Roy Williams said during his radio show on Monday night that it will be a cold day in hell before his teams play a zone. Well not really, actually he said this:
You’ve got to coach what you’re comfortable with, and I’m fairly competitive and I like being aggressive. For me, getting after people is the best way for our team to win and playing pressure man-to-man is the best way for our team to win and it’s what I’m the most comfortable with and it’s what I feel that we coach the best and it’s what we recruit to. I don’t like playing zone, but yet we play it sometimes…
I think it’s the best for us and I think it’s the best for the kids. If you go back and stand in a 2-3 zone and put your hands up like a scarecrow, it never tells those people in the NBA if those guys can slide their feet… I feel that my job is to win as many games as I can possibly win, and secondly to try to get these guys prepared to be able to play basketball after college if they’re good enough. The biggest reason is that I just hate zone – can’t coach it, don’t like it and we ain’t going to play it.
The standard “Roy is a HOF coach with an 80% winning percentage and I am not” disclaimer is in effect.
I do not really disagree with him since he did not take it completely off the table. We tend to see the zone pop up when foul trouble and fatigue are an issue, especially for Ty Lawson. I doubt he would be inclined to use it because of something the other team is doing on offense. And if he is not comfortable coaching it, then it might be more trouble than it’s worth if the players cannot be properly coached on how to execute it not to mention the implications it could have on the transition game. I will say that not wanting to use it because it does not allow the players showcase defensive skills for the next level is weak tea. I know Roy feels he needs to prep them for the next level but I question how much weight is given to their ability or inability to play defense. Offensive skills, quickness, size, length and athleticism tend to be a bigger deal to NBA scouts than how they play defense. And it was pretty clear the last time I watched an NBA game, defense was not really a premium.