How to Attack a 1-2-2 Trap in Basketball

Men playing basketball
The 1-2-2 is a type of trapping pressure defense. (Image: AGL_Photography/iStock/Getty Images)

Basketball teams employ various types of pressure defenses designed to create turnovers and easy baskets. A 1-2-2 defensive trap is one kind of press that teams often employ. Teams can use a 1-2-2 in full-court or half-court situations. By understanding how the 1-2-2 works and where its weaknesses are, teams can exploit the trap and aggressively attack the defense to score baskets and discourage the opponent from pressuring.

Step 1

Use a two-guard front against the 1-2-2 because your front should always be opposite of the defensive front. Because the 1-2-2 is an odd or one-front, you should use two guards at the top. Position your two offensive guards slightly farther away from the basket than the farthest defender or the top man in the 1-2-2. In a full court 1-2-2, the top defensive man will usually be even with the basketball, while the middle defensive players will be positioned around their own free throw line and the back two defenders will stand near midcourt. In a half-court 1-2-2 trap, the top defender will be near midcourt, the middle two defenders will be be about 10 feet from midcourt on each side of the floor, just outside lane width while the back two defenders will be on each side of the lane about 10 feet from the basket.

Step 2

Position one player in the middle of the floor at all times. This forces the defense to defend the middle, which is one of the most vulnerable areas of the 1-2-2. The middle player should be stationed about 15 feet from the two high guards in a full-court situation or around the free throw to three-point line in a half-court set.

Step 3

Position one player deep so the defense has to respect and cover him, forcing their defense to spread more and create more openings. Your last player should work the sideline or wing area on the opposite side of the court from the deep man. This ensures that one defender cannot guard both of those players.

Step 4

Pass the ball against the press instead of trying to dribble against it. Presses or traps involve double-teaming the dribbler or the ball to create turnovers. By passing ahead, your team gains an advantage because you have extra players because of the double-team.

Step 5

Pass the ball to the middle when it is open but do not force your passes. Getting the ball to the middle will break the trap and probably create an easy basket, but if the defense is doing a good job of covering it up, other options will be open.

Step 6

Look for good shots and do not play into the defense's hands by taking quick or rushed shots. One of the goals of a press or trap is to speed up play -- it is important to take your time and find a good open shot.

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