Every key player on the 7 seconds or less Phoenix Suns teams was perfect for their roles.
Steve Nash, the engine of the offense, was elite at controlling pace. Amar’e Stoudemire was an athletic power forward who could run and jump for days. Shawn Marion was a slasher, solid shooter and quality defender.
Pace and space is the norm of today’s NBA, with 16 teams boasting a pace of 100 or higher this season, per NBA.com stats.
But former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni had his squads playing fast long before the current era. D’Antoni became head coach was during the 2003-04 campaign, as Frank Johnson was fired in December 2003; the Suns went an abysmal 29-53 that season. Nash played his first two years in the league with the Suns. And when Nash returned in 2004, he helped D’Antoni’s offense skyrocket.
The Suns led the NBA in pace during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 campaigns, the first two seasons Nash was back with the team. From there, the Suns ranked top five in pace for the next four seasons, all the way through the 2009-10 campaign.
Their fast-paced style wasn’t just for show, either. The Suns were productive, ranking first in points per game five times during Nash’s second stint with the team.