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The Ultimate Solution

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by MacBeth, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. MacBeth

    MacBeth Member

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    We are a team in search of an identity. Every successfull team has one, many unsuccessfull teams have one...But every team that doesn't have one is unsuccessfull. We are also a team in transition...we have come from a team with an easy to identify formula for winning; Dump it into the best center in the game, set up outside for the three off the double team...Not too pretty, not too creative, but effective. Then we tried to incorporate Barkely and Pippen into this system, with mixed results...and the result was that we often were reduced to individual players trying to do it themselves. I honestly believe that this individual play emphasis doesn't start with Francis, but dates back to the days of the Big Three, and the system in play when Francis arrived. With both Barkley and Hakeem demanding the ball on the left block, and arriving at the uneasy solution of taking turns there, we basically became a team where individuals alternated dominating others. The fact that we had such incredible individual talent masked the fact that the system itself didn't really work, and when we would play a team like Utah, the team vs. individual systems became apparent.

    Then we evolved into the Francis and Mobley era, and Rudy tried to adjust the individual system to the talent at hand: Isolate Cat or the Franchise on one side, have him beat his man, and shoot or penetrate, and have the other players feed off the collapsing defense on the penetraton. The results were hot and cold, just like the players involved, but all in all the weaknesses outweighed the strengths...It tended to emphasize individual play over team play, left other players with little sense of how to fit in, and made our success too tied to whether or not Steve and Cat had hot nights.

    This last is possibly the greatest difficulty with this system, as it makes for confusion of roles...When Francis and Mobley are hitting, the rest of the teammates either feed off of it, or watch. When they're not, the rest of the team are suddenly expected to step it up, find a role, and contribute. It's even worse for younger players trying to figure out the NBA game itself, let alone this ball of confusion we call our offense. The fact that Steve and Mobes often continue to go with system A, ie. shoot, even when they aren't hitting compounds the problem, but isn't necessarily their fault alone...it's the system they've been weaned on.

    Now we have been given a gift from the basketball gods...a young, intelligent, moblile, athletic basketball player who can shoot, rebound, block shots, post up, and happens to be 7-6. Oh, and he not only can pass very well, he does so with regularity and vision. The fact that his addition has further muddled the waters is hardly surprising, but I am hoping that he is the answer to what ails the team, not the reverse.

    We need definition: of roles and systems, of authority, of organizational priority...Here's how we do it...

    Organizational Priorities

    We need to prioritize long term, not go for the quick fix. We need to develop those players who will be the center of this team when we are taking annual runs at the ring, not those guys who might help us win a few more games now...I know you have all heard me say this before, but I stand by it...especially now that playing KT over Eddie is a debatable strategy even in the short term, let alone the long one. We need to decide that it is the guys like Steve, Yao Ming, Eddie, Bostan Nachbar, Terrance Morris, and possibly Cuttino and Mo Taylor who will be there when we're going for the Big One, not lthe mediocre talents playing out their salary drives. Set the schedule around the younger players, let the key or untradeable vets like Rice, Cato, and Moochie fit in around the kids as role players and role models, rather than the reverse.

    Roles and Systems

    Run the set offense through the Big Man, and run run run with Steve.Think about it...Steve's weaknesses are his decision making, play making, court vision, and shot selection...His strengths are his athletic ability, his desire to win, and his all around game. Yao's strengths include his decision making, play making, court vision, and shot selection...it's a natural fit. So rather than have Francis stay back to start the offense on a break, let Griffin and Yao get the defensive boards, and have Steve leak out...He's a natural fast break player who has been hampered by being his team's best rebounder for a while...but between Cato's development, Yao's future, and Griffin's already there rebounding, Steve doesn't need to fill that role any more...With Yao feeding Steve on the break, this could be Showtime 2...

    However, in the halfcourt offense, run it through Yao Ming...Allow the team's best decision maker and most willing team player be the one to initiate the team's set offense. Steve would still be the key perimeter player, and his ability to beat his man would make him Yao's first choice. Feed it to Yao, have him draw the double or take a good shot, otherwise kick it out to the open man, start ball rotation, get cutters going...generally get the team involved. If the above is not available, then you can always fall back on Steve's natural ability to break his man down...just not as a 1st choice. That kind of individual play is always available..try for the better, team oriented play first. It has not been a coincidence that the best team ball this year has been played with Yao as the key, or CENTER, if you will, of the offense. I know he's not ready to take on this role for 40 minutes a night, but start the process now, clear the decks...when he's not playing we still would have the running game, and when in doubt the Steve and Cat beating their man standby.

    We also need to clearly define the roles in conjunction with this type of offense...and as such, Kenny, Moochie, and maybe even Mobley must go. Kenny just doesn't fit...He fits the style we used to run, and his success during his entire career, in college and here, has been predicated on beating his man( or men) single-handed. Add tot that his obvious fiscal priorities, and he has no place on this team...Say all you want about foot work and hustle...and save the man on man defense argument...He might be the best man on defender amongst the perimeter players, but Yao will have us playing more zone, T-Mo could develop into a much better perimeter defender, and Eddie has to learn sometime...Waiting for his ( Eddie's) weight to increase is folly...That weight has to complement his learning, not supplement it. So he takes his lumps, so we get burned by some big men this year...it's not tlike that isn't already happening.

    Moochie is also a product of the old system, and an ill fit for the new one. He needs to dominate the ball...almost pathalogically. We need a team oriented back up point guard, and one who doesn't like to screw up a few times a game would be a pleasant change too...

    Mobley is harder to answer...I like Cat, and always will...but whether he fits with the new team is hard to see. Yes, he can decrease his shots...he can play selfish, but he's not an idiot. But the point about Mobley is, he's below average in virtually every other area...so if you take an exceptional individual scorer, and reduce his scoring for the good of the team, what are you left with? A sub-par defender, playmaker, leader, and rebounder. I honestly believe that it is in both his and the team's best interest if one of two things happen; either he is traded for more complementary parts, or he becomes our instant offense 6th man. With the offense running through Yao Ming, with Steve being the primary perimeter scorer, and with Griffin needing touches to develop, there just aren't going to be enough balls to satisy both Mobley's wants, and Mobley's needs as a starter.

    Out of our 2-3 spots to complement Yao Ming, Francis and Griffin, we need a few things; Defense, playmaking, defense, a sold shooter, defense, long fast break athletes, defense, and leadership. There are several ways to accomplish this...

    As is...I'd say that T-Mo is our best potential fit at SF, with Hawkins at Sg...Mobley becomes instant offense off the bench,and in fact plays more minutes than Hawkins, but to get the offense/defense going in the right frame of mind, we start Morris and Hawkins, and run the offense through Yao and Steve. Nachbar and Rice come in at the 3, and Mo rotates with Eddie, as Cato does with Yao Ming.

    Trades...One way to go is the above complemented by a solid back up pg brought in by trading Moochie and KT...Another way to go is to trade Mobley, KT, and Moochie, and get back a solid sf or sg with our priorities, say a Shane Battier, and the team-oriented backup pg. Either way, maintain the priorities, define the roles, and clean the decks of the superfluous and redundant players.


    Authority

    Rudy is, has been and always will be a player's coach. He believes that this is a player's league, and his job is to make it easier for those players to do their job. Fine...but there needs to be a measure of control in there which is not apparent at this stage. This has been caused by, and lead to, great confusion on the team..With the redefinition of roles and priorities, he needs to assert those priorities with authority...If you are exceeding your role, overriding the system, and it is costing the team, you sit...period. Clarify and maintain. It might be a little difficult in the short term, but it is essential in the long run...]
     
    #1 MacBeth, Dec 2, 2002
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2002
  2. DCkid

    DCkid Contributing Member

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    :eek: I'll edit my response once I get done reading it sometime tomorrow morning. :D
     
  3. pasox2

    pasox2 Contributing Member
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    Nice post. Ties up echos in other threads, but perhaps an "executive summary" is in order.

    Also - as noted elsewhere, and part of that finding an game/plan - identity and developing our big men - I'd sure like some experienced assistant coaches. Rudy hasn't had that kind of help since Carrol left the bench. He could use a Tex Winters or Donnie Nelson or Del Harris. Say Rudy gets hit by a bus tomorrow. I'd like a bit more on the bench than Larry Smith and Jim Boylen. The guy I'd really like is Bill Fitch.
     
  4. verse

    verse Contributing Member

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    excellent post, and absolutely correct.

    i've been saying for quite some time now that the offense MUST be run through yao ming. it is not some weird fixation, it's just the only thing that makes common sense. if the point of half court offense is to end up with the easiest shot, we have to find a way to get yao ming the ball. he is, simply, the biggest CENTERpiece in the nba (next to the "shaq").

    as for mobley, i have always been one of his biggest supporters. that said, i would not be opposed to moving him to the 6th man role if we could bring in a jon barry type of 2 guard (excellent shooter, ballhander, good defender, good distributor, and...most importantly...good entry passer). unloading kt or moochie (or both, by god!) would be a wonderful thing if we could acquire a barry type player.
     
  5. barbourdg

    barbourdg Contributing Member

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    Great read!!!
     
  6. robbie380

    robbie380 ლ(▀̿Ĺ̯▀̿ ̿ლ)
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    nice post...i've said some of the exact same things too.

    i think the best point is that we are in a state of transition and i did notice how we have the vestiges of the old "dream in the post and 4 guys at the 3 point line" offense. but you can also see how it is slowly changing and evolving with yao and steve.

    my feeling is that most of the complaining on the bbs is a consequence of the fact that this style of iso/stand-around offense has been in place for over a decade and it has been very efficient (however not pretty for whatever that is worth). people put up with it because dream made it look pretty with all the moves he had, but when you get down to it that offense is the same basic idea as the iso's that mobley runs. get the ball to the best scorer and let him work, granted dream would pass but its the same idea. rudy has even said that it rivals the efficiencies they had with dream, so even though its not pretty it works.

    anyhow...my point is that now we are seeing this old offense being slowly dumped in favor of a yao centered half-court offense that hopefully will be more motion oriented as rudy has suggested. we can already see it for some streaks during the games, but my feeling is that it will just take more time to implement.

    things ARE changing with the offense and i feel it will end up in some sort of finished product like Macbeth is talking about. i feel cat will still be a huge part of the halfcourt offense because he can nail clutch shots, hit 3's, penetrate, and make quick cuts. additionally cat will be great for running with steve on fast breaks. i just hope mobley buys into it and starts letting other people, like yao, setup his shots so our offense flows better. we all know mobley can take anyone in the league one on one, but he gets better when he has someone else getting him an easier shot when he is moving without the ball.

    ok thats my rambling about this good post
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Member

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    Nice read!
    I don't think Rudy is sophisticated enough to implement any such offensive system. He's been always simple minded, even
    back to the Championship days. If he does not want to step down, he'd better hire some good assistant coaches to do the work. To have a system is a necessity for team success for a long run.
     
    #7 walterw, Dec 2, 2002
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2002
  8. Timing

    Timing Member

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    Good post. I agree that there is a current clash of systems/roles going on right now but I don't think the long term solution is to run the offense through Yao. I really think the long term is to run a real motion offense like the Kings. That would allow our four potential big guns (Francis, Mobley, Griffin, Yao) to grow together. I think we have too much talent to just dump it into Yao Ming and spot up around him, plus our talent isn't Ray Allen or Reggie Miller it's slashers (Rice won't be here much longer) like Francis and Mobley. We must get EG off the damn perimeter and in the paint. We must get players to better understand screens, how to use them, how to set them, how to pass out of them, and how to get good shots off of them instead of coming over the screen and waiting for the defender to recover before we attack. I see something like a motion offense sometimes but they really don't appear to know what they're doing, they look like they're just going through the motions and not really attacking out of it like the Kings do. Perhaps it's an experience thing but everything must come more quickly. When Francis, Mobley, Griffin, and Yao Ming actually run that offense correctly it will be extremely difficult to contend with.
     
  9. arkoe

    arkoe (ง'̀-'́)ง
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    Man, due to the thread title I was expecting to see something like trade Francis or play Boki more. Great post.
     
  10. arno_ed

    arno_ed Contributing Member

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    Does Macbeth write books for a living?i really love his posts, every time. keep up the good work Macbeth:D
    and by the way i agree with you, maybe not on the mobley part, i think he has made progres, and wil be a role player, and does not have to come from the bench
     
  11. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    Epic post. I agree with everything.
    Chris
     
  12. reptilexcq

    reptilexcq Member

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    I think it's the system. Rudy T needs to understand that today's basketball game is different from the old days where you simply play a lot of halfcourt offense and pass it to the big guy. Sure you give Rudy credit for winning the Championships back then. But the style of play back then does not work for today's basketball game. Just look at the Knicks and Miami, there is reason why they're failing the instant NBA changed to zone. These teams are slow-tempo type of teams and so they're not getting use to this style of play and they're failing. And there is a reason why the Kings, Mavs and Sonics are suceeding ...cuz they changed their style to fast tempo where everyone passes the ball and everyone get into the game.
     
  13. persiandog

    persiandog Member

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    what a post. best post i've read. words from a true rockets fan.
     
  14. studogg

    studogg Contributing Member

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    amen says the choir. Some of the same points many of us have said combined together in laymens terms. Oh the eloquence of Shakespeare! Thanks MacBeth!
     
  15. verse

    verse Contributing Member

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    Timing:


    running the offense through yao ming does not mean dump it in and stand around. it means that he should touch the ball EVERY SINGLE TIME DOWN COURT.
     
  16. solid

    solid Contributing Member

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    You are hereby hired as asst. coach, please report immediately if not sooner. Obviously more thought than has been put into the recent Rocket's games. After watching them last night, they don't appear to be thinking at all. Intelligent systems, intelligently executed usually produces intelligent results i.e. Mavs, Kings, etc. Intelligent basketball is not the Rocket's stock in trade so far this season. Win or Lose, they play ugly!
     
    #16 solid, Dec 2, 2002
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2002
  17. leebigez

    leebigez Contributing Member

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    Same thing I've been saying for I don't know how long.
     
  18. montgo

    montgo Contributing Member

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    freakin someone be sure Rudy and the organization decision makers read this....crystal clear and true to the words...

    I think I know you Macbeth...your words are so prophetic and unique......seriously, I have read your writings some where other than this board????
     
  19. Drexlerfan22

    Drexlerfan22 Contributing Member

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    So you think a Cat, Mooch, and KT for Battier, Knight, and Watson kind of trade would be a good idea? It seems to me like that would work for both teams.

    But as you say, it would work just as well if Mobley just accepted a sixth man role (which I'm not sure is any more possible than this trade, unfortunately).
     
  20. Dallas Rocket

    Dallas Rocket Contributing Member

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    MacBeth,

    Brilliant post. You have NAILED IT both from a macro and micro perspective. Couldn't agree more with your analysis and suggestions.

    Agree that it should also be "must reading" for Rockets brass, sportwriters etc.

    Dallas Rocket
     
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