Fast Break Basketball Offense - Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns were the most entertaining and efficient team in the NBA during the Mike D'Antoni era. They have single-handedly put scoring back in the NBA game and the Suns Fast Break reflects that philosophy.

It is much different than the Carolina Fast Break and serves a different purpose. The Sun Fast Break is the Phoenix offense. There is not much movement and there is not the traditional secondary or transition fast break options.

The fast break is defined by 2 things, spacing and philosophy. The Suns' philosophy is to get a shot within the first 7 seconds. That creates a pace that forces players to get up and down the court. This creates defensive breakdowns because the defense cannot recover in time. Spacing is critical as it creates gaps in which the ball can penetrate and either finish at the rim or kick out for a 3.

This is not a fast break for the faint of heart. You have to have players that are fearless as shooters, a point guard vision and a coach who can ride the waves.

1 is the point guard. He must get the ball up the floor as quickly as possible. He is always looking to penetrate for a layup or kick out for a shot.

2 and 3 are shooters. They sprint to the corners, outside the 3 point line.

4 is your best shooting frontcourt player. He runs on the opposite side of the ball along the foul lane line.

5 is the post trailer.


1 looks to penetrate and score or dish


1 pushes the ball and passes to 2 in the corner. 2 looks to shoot


1 pushes the ball to the middle and throws over the top to 3.

3 looks to score


1 pushes to the sideline and passes to 4

4 looks to score.


Flare Break

1 pushes the ball up the floor and headmans to 2 at the foul line extended wing.


2 returns the ball immediately, either by pass or handoff.

4 comes ball side


4 sets a flare screen for 2.

2 cuts over the flare screen to the Weakside.

5 cuts block to block to the Weakside block.


1 throws over the top to 2 who can:

- Look to score

- Pass to 3 for score

- Pass to 5 in the post


If 1 doesn't pass over the top

4 steps out to ball screen

1 dribbles off the ballscreen


1 and 4 can screen and roll


1 and 4 can screen and pop


1 can turn the corner and look to penetrate.

1 will look to score or to kick out


If 1 calls off his drive, 5 backscreens for 3

1 looks for 3 on the backdoor.


Related Pages & Helpful Resources

Don Kelbick's Transition Offense and the Four-Second Fast Break DVD
Fast Break Basketball Offense - Carolina Secondary Break
Attack Off of the Foul Shot - Foul Line Fast Break
Basketball Fast Break & Transition Drills - Full Court Drills

Do you have any questions or suggestions for this offensive play? Let us know by leaving your comments...

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chandra says:
11/19/2008 at 7:25:27 AM

what a great fast break!!


rishi says:
11/21/2008 at 8:53:36 AM

this thing is too bad & we lost 11 games in a row, our coach is crazy for this.i am not coming back to this site ever again.


Sean says:
12/3/2008 at 10:58:02 AM

I am trying to implement this fastbreak with a freshman (HS) team and it is very cofusing to them. I am trying to break it down pass by pass but they are struggling with the fact that they have never seen a 4-1 set before. Any suggestions?

  1 reply  

Big Dawg says:
5/14/2018 at 5:31:57 PM

a 4-1 set? That's not what this break is at all, its just your typical pistol break. minus the corner screen. Its not a "play". just teach your kids spacing and how to run the court first and foremost.


Ryan says:
12/4/2008 at 6:44:15 PM



penn says:
12/14/2008 at 8:03:35 PM

we kind of play this play in canada
but were not very good

  1 reply  

Jackie Chan says:
4/20/2015 at 2:59:36 PM

I like basketball but this is dumb

  1 reply  

Big Dawg says:
5/14/2018 at 5:33:47 PM

umm its what 100% of teams in the nba do. some varation exactly. maybe you should switch sports.


Doctor Basketball says:
2/3/2009 at 6:38:16 PM

I'd give the ball to Matt or Rurik they dominate


i <3 b-ball says:
2/3/2009 at 6:41:22 PM

maybe a good coach would bring your team to success...sean i have a suggestion..u seam like a good coach but i believe you should get the kids from varsity and make them play freshman games so you can be better than 4-16


Bryan B says:
3/8/2009 at 12:24:03 AM

Guys, this is a very easy offense. Don't break this down pass by pass, that is not how you do it. The thing about this offense is the players have to make decisions. How you teach this offense is you make sure each and every player knows all of their options. What they can do with the ball or without the ball. It will never be the same passes two times in a row. So it's a action - reaction type offense.


kitsi says:
5/4/2009 at 1:43:20 AM

oh yes...what iv been looking for...the suns fastbreak...i am a believer in this philosophy...


Shady Z says:
8/15/2009 at 10:36:31 AM

The idea of this is to take advantage of insane shooting and athleticism. For those of you who are saying you're trying to run this, but not very good at it, try something else. I'm not trying to be mean, but you HAVE to have GREAT shooting/ball-handling/passing players for this to work. My team was made up of guys who had played together for years and could all shoot and run and were very smooth with the ball. Unless you have the players, this offense will hurt you more than the other team.


Dr Laurence J. MacDonald PhD says:
11/13/2009 at 8:06:13 PM

Shady Z is correct, I coach Professional basketball in the HKPBL and many of these players excell at the skill positions. I implemented this break and even with all their skills, they still struggled with it but eventually got it down. It takes time and patience. I'm reading some of the other comments, but most good offenses are like Novocain if you keep taking it, eventually its going to work.

Coach Laurence MacDonald
Lady Keen HKPBL Division 1
Hong Kong Professional Basketball League


some coach says:
12/16/2009 at 11:14:18 PM

There are alot of things to consider when trying to install an NBA fast break in high school or even college. In the NBA all the players are very skilled for their particular spot. Point guards are exceptional ball handlers for example. Also there is illegal defense in the NBA, that is not so in high school. Which means there will be helpside defense waiting in the paint in most cases. That may make this break somewhat difficult to run.


i dunno says:
3/8/2010 at 1:42:00 PM

u guyz r all wack


blazejr3 says:
9/15/2010 at 5:13:29 PM

Keep it simple. Fastbreak first and secondary break second. Make sense? The Suns can have a 7 second rule cause their pros. In high school I just want them to attack and try to create a 2on1 utilizing speed dribble to middle, pitch passes, kickouts, dishes and keepers....basic transition offense. Be organized and make your rules fit your personel. For example...we have 5 guys who can push the ball this year, so their rule is whoever rebounds triggers the break and we sprint the sidelines and look for pitch aheads and speed dribble to middle. to create a 2on1. The second thing we do off that is reverse the ball and look in the post. First guy down the floor fills the post if we dont pitch ahead to him. If we do then first guy opposite him cuts to the post. Thats it! We call it Get It & GO! Our basic rules of halfcourt offense are seamless and ready to be applied at any time! on makes we need to be better organized. We will designate the inbounder as our trail and our fastest speed dribbler as our outlet. The other three sprint the sidelines. Trust me when I say they will figure out who cuts to the post but you may have to point out that we dont want 3 on a side and the side with two must work it out. We use the trail to reverse the ball and the speed dribbler reacts to the defense accordingly. To us secondary simply means second objective. First objective is objective is reverse...last objetive is run the offense. Our offense starts when the ball is reversed or when the reverse is denied. Sounds like alot,but is it really? Note: If you are more traditional with non-speed dribblers you can simply designate them as a post sprinters and they sprint the middle third to the rim and bounder-outlet-trail. If they are not a post then tell them to bound-outlet-trail and sprint sideline and spotup. Keep it simple means keep it real, and keeping it real means keeping your players in positions to succeed.


Kort K says:
10/21/2011 at 1:27:41 PM

THIS IS NOT what D'Antoni runs, not even close.... His fast break off of made baskets DOES NOT have the trailer post going to the block. His trailer post always sets a pick for the wing after the point gets his the ball....

What is described up here is basically the North Carolina break which is completely differnt than the D'Antoni break.

I ve run both fast breaks and have had MUCH MORE success with the D'Antoni break.


jaiden shannon says:
2/29/2012 at 9:29:13 AM

good play out there yall


Julie says:
9/27/2012 at 4:24:38 PM

I actually LOVE this.. yes it would definitely be hard to teach secondary kids.. but I know that this can work. I'll be using this play in one of my classes. Thanks!


Dustin says:
11/16/2012 at 2:22:07 PM

Will this work in middleschool with an exstremely athletic team?


Mark S says:
6/14/2013 at 7:57:03 AM

We were always taught on a 3 man break to take the ball to the middle with 2 wings and make the defender commit to the ball and dish or drive to the hoop. Is this no good anymore?


Ryan M says:
12/14/2013 at 12:11:42 AM

Kort K, do you have anything on the actual Suns 7 seconds or less offense and the break they used to run in the Steve Nash era? I'm trying to find it online and can't find it anywhere. I want to study the system and see if I believe in it working at the HS/College level. Please let me know if you do so I can get my email to you! Thanks


Ken Sartini says:
8/29/2014 at 6:36:00 PM

Back up to Sean -

This is kind of like an early offense but think about this. We were try to introduce something many times we will use the whole / part / whole system.

Walk them through the whole break... then break it down into parts until they understand it, then you can put the whole thing together.

I did something like this with a sophomore team (10th grade) and they picked it up pretty well.

Be patient, they are young but they can pick it up.


Kevin Pletz says:
12/27/2015 at 12:21:34 PM

I don''t know if this is D''Antoni''s offense or not but whoever said this is close to North Carolina''s fast break is on drugs because these diagrams look nothing like it. It looks nothing like the basic option of the Carolina break nor does anything that is pictured here resemble any of the numerous options that Roy Williams runs out of that particular break.


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