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The Importance of the Suns Knowing Their Own Pace

The name of the game in the NBA is pace. Pace in the NBA is the number of possessions that the team has per game. It is universally thought that the more successful teams are the ones who have the faster paces in the league. This is a question about a team’s personality and personal. How does the coach bring out the best in their players?

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The thought process for a long time now has been if the team is slower then they are own behind the times. As a team you should be trying to get up and down the floor. You should want your players constantly looking for fast break opportunities. This is what the NBA saw as success during the 2010’s.

From the 2013-14 season through the 2017-18 season four of the five teams that won the NBA title were top 10 in pace in the NBA. Then from the 2018-19 season through the 2022-23 season only one team who the championship was top 10 in pace.

The NBA may be in the process of a big time change where the slower the pace the better. Now of course this depends on the team. The Denver Nuggets won the championship last season and were 23rd in pace. Despite the slow pace they were 12th in points per game.

The Nuggets have one of, if not, the best offensive player in the NBA in Nikola Jokic. When your center is a great play-maker, the pace of your offense will be slower. It doesn’t matter when the offense is as efficient as Denver’s. They also run some of the best plays and sets in the league.

The other team who made it to the NBA Finals last season was the Miami Heat. They were 29th in pace. Their offense was not great as they were 30th in points per game. The slower pace makes sense for them because of their defense. The Heat only allowed 109.8 points per game which was second best in the league last season.

It makes perfect sense for Miami to have a slower pace on offense when they are expending so much energy on the defensive end.

What is the right pace for the Suns?

Last season the Phoenix Suns 22nd in pace and 17th in points scored per game. It’s hard to make a determination on what needs to change for the offense to score more because the team changed so much during the season.

It is going to be very interesting to see how fast the Suns play to start the season and how it changes during the year. Suns’ head coach Frank Vogel is not known for his fast paced teams. He has lots of success as a head coach. Vogel has only coached one team that was top five in pace. That was the 2021-22 Los Angeles Lakers who finished with a record of 33-49.

Vogel’s most successful teams have mostly been on the slower side when it comes to pace. The two eastern conference finals teams that he coached with the Indiana Pacers were ranked 25th and 20th in pace, respectively. The championship team he coached with the Lakers was 11th in pace.

This shows an evolution in Vogel’s style but also points to the difference in personal between the two teams. Vogel is known as a defensive coach. Good defensive teams normally play at a slower pace.

The sweet spot for may be between 10th and 15th in pace for the Suns. It’s not too slow where they are stagnant on offense but its not too fast where they are turning the ball over and giving up easy buckets.

The pace for the Suns will effect them more of defense than offense. When you have Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal on the court. The team will be able to score in multiple ways and multiple paces. The pace will matter more when it comes to getting back on defense and not expending unnecessary energy.

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