The Phoenix Suns are 14-6 with a net rating of 6.8 despite the long absence of Chris Paul, who went down with a heel injury in the first half of their road loss on November 7th in Philly.
Things have been slightly different, but they’re maintaining the standard and remaining in alignment with the core standards that Monty Williams desires to see from his “0.5 offense.”
Here’s what I’ve been keeping my eye on in the first quarter of the season.
1. Doubling Devin Booker
As the Suns have continued without three very integral pieces of their attack (Paul, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder), the pressure placed upon Devin Booker to produce efficiently offensively has doubled.
In that, so has the comfortability of teams sending double teams at him in a variety of ways.
The Suns had issues regarding their offensive process when teams would send extra attention to Devin Booker, and it was a big part of last season’s run ending sooner than expected to the hands of the Dallas Mavericks in the second round.
Much of their issues stemmed from Booker’s processing speed and getting off the ball quickly, his teammates processing the coverage and either spacing or making themselves available to be the spray man as an outlet), and his ability to consistently play off-script advantage basketball.
My film session below dispelled the notion that said issue, which was part of last season’s ending, would continue to be an issue this season.
One could also be done on their closing possessions from a recent win on the road in Sacramento too, as the Suns put on another efficient exhibition of operating off of the extra attention teams are deciding to apply to Devin Booker
As his feel for defenses and passing catalog continues to evolve in tandem with his teammates’ situational and coverage awareness, the Suns have an opportunity to grow even more unguardable offensively as they play off-script.
The short-roll playmaking abilities of Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton will be consistently tested as the regular season treks along. They will now take on a lion’s share of the spotlight that’ll showcase if this team is indeed ready to take another step in their process offensively, becoming nearly as complete and scheme-proof as can be.