Since there are literally hundreds of offenses and set plays that need to be defended, defensive players must depend more on principles than actual patterns to carry
out their assignments.
Teams have won championships with only a couple players carrying the scoring load but no team that I can recall has won a championship with only one or two of its members playing defense.
In the book Court Sense by John Giannini there are a few paragraphs describing defensive cohesion that could benefit players and coaches alike. According to Coach Giannini there are four critical requirements for a defensive unit to be effective and cohesive.
1. Jump to the ball. When the ball moves by either pass or dribble every defensive player should move along with it and adjust their positioning. When the ball is passed good defenders take advantage of the ball’s “air time” and are in their new position by the time the ball is caught.
2. Always be ready to help. The reason to be in proper position is to provide defensive help on all dribble penetrations and post feeds. On ball defenders can apply more pressure if they know their teammates have their backs and are willing, able, and in position to help.
3. Rotate to help the helper. Like any trapping or double teaming situation, an offensive player is always going to be momentarily open when one defensive teammate helps another. (This is a hard concept for many younger players to grasp.) From a defensive standpoint that player should always be the one furthest away from the ball. When working completely in sync with each other, great defensive teams can make it seem like they have 6 defenders on the floor at once.
4. Recover quickly. Some times, when a team is primarily made up of defenders of the same size and quickness, only one player has to recover quickly so that every offensive player is guarded. Other situations require that certain offensive players are guarded by specific defenders. In those situations the speed and efficiency of a team’s recovery is going to largely determine the success or failure of that particular defensive possession.