Combination Defenses

Combination defenses are usually deployed in an effort to stop or neutralize great individual offensive players. They can be very effective against any team not prepared to attack them. However, they do have vulnerabilities and, as a result, are not normally deployed as a primary team defense.

Here are some examples of combination defenses.

Box & One


Probably the most common combination defense is the "Box & One" defense. Here, four defenders form a box zone and the fifth defender plays a strong pass denial on a designated player.

Diamond & One


The Diamond & One defense is a variation of the box and one used when opponents employ a single guard front offensive alignment.

Triangle & Two


In this combination defense, two defenders assume strong pass denial positions against designated offensive players. The other three defenders form a triangle zone.



The combo defense is a combination zone inside and person-to-person outside. The three outside defenders assume strong pass denial positions. And the two inside players zone on the baseline much like a 1-2-2 zone. The combo defense is usually used against a penetrating, spread offense such as the "North Carolina Four Corners" offense.

A complete study of combination defense can be found in the HoopTactics presentations. Be sure to check them out.

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