With college basketball in finals week, I made a conscious effort to watch more NBA and specifically Phoenix Suns to see what they run that makes them so efficient on offense. Like a lot of NBA teams, they are about 70% PNR. But about 20% of the time, they ran a flex screen and a quick handoff that curled and attacked the rim. It's very effective because of the multiple screens, quick change of direction and threat of the shot off the handoff. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

Flex Screen:

Steve Nash, O1 starts the play from the wing by passing to Amare Stoudamire, O5 up top. Then Nash goes down to set a downscreen for Leandro Barbosa, O2. While the flex screen is set, Amare dribbles towards the elbow.


This is where things get interesting. When Barbosa comes to receive the handoff from Amare, he can do 1 of 3 things depending on the defense.

1. He can shoot at the top of the key if the defense switches and sags (happened about 20% of the time they ran it)
2. He can take the handoff and attack the rim (happened about 50% of the time they ran it)
3. He can drive then kick it out for a 3-pointer or for a cutter coming underneat (happened about 30% of the time they ran it)

In this case, Shawn Marion has run from corner to corner. His defender X3 is forced to help on the penetration of Barbosa. This leaves Marion wide open for the corner 3-pointer.

It's a smart play because it combines a couple of good concepts, the flex screen, a handoff pass, then penetration into the paint. I'd say that of the 30% of the time the Suns ran this play, it resulted in a score about 60% of the time. The change of direction of the handoff, threat of the shot, and drive and kick out really make it a killer triple threat play.

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