It is said that you are only as good as your weakest link. The same is true of team defense. Championship teams play great team defense and each player on the team must do his job. Night in and night out, you can play tenacious defense if you really want it to be a part of your game, but you must be hardnosed and hardworking.
Your feet should be slightly staggered, with one foot slightly ahead of the other. Your base should be shoulder-width apart, weight equally distributed on both feet, knees bent at about a 45-degree angle.
Utilize against your opponent when he has yet to dribble.
"Sink" and maintain a low center of gravity. Keep one hand low, tracing the ball (6” zone) with the other hand high and behind. We term this “Stockton Hands”.
Keep your back straight, head up and maintain an arm’s length spacing.
Utilize against your opponent when he is dribbling.
Make the “first hit”, stay in your stance and position your lead hand out and above your lead foot. “Chop” it up and down as you push-step.
With you trail hand, keep your palm up (dig up at the ball and avoid slapping down).
Utilize against your opponent when he no longer has his dribble.
Let your teammates know he is "dead", step into his space and hand trace the ball.
Pressure with high, active hands; however, do not come out of your stance!
Push-Step, Extension Step & First Hit
Your first extension step is the most important (a.k.a. positive step). Point your nearest toe where you want to go, extend it fully, make the “first hit” (momentary contact detouring the path of the offense) with your core and hands up. Be sure to move in a “push” and “step” sequence. If the dribbler gains an advantage, sprint and cut off the ball. Do not do anything to disrupt your balance. Such as bringing your feet together (heel clicks), rising out of your stance, or hopping instead of sliding your feet.
When you are not guarding the ball it is equally as important to keep yourself between the ball and your man. Be in the pack:
One pass away – Play “in the gap” (Gap Stance).
Two passes away – Sink to the level of the ball and position yourself near the equator (Pistols Stance).
You are not to go outside the pack line except on a dead call.
When you are guarding the ball, keep yourself between the ball and the basket (a.k.a. Guard your yard). Put as much pressure on the ball as you can with what your ability allows. No direct drives. Contest all shots. Make a hit. Remember the lower butt wins!
Low Post Defense
Three-quarter front the offensive player by keeping your outside hand in the passing lane, and your trail hand brushing his backside. Stay on the high side until the ball becomes level or below you. Step through and assume a dead front position – also known as “White Defense”. Be prepared to disengage when the offense successfully seals you out beyond the landmark.
Coach Hueser’s “3-Pointer”
If your opponent is a slasher, encourage him to shoot the outside jumpshot. For example, get off and go under the screens.
If your opponent is a shooter, shadow him around screens and play him extremely tight. Force him to put the ball on the floor and create.
Remaining in your stance makes you a hard target to screen. Stay in your stance at all times unless you jump to block a shot or rebound the ball.