is at the corner. 

In both cases, your players should not give the opponent chance for a triple-threat  position and easy shooting solution. If the penetration happens, you have help-side ready to react and recover. 


It's extremely important to teach your players about the weak-points of the 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer. Remember, this defense is designed to stop physically talented opponent. 


Therefore, you should not pressure the ball at the high-top. After the pass, your top players will not be able to reach to the wing if they are too high pressuring the ball, and that will result with one extra offensive player on the ball-side.   

Mark "25:14-26:38"

Less Pressure

Depending on which team you are playing against, you might gonna need to protect post-positions better instead of three-point shot. In that situation, your pressure-spots will become weak-spots, and your players will be more focused on a potential inside pass instead on potential shooting.

On the picture above we can see Dr. Tony Pappas showing defensive position if the ball is in the corner. He dares a shot, and he is ready to help on the low-post in case of potential pass. This is a great way to stop a dominant post-player and force a poor shooter to use his weakest weapon. 


Mark "50:22-51:56"


If you would like to learn more about awesome 2-3 Zone Great Equalizer from Dr. Tony Pappas, click on the picture below and rent a full DVD.