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In a number of games, a situation arises where the opposing has one or two players who are dominant and you cannot afford to be beaten by these players.  At this time, the use of a junk defense would probably be appropriate.  A junk defense is a combination of a certain number of players playing man-to-man defense on the other team's best offensive players while the remaining players play a particular zone defense.

Advantage of Junk Defenses

The biggest advantage of any junk defense is that it limits the offensive potency of outstanding offensive players.  Many times, a team will have the unenviable task of having to guard an outstanding player that this will make the most sense.  It makes even more sense when a team that you are playing has one or two great offensive players and the remaining offensive players are mediocre at best.

Disadvantage of Junk Defenses

There is an old expression that goes along the lines of "the operation was a success but the patient died".  In basketball, that means that you were successful in limiting the scoring ability of a great offensive player, but you lost the game.  Understand that you put your team at risk to lose by employing a junk defense if the remaining players on the opposing team get out of hand and have big games scoring.  Enough of these players will get you and your team beat.

Setting Up the Defense

When setting up the defense, you will need to realize that a certain number of players will be playing man-to-man defense.  To make this defense work, you must select the best defenders who can cover the other team's best offensive players.  They will be the ones playing man-to-man defense and they will have to cover those players.  If those offensive players do not have the ball, their defenders must always play to deny them the basketball so as to reduce, if not eliminate, their offensive touches.

You will also need to determine who are your best interior defenders and who you have to have to rebound.  This will enable you to have a decided advantage when the other team (hopefully those who are not the skilled offensive players you are guarding man-to-man) misses a shot.  This will also help in determining what kind of zone you intend to play in the junk defense as well.

Diamond and One

The first defense is the Diamond and One.  The Diamond and One is designed for a team that likes to play an odd-guard front offense and has one player on the offense who is an outstanding scorer.  To set up the zone, your players need to align themselves in a diamond formation with the point of the zone at the nail, two players on the lane line halfway between the free throw line and the backboard, and a player just in front of the front of the rim (Diagram 1).

To run the zone, your players must know how to cover the lane area.  If the ball is passed below the wing, the top man in the zone must cover the ball-side elbow and the player starting on the ball-side lane line must front the low post (Diagram 2).  If the ball is passed from guard-to-guard, the top of the zone must cover the ball-side elbow and prevent the penetrating pass (Diagram 3).  From here, a pass below the wing can be made which makes the player on the ball-side lane line front the low post (Diagram 4).

Diagram 1

Diagram 2

Diagram 3

Diagram 4

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