Advantage / Disadvantage – 3x2

Another common advantage / disadvantage situation in fast break basketball is 3 offensive players against 2 defensive players. The goal of the offence is to get one of the defenders to commit to guarding the ball, and then passing the ball to a 2x1 situation.

Make 3x2 into 2x1

Most defences will adopt an “I” formation in this situation – in the middle of the court, with one defender above the free throw line and one in front of the basket.

If the first defender commits to guarding the dribbler, a quick pass to the wing creates a 2x1 situation with offensive players 2 and 3.

To take advantage of this situation, 2 must attack quickly – before x1 can recover into a defensive position.

Pass to the Wing

If x1 does not commit to guarding the ball, passing it to a wing perimeter player can force a defender to move out of the key to defend the wing. In this situation, the other perimeter player (3) should attack the basket, and the guard (1) should move to the ball side elbow.

With x2 defending on the wing, there is now a 2x1 situation with 3 and 1 against x1.

If the ball is passed back to 1, x1 must decide whether to guard 1 or remain with 3. 1 must be a scoring option, either a jump shot or driving to the basket. This must be done before x2 can recover.

3x2 – The Most Common Mistake

The most common mistake made by young players, is that they do not look to pass the ball back to the guard.

When the ball is initially passed to the wing (2), 3 will be initially open, however most defenders in x1’s position will move back to the basket – often intercepting a pass to 3, but leaving 1 wide open.

Whilst coaches can tell players this, it is better that they let the players “learn” this through playing. Asking directed questions such as “what was defender x1 doing” can help players realize the best option.