I dont think assists are a great proxy for ball movement. You can certainly get an assist without moving the ball more than once and Stevens offense often initiates with a high screen.
To my eyes, they suffer from two independent problems. One is that guys get antsy about not having their points and just start chucking early in shot clock without really shifting the defense. Rozier does this a lot, Tatum for sure, Morris and Hayward as well. Just way too many possessions where they run a single action, it doesn’t work, and the guy with the ball says “fuck this I’m better than the guy on me” and goes iso.
The second “problem” for me is more about late game situations and more particular to Kyrie. We have lacked that guy who can 1 v 1 get a bucket for a long time and some of this is needing to re-adjust to seeing that kind of play. But our depth of talent is wasted at end of games if we are solely going to play 2 man high screen and roll and ask Kyrie to beat the defense. He’s remarkably good at it and came through last night on the final possession but they go to it early and he’s unlikely to get 8 or 9 buckets that way consistently. It completely removes Tatum and Brown from any active offense and stifles the movement turning them all into kick out shooters. I guess my criticism here is that we need that Kyrie iso for specific possessions but when it gets tight it tends to become our entire offensive approach for minutes at a time and I’d rather see the ball moving and have all of our talented players continuing to pressure the team defense.
All of that said, to return to the topic that kicked this off, I think they do a relatively poor job of running the offense and are too quick to audible out of it. When Brad does play without Kyrie and has Jaylen and Tatum in there it feels like watching last years team again with more cutting, more swinging and generally the defense being pushed to its limits in rotation and closing out. I think it’s an excellent system and it’s a shame we don’t work it more