We all witnessed Monday night the return of the un-guardable pick-n-roll.
Three possessions in a row, Chris Paul led Deandre Ayton effortlessly to the basket after a beautiful pick was set. One ending in a miss but the two for three ain’t bad. If I was eating a hotdog at the time of the third, I would have been dead. The open lanes were squeaky clean and polished waiting for Ayton to do whatever he pleases.
Last year, Devin Booker improved his playmaking by miles, but you can see the distance between him and Paul once they took the court against the Utah Jazz for the second time. Even with Ricky Rubio joining the Suns last year, from what I can remember, Ayton never received passes like that.
Ayton will have a lot more touches this year near the rim. He has had times when crowding the lane with Devin Booker ends up in a mish-mash under the basket. Booker tends to use Ayton as a shield towards the basket until he can find his spot and get that unguardable fade-away jumper and also winding his way around Ayton and the defenders is simply magic.
There are also the times when Ayton seems to crowd Booker and stay on his tail in a way. If Ayton wants to stay true about shooting the three, it is a simple step back (creating the pick & pop) before Booker gets to his spot. Either way, both Booker and Ayton have a good looks at the rim.
Both Booker and Paul have their different ways of using Ayton and from what we saw against the Jazz, there is a long way to go. The great stretch the Suns were on in the 2nd quarter is something that will be second nature.
There is a lot to be said about the rest of the game and the effort put forth by the Suns. This team is new, again, and it will take some getting used to. When this team can really nail down that pick & roll, the rest of the offense, including the 3-point shot will come and it should be glorious.
Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers, the trend continued and Ayton was handling the pick and roll pass with even more ease. A confident Ayton leads to correct decisions and a couple dunks to open the game.
The two-man game in Phoenix is in good hands.