Friday, January 27th, 2012 at 9:40 am  |  28 responses

Paul Millsap Wants NBA Teams to ‘Man Up’ and Stop Playing Zone Defense

Paul Millsap has no respect for NBA teams who play zone defense, a tactic that proven to be increasingly effective. From the Deseret News: “The Utah Jazz offense struggled against Toronto’s zone Wednesday, and Paul Millsap didn’t hide his feelings for that strategy. ‘I think zone defense are for college teams, high school,’ the Jazz power forward said, laughing. With a smile, he added, ‘Man up. Play mano y mano.’ Funny he should mention school. Professor Tyrone Corbin gave his team an upper-level zone refresher course at Thursday’s practice. ‘We’ve just got to prepare for it,’ the Jazz coach said, ‘and not let it throw our rhythm off.’ The Raptors thrived defensively in their 111-106 double-OT win by clogging up the inside while Utah struggled outside (4-for-18). Corbin wants more movement, cutting and in-rhythm shots when teams zone his squad that hasn’t been successful from zone-busting range. [...] Millsap conceded that his team needs to respond better. ‘It’s something we’ve got to work on because teams can’t really match up with us,’ Millsap said. ‘They’re going to go into the zone, so we’ve got to be more efficient in it.’”

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  • Riggs

    lol dumbest thing i’ve ever heard.

  • Pais

    Give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think he’s being entirely serious, it’s easy to feel that way when you’re a big who gets his points in the paint.

  • quest

    or you can man up and just outrebound them since its easier to get offensive rebounds and its easier to make hi low passes against 2-3 zones.

  • http://slamonline.com Jones

    Cant really be helped when your starting backcourt contains Raja Bell and Devin Harris, a guy who left his shooting touch in Phoenix and a guy who is a career 30% 3PT shooter. Oh, and your SF, Gordon Hayward is shooting 38& from the field for the season.

    I watched the last ten minutes of the 2OT Raptors when the Jazz had a lineup of Harris, Bell, Hayward, Favors and Millsap and Millsap just got swarmed every time he caught the ball since literally no one else on the floor could shoot.

    Where’s Kyle Korver when you need him?

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    I hate it too..

  • http://www.fullc0urtpress.com K.Holiday

    I hope every team goes zone against the Jazz now!

  • pnightmare

    well learn to make that outside shot! (this goes much more to his teammates than to Millsap)

  • Aaron

    @quest… you know your basketball hommie.

  • Sean B

    Zone defenses are for undermanned high schools teams that can’t compete with another team’s physical advantages, not to be used in the pro’s with world class athletes. Throw this rule out.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    The ‘Zone Defense’ is used when the opposing team has poor shooters from outside. That way, the defense pays off. However, as the defensive 3 second rule is in place in the NBA, it should still be relatively easy to get in the paint for the offense. If this game was being played anywhere outside the United States, Paul Milsap probably wouldn’t have scored a basket in the paint at all. (Well, he would struggle hugely)


    Lmao dude is only hating cuz my raptors used the zone d and won in double ot. Smh

  • LA Huey

    Every once in awhile in pick-up runs, there’s that odd group of teammates that decide to play zone. It’s fun to watch guys play against it and see who are the “athletes” and who are the “basketball players” because the zone makes it pretty clear.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Zone defenses are VERY popular amongst the Majestic Galloping Unicorns . . .

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Sounds like Paul Millsap needs to man up and learn how to play against the zone.

  • bike

    Michael Jordan hated zones also. A big reason his game took off when he entered the nba is because no one could stop him one on one. But a well played zone could really bog him down.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    The zone is not really that hard especially a 2-3 zone. With Millsap and Jefferson they should run high low plays because both are pretty good mid range shooters and post players.

  • Holdmyown

    I think the nba needs to have zones as the rest of the world plays zone so when it comes to olympics or other international tournaments the US would struggle against playin them! Lebron for sure does not know what do against a zone and melo will just force up trash so this gives other countries a chance against the mighty USA! ANd playing against a zone forces smarter play and teamwork which is something that is lacking in the nba at times. As said before, all you need is high low stuff and some consistant shooters on the outside to break a zone..surely if kids in high school and college and the rest of the world can play against a zone, surely these nba stars can! my 2 cents worth anyways

  • LA Huey

    The zone is something you pull out when you can’t guard the other team with man defense AND they don’t have shooters. The reason most NBA teams don’t use it is because most of their opponents can make them pay from the perimeter and it leaves you VERY susceptible on the defensive glass. It’s usually a last resort move.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I agree.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    I hate zones. I really do. Here in Australia they play zone at nearly every level, and it sucks the fun out of playing basketball. Playing against a zone is boring, playing zone D is boring, and the whole reason I love watching NBA basketball is because they play man for the most part. If this zone trend continues the product the NBA is putting out is going to be a lot less entertaining/popular. I always teach the kids I coach man to man, because zone is a cheat to dumb down the game of basketball and reduce accountability. Look at players like Wesley Johnson who were taught zone in college, most of them can barely stay in front of their man because they aren’t taught how. The sooner we get rid of zones the better. Also, whoever was saying that the 3-second rule prevents the effectiveness of zones should remember that they are fine so long as they are an arm’s length away from their man, given the wingspan of these athletes, Cs in particular, it’s easy for them to camp in the middle and keep a hand on a guy on, or near, the low block. I’m with Millsap 100% on this.

  • Ldub

    Omphalos has some good points, i dont agree with it all, but i see where he is coming from. I feel that a healthy dose of man and zone is beneficial for offense and defense alike. I have ran in numerous leagues over the years and depending on who you have on your team (or on the floor ata the time) will dictate what kind of D you play. We run the zone when are bigs are in for 3 reasons. 1)Defensive presence 2)rebounds 3)cardio. Some of our bigs are in shape, but the constant banging in the paint will definitely can get them tired. So the zone allows them to stay on the floor longer. Also it saves their legs on the offensive in, because if they are guarding a big man that can shoot, they obviously have to move more. I dont agree that there is a dumbing down of accountability because its a team sport. You are responsible for covering your area on the floor. An area/zone vs 1 man IMO can be more difficult because you might have 2 drop down into your zone.

  • Justin

    If the zone works like it did for the raptors, why not use it? you guys are idiots. It is about winning games and doing what it takes on the defensive end to achieve that goal.

  • smoove

    stop making excuses ..if your a pro, man up and beat the zone…dont complain about it

  • Tara

    I know newborn babies who don’t whine this much! Millsap needs to shut his yammer! Big ass baby! GO RAPS!!

  • Justin G.

    @bike…maybe in college he hated zones but don’t think for a second he wouldn’t have adapted in the pros. His basketball IQ was second to none and he would have figured it out. @holdmyown…I don’t think Americans struggle against the zone at all. Granted they were the greatest team ever assembled in any sport but in the ’92 Olympics zone wasn’t legal yet in the NBA. I think they handled it pretty well

  • jeremy

    zone defenses are only effective for teams that have TEAMWORK. ironically, the zone can also be beaten by TEAM PLAY (coupled with good shooting, of course). go figure, NBA teams.

  • Myflex

    Is this guy talking out of his ass. The point of the game is to win, that means good D is needed. He’s just mad the raptors exposed them. Your a pro, don’t complain how someone is guarding u, it’s your job to score over good D.

  • AL

    Zone D is a skill, its pure fundamentals. If you are a pro player or coach and dont know how to find solutions against it, you are stealing money. Savour that well deserved L, Millsap.

    Also, the 3second rule turns the Zone D in the NBA a friggin joke. In europe he would’ve scored 4 points at the end of the game. No excuses.