Motion Offense Commentary

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

The Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns have been the best teams in the Association so far this year. Can the success be attribute to mostly running motion offenses or are other factors at play?

Recently, Phoenix has been using this “diamond set” often, signalled by Mike D’Antoni, in addition to their transition and pick and roll games. The “diamond set” gives Steve Nash some options by setting ballscreens (do not go under the screen — the Timberwolves hedged with Kevin Garnett, an excellent option for teams with athletic seven foot tall players). Detroit has their Circle Play for Rip Hamilton and San Antonio has been running a lot of side screen and rolls with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

Tony Parker has been very effective lately. His high shooting percentage makes him one of the most effective point guards in the world. Apparently, he devotes significant time to practicing the difficult shots that he attempts in the paint.

Since these three teams have talent, they don’t need as many plays. They can set their three core players (Detroit: Billups, Hamilton, Prince/Wallace; San Antonio: Duncan, Ginobli, Parker; Phoenix: Nash, Marion, Diaw) in a triangle and let them play. Since they have excellent supporting casts, defences must respect the shooters (R. Wallace, Finley, Jones).

Chris Bosh has been as effective as Tim Duncan recently. Bosh is playing a lot of minutes and taking a lot of shots. However, he’s making a good percentage and getting to the line often. Duncan has been awful from the line lately, which drags down his effective field goal percentage.