Phoenix Suns’ philosophy is to fire away from 3-point range, GM McDonough says

Dec 27, 2013, 2:35 AM | Updated: 2:35 am
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns GM

On paper, the Phoenix Suns did not enter the 2013-14 season looking to be a major threat from the 3-point line — which used to be one of the hallmarks of the team when Steve Nash was running the point.

However, several players have stepped up and made the Suns one of the league’s premier 3-point shooting teams once again. Entering Thursday, the 17-10 Suns are averaging 9.8 makes per game from long range — the second highest rate in the NBA behind Portland. Phoenix is also tied for the fifth-best shooting percentage (38.4) from behind the arc.

Friday on the Burns & Gambo show, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough credited the return of power forward/center Channing Frye as well as the emergence of P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green and Marcus Morris for the team’s efficiency from 3-point land.

“I think that starts at the top with (head coach) Jeff (Hornacek). He’s given those guys great confidence that when they’re open and they have a good look from three, he wants them to shoot that,” the general manager said. “In fact, that might be the only time that he really gets upset with our guys with our guys offensively, that if they don’t shoot one of those shots, because his point — and you know some of this comes into the analytics — is we’re not going to get a better look than an open three from one of those guys.”

Tucker, also a guest on Burn & Gambo Thursday, confirmed McDonough’s assertion that Hornacek does, in fact, give the team the freedom to take 3-pointers and that he will take players out of the game for not taking an open shot.

Tucker, Green and Morris did not come into the season known as 3-point specialists, but all three have made it a big part of their offensive skillset this year.

McDonough said the team’s fast pace and the driving and passing abilities of point guards Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic elicit many open looks from 3-point range. The first-year GM used Green, a seven-year NBA journeyman and former Slam Dunk Contest winner, as a case study for how a player buys into the Suns’ offensive philosophy.

“I think a guy like Gerald, in particular, has been told his whole life, ‘No, don’t shoot that. Let’s work the ball and get a better shot,’ McDonough said. “And kind of what our philosophy is we’re not going to get a better shot than Gerald Green — who’s shooting close to 40 percent from three — shooting an open 3-point shot in rhythm. So that’s what we’ve tried to do. And I think it’s worked out pretty well so far.”

That it has.

Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket past Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns collapse in 4th quarter of road loss to Thunder

The Suns were in control for most of Sunday's game against the Thunder but bad turnovers eventually caught up to them.
1 day ago
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)...
Wills Rice

Landry Shamet plays well in Suns return, loss to Thunder

The Suns collapsed late in the 124-120 loss to the Thunder on Sunday in guard Landry Shamet's return after missing 25 games to a heel injury.
1 day ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns high fives Landry Shamet #14 after scoring against the Washin...
Arizona Sports

Suns rule Deandre Ayton out, Landry Shamet probable vs. Thunder

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton will not suit up Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a right hip contusion.
2 days ago
Radio broadcaster Al McCoy following the NBA game between the Phoenix Suns and Oklahoma City Thunde...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns’ 2022-23 season will be Al McCoy’s last

This Phoenix Suns season will be the last for legendary broadcaster Al McCoy as the team's play-by-play voice on Arizona Sports 98.7.
3 days ago
Josh Okogie #2 of the Phoenix Suns blocks a shot by Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic during t...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns hold on vs. Magic to snap 3-game losing streak

Sometimes getting that win to end a skid is like pulling teeth, and it was like that for the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
4 days ago
(Twitter Photo/@DevNa79)...
Character Counts

Suns fan gifts tickets, surprise to boy struggling with bullying

An outspoken Phoenix Suns fan provided tickets to a young boy who had dealt with bullying at school and his mother.
4 days ago
Phoenix Suns’ philosophy is to fire away from 3-point range, GM McDonough says