This is a Phoenix Suns one-play performance that zooms in on the finer details of why this action was called in Saturday’s Suns-Pacers game and why it was so successful.
As for the valuable contributions that Bismack Biyombo brings to any lineup he plays in, he does have weaknesses that operate on the offensive end of the floor.
He is a shooter and not a driver, especially in space and away from the restricted area.
His value comes in setting screens, rolling on the offensive glass and attacking, also known as the three most effective ways any non-shooter can be effective in the halfcourt.
Indiana intentionally “missed” Biyombo with the goal of staying tight in their defensive shell and helping out. They were even so impudent that sometimes they even doubled up on him and did not turn to the general area he occupied.
Check out this still shot with the ball.
Or even this one without it, as the two of them put the ball on the Suns’ outer third act;
However, with Biyombo, as I mentioned earlier, there isn’t even a “tag” or defender that rotates even in the general area he occupies, one pass away from the ball.
This development led to insightful observation and contrasted with this Indiana tactic.
Phoenix would come up with a “Veer” action, an on-ball screen immediately followed by the same screen flowing to an off-ball screen, rather than flying or rolling to the basket.
What was more unique here, as we zoom in, was the Suns’ use of second-side activity, a flash screen by Biyombo’s “up” end receiver, which was Washington Jr.
I explore that dynamic and its importance to the whole operation here.
The two-Biyombo pick-and-roll sequence, coupled with Washington Jr.’s flashback screen, was great. Add to that the fact that Biyombo didn’t hang on to his pick for too long to then flow to the perfect spot to make it harder for Duarte to navigate, and you’ve got the performance on display here.
The two-on-one (with Duarte in the rear sight) that set up a pick-and-roll neighborhood-type scenario that had to come in the middle third showed great attention to detail.
The underlying dynamic here is the ways in which the Suns systematically maneuver their way into attacking the middle third, generating touches in the paint and exploiting abundant advantages to optimize the talent at their disposal.
This approach, paired with action, is an offensive dynamic more often seen on the college basketball stage. The court is smaller, so the task of assisting defense attorneys with their support duties while handling primary operations is much more imperative due to the reduced space to work.
Phoenix is generally one of the best at gathering information throughout the game to then take advantage of opposing trends and schemes.
Whether it’s Booker and Paul, the coaching staff, or a combination of the two.
This was an example of that within the flow of the game. Making them a constant puzzle to solve.