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Rockets-Warriors Post-Mortem: A Simple Report Card

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by napalm06, May 23, 2019.

  1. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    It has now officially been long enough that I can look at stats from this year's semi-finals without being pissed off.

    I wanted to analyze each player's 2019 conference semi-finals averages versus the regular season and last year's WCF. Where did they elevate their game? Where did they falter?

    Sorry for the bad fidelity. The nature of taking an Excel snapshot... lol.

    Each white font column is the player's actual performance from this-year's Warriors series. The proceeding 2 columns are the elevation (or if negative, drop) from the regular season, and from the WCF last year, respectively.

    playoffs.JPG

    tl;dr: I like letting data do storytelling. The color-coding here pretty much does that.


    Read on for my main takeaways:

    #1, the minutes. While none of the returning players jumped significantly above their WCF averages, this is a great image of how D'Antoni changes rotations from season to post-season. I like D'Antoni well enough, but this is pretty stark...

    #2. the assists. Almost across the board, the team fell off on assists in the post-season versus the regular season (Tucker was up but on small volume). I don't know how this compares to other teams, but it shows that in combination with the major minutes increase for the starters, the style of ball also locked down into a more extreme style of play.

    #3. James Harden. On the series basis, Harden played like Harden. In fact, he escalated most of his stats over last year's WCF and was reasonably flat to an epic regular season. This surprises me because I didn't care for his body language in games 5 and 6. #takethatfordata

    #4. Chris Paul. Paul attempted significantly less field goals than in the 2018 series (this matches the eye test). His rebounding was big and absolutely needed. His assists dropped significantly versus the regular season (but so did everyone else's... system issue?) but were up versus the WCF. His 3 point attempts were down to the WCF and his percentage was down 12-15% (not percentage points) versus the regular season and WCF. He was just... flat. The hustle plays were there but not the offensive IQ. I don't get it.

    #5. Clint Capela. The story is told here. Down on minutes, down 47% (!!!!) on points versus the regular season. Down 21% on rebounds, 34% on attempts, 17% in field goal percentage.... it goes on. And there was no other forward to replace any of this production, except...

    #6. PJ Tucker. This man balled. This man deserved an all-NBA defensive nod. But regardless, he really stepped up everything versus the regular season. Up 20% in minutes, he drove a 41% increase in rebounds (WHAT???), a 27% increase in 3-point shooting, a 25% increase in steals and 33% increase in blocks (for an already defensively-focused player.) He was the the team's only beating heart for big chunks of this series.

    #7. Eric Gordon. His increase in points (23%) exactly matched his increase in minutes (23%). In that sense he was steady... the problem is that he was uneven for the whole series and pretty unaggressive in key moments, so this is where aggregated data masks that (I didn't include standard deviations... that would've taken more time to get game by game data.) But he played well. He stepped up in every major category, except...

    #8 turnovers!! Would you believe if I said the Rockets had a decent amount of turnovers, yet it wasn't Harden's fault? Harden cleaned his turnover game up versus the regular season and WCF. Meanwhile, Gordon was a turnover machine (on a relative basis). Paul also saw an uptick in turnovers, especially versus his phenomenal WCF assist-to-turnover ratio. Rivers and Capela did their best to follow Chris Paul's example by turning over the ball whenever possible.

    So... in light of the recent "Is is Harden, or Paul's fault?". My answer is: lack of trust in depth.
     
    #1 napalm06, May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  2. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    House and Faried
    MDA undermined our efforts and f*cked up our chances.
    He was out coached


    Rocket River
     
  3. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Easter Egg Hunter - Tell me why? نحن عائلة
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    I think Playoff Tucker is a thing, getting some Kawhi vibes....

    2 consecutive runs in 2 years, all better than the Regular season!

    All while playing amazing Defense and being the best Defender on the team.

    Get him a time machine and make him 5 yrs younger! <3

    [​IMG]
     
    #3 daywalker02, May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
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  4. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Easter Egg Hunter - Tell me why? نحن عائلة
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  5. basketballholic

    basketballholic Contributing Member

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    Good post OP.

    Some comments

    #1 - Reactionary counter. . Kerr did the same thing. Opened series against us with the Hampton 5 and played those guys substantially more minutes until he didn't have to. MDA really had no choice but to counter. And we weren't deep with rotation players THAT COULD PLAY EFFECTIVELY AGAINST THE WARRIORS anyways.

    To me this speaks to another issue really. And that is that we constantly bend the roster to make James happy. Bobby Brown in years past. Kenneth Faried this season Faried serves no purpose against the Warriors, especially with CC and Nene here. But we signed him. Harden got a few extras highlight plays with dunk assists. And then we get to the Warriors and we got nothing, zero, zip, zilch, a big fat donut.

    Signing Faried also cost us in development minutes for Harty. AND....... it also cost us BRUNO. And that gets me hot!!!!

    We, once again, chose to give James Harden a human pacifier instead of getting another guy signed that we possible could have developed into something to help us against the Warriors.

    Now contast that bs with what the Warriors did. We sign Capela to a "value" contract. They sign Kevon Looney to a "VALUE" contract. We sign MCW and Ennis to minimum deals and fiddle fart around with them for half the season. Warriors sign Alfonzo McKinnie, a guy with the skill set to fit their system. And they play him all season and he becomes a rotation contributor.... against us!!!

    I could go on here. But I won't. That's enough. We have to get out of the this mode of signing Harden's party buddies when they don't match what we need. It is hindering our success. And Harden ought to be smart enough to see it. And there's no way that Morey doesn't know it.

    #2, #8 You have to consider the monster season Harden had here. His regular season usage was over 40%, a substantial increase over last season, with Paul's usage decreasing. I don't know what their usage was against the Warriors but it had to have been up there.

    And in my opinion too high. When a player exceeds 4 in per games turnovers it's an indicator of over usage. And it usually shows up in close out series and close out games as the upper echelon defenses cut the head off the snake. That's why in close out games Harden's turnovers rocket up. Because the opponent knows he's going to force the play.... because he's been doing it all season.

    This is a consistent theme with Harden. He does haves a small slice of Westbrook in his game. The Warriors know it. They know there's less fouls called in crunch time in the playoffs. And those forced plays that Harden makes so often in the regular season that are fouls become turnovers in the playoffs.

    This is why averaging over 4 turnovers a game is an indicator and a threshold that if crossed leads to a team not being a true championship contender. There had never been a player average over 4.1 turnovers a game that has won a championship. That fact still remains through this season.

    For us to win a championship Harden's usage has to come down to the point where he is either under or at the very least extremely close to 4 turnovers per game.

    #6 PJ Tucker is a monster. He's the third most important player on this team. Way more important than EGo and Capela. Any trade proposals and rumors that involved him in the past or that involve him this summer.... are total bologna. Not going to happen. Perhaps after next season if he breaks down or if something in our chemistry changes this next upcoming season. But I seriously doubt that happens. For this upcoming season any talk of trading him is made up fake bologna.
     
    #5 basketballholic, May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  6. smp

    smp Member

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    Short version- GS has better players and a better coach. Capela is unplayable against them. Everyone else on our team did the best they could given our talent level.
     
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  7. fryjol7

    fryjol7 Member

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    I agree.

    That's why I side with most of the run it again ideas. We are good, we are just facing an historical challenge that is going to require an historical effort.
    We have to improve in our consistency as a team. That means Harden as every leader in every industry, no matter how good he is, has to start working on improving people around him.

    Whatever that means, if it means more plays for them, be it, if it means less scoring to keep them confident, be it.

    The hardest challenge for someone as good as Harden, is realizing he may not be good enough on his own.
     
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  8. thephatp

    thephatp Contributing Member

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    First off, major kudos for putting this together--much appreciated!! It's very interesting to see.

    Second, since it's in Excel, any chance you can copy to a new sheet and produce a weighted score for all things not minutes, based on the delta in minutes?

    For example, with the bench players seeing such fewer minutes, I would fully expect to see fewer points, rebounds, etc. So, all the red down there seems like it might not be as bad as it appears. Further, it might give a better indicator of the drop-off possible due to not getting in rhythm (one reason I think Klay and Curry were struggling before KD went down).

    Also, I would expect with starters playing more minutes would mean more points, more rebounds, etc. So, if you normalize against season average, that would tell me more (I think) about the actual stats.
     
  9. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    Yes, sure... if I get time. :p

    With this kind of stuff I always just copy and stitch data together from basketball-reference.

    I also just noticed that I missed formatting a couple of cells that are black and should be red. haha.
     
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  10. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    Do you think Faried was acquired to make Harden happy versus another player? I wasn't aware of anything like that.

    I do regret us dropping Bruno. But I have to wonder if D'Antoni would've played him. His stats have increased nicely but can he play a switching defense?

    I agree on the rest of your post. Harden is over-used and this would've been good to do on a minutes basis as well, not just per game. Tucker is also the man. We really underrated the tandem of him and Ariza (and Moute, when he was healthy) on the roster. That type of switching versatility is what we should be striving for this offseason, more than mediocre expensive stars.
     
  11. topfive

    topfive CF OG
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    Yeah, I've never heard anything about Harden and Faried being friends at all. Very hard to picture those two being off-the-court buddies.

    Bobby Brown, on the other hand...

    I was also among those sorry so see us give up on Caboclo so soon. You dump a guy who is at the very least a lower-end NBA rotation guy still young enough to improve. Surely there was someone else on the roster more expendable.
     
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  12. s3ts

    s3ts Member

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    lack of trust in the bench, i'm not sure.

    i never thought our bench was shored up to be an elite team, not when we're lacking versatile forwards who can help us put up an effective small-ball lineup against elite teams.
     
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  13. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Contributing Member

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    The bench was okay as an on-the-fly salvage job, but it never was able to recreate the flexibility and defensive tenacity they had last year. I think losing Luc late last year and not being able to replace him this year was a big issue in changing/downgrading the team's identity. Faried is a great energy guy/Capela fill-in, but not a defensive stopper.
     
  14. ApacheWarrior

    ApacheWarrior Member

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    Warriors/Rockets 18/19 playoffs
    per basketball-reference.com
    https://www.basketball-reference.co...onference-semifinals-rockets-vs-warriors.html


    stat........Warriors................Rockets...........Edge
    FG%...... .470....................... .451.................Warriors
    FGA.........521........................501..................Warriors
    3PA..........199........................259..................Rockets
    3P%.........35%.......................37%.................Rockets
    Stls...........44..........................48....................Rockets (slight)
    Blks..........24..........................21....................Warriors (slight)
    FTA..........144........................145..................call it even
    FTM.........111.........................112..................call it even
    TOV...........83..........................87...................Warriors (slight)
    Ast............25.3/gm.................18.2.................Warriors


    Harden (18/19 vs Warriors playoffs): 36.9 USG%...........11.6 TOV%
    Harden (17/18 vs Warriors playoffs): 37.4 USG%...........15.4 TOV%


    Rockets Roster DRtg and ORtg vs Warriors playoffs 18/19:
    Player................DRtg.................ORtg
    Harden..............112....................119 (Keeper)
    PJ Tucker..........113....................135 (Keeper)
    Capela...............117....................112
    Gordon...............120...................106 (poor)
    CP3....................114....................116
    Rivers.................118....................114 (128 mins)
    Shumpert............117....................97 (poor, 92 mins)
    Nene...................112..................171 (Good net off 44 minutes, but don’t play in final minute of quarters)
    GGreen...............117....................83 (poor off 43 mins) *
    House..................118...................44 (poor off 26 mins) *
    Faried..................132...................108 (poor off 5 mins) *
    *For the record I would not have pulled the rip cord on these players so quickly.

    An FYI little tidbit......notice that the Warriors DRtg’s are pretty poor for the series:
    Warriors Roster DRtg and ORtg vs Rockets playoffs 18/19:
    Player...................DRtg...................ORtg
    Durant..................115......................114
    Curry....................116......................106 (poor)
    Klay......................113......................102 (poor)
    Iggy......................115.......................133 (killed us)
    Draymond............111.......................118
    Looney..................114.......................141 (killed us)
    Livingston.............116.......................124
    Jerebko................123........................101 (poor)
    McKinnie..............118..........................80 (poor)
    Bell.......................115........................170 (killed us)
    Bogut....................113.........................83 (bad)
    Cook.....................116.........................83 (bad)


    Summary: let’s run it again but give me a few more SF who can shoot and defend over Rivers/Shumpert.

    Edited: opps, forgot the biggest surprise stat imo of 18/19 playoffs (Warriors/Rockets)
    Team.....................ORB................DRB...................TRB
    Warriors...................63..................175.....................238
    Rockets....................63..................188.......................251
    edge.......................(Even)...........(Rockets)............(Rockets)
     
    #14 ApacheWarrior, May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
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  15. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    Maybe "trust" wasn't the right word to use. But I agree completely. We have to get a bench that we can go at least 8 deep, with one of the bench guys being a 6'9-6'10 guy.
     
  16. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    Thing about Coboclo is that he's had multiple chances with multiple training staffs. I guess Morey saw it as a gambler's fallacy at that point, assuming that the next chance is going to pay off versus a Hartenstein/Clark/Edwards/etc getting their first chance. But hey, he finally did... can't win them all but that one does hurt.

    Caboclo was lucky to go to an awful Grizzlies team where he can get the playing-time needed to jack up shots, make mistakes, and develop. Some players need that and not all teams can (or will) give that luxury. I wish we did more often.
     
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  17. harold bingo

    harold bingo Member

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    Where are you getting all this from? Is this personal speculation from you or are you hearing this from a reliable source? Someone inside the organization? If this is true I'm surprised I haven't heard it or read it anywhere.
     
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  18. baller4life315

    baller4life315 Contributing Member

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    Good post and analysis.

    I hate to bash him considering he’s improved every year he’s been in the league, and truth be told: he was arguably our second most valuable player in the regular season, but it was an absolutely miserable series for Capela.

    Given his limitations, a switch-everything team like GS negates the PnR and completely neaters him. There’s no way around it.

    The challenge for us is to not allow GS’s total ownage of us to force us into a trade where we deal him for less than what he’s worth. Not a lot of teams covet an expensive traditional 5 like him, but he still has plenty of value and is likely our best trade chip.
     
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  19. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    He'd be a little more of a traditional five (and totally worth his price) if he could at least develop some kind of touch with the glass around the rim. If it's not a dunk, it's pretty cringe-worthy! Hopefully he adds something this summer. Doesn't even need to be 6 feet out. 2-4 feet would still be improvement.
     
  20. leebigez

    leebigez Contributing Member

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    Faried should've split minutes with Capela vs Warriors. He especially should've played in game 5 and 6 post Durant when the team was giving up rebounds and playing flat.
     
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