How To Beat The 2-3 Zone In Basketball

There are a number of different defenses a team can throw at you during a game and it's important to come up with a different plan of attack for each one. While beating a man defense relies heavily on driving the basketball, beating the 2-3 zone requires patience and pinpoint shooting. Here are six ways to beat the 2-3 zone.

  1. Develop perimeter shooting. In order to expose the 2-3 zone, your team will need to develop outside shooting. Three point shooting is one of the most effective ways to make the defense over commit and open up the inside.
  2. Work on swinging the basketball. Beating the 2-3 zone cannot be done by dribbling. Constant ball movement is crucial in order to create open looks and make the defense work. A popular phrase concerning ball movement is "swinging the ball around the horn." Constant movement will create open looks, while stagnant offense will allow the 2-3 zone to thrive.
  3. Run the ball through the post. Place your most skilled big man at the elbows of the free throw line and throw the ball back and forth from the post to the wings. This will force the defense to sag into the middle and create open shooting lanes and even potential drives.
  4. Become an expert at ball fakes. Ball fakes are one of the lost arts in basketball and yet they are an important aspect in beating the 2-3 zone. The defense of a 2-3 zone is relied heavily on timing especially for the two front wing defenders. A ball fake can cause the defense to cheat to one side and open up an opportunity to score.
  5. Push the basketball in transition. One of the simplest ways to beat the 2-3 zone is the push the ball up the court and score in transition. In order for the 2-3 zone defense to be set up, the offense needs to play a half court game. Pushing the ball and scoring in transition will force the defense to rethink their scheme.
  6. Rebound the basketball. Zone defense can create missed assignments on the defensive glass and this will increase second chance points. Practice offensive rebounding to try and wear down the 2-3 zone defense.


  • Scrimmaging is the best way to practice beating the 2-3 zone. Develop simple plays that encourage ball movement and refrain from keeping the ball stagnant.
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