For a Quick, Hardworking, Athletic team, 1-3-1 Defense helps trap offensive players, particularly on the high post and outside the arc, and presents various FAST BREAK opportunities.
It frustrates the opposing team by causing turnovers because a 1-3-1 defense is basically 3 guys guarding one offensive player who has the ball.
What I love the most about the 1-3-1 defense is the HIGH ENERGY it brings to the team defense when all the players are all bought in and give their 100% effort in the defensive end, causing the opponent team to force a bad shot and turnovers.
One of the keys of the 1-3-1 Defense is to REACT ON THE PASS. So you must BE PROACTIVE and REACH to the pass QUICKLY before the pass is completed.
When the 1-3-1 defense is run effectively, you will see:
LOB PASSES from the opposition team ALL NIGHT LONG because the defenders stand RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the opponent to disrupt chest or bounce passes.
And you will have opposition teams doing lob passes all night long, trying to create an open man to create a shot which usually leads shot clock running down and forcing a bad shot.
Therefore 1-3-1 defense forces the opponent team to rely on the overhead pass, which can cause frustration for the opposition team to get into a good position for effective shooting.
Coach Owens from the College of Holy Cross gives an excellent presentation on playing 1-3-1 defense which is definitely worth watching.
What are 3 disadvantages of the 1-3-1 zone defense?
a) The 1-3-1 defense has a point guard as a baseline runner (working on low post), which leaves the BIG MAN to get BUCKETS on the post all day!
Craig Neal, a former New Mexico assistant, gives a good example of exploiting the 1-3-1 defense by attacking the low post through a big man.
b) Corner 3 could be VULNERABLE FOR OPEN SHORTS with a high IQ offensive team with good ball movement and if the defense does not implement effective coverage from the corner 3-point shots.
c) The team running 1-3-1 defense needs to learn and be effective in Rebounding Out Of Zone otherwise, with a great offensive rebound team, it is going to be a long and frustrating night with a low defensive rebound percentage.
What Is A 1-3-1 Defense Good For?
A 1-3-1 defense is good for forcing the opposition team to shoot a bad shot and force a skip pass which helps create frustration for the opposition team to cause turnovers and poor shot selection.
If the opposition team is great at penetrating into the lane, a 1-3-1 defense executed effectively makes it more challenging for the opposition team to catch the ball on the post.