The Drag Zone

The drag zone offers some good options, but also some challenges. Below we explore what to do after the skip to the 3.

Drag 2 to the 3 – what’s next?

On a Drag 2 drive with a pass to the 3, the question has been asked where the 1 should go after the pass, if you want to take advantage of the post.

Wallberg has the 1 go to the 3-corner after the pass, as shown here.

The question posed is if it wouldn’t be better if the 1 goes opposite, as to not clog up the middle with his defender?

I think that solution poses several problems, as I’ll explain below.


Firstly, if we put the defenders onto the diagram with the 1 going to the 2 corner, there are now two defenders in the key playing weak-side defense.

If the ball is passed to 5 any one of D1, D2 and D4 can double team 5, and still leave two defenders to zone the weak side in case of a skip out from the post or dives to the basket.

To me that’s not a very advantageous situation for the 5 to score from.

In case 3 can’t make the pass to 5 (say, D% fronts and D1 takes away the lob), there are now really no penetration lanes either, as the key is full of defenders.

To me this option isn’t very good, so let’s take a look at the option of 1 going to the 3-corner.

The first option in this situation is that D1 gets caught traffic and takes the immediate pass to 5 away. This however leaves 1 open in the corner.

If you hit 1 for a corner three, I’m sure D1 will sprint out to the corner next time, leaving the pass to 5 more open.



Something I think was probably over-looked in the Walberg coaching DVD (but is included in the drills DVD and the drills papers I’ve got) is the pull-back dribble, which Calipari also uses in his DVD’s.

The pull-back and pass to the corner in this situation is a great option.

Firstly the pull-back dribble might make D5 take just a little step deeper into the key, allowing 5 better position.

It also allows 1 time to get to the corner, and as the dribble takes place D1 will naturally assume that he needs to get to 1, giving space for 5.

If the immediate pass to 5 isn’t open 1 should be open, and he should now look to 5.

If the ball does go into 5 the help side defense is in a much worse situation than with the 1 in the 2-corner.

The action should be 4 diving to the rim, and 2 dragging up to the open window.

The immediate help on the post is D2, and he has to make a choice – does he help in the post or does he give up the open 3?

After finishing his cut 4 is also very open for the skip.

To me this is just better balanced if 5 gets the ball.


4 Responses to The Drag Zone

  1. TL says:

    To simplify for the 1st year running this offense, I’m looking at using the rack and drag as 1 and using the drop zone as a 2nd area. Do you think this will fly or is a good idea. I have a young hs varsity team who will be adjusting to a totally new way of playing basketball with new coaching staff.

    • coach_o says:

      The rack zone in itself doesn’t have a tactical function – it’s basically just the point of no return for the ball handler. Once the ball handler reaches the drag zone players move round him – nothing tactically changes when he reaches the rack zone. The one important function of the rack zone to me is that it reminds players that the point is to take the ball to the rack.

      As long as the players keep attacking the rim I don’t see a problem with leaving it out.

  2. Coach Wimbo says:

    We don’t even mention the “rack” zone. We use the word attack ALL the time. If they pass the drop zone, they have the drag zone options, if they pass the drag zone they should be scoring the ball. Something I’ve found very helpful, this is our 7th year running the offense, remind them the goal of everyone that catches every pass is to shoot a lay up or get fouled. We use the term “down hill” and “attack” all the time, over and over and over and over. Everything else (kick-out, kick-backs, drag zone-open window, kick out-corner, backdoor, t-up) feeds off of the ATTACK mentality.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.