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How the Rockets can improve in 2018 - 19

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by coyotetex, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. coyotetex

    coyotetex Member

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    I know a lot of people are sad about the Lebron thing but I'm sorta glad we don't have to deal with all the disruption that James would bring to the team. I'm not really all that excited about big name free agents anyway.

    What I am excited about is this - despite the fact that the Rockets won 65 games and came within reach of the NBA finals, there is an obvious and plausible way that Morey can significantly improve this team without adding any superstars:

    Improve the Rockets 3 pt %.

    The Rockets finished tied for 13th with New Orleans in team 3pt % at .362. The Rockets were closer to 27th (the Knicks @ .352) in the league than they were to 5th (Detroit @ .373).

    It wasn't a function of volume. Outside of the Rockets, 4 of the top 7 teams in terms of 3 pt volume, shot a higher percentage than Houston.

    It wasn't a function of players having bad shooting seasons. Every single Rocket that shot more than thirty 3 pointers shot a higher % in 2017-2018 than their career numbers with the notable exception of Gordon.

    It really boils down to this - the Rockets are a slightly below average team when it comes to 3 pt shooting percentage. The Team's 2018 percentage of .362 was exactly the same as the league average in 2018 and the Rockets only matched the league average because everyone except EGO had better than career average years.

    This is the perfect storm for the Rockets. The team that can benefit the most from a modest increase in 3 pt % is the team that shoots the most 3 point shots. And the Rockets shot 13.3 more 3 pointers a game than the league average!

    Every 1% increase in 3 point percentage for the Rockets in 2017-2018 would have equated to 3.5 more wins.

    (A 1% increase in 3 point % = 1.3 more points per game at 42.3 3 point shots per game. Every 1 point in additional differential = 2.7 more wins. 1.3 more points equals 3.5 more wins)

    If the Rockets shot 3 pointers at the same % as the Pistons did in 2018 without anything else changing they would have projected to be a 69 win team.

    If they shot like the Warriors did (.391) they would have projected to win 75 (!!!) games.

    And we all know the Rockets take the Western Finals in Game 7 if they just go 4 of 27 from downtown instead of 0 - 27 during that record setting 3 point drought.

    Clearly, a great way to become an even more fearsome team is for the Rockets to shoot better from 3pt range.

    So how do the Rockets get a higher 3pt shooting percentage without losing ground elsewhere, particularly on defense?

    #1 - More Chris Paul.

    Among regulars, only Anderson (.386) shot better than Paul (.380). Paul has never had the green light like he had in Houston to shoot 3s anytime, anywhere. He responded by nearly doubling his career average 3pt attempts per game (3.4 to 6.5) and increasing his 3pt % (.372 to .380). If Paul just played the full season at those same rates, the Rockets would pick up 29 additional 3s which would have bumped the Rockets to a .365 %. More importantly, Paul needs to hoist up more 3s per game as increasing his attempts to EGO range (8.8 a game) would bump the Rox 3% to .370% (68 wins) assuming he connected at his career rates.

    #2 - Find a way to Replace Ryan Anderson

    Ryan oh Ryan. One of the biggest impediments to the Rockets improving their 3% shooting is the fact their best shooter from downtown is Anderson and he's such a huge defensive liability. He shot .386 for the Rox in 2018 and was 6th on the team in both 3PA (5.1) and 3PG (2.0) per game. But the Rox can't benefit from his hi 3% if they can't keep him on the floor due to his defense. If the Rockets could have played Anderson in the finals, who knows how things might have turned out. It should be possible to package Ryan with a 1st round pick (or two) and swap him for a comparable 3% shooter who's better on the defensive end. I've been digging around and looking for players that fit that profile without finding an obvious target. Maybe DeMarre Carroll? Kelly Olynyk? We'll see.

    #3 - More PJ Tucker from the corner

    This has already started with Tucker moving into the starting lineup late in the season and getting nearly 6 minutes more a game (and taking .6 more 3 point shots per game) in the playoffs. A career .356 3 point shooter, Tucker's progression in in his 1st season with Houston was similar to that of Chris Paul. He increased his attempts and makes by around 50% while upping his 3PG% by 1.5%... But the revelation occurred in the playoffs where he proved to be an assassin on the corner three shooting a clearly unsustainable .467 from downtown in the playoffs primarily because he parked himself in the corner and drained just about everything that came his way. The Rockets can move the needle on 3pt% by getting PJ more of those looks (and just more floor time in general...)

    #4 - Find other Tucker-ish players

    It's hard to find straight up 40% 3 point shooters with defensive chops and when you do it's almost impossible to pry them away from their current team because they are so friggin valuable (I'm looking at you Jason Tatum). But you can find guys who are defensive minded players like Tucker / LMaM who shoot .33 to 36% on threes but have a sweet spot on the floor where they kill it from deep. In fact, I think this is where the Rockets have the best opportunity to improve their 3 point % because it's a metrics based game that Morey is obviously already playing. I struggled to find the data I needed to find another Tucker - but it's clear there are opportunities out there. Case and point #1 - in 2012 OJ Mayo shot .547 on Above the Break 3 pointers (41 for 75) which was a full 20% higher than his 3 pt rate everywhere else on the floor. That same year Andre Iguodala, a career .333 3pt shooter, shot .475 above the break. Houston's iso heavy style and ability to break down defenses off the dribble gives them superior ability to get players the specific high percentage shot they knock down the best. This is an opportunity that Morey can take advantage of by finding guys like Tucker who are below average 3 pt shooters overall, but with a "can't miss" sweet spot.

    I know a lot of people want the Rockets to take less three point shots because of how frustrating it is when those shots aren't falling. But the Rockets volume of threes is one of the key reasons why they look like a 70 win team going into 2019, assuming everyone stays healthy. I don't want to see less 3 point shots, I want to see them falling at a higher rate and I think Morey has some ways to accomplish this that don't require landing a superstar.
     
    #1 coyotetex, Jun 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  2. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    The Ryno Reclamation project starts NOW!
    The Rockets *have* to get Ryno back on track
    They *have* get him to create SOME value to himself in the 1st half of the year
    I think Ryno will be on the Roster in November
    He *HAS* to be productive in some way

    Did MBah Moute have any shoulder surgery? Should he?
    Is there *anything* to be done to secure his shoulder and prevent further injury?

    Was CP3 overworked or was his injury just a fluke and the nature of his body at this point
    If it is over work . . .then we may have to sit him more
    If it is his nature then . . .well you just gotta roll those dice

    I think last year we saw alot of CP3's influence not only on the team but Harden himself
    I think we will see even more this year. I am looking for a further drop in turnovers
    and better pace control

    IF we keep Capela - Look for more post moves
    A turnaround. . a hook . . .something. HE has to be more than a dunker

    I really want to see more Pump fakes and Drives
    not to pass. . not to lay up . . .but to RAM IT DOWN SOMEONE MFin THROAT!!!
    I thought the Rockets were too passive on their drives after being chased off the three

    Rocket River
    off the top of my dome
     
    topfive likes this.
  3. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance
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    This was a really good read.

     
    chievous minniefield likes this.
  4. chievous minniefield

    chievous minniefield Contributing Member

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    Agreed. Solid contribution. Gracias, @coyotetex.
     
  5. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance
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    Lets remember, last season was "year 1" with CP. He is still transitioning his game. At times he has to get to being comfortable being "James Harden-ish" and look to score.

    CP is a great 3pt shooter. MANY times he will forego a great 3pt look to try to find a better shot. It is in his DNA. But what if the "better shot" is actually the INITIAL 3pt look? That is something he struggles with. He can be even better.

    PJ was a revelation in the playoffs. I think his shooting stroke got "quicker." The release was quicker. Makes him even more deadly on those corner 3's.

    No question that this team needs to up their 3pt shooting. And it can get tough when players get tired from playing defense.

    Clearly they need to look to add more talent with better 3pt shooting percentage. Wayne Ellington, JJ Redick etc.
     
    RyanB likes this.
  6. coyotetex

    coyotetex Member

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    Thanks guys. It's fun doing this kind of analysis and writing about it. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Any ideas on who we might get to replace Anderson? I have to say I'm really intrigued by Kelly Olynyk. Don't know enough about his defense to make a real judgement, but he had some crazy good +/- stats playing with certain units last year and can shoot the 3 ball well for a big guy. Any thoughts?
     
    B-Bob likes this.
  7. Coach E

    Coach E Member

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    Good write up, but this isn't nearly enough to keep pace with BOS/GSW
     
  8. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance
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    I don't think Miami would move Olynyk in an Anderson trade. I think they like him. They are trying to get off Whiteside.
     
  9. chievous minniefield

    chievous minniefield Contributing Member

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    Not really an Anderson replacement, but I'd be extremely stoked if we could find a way to acquire Wayne Ellington.
     
    mikol13 and craguin like this.
  10. larsv8

    larsv8 Contributing Member

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    To be honest, the Rockets were an all time great team last year. 65 wins with Paul missing alot of games.

    Improving on that will be extremely difficult.
     
  11. craguin

    craguin Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. LCAhmed

    LCAhmed Contributing Member

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    Players I think would benefit us without breaking the bank:

    -Avery Bradley - Seems to have become forgotten since leaving Boston to Detroit to LAC. Maybe he can be had for less money! He did just come off an injury, but damn was he a great 3&D Guard

    Will Barton - I think of him as Corey Brewer 2.0, IDK why. Anyway if we can bring him in and he can perform like Brewer did his 1st year here, that would be phenomenal! I think he'll get paid, but Denver has too many combo guards that he might be odd man out! We will see.

    Anthony Tolliver - Dude's a great stretch 4, shot .436 from 3 last season for Detroit. He's okay on Defense, but he is getting up there in age. Still would probably be better fit than Anderson at this point and for a lot less.

    Nerlens Noel - Hear me out, if he'll come cheap and get his **** together, he can be a great fit on this team! Capela lite!

    That's about it for players I saw that are UFA and I think will not garnish a lot of attention. Let's see what Morey has up his sleeve!
     
  13. RocketsFido

    RocketsFido Member

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    Ryno has value for the regular season when you're playing a different team every night. You can even play him in round 1 or 2. He is just unplayable like a lot of bigs in this league (Enes Kanter for example) against other title contenders. Hell, Capela was almost useless against the Warriors as well.

    It doesn't help that Ryno lost all his confidence when D'antoni benched him and barely gave him any minutes near the end of the season.

    His minus value has been overblown by the media and other teams fans alike. He can still entertain fans easily on a team like the Knicks, who have no championship aspirations.
     
  14. pasox2

    pasox2 Contributing Member
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    Get a big man that can rebound, box out, and set picks.
     
  15. Verbal Christ

    Verbal Christ Member

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    Must replace the 3 point chuckers with professional shooters.

    Everyone is down on Ryno, but he is usually money from long distance just nutted up when the playoffs started. I'm willing to see if he can play through it. Not like we have leverage with that contract anyway.

    I'm actually thinking less Chris Paul. He broke down at the absolute worst possible time. Need to keep him fresh with another ballhandler on the team.

    Is 4yrs 110Ms a fair contract offer for CP3 at this point of his career?
     
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