Suns Offense Clanking On The Kick-Out 3-Ball

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 15: Channing Frye #8 of the Phoenix Suns reacts with Steve Nash #13 after Frye missed a three point shot against the Atlanta Hawks in the final moments of the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 15, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For years, we have been pining for an improved defense, all along assuming that the offense would remain prolific as long as Steve Nash manned the PG duties.

You may be surprised to know that spot-up jump shots are the largest overall component of the Suns offense. While nearly every Suns play begins with a pick-and-roll, more of them culminate with a kick-out to an open spot-up than either Nash or the roll man taking the shot. This is the beauty of Nash's offense. Force the defense to react, then kick the ball to where they're not.

Yet, Steve can't be both the passer and the shooter at the same time. When he delivers the ball for an open jump shot this season, the Suns are much less likely to make it than in years past.

And I've got the numbers to prove it, thanks to

According to data, what we see with our eyes is fully proven in the numbers. Everything about the Suns offense is the same this year as last year.

The % distribution of plays (spot-up vs. pick-and-roll finishing vs. cuts vs. o-rebounds, etc) is nearly identical. Also, the Suns proficiency in the pick-and-roll is just as good as years past.

In fact, some areas of the Suns offense has improved, like isolations and in transition.

But anything tha culminates in a jump-shot has clanked off the rim.

Suns 2010-11 offense:


Suns 2011-2012 offense:


(click on either picture to make it bigger and readable)

One glaring difference between these two offenses sticks out. The field-goal % on spot-ups has dropped precipitously. And because such a large part of the Suns offense is the "kick out 3" (22% of all plays), the overall offensive efficiency has dropped as well.

You saw it in the Laker game. It happened so often I started making sound effect, out loud, in an otherwise empty room. Doink...Doink, doink...doink...! All those missed OPEN jump shots. Ugh. If that were a drinking game, I wouldn't have been able to coherently write the recap.

So if you're wondering why retread Michael Redd is playing so many minutes, this is it. Someone has to hit some shots. Yet, so far he's worse than most. At least his shots are smart (as opposed to Brown, Price and Telfair), but he's still not making them any more than they are.

Nash is Nash, and Gortat is Gortat. They are deadly in the pick-and-roll, compared to the rest of the league. However, if the defense overplays them and leaves a shooter open, the Suns are not making them pay like in years past.

Who has been the biggest culprit, you ask?

As we've all said this year: the Suns second unit is abysmal, especially the backup shooters

Jared Dudley is making shots comparable to last season, and actually so is Frye, in spot-up situations. But the rest of the wing players just can't hit spot-up shots with any regularity. In the past, the Suns had a plethora of shooters who couldn't defend. Now the Suns have a group of guys who are marginally better at defense but can't shoot.

What else sticks out at you in those offensive numbers?

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