irrelevant with the addition of Gortat and the improved play of Channing Frye. I see all the time on the fan posts that fans left and right believe we need a low post PF on the offensive end, but the thing I think is most forgotten is that that's not the Sun's Offensive system. The Sun's offensive system is about creating space for the following:
Option 1: PnR with the C where the C finishes
Option 1b: PnR with the C where the PG dishes to a back cutting SF breaking from the opposite corner (SG crashes the board
Option 1c: PnR with the C where the PG beats the defense for a layup
Option 1d: PnR with the C where the PG drives and dishes to the near corner SG for a 3 after the help defense collapses on the PG (opposite side SF crashes the board)
Option 2: PnR with the PF where the PG dishes to the near corner SG, who swings the ball back to the rotating PF for a 3 or mid-range 2 from the elbow (SF crashes the board)
Option 3: Fastbreak (which has nothing to do with anyones positions specifically)
Ok, so if you're looking at the Sun's halfcourt set, the PG is at mid court, the SG is in the rightside corner, the SF is at the leftside corner inside the arc, the C is on the rightside block and the PF is at the left elbow extended. The PF moves out beyond the arc, the C sets a right side screen to setup the left side secondary screen which runs the real PnR. That is the basic Sun's offensive game plan.
The reason this game plan is so effective and works for only the Suns is because of Steve Nash. Plain and simple. Without Steve Nash's vision and playmaking ability (and his mentorship of Dragic) this simplistic offensive set is IMPOSSIBLE to run in the NBA (I don't think Chris Paul or Derron Williams could run it without Nash's mentorship for an extended period of time). Here's what the offensive system relies upon:
1. Vision and playmaking from the PG that allows for passes made to the rolling player to be "amazing" as well as reading the defense to see where the defense collapses and hits the player open in the spread floor.
2. SG and SF that can collapse on the weakside board, recognizing that the PF and C are often out of the middle due to the rotation of the offense based on where the ball goes from the PG after the PnR.
3. PF who can shoot from the outside (not meaning 3s, but mid to long jumpers) as well as work a midrange PnR, flash the mid-key spot up, reverse the ball to the weakside efficiently
4. C that runs an effective PnR, has quickness from the top of the arc to the rim, moves out of the key to draw large defenders away when the PG/SG are driving, soft hands for out-of-nowhere passes, can pass to open shooters on the outside
That in a nutshell is the Suns offensive system. It does not, I repeat, DOES NOT rely on a low post PF. Adding one would clog the lane with defenders.
I understand everyones desire for the next Al Horford, but in reality, we need the next Tim Duncan. Al Horford does not want to be a C. He wants to be a PF. Tim Duncan could care less what his role is and on defense is going to guard the better of the 4 or 5 from the other team. Al Horford can't play the PF position in the Sun's system because he's a low post scorer most of the time. Tim Duncan is a C. A guy like him, could flourish in our system because he's a PnR dream. ***note: this is not advocating we try to get TD, just develop a guy like him, oh wait, that's what Robin Lopez and Marcin Gortat are doing*** Amare worked so well in this system because he could be the PnR C that the Sun's needed. Then they spread the floor with everyone else to create the space in the middle so that Amare was isolated on the other teams C who was traditionally slower than Amare. But bringing in Shaq didn't work because at that age, Shaq wasn't fast enough to run the PnR effectively and Amare couldn't hit the long-range jumper as well yet so if you ran a PnR with Amare while Shaq was asked to spread the floor, the defender on Shaq would back-off and provide help defense on the cutters and rollers.
So what does this mean for the Suns offense?
1. We have 2 decent shooting Cs that for the most part, can beat an opposing C to the rim on the roll. They just need to play with Nash a bit more to understand his reads and learn to properly catch his passes in movement.
2. We have Nash and Nash's understudy. We're set at PG.
3. We have SGs and SFs who can cut to the hoop on the backside, sit in the corner, finish at the rim (except for Dudley), don't need the ball to create for themselves (Carter is learning this just like Richardson learned that Nash will create a whole lot more for him than if Carter was to try to create on his own), hit open jumpers, crash weakside boards, pass efficiently, and run the fastbreak with excellence.
4. We have 2 PFs...who can spread the floor, hit open mid to long-range jumpers, act as a secondary PnR partner, skip pass to weakside shooter/cutter, provide 'safety' position on defense. Frye took time to develop for this role. Now he's the starter and rightfully so. He's earned it. The biggest need right now is for the same thing in the backup role. Warrick can be that guy. He's as raw as Frye was 1.5 years ago when he first signed with us. He needs to pickup his shooting from the outside and not rely on being at the rim the whole time. He needs to work on his ability to set off ball picks and being a threat outside without the ball. He needs to develop his hands for the passing required. He also needs to improve his ability to read the play and see if he needs to get back early for defense.
If Warrick ends up not being the guy for this role, then guys that could play the type of PF role that the Suns utilize on offense would be Troy Murphy, Danny Granger, Carmelo Anthony, Luol Deng, Boris Diaw, Al Harrington, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap, Andres Nocioni, Dirk Nowitzski, Lamar Odom, Tayshaun Prince, Vladamir Radmonovic, Josh Smith, Al Thorton, etc. I'm not saying we need one of these guys, these are just examples of the TYPE of player the Suns would use at PF.
ON THE DEFENSIVE SIDE
So we just proved why a low post offensive PF is irrelevant in the Suns system. On the defensive side, its an entirely different story, because on defense, you don't dictate where your players play defense, the other team does. So I'd have to recommend you go look at Alex Laugan's recent post about the Suns improved defense. It shows that Frye HAS stepped up on the defensive end as has Warrick. They would be the first to tell you there's still a lot of room for improvement.
The other thing to note about the Suns defensive system is team rebounding. The Suns run a team rebound scheme that has post players locking up their opposing counter parts and the wings crashing the board and your PG getting ready for the outlet pass. This scheme prevents opponents 4s and 5s from getting down the court too quickly and into the lane so that the Suns front court players can fast break more effectively. Now I recognize that there's a huge discrepancy between the amount of rebounds Lopez gets and the amount Gortat gets. First off, I'd say playing time has a huge chunk of that. Robin starts and has to go against the #1 C of the other team. Generally, the other teams top rebounder. While Gortat comes in and is often against the #2 C. Gortat also had 4+ years of battling Dwight Howard in practice. I can imagine he learned an awful lot in those 4 years about how to rebound. So while the amount of rebounds that each of them is getting has a big gap, I believe that if I could check WHO they're rebounding against, Lopez might be a bit closer to Gortat if he went against the #2 C more often.
So let's give Warrick some time to develop his offensive game in our system and have a little faith that, as proven by stats, we are getting better on the defensive end of the court.