“Zipper” starts in a 1-4 High, offensive set.
1 makes a dribble entry to the wing and the wing player (2) cuts to the basket. They may sink toward the baseline first before cutting to the basket or may step toward the ball handler (as if moving to a hand-off).
If possible, 1 passes to 2 as they cut to the basket.
The team is not in the initial alignment (1-4 High) and the play can continue by 3 dribbling to either wing. It is also possible to add other elements, such as:
- 4 setting ball screen for 3 while 2 drops to the corner. 5 could also screen for 1
- 3 passing to 2, 1 cutting to ballside corner and 3 cutting to weakside corner
The “Zipper” is a relatively unsophisticated structure that is easily “scouted” and accordingly is less likely to be used as a structured offence. Instead, it is common in professional leagues for the “zipper cut” to be integrated into their offensive structures, particularly being used as an “entry” into half court offence. Set out below are various options that utilize a zipper cut to start.
Coaches of junior teams in particular are encouraged to consider that these are examples of play, rather than a set structure to implement with their team. These options are probably most effective when they are the result of a “read” by the players, rather than a set rule.
1 pauses at the basket and then can either:
- Cut back to the perimeter using a screen from 5
- Cut off a staggered double screen from 3 and 4.
Whichever cut 1 makes, they must read their defensive opponent. This may mean they flare to the corners, or curl on a screen etc, depending upon how the cut is defended.