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Push the Pace

By Matthew Yglesias

"Push the Pace"

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One of the odder NBA dynamics around the end of last season was that lots of people were simultaneously talking about the unique awesomeness of Steve Nash and advocating that other teams adopt a Phoenix-style high-paced offense. Seemingly, though, those can’t both be right. Either Nash is a brilliant talent, capable of quarterbacking an unorthodox style of play effectively, or else the unorthodox style is just better and anyone would put up Suns-esque numbers by pushing the pace.

Well . . . score one for Nash, even though the Suns aren’t doing very well. John Hollinger points out that the Denver Nuggets have managed to actually exceed Phoenix’s pace this year and for their trouble they rank 22nd in offensive efficiency. Meanwhile “this is still better than Toronto and Charlotte, which rank third and fourth in pace but 23rd and 28th in offensive efficiency.” Boston, I might add, is fifth in pace and 25th in efficiency. Phoenix itself, however, is managing a respectable sixth in efficiency while maintaining the league’s second-fastest offense. It’s not good enough, in other words, to just run; you need players who can actually make it work. Charlotte, in particular, is just turning the ball over like crazy.

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