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Let's talk about the Rockets' real Issues

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by larsv8, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. larsv8

    larsv8 Contributing Member

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    So I am fairly tired of the scapegoating, rhetoric, pyshcology, etc. discussions from whiny fans and wanted to focus on some of the actual fixable issues the Rockets have, so we can actually get some good discussions going. If I hear about "ISO"s one more time, I might rip my hair out. If you are intent about complaining, and throwing around rhetoric, please do so in other threads. Please back up your opinions with evidence, and not just your emotions (Thanks in advance)

    Lets start with a qualifier that the Rockets had a horrendous start to the season, and these rankings are a bit corrupted downward by that. But these are easy to pull and readily available, so lets use what we have.

    The Rockets actually had a great December, but have slipped a bit over the course of this week. But lets take a look at what the numbers say.

    As of today, the Rockets are:

    Offensive Ranking: 10th
    Offensive Four Factors:
    Effective FG%: 10th
    Turnover %: 28th
    Offensive Rebounding: 7th
    FT / FGA: 3rd

    Interestingly, our offense has actually improved from 12th last year. Though, the output has been remarkably similar, with more free throw attempts and less effective FG%. So for those of you who are sporting the narrative that things are much different this year offensively, please stop, thats really not the case.

    2014-2015 (For Reference)
    Offensive Ranking: 12th
    Offensive Four Factors:
    Effective FG%: 7th
    Turnover %: 28th
    Offensive Rebounding: 7th
    FT / FGA: 6th

    So, the glaring issue here is turnovers, which is somewhat systematic of our style. You can see why the Lawson acquisition was something to be excited about. You would have expected him to come in and help take care of the ball, but instead it has been quite the opposite. Here are some individuals who standout as the egregious offenders:

    Turnover Rates
    [​IMG]

    Lawson, Motiejunas and Howard are your standouts as far as guys who actually play (Ignoring Chuck Hayes here) and are turning the ball out pretty heavily. Here are my thoughts:

    -Motiejunas is still getting his wheels back, and has a limited sample size, so I would not worry to much about his TOV rate. However, it is definitely something to keep an eye on if it doesn't improve over time. I know he is a fan favorite, but it needs to be acknowledged that this is a red flag.
    -Lawson is troubling, as he was supposed to help in this area, but he simply hasn't. I am not as worried about him, because he is still new to the team and trying to figure out his role, and he is actually showing some improvement as of late. I would be less insistent on trading him and instead be patient and see if he can put it together with more time and a more defined / limited role. Here is game log, with 6 of his last 10 games, showing good ability to take care of the ball:
    [​IMG]
    -Howard is the elephant in the room when it comes to turnovers. I cringe every time he touches the ball, because I am so afraid he is going to lose it. I also see alot of people clamoring for more shot attempts for him. I could not disagree more. If its not a put back dunk, a PnR opportunity, or a wide open slam, I don't think he should touch the ball at all. What little post up opportunities he is getting, should be reduced. They are just bad basketball plays to run.
    -I thought Brewer would be higher, because it seems like he is constantly turning the ball over, but I was wrong.
    -Your real stars here in regards to taking care of the ball are Jones and Thornton. Jones surprises me because he seems like he is out of control, but the numbers don't flesh that out. Thornton is not surprising, because as soon as he gets the ball, he does what he should do, which is SHOOT.

    All in all, I don't worry too much about our offense. I think we are on the right track and with time, Lawson can get better acclimated, our offense will probably improve. I do think Thornton should be playing more, which is a pretty popular opinion.

    Defensive Ranking: 23rd
    Defensive Four Factors:
    Effective FG%: 23rd
    Turnover %: 7th
    Defensive Rebounding: 28th
    FT / FGA: 12th

    Defense is of course, where we have cratered.

    2014-2015 (For Reference)
    Defensive Ranking: 8th
    Defensive Four Factors:
    Effective FG%: 7th
    Turnover %: 5th
    Defensive Rebounding: 28th
    FT / FGA: 12th

    As for the effective FG%, it comes down to rotations and effort. I think we all know this. Also the lost of Josh Smith as a defensive presence hurt pretty badly, more than some would probably like to admit. Lawson and Thornton don't help you in this regard, Harden is going to be an issue, as does the loss of Prigioni who was actually a decent defender.

    One area, where we definitely need to work on is defensive rebounding. Howard and Capella are both monster rebounders, but Jones and Motiejunas are severely lacking in this regard. It could be the constant need try and contest shots due to poor perimeter defense, but we are HURTING at the PF position, specifically with Josh Smith gone.

    I don't think you can improve rebounding without making a trade. For ****s and giggles, I did a quick search of bigs with high rebounding rates with low turnovers:

    [​IMG]

    I definitely think there are some names there that would be cheap and very gettable which would help the team. I would look to the Bulls who have a glut of bigs right now. Gasol or Gibson would be great here. Good production, short contracts, and a willingness to make moves. Ryan Anderson has been a popular name, and he might help out, but I don't think he really fills this teams needs. The real question here is what is it going to take to get one of these guys?

    I think this season can be salvaged. This team seems to have to problem getting motivated for good teams, as evidenced by our wins over the Spurs, Clippers x2 , Thunder, Mavs, etc. Thats actually a really positive sign for us. I do think a trade is needed to shake up the complacency that seems to have a firm grip on this team, but it can also help shore up so of our other weaknesses.

    If I were GM, I would definitely look to get another rotation PF by dangling Brewer, McDaniels, Dekker, Harrell, Jones or any of the younger guys.
     
    4 people like this.
  2. Dhoward12

    Dhoward12 Member

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    So how do we fix the defense?
     
  3. mclawson

    mclawson Member

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    Play harder.
     
  4. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    So all is fixed with another minor trade to address defensive hiccups? That's the substantive discussion you're looking for?
     
  5. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    To begin, you're using unadjusted team offense. Adjusted for opponent, the Rockets are 15th in offense. They've had a pretty easy schedule.

    And the drop (from 107.86 last year to 105.27 this year) is pretty significant. We're not too far ahead of the 19th place Heat (105.03), and last year's rating would be good for 5th this year.

    On defense, I agree. They are horrible. Was a bad decision to start Lawson IMO. And Thornton can't really play alongside Harden. Just a bad fit.

    Secondly, on turnovers. You're using TOV% instead of TOV. Not saying that's wrong, but it's interesting when you dig into those numbers. TOV% is turnovers per 100 plays while TOV is turnover per 100 team possessions.

    By turnover%, Dwight is way up, but by tov, he's way down. So he's turning it over more per plays he gets, but less per team possessions.

    You see the similar thing with Lawson. High TOV%, but his TOV is in line with his career.

    So a couple of things are happening: they are getting less plays, but when they do get plays, they turn it over a higher percentage than their career norms.

    What does this mean? Could mean they suck. Could mean they are getting crappier plays too, which would reflect a stagnant offense. Would be interesting to dig into that, but I would speculate on the latter.

    Additionally, Harden is posting career worsts in TOV% and TOV. It's not a huge uptick (5.4 to 5.7 in TOV, 14.9 to 15.3 in TOV%) but it's significant and he was already a high turnover guy.

    I haven't dug to deeply into defense. When Morey said all the public defensive stats suck, I don't know what to do anymore.

    But using one stat:

    Howard Defensive Real-Plus Minus:
    Last year- 2.08 (54th among all players)
    This year- 3.12 (11th among all players)

    Beverley Defensive Real-Plus Minus:
    Last year: -.30 (27th among point guards only)
    This year: .30 (6th among point guards only)

    Ariza Defensive Real-Plus Minus:
    Lastyear: 2.36 (8th among sfs only)
    This year: -.01 (35th among sfs only)

    TJones Defensive Real-Plus Minus:
    Last year: .80 (36th among power forwards only)
    This year: -1.40 (92nd among power forwards only)

    Lawson Defensive Real-Plus Minus:
    Last year: -2.36 (65th among point guards only)
    This year: -2.22 (63rd among point guards only)

    Harden Defensive Real-Plus Minus:
    Last year: -.16 (25th among shooting guards only)
    This year: -1.85 (68th among shooting guards only)


    By this stat, Howard and Bev are much better defensively, Ariza is down a bit, Lawson is the same, Jones and Harden have completely fall off the map.

    Definitely agree that losing Josh Smith has hurt us badly.

    One final note. Please stop complaining about fans complaing. If there was a COMP% and COMP stat, where COMP% is complaints per personal posts and COMP is complaints per total forum posts, you'd be low on COMP, but you'd easily be leading in COMP%.
     
    #5 Mr. Clutch, Dec 28, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
    4 people like this.
  6. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos MoRley only Fan
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    The OP always acts like a self righteous jerk, thinking anybody that criticizes an aspect of the team is a bad fan. I'd say he's the worst.
     
  7. larsv8

    larsv8 Contributing Member

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    Not exactly what I wrote, was looking for more of things like Mr. Clutch posted.
     
  8. Karolik

    Karolik Member

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    our defense sucks is what I got from this.
     
  9. dianelo

    dianelo Member

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    Some of the players in this team only play defense once every three or four games.
     
  10. Rox11

    Rox11 Member

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    Harden dumped Khloe, the turnaround has started!
     
  11. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Our defense is horrible and our offense is middle of the pack.
     
  12. larsv8

    larsv8 Contributing Member

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    This is true, but then you also have to account for the fact that we seem to play to our level of competition.

    Are we the team that played the Spurs, or are we the team that lossed to the Pelicans?

    Its tricky to take the raw numbers from year to year because you have issues like how referees are officiating and the overall caliber of defenses played.

    You really should use TOV%. A possession is unique to the team, but the play is unique to the player. TOV% is going to be more accurate although TOV won't be much different.

    Where are you getting these real plus minus? Is this ESPN? You might have messed one up in copying.

    Definitely agree that losing Josh Smith has hurt us badly.

    I will not.
     
  13. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Thanks, I think I fixed it.

    That's what's weird about TOV% and TOV of Howard and Lawson. They have diverged.
     
  14. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Isn't this what bad teams do? Occasionally they beat a good team.

    I mean the Kings beat the Spurs and the Bucks beat the Warriors.
     
  15. oakdogg

    oakdogg Contributing Member

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    Thank you to the OP and Mr. Clutch for their analysis. My takeaways from that and glancing through ESPN's Real Plus-Minus rankings are:

    - People need to stop their incessant whining & b*ching about Harden on offense. The guy has the third highest offensive RPM, and he still hasn't found his shot (starts slow every season). Not to mention he has no good shooters to convert his assist opportunities;
    - People are right to rag on Harden for defense. Don't know how to fix this. Is there anything stopping him from defending like last year? We do have a defensive mastermind as coach now;
    - I was right about how big of a loss Josh Smith was;
    - Sure would be nice to get Nene on the cheap. Don't know if we can get lucky on these deals time and time again.
     
  16. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    What do these team stats look like when factoring strength of schedule?

    Also, since you only want to focus on 'fixable' issues - what issue can be fixed that will get this team to title contention this year?
     
  17. rocketsballin

    rocketsballin Member

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    dmo's rebounding is underrated. the best way to rate his rebounding was last season.
    he avg about 6, which would be terrible if he was an experienced center.
    in reality, it was his first season getting starter minutes and he had to play out of position at center, instead of his natural pf spot.
    and he lied about his injury at the end which affected his play.
    he's not gonna dominate the boards but he's far from a terrible rebounder.
     
  18. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    See my post above. They are 15th in offense adjusted for opponent.
     
  19. fv court

    fv court Member

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    it has been mentioned in previous threads. this team is sorely missing veteran leadership...ala Kevin Garnet.
     
  20. FTW Rockets FTW

    FTW Rockets FTW Contributing Member

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    This thread basically tells me our defense sucks and we need to make some roster changes.

    What insight. 5 star thread.
     
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