The Seven Second Offense


Anyone remember this offense? 

The seven seconds or less offense that the Phoenix Suns ran was truly one of the most exciting sights to see in the sports world from 2004-2010. The offense helped change the Suns from an NBA also-ran when Steve Nash arrived in 2004 to a dynamic, exciting, must-watch team in short order. Nash quickly meshed with the other two stars, Amar’e Stoudamire and Shawn Marion, and helped increase the Suns win total from 29 to 62 wins, with the club losing to the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in the 2005 Conference Finals. 

The talent extended beyond those three, with Quentin Richardson, Leandro Barbosa, Jason Richardson, Raja Bell and Grant Hill providing adept fast break partners, but there was one key to the offense: Nash.

The goal of the seven seconds or less offense was to do one thing well: get Steve Nash out in transition, spread the floor out, and allow him to do what he does best, which was create opportunities for those around him. 

Principles of the Seven Seconds or Less Offense

1. There are good shots and better shots.
2. It takes only one second to make an extra pass to the player who is more wide-open and better prepared to release his shot in rhythm.
3. We want an open shot most of the time.
4. This offense has several plays that are very similar, but each has a slight variation. You should always receive an open shot with these sets.
5. You play offense before the defense can get set, that is the value of the up-tempo game. 
6. If you play fast, then you will be a low-turnover team and not a high-turnover team. The fewer passes, the fewer turnovers. 

Another big key to the success of the offense is the inbounds play. The inbounder has to immediately grab the ball out of bounds before it touches the ground, and hit the point guard in stride going the other way. 

This is a later version of the seven seconds or less offense but shows the importance of a quick inbounds play that leads to a score.

How To Run Seven Seconds or Less

This offense is not for the faint of heart. You have to have shooters who are absolutely fearless.


This is how the offense should look at the onset. One is the point guard who is looking to drive the lane or dish it out to 2 or 3, who are your best shooters and are situated outside the 3 point line. Four is your best shooting frontcourt player who runs on the opposite side of the ball along the foul lane line. Five is your post trailer.

33% second shot

In this case, one can penetrate on his own. His second option is passing to 2 in the corner, who will look to shoot. He could also push the ball to the middle and look for 3 to score. Finally, he can pass in the sideline to 4. 

Plays To Run in the Seven Seconds or less Offense

33 plays33% plays 2

This offense isn’t just fast break-oriented, Nash and co. made deadly use of half court sets and pick and rolls, taking advantage of both Marion and Stoudemire’s athleticism. 

Drills To Get Your Team Ready to Run This Offense

As we said, this offense isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to be in top condition to be able to run it. This first drill focuses on maximizing your transitions, with passers and shooters alternating to play defenders each time the drills are run.

Laker 4-Man Drill

Hockey Drill

Get your players who usually don’t handle the ball comfortable about handling the break. 

Want more tips? Check out Krossover’s coaching blog

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