Igor Kokoskov running specific playbooks for different Suns PGs

Nov 30, 2018, 5:26 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm

Phoenix Suns coach Igor Kokoskov signals to his team during the first half of an NBA preseason bask...

Phoenix Suns coach Igor Kokoskov signals to his team during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns are a naturally unorthodox team.

They are now starting their primary scoring option and a shooting guard as their point guard. They start three players who play the same position. They have a traditional center, which has become more non-traditional this decade.

With that, head coach Igor Kokoskov has specific things his team will run depending on who will run the offense.

“We have a different quarterback and the different lineups require different playbooks also,” he said at shootaround on Friday. “When [Devin Booker] is handling, it’s different when [Elie Okobo] is handling, or [Jamal Crawford] so we have to be flexible as a team and we have to turn it into our strength.

“Right now we have three packages. It depends on who is running the offense.”

That makes sense, given that all three players have different strengths.

Booker’s is running pick-and-roll and benefitting as a passer when defenses overreact to where he goes, and when that’s not the case, he’s great at getting into the teeth of the defense.

While Crawford is also an adept scorer in the pick-and-roll, he relies more on getting to his sweet spots 15-20 feet away from the basket and is looking for his shot the most.

Okobo is perhaps the “purest” point guard of the three, but he’s still fairly new to the position and a rookie so some more simplistic looks make sense.

Okobo’s thoughts on his role in the offense reflect that, as Kokoskov also noted it’s a “simple” game plan when it comes to the rookies.

“I would say just run the game the right way,” Okobo said. “Just make the simple play and make plays for my teammates because I’ve got really good players around me and just help them — like the big men, the wings, the shooters — just trying to know and make the simple play and avoid mistakes.”

Okobo’s spot in the rotation has been cemented since the team released Isaiah Canaan on Wednesday, so Kokoskov putting an emphasis on his three main ball-handlers and getting the most out of them is logical.

Kokoskov said Booker is the more ball-dominant player overall, Okobo moves the ball more kicking ahead and playing off-ball and Crawford is the scoring guard of the three, so the optimal spacing and floor balance are more important.

“Sometimes it works against you but you have to adjust on the fly and understand who is on the court, who is our quarterback and that affects our offense,” Kokoskov said, noting how much opposing defenses change things up on the Suns.

With the improvements the team has made over the last two weeks since a win over the San Antonio Spurs, expect more to come through the flow of the offense with specific systems in place.


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Igor Kokoskov running specific playbooks for different Suns PGs