First I just want to say, that what the Phoenix Suns are doing is really unprecedented. Mid-season coaching changes rarely revamp the entire approach to the game, usually they seek to maintain but add a few changes. Now, understandably, new head coach Alvin Gentry doesn't really have a choice in the matter, still the undertaking is huge.

Though I say the Run and Gun, 7 seconds or less, offense is back. Really, they aren't playing D'Antoni's system. D'Antoni's system was organized based on the spread PNR with some flex. What the Suns are doing now is just the 7 seconds or less part, they're basically running your standard fast break drill all game all the time. Here are some sequences from the first half of yesterday's game,

No real schemes like I mentioned... yet. The keys are: run outs after long shots, shooting the gap on defense, rebounding, and running the lanes. Some pictures to highlight,

First one is the run out. It doesn't just have to be on the shooter. But if you're a run and gun team, you should leak out on any long shot. Here, Barbosa, the Brazilian blur, just beats everyone else down the floor,

In this next sequence, as all players run their lanes, the trailer (in this case Shaq) should be coming straight down the lane, best time to hit them for an easy layup or dunk,

If you want to run and gun, your defense has to take chances. Here, Barbosa shoots the gap, picks up the steal, and it's off to the races. The Suns were one of the worst teams in steals this year, they need to bump that up,

Last but not least, create a numbers advantage. You do that by rebounding, and runnign your lanes hard. Nash rewards Amundson with the alley-oop dunk,


Well, the first two games were good, but until we see the Suns against some better defensive teams like the Lakers or the Celtics, we should probably reserve judgement. But with only a few points separating 9th and 4th in the West, a second half surge could see the Suns vault all the way up to 4th or 3rd by the time playoffs come. If the Suns can maintain their pace, and add at least the same defense they were playing before the all-star break, it could be enough

If you're looking for a real run and gun offense, then check out Dave Arsenault's Running to Win DVD. Coach Arsenault is the head coach of Grinnell College and his Grinnell run and gun is famous for its extremely fast playing style. Be sure to head over to the X's and O's Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.