Amar’e Stoudemire officially ended his 13-year NBA career this past when he announced his retirement. Stoudemire spent the majority of his career with the Phoenix Suns and formed one of the most dangerous pick-and-roll teams with Steve Nash running the point. In 2004-05 Stoudemire averaged 26 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game, and shot 55.9% from the field in his third year in the league. The Suns made it to the Western Conference Finals and lost to the San Antonio Spurs.
Under Mike D’Antoni the Suns ran a high pick-and-roll that took advantage of Nash’s elite shooting ability, Stoudemire’s athleticism rolling in the paint, and had a supporting cast that could spread the floor. The Suns took the league by storm with their high pick-and-roll short play. With the wings occupying the corner three, the 4 lines up on the same side as the 1. As the 1 comes off of a high ballscreen from the 5, the 4 mirrors the 1’s path and cuts to the strong side block as the 5 rolls to the rim.
In the clip below the Suns run the play against the Hawks. Like the diagram the above the wings space to the corner and the forward is in line with Nash and mimics his movements. Defenses had to respect Nash’s shooting ability coming off of pick-and-rolls so teams often would try to trap him. The short action often left the 4’s defender in no man’s landing in between in the rolling Stoudemire and the 4. In this example, the defender stays in the lane but never commits to take Stoudemire and got posterized.
In the Conference Finals series the Suns lost to the Spurs despite not having an answer for Stoudemire, Coach Gregg Popovich said after the series “I don’t know what to do with him [Stoudemire]. He’s just unbelievable“. He averages 37 points that series and the Spurs struggled defending the High Pick-and-Roll short play. The Short action turned the Nash-Stoudemire pick-and-roll the most deadly pick-and-roll combo since Stockton and Malone.
*Stats from Basketball-Reference
*Quote from LA Times article Spurs Stop Comeback Cold, Ensure That Suns Fade Away