4. Where is the ball movement on offense? Why has it been so stagnant this year?
Zimmerman: The Suns have one of the fewest assist percentages of made shots in the league, which is partly personnel and partly bad ball movement. I think Phoenix’s best players have gotten stuck forcing bad shots when they attempt to work off pick-and-roll. There’s hardly been swinging to the other side to work on another pick-and-roll, and that’s what Hornacek wants.
Chasen: I know it’s obvious to say this, but having more ball handlers on the roster means that you have more players who… well…will want to dribble the ball. Considering that the Suns have 14 billion point guards, in addition to having Gerald Green and the Morris Twins, all of whom like to play with the ball in their hands, it’s not completely shocking that there’s been some over-dribbling and stagnant offense this year.
Weisert: The focus on the point guards playing together has stagnated the offense worse than it was last year. To encourage more ball movement, Hornacek needs to install more half court sets that Phoenix can run no matter which guards on the on the floor. That will get the frontcourt players cutting and moving the ball more.
Schall: The Suns are actually averaging an admittedly statistically irrelevant .3 more assists this year than last, and are up league wide from 29th last year to 25th this year (not taking into account pace), but it doesn’t seem like the offense is flowing as well. Hornacek has always been quick to point out that on a team led by scoring guards the assist numbers are inevitably going to be lower. The problem also permeates to the frontcourt where you have bigs that are also shoot first (The Morii), or not particularly talented passers (the rest). While Hornacek could always run more sets and hope to generate assists that way, this is more of a personnel issue than anything inherent in the offense.
Saar: It’s been good at times. There have been some players who have expanded their games and want to showcase that, prove that they’re more than just a 3-and-D player, a dunker (etc.) and have halted the ball movement for that reason. But they do need to stop forcing some passes. Turnovers on forced passes can contribute to hesitance to pass at all, for fear of a turnover. They’ve got to discern between the two.