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[Feigen] NBA's best-kept secret Luc Mbah a Moute under Rockets' wraps

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by heypartner, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Not sure if Luc has been quoted before wrt why he chose the Rockets, but he says it here. Paul recruited heavily and he talked with MDA "a couple of times," saying, "His vision and what he was selling really made sense to me. Seeing how we were going to play was very exciting."

    He also says that now he's a Rocket, he likes how Coach is encouraging freedom: "Mike is awesome, man. He lets you play. It's kind of a different feeling."

    [​IMG]

    NBA's best-kept secret Luc Mbah a Moute under Rockets' wraps
    Mbah a Moute's reputation grows in eyes of coach as skills emerge

    By Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle | November 4, 2017
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni does not want the rest of the NBA to keep reading.

    Turn the page. Click elsewhere. Nothing to see here.

    But he would welcome everyone else to continue, because D'Antoni had been asked about one of his new favorite subjects.

    Luc Mbah a Moute had hurt the Atlanta Hawks for 20 points off the Rockets' bench, the most he had scored since December 2012. But D'Antoni's was not a new affection. Mbah a Moute turned heads in training camp, moved into a larger role with Chris Paul out and brought more than D'Antoni had anticipated through the first 10 games of the season.

    A minimum contract

    As D'Antoni considered that the Rockets got him with a minimum, one-year contract, part of him hoped no one around the NBA would notice.

    "Don't tell anybody," D'Antoni said. "We want to keep it a secret. We want to hide it. He's the best-kept secret in the NBA. I didn't know it. We game-planned (against him) he was kind of streaky. But he's as good as anybody. He's smart. He can play big minutes. He can shoot 3s. Whatever you want him to do he does it. He's got playmaking skills. He sees the floor. I don't know how we all missed it, but we all did."

    The Rockets signed Mbah a Moute, 31, for a limited role as a backup small forward and even there he would have shared minutes with P.J. Tucker when Tucker was not at power forward. Mbah a Moute's defense earned him more time in the preseason, but when Paul went out after the season opener, the Rockets needed more.

    Eric Gordon, the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year as a backup shooting guard, moved into the starting lineup and in the past three games has assumed Paul's playing time at point guard with the second unit. That opened the minutes for Mbah a Moute to play in the backcourt with Gordon, as well as his planned role at small forward.

    The Rockets have found a more versatile offensive player than they anticipated with Mbah a Moute often freed from the corners and showing ability to shoot 3-pointers from above the break or attack off the dribble.

    Coach in his corner

    But Mbah a Moute has been unable to explain D'Antoni's contention that he is a secret.

    "I don't know," Mbah a Moute said. "Just playing basketball, man. I have an opportunity. I'm trying to help this team get to where we need to go. That's all it is.

    "Mike is awesome, man. He lets you play. It's kind of a different feeling. Sometimes he gets on me because sometimes I'm still not getting to where he wants me to go. He pushes me all the time. He tries to get me to just play basketball, not think about anything. It's great when you have a coach like that who lets you play and trusts you."

    Mbah a Moute has averaged 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game, making 52.2 percent of his shots while bringing the versatile defense needed for the Rockets' move to more defensive switching on screens. Coming off the best 3-point shooting season of his career when he made 39.1 percent, Mbah a Moute misfired for most of the first two weeks. But in the past three games has made 5 of 10 treys, showing signs of adding that customary part of his game to the drives the Rockets might not have expected.

    "I think it's taking advantage of the opportunity of the system," said the 6-8 Mbah a Moute. "I try to get out in transition, trying to attack them. Obviously, having shooters helps a lot because guys are always worried about Ryan (Anderson) or James (Harden), Eric or Trevor (Ariza). It opens it up a little more. It helps make open lanes to get to the basket."

    The Rockets signed Mbah a Moute after he opted out of a contract that would have paid him $2.3 million, slightly more than the $2.117 million he will earn this season as the 10th-highest-paid Rocket.

    "Hey look, we got us a steal," D'Antoni said. "We got him at the minimum. That's ridiculous. He's not a good player, he's a great player. What he does for the team - runs the floor, he can handle, he can shoot, he can pass, he's smart, good guy, locker room guy."

    Nudges from Paul

    Mbah a Moute imagined doing all of that, with the role D'Antoni described and he envisioned (along with Paul's daily recruiting efforts to get Mbah a Moute to join him in jumping from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Rockets) as the motivation for signing in Houston.

    "(Paul) pushed every day," Mbah a Moute said. "That was good, too, something I was looking forward to.

    "At the time, I looked at the roster and I talked to Mike a couple times. His vision and what he was selling really made sense to me. I really enjoyed watching them play from playing against them. Seeing how we were going to play was very exciting."

    That was enough for D'Antoni to believe the Rockets got "a steal." But as with most thieves, he just would rather no one notices.

     
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  2. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Combine Luc's comments above about his freedom to "just play" and his offensive role (to read/cut/slash attack the lanes, transition) with this other article about how MDA/Ryno say the 2nd Unit runs a different offense.

    Do you think the 2nd Unit is more improvisational (team calls it the "Playground Unit"), with a controlled Read and React attack. (That will take some chemistry building.) Recall, in GSW's first year under Kerr, articles half-way through the year were quoting Kerr and Curry using the word "improvisational" and much of the media/fans drooling over that concept. Further, will we revert back to PnR Attacks when Paul runs the 2nd unit?

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Rockets' second unit provides divergent offense
    By Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle } November 3, 2017

    ATLANTA - As difficult as it might be to prepare for the Rockets' offense, it might be more difficult while the second unit runs a very different offense than the starters.

    While the Rockets are point guard dominant to start and finish each half and each game, with James Harden running pick-and-roll, the plan was to have Chris Paul similarly run the offense with the second unit. With Paul out, the Rockets have played with Luc Mbah a Moute and Eric Gordon in the second-team backcourt with that group moving without the ball and using dribble handoffs rather than pick-and-roll based offense.

    "The second group, we call it 'playground,' We want to get into actions like backdoor cuts, dribble handoffs, work the defense. The first group, we do a ton of pick-and-rolls with James. He makes a ton of plays," Ryan Anderson said. "It's for the most part staying spread and Clint (Capela) and James going into pick-and-roll or myself and James. With the other (group), it's obviously very different."
    Gordon and Anderson have played with both the starters and the backups, leaving the game about six minutes into each half and returning to start the second and fourth quarters. Anderson would not play with the second unit when Paul returns with P.J. Tucker moving to power forward and Mbah a Moute to small forward. With the current second group, Gordon often moves and gets the ball from Anderson or one of the centers, instead of the other way around.

    "It is (a different offense) because you have one of the greatest pick-and-roll guys ever and then trying to do it without a pure point guard," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "There is a big difference. We try to make it happen in transition and with defense. And I think they're getting used to playing together."
     
  3. SirIvyLeague

    SirIvyLeague Member

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    Replying to yourself again, FFS.

    When Paul's back we'll see a version of SSOL, and an unit looking to create turnovers.

    SIL
     
  4. DonKnock

    DonKnock Member

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    If CP3 and Luc keep talking about their newfound liberation on the court Doc might take out a gag order on them:eek:
     
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  5. OTMax

    OTMax Member

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    See, Mbah is the man right now!!
     
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  6. DreamShook

    DreamShook Member

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    Really surprised how versatile Luc is as a player. When I watched the Clippers, all I saw was him bricking baseline jumpers. He still can't shoot those base line jumpers as a Rocket, but he is doing so much more. Rockets have another dynamic player.
     
  7. Little Bit

    Little Bit Member

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    “Can they just leave without burning the house down?” :D
     
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  8. Codman

    Codman Contributing Member

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    Luc is in great shape. I understand why it's downplayed, but it's obvious that his body is on a different level than the last two years.

    And, as we knew, shout out to CP and Trev for helping to recruit.
     
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  9. Deuce

    Deuce Contributing Member
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    MDA is grinning.
    1) Plays BIG minutes
    2) Can shoot 3's

    I have been impressed by Moute's stamina. Always goes hard. And his play off the bounce and drives has been a pleasant surprise.
     
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  10. brewer's goat

    brewer's goat Member

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    Luc has the potential to be the Draymond Green of this team
     
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  11. Daddy Long Legs

    Daddy Long Legs prolly takin a shitt and lookin' at my phone
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    i got his autograph! i thought he was a throw in at the harden autograph line at the time but now im down I got it.

    gotz harden, luc, troy williams and......... bobby!
     
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  12. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    there was an article i read over the summer about how he started sleeping 14 hours/day to keep fresh for game nite lol
     
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  13. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/18843801/zach-lowe-2017-luke-walton-all-stars-nba
    Mbah a Moute credits his strong play to a new sleep regimen. He vowed in the offseason to sleep at least 12 hours a night, and he has mostly kept it up amid crazy NBA travel, even if he has to hit the sack right as teammates hit the town. "Twelve is nice, but I want more," he said. "I can sleep 14 or 15 hours now. If we don't have practice, I can sleep all day."

    Mbah a Moute became obsessed with sleep during his one season in Philly, where the team's sports science staff inundated players with data about their bodies. "I wish I knew about all this when I was younger," Mbah a Moute said. "I've seen the difference it can make."
     
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  14. mvpcrossxover

    mvpcrossxover Member

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    updates on his injury?
     
  15. RocketsTruth

    RocketsTruth Member

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    djperm, Tfor3, D-rock and 1 other person like this.
  16. Daddy Long Legs

    Daddy Long Legs prolly takin a shitt and lookin' at my phone
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    No updates other than bruised knee lmao
     
  17. brewer's goat

    brewer's goat Member

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    plz god no, he's really valuable to this team. can't afford to miss him
     
  18. count_dough-ku

    count_dough-ku Contributing Member

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    Hopefully it's not a Chris Paul type of bruised knee.
     
  19. OTMax

    OTMax Member

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    What happened???
     
  20. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    I would just like to know how he manages to get that much sleep. I'm lucky to get half that much, and it doesn't matter when I hit the sack. I end up staring at the ceiling. When I was a teenager, sure, but those days are long gone. In any event, it is obviously helping him get off to a great start. What a pickup by Morey! No surprise that there was an assist by Chris!
     
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