An Underage Sports Journal For Students of the Game

The Up Dawg

The Up Dawg

The Suns’ 3 types of players on the pick and roll

The Phoenix Suns are in my eyes the best team in the NBA. They have the best record in the NBA by a comfortable eight games and have already crossed the 50 win mark. Despite their two best players in Devin Booker and Chris Paul being out, they will still give even the best teams a run for their money.

This past Sunday, the Suns were in a matchup against the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks and it was a one-possession game up until the final two minutes. 

When I watch the Suns there are two things I notice. 

First, their incredible coaching. The Suns looked well-coached, well-disciplined, and don’t make many mistakes no matter what players are on the floor. Monty Williams and the Suns coaching staff deserve all the credit in the world.

Second, no matter how deep the Suns have to go, there are the same types of players on the floor and as a result, can play the same style of basketball.

What I am mainly describing is the beautiful screen and roll. When a guard receives a screen from a big man, they have the option of taking it themselves, throwing up the lob, or kicking it out for three. 

And this brings me to the types of players the Suns have.

The Facilitators: Chris Paul, Cameron Payne, & Aaron Holiday

The Suns run arguably the prettiest two-man game in the league. When the Suns’ guards get a screen from their big man, the first thing they do is shield the defenders behind them and then make them. This gives them time to make the right decision. Paul, Payne, and Holiday all have the profound ability to make the right decision, whether that be to pass it out, lob it up, or take a layup or floater. This is a major reason why the Suns rank fifth in the league in assists. 

A few more notes:

Chris Paul “The Point God” averages over 10.7 assists per game.

Cameron Payne has played over 30 minutes five times this year. Mostly, when Payne needed to start. Every time he has dished out five or more assists. Payne averaged 7.2 assists Per 36 minutes.

Aaron Holiday averaged 4.1 assists off the bench.

The Suns rank third in the league in guard assists per game.

The Big Men: Deandre Ayton & JaVale McGee

These two players are my favorite type of big men. Every time they get it in the paint, they slam it. Ayton and McGee are so good at rolling to the basket on the screen and making it look easy when they dunk it. The facilitators just have to throw it up to a spot and these guys will do the rest.

Shooters: Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Landry Shamet, Torrey Craig, Jae Crowder

The third option the facilitators have off the screen is to pass the ball for a three. All these guys can confidently knock it down and they do. Booker is a great shooter and can do it off the catch, but that is obviously not his only role in the Suns’ offense. Players like Bridges, Johnson, and Crowder stay ready in the clutch time and can knock it down when it matters most. 

The Suns run the screen and roll when they need a bucket, during clutch time, and often in their regular offense. With players executing their roles so well, it’s no surprise it is so effective.


  1. I like how you broke down the Suns’ offense into different sectors. I honestly love watching JaVale McGee because of his 7’6 wingspan. Shamet has fit right in with the offense especially when Booker rests. Great article.