Quick Opinion & Poll: The Huskies vs. the Zone

Zone defense 2-3 copy
Watching last week’s game against San Jose State, it’s apparent that the Huskies are going to see a lot of zone defense this season. I’m a little concerned about how effective the Spartan defense, employed by clearly less talented players, was so effective in keeping the Dawgs’ offense leashed last night. /

Zone defenses will neutralize one of the things the Huskies do best: an up-tempo attack with plenty of guard penetration, and it will force them into more outside shooting, still a question mark for the team.

The good news is that this idea of teams trying to beat the Dawgs with a zone has been apparent since training camp, and the Huskies have been preparing for it. Coach Lorenzo Romar mentioned yesterday that Quincy Pondexter quickly becomes scoring option #1 when teams drop out of man-to-man defense. Quincy’s big game last night (including the first 13 Husky points of the second half, all against a zone) was a big part of the reason San Jose State’s upset dreams never came closer to fruition.

While Quincy will continue to find success working out of the high post against the zone, Isaiah may have his difficulties at times, particularly if his jumper isn’t falling.

In my opinion, there is a lineup the Huskies can employ that’ll be set up for dismantling the zone. However, it will at times require Lorenzo Romar to shorten his bench and take a leap of faith with his three best defensive players (Overton, Holiday, and Gant) all on the bench for certain stretches.

The “Zonebuster” squad looks like this: Abdul Gaddy, with his precision passing and more controlled tempo is necessary when the Huskies find themselves playing against a defense that neutralizes their athletic advantage. Isaiah Thomas is too good not to find a way to be successful against the zone, but will need to temper his urge to drive, and look more to dish once the defense has collapsed on him. Elston Turner is the perfect wing to receive these passes. Clearly more comfortable without a defender in his face, Turner could shoot 40%-45% from deep if most of his shots were the open ones often earned against the zone. Quincy Pondexter moving freely between the high post, or making back door cuts along the baseline, gives the Huskies a zonebusting specialist. And, Tyreese Breshers, who can receive the ball and get a shot up even against double coverage, rounds out my Zonebusters lineup. Breshers is enough of a presence not to get swallowed up even when outnumbered in the post.

What do you think? What will the Huskies do to combat the zone this season? Are you concerned? Let me know below, and thanks for coming.