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What Changes to the Rotation Would You Make Coming Out of the Break?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by crash5179, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    Or for that matter what changes do you think McHale and Morey will make if any?

    First off, what exactly are the Rockets needs?

    I think most of us would agree that the Rockets could really use a wing defender and a 3pt snipper from off of the bench. The Center, Power Forward and Point Guard positions seem to be stacked right now. Dwight Howard and Omer Asik are clearly and with out argue the best 1/2 punch at the Center position in all of basketball. The Power Forward position seems to be set up with Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas playing so well right now but neither of those guys are proven in play-off situations. Greg Smith if healthy provides great depth at both the Center / Power Forward positions. So providing DMo and TJones do not regress (and that is still a possibility) the Rockets do not really have any needs in the paint.

    The Point Guard position might be one of the most controversial positions on the team and I would agree with anyone that says it would be nice to have an upgrade at the starting position. Having said that, the Rockets do have 3 point guards on the team that have all proven that they are capable as starters or coming off the bench. Jeremy Lin[/b] is clearly the more offensively skilled of the three and has proven that he an start in the league. Patrick Beverly is clearly the best defender of the group and is one of the better pressure defenders in the league. Aaron Brooks is a former MIP and clearly the best 3pt shooter in the group but also the worst defender. So while we could use an upgrade in the starters role, it’s not really a position of weakness for the team either.

    James Harden and Chandler Parsons are a pair of the best starting Shooting Guard / Small Forward players in the NBA. Obviously the best duo at those positions would be Lebron James and Dwayne Wade (when healthy). The other duo’s right there would be Lance Stephenson / Paul George. By virtue of being arguably the best player on the planet right now Kevin Durant / Sefolosha are their as well but I’m not a big Sefolosha fan. The problem with Houston is that there has not been good depth at those positions. Both Harden and Parsons are averaging right at 38 minutes a game because of the lack of depth at their respective positions[\i] when teams like the Heat and Pacers can bring in guys off of the bench like Danny Granger, Ray Allen and Shane Battier.

    3pt Shooting is clearly a concern heading into the last portion of the season. The Rockets are currently hitting .350% of their 3pt shots which puts them in the bottom 3rd of the league but they take 25.8 3pt attempts per game which leads the league. By comparison, the teams the Rockets are likely to be facing in the play-offs: San Antonio, Portland, Golden State, Dallas, Phoenix are all in the top 10 in 3pt percentage in the NBA. Oklahoma City is right in the middle of the NBA while only Memphis is in the bottom 3rd of the NBA but Houston does not have the same caliber defense that Memphis has.

    So in my mind it’s clear, Houston needs better production off of the bench at the Shooting Guard / Small Forward positions. They need someone that can come in and provide defense and 3pt shooting while giving Harden and Parsons some much needed rest.

    Addressing the Rotation from With In

    MoiseKapenda Bower made a comment in the last podcast that one of the issues with Jeremy Lin and James Harden on the floor at the same time is that Jeremy has a tendency to stand around at the 3pt line, watch James and not play aggressive. When Jeremy plays aggressive he is an elite finisher, runs the offense and plays with confidence. When Jeremy play’s with confidence he becomes Linsanity. Another negative side effect of the Jeremy / James combo is the fact that we have 2 high turnover ball handlers on the court at the same time.

    Kevin McHale typically brings Jeremy off of the bench between the 6 and 8 minute mark in the 1st quarter for Patrick Beverly. As a result, Jeremy plays his first 4 to 6 minutes in the games as a passive player that stands around the 3pt line and lets James Handle the ball. I think it’s asking a lot from any player go from being passive the first several minutes you are on the court to changing your mentality at the flip of a switch and becoming aggressive. Jeremy needs a clear and consistent definition of what his role is when he is on the court. Be aggressive, be assertive, take control of the offense, aggressively get the ball into the paint via the Pick and Roll, driving into the paint, dumping it into Dwight or lobbing the ball at the rim. Be Aggressive!!
    My solution to achieving this is to change the substitution patterns.

    Solution 1:
    Instead of bringing Patrick Beverly out at the 6 to 8 minute mark leave him in and bring in Jeremy Lin for James Harden. Why? Because this would give Jeremy a chance to establish a more aggressive attitude while playing the James Harden role on the floor. I think it would be a huge boost to Jeremy and the production we are getting off of the bench by letting Jeremy establish himself on the floor with out Harden. Bring James back in to start the 2nd quarter and bring Beverly back in for Lin around the 8 minute mark in the 2nd quarter.

    Solution 2:
    Bring Aaron Brooks off of the bench for Patrick Beverly at the 6 to 8 minute mark in the 1st quarter instead of Jeremy Lin. Aaron Brooks is the teams best 3pt shooter. Give Aaron a very clear set of marching orders. You are in the games for one thing, when James passes you the ball out on the 3pt line, if you are open and there is not a better shot immediately available under the basket, shoot the damn 3 ball. Thats the Rockets identity and thats Aaron Brooks identity. When it’s time for James to come out, then bring in Jeremy Lin and tell him to be aggressive. Just like solution 1, it should be much easier for Lin to establish his on court identity when Harden is on the bench. Aaron has performed well when given minutes this season and adding him to the rotation as the back up point guard accomplishes multiple things.

    It adds a 40% 3pt shooter to the rotation
    it gives Jeremy a chance to establish his on court identity before playing him and Harden together.
    It reduces Harden’s minutes by giving Jeremy more minutes to dedicate to the shooting guard position.

    The Rockets are a better team when the bench is functioning at a high level and the bench functions at a higher level when Jeremy Lin plays aggressive.

    None of that addresses what to do about another wing defender or what to do about Parsons minutes. Casspi has proven to be a nice addition to the bench but he plays better as the Power Forward in a small ball line-up and not so good as a Small Forward in any line-up. If we are going to get some help from with in the current roster for Parsons then I think we are pretty much limited to Cisco Garcia or Robert Covington (if McHale is willing to give him a shot). Garcia is shooting below his career average from the 3pt line but since coming back from injury he is hitting .375 which is just higher than his career average. While Cisco has never been known for his defensive work, he proved during last season’s play-offs that he is more than capable of playing very solid defense. If Cisco is healthy he could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the home stretch and play-off run.

    Robert Covington might be another option to get some minutes at the Small Forward spot during the home stretch. He is a young strong Small Forward that play’s defense and can shoot the 3pt shot. James Johnson who was Covington’s team mate at RGV was signed by the Grizzlies earlier in the season and has given Memphis 22 minutes of very productive basketball per game. Can Covington do the same for the Rockets?

    Addressing the Rotation through trade

    Houston has two max contract players and another player in Chandler Parsons that is set for a big pay day this summer or next. With the right move the Rockets could find themselves as front runners for an NBA championship but the wrong move could lock them into the wrong roster for years with little flexibility to change.

    Rumor has it that the Hornets are trying to move Eric Gordon. Eric would provide the Rockets with a versatile 2 guard that also happens to be a good wing defender and an outstanding 3 point shooter. Eric would look great coming off the bench for the Rockets but he is also scheduled to make almost 15 million a season through the summer of 2016. Even if the Rockets were willing to take on his salary what would they have to give up to get him? If the Rockets were to trade for Gordon they would be locked into their roster at least until the summer of 2016. As good as Gordon is I don’t think there is any chance Daryl locks up his roster for him.

    Mike Dunleavy and Gary Neal are two names that have come up recently and both are .380 career 3pt shooters. Both guys make about 3.2 million thru the summer of 2015 which seems to be the summer that Daryl Morey is trying to set the team up for another potential max free agent. Gary Neal would add another player with NBA Finals experience. Both Ronnie Brewer and Omri Casspi have fully un guaranteed contracts for next season so they could be candidates in a trade to a team trying to dump some salary. Both makes since coming off the bench and neither would compromise the teams cap flexibility.

    Another rumor that seems to be gaining legs is Asik and Lin for Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpart. At least to me, this trade makes little since. Asik for Tyson is basically a push, both are elite defensive centers with Tyson getting the nod on the offensive end but Asik is clearly the better rebounder. Shumpert would have some value on the Rockets as a back up to James but he does not really come close to having the type of value that Jeremy has. I don’t think Daryl will make a trade just to make a trade and I certainly don’t think he makes a trade that disrupts the Rockets chemistry unless it makes them better today or gives them a chance to be better tomorrow. Throw in Tim Hardaway Jr and we can start talking but in the absence of that, I think it would be a very short phone conversation.

    I don’t really expect Daryl Morey to make a move at this trade deadline. I just think it’s too tricky to maintain cap flexibility with this roster while the players he would acquire may or may not make the Rockets good enough to push them over the top. IF a move is made I would think it would be along the lines of a deal for Gary Neal or Mike Dunleavy. My preference would be to insert Aaron Brooks into the rotation at Point Guard and let Jeremy Lin get the majority of his minutes as James back up. I would also give Garcia first shot at backing up Chandler since if his 3pt shot is back that would be exactly what the Rockets need.
     
  2. Old Man Rock

    Old Man Rock Contributing Member

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    Good thread for discussion. Appreciate your effort and I agree with your assessment overall. But I would say the rotations have recently taken on a lot of change and mostly for the good. I am more happy with the rotations in this seven game win streak than any other time this year. It's too soon to make changes to them or at least major changes.

    My thought is we have only recently got Asik back in the line up. DMo has only been in the rotation a month. Garcia has been out and it is yet to be known if he will return to last season's form and help with the 3 point shooting. And McHale has only recently realized the value of playing Lin and Beverly together and only tinkered with the idea of playing small with Harden Lin and Bev on the court. Which I think can really work well in some situations and should be developed more.

    I do agree three point shooting is essential and would love to have eitherDunleavy or Neal but Casspi and Brewer or trash so we would have to sweeten the pot. A lot in the case of Dunleavy. The Bulls are in the middle of the playoff hunt and they want a 1st round pick for Dunleavy. Neal would require at least a couple of second rounders. The Knicks need to move Shumpart but they also over value him.

    I've looked up and down the rosters of teams fr 3 point shooters and the ones that might be available are on teamsin the west that would never deal with us or their salaries are too high or they want too much for them.

    I'm sure Morey sees some possibilities that I don't but honestly if we stand pat I'm okay. We have only been this healthy foor a few games. Garcia looks a little better out there so I am hopeful he will get his old form back. DMo is shooting 40% from behind the arc this month (I hope he's been practicing his three all break. And maybe even it's time to give Covington a try at backup three. I know McHale is slow to bring in rookies but the kid just won MVP of the D League and he can rebound block shots and shoots 35% from behind the arc.

    SO it with all the desire to improve the team I think a lot of the problems will fix themselves internally. A tweak here and there with the rotations is always necessary but my opinion is stick to the old adage if it ain't broke don't fix it. And we've been the least broke these last few weeks and so maybe we shouldn't do any major fixing right now.
     
  3. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    imo the single biggest flaw with the rotation right now is harden's defense, or lack thereof. his man is getting career nights far too often. the last showing from ariza was just ridiculous, with james not even coming out anywhere near the arc to contest the majority of those 3's.

    the coaching staff must address this. either by reducing his heavy minutes and demanding him to put forth more effort on D in the time he's on the floor. or by trying to hide him in a zone setup anchored by asik in the middle -- essentially keeping him on the floor during all of asik's minutes.
     
  4. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member
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    Haven't read the whole thing yet, but wanted to mention Memphis no longer has a better defense than the Rockets before I forgot.
     
  5. count_dough-ku

    count_dough-ku Contributing Member

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    If we're talking changes to the rotation with the existing roster, then I'd definitely make sure Garcia gets as little time as possible. Keep those minutes going to D-Mo. I'd also try to find Aaron Brooks more playing time since other than Parsons, he's the only Rocket to consistently knock down the outside shot. It'll mean playing smaller, but they can get away with that against most teams. Especially if Asik is available to back up Dwight.

    As far as trades, they still need a 2-3 guy to spot Harden and Parsons. Someone who can knock down 3's while providing solid perimeter D. Not sure who fits the bill and wouldn't cost us a major piece of the rotation, but hopefully Morey can work his magic.

    BTW, I hope the Rockets don't trade Lin unless they're getting someone really good in return. Despite all the grief he gets on here, he's had a pretty good year overall for the team and they would miss his production off the bench.
     
  6. Voice of Aus

    Voice of Aus Contributing Member

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    I'll be able to answer this post deadline
     
  7. makio9

    makio9 Member

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    I wouldn't make any, but I'm keen to trade Lin in a deal with someone else that upgrades the PG or PF. I like Covington better as 6th man now that he has emerged.
     
  8. Stats

    Stats Member

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    I actually like the rotations as they are now. Harden/Chandler's defense has been a bit suspect, but Harden's improved quite a bit over the beginning of the season. Garcia looks a bit better now that his back's recovered.

    But I think the key piece is Asik. Lin's offensive performance is simply better with Asik because Lin needs hard screens in the PnR, and Asik sets those. Moreover, Asik hedges more in PnR defense but actually recovers very well, so when he's in, Lin and Bev do not get demolished by the PnR.

    Btw, I need to watch some of the games from earlier this season. Why didn't the twin towers work? because of spacing? But if Asik comes up and sets the screen for Lin/Harden, shouldn't that just put only Howard in the paint? And if Howard's man comes and helps, that's just a pass to Howard for a dunk? Understand there were spacing issues, but Twin towers have been utilized pretty effectively by a lot of teams. Why not us?
     
  9. count_dough-ku

    count_dough-ku Contributing Member

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    The Twin Towers didn't work because Asik has no offensive game. And Dwight's is limited to post ups and alley oops. The paint wound up being clogged which left Harden and Parsons with limited space to operate. What was shocking was how much worse they were on defense than I'd anticipated.
     
  10. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member
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    Brooks is not very good on defense. I would rather have a slightly worse 3 point shooter in Lin to have Lin play defense starting at 6-8 minute mark.

    On getting a backup for Harden and Parsons, it would be very nice. Cisco is still the best defensive wing on the team....I should say he is the best wing speed bump.
     
  11. ryebread

    ryebread Member

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    did i miss something? when did this happen?
     
  12. Play07

    Play07 Member

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    give garcia one more chance, if it doenst work out
    Parsons 35mins
    covington 12mins
     
  13. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    I am probably the only person here that does not worry about Parsons and Hardens minutes. They are both currently well rested coming out of the ASG, are used to playing big minutes, and the way the Rockets are playing there should be a number of games that McHale can drop their minutes comfortably into the low 30's. Plus Lin is very serviceable at the 2.

    There seems to be a lot of angst here about the Wiz game. Ariza's hot hand that game was a once a year occurrence, and for 5 minutes he was unstoppable. It is NBA and that can happen occasionally. Very occasionally.

    I would be worried if Parsons spent any significant time injured. There is no quality depth at the 3. Lin at least can hold down Hardens spot in case of an injury.

    The big question in my mind is Asik. His performance down the stretch and in the playoffs is critical. Plus a depth chart of Howard, D-Mo and Jones is not enough for the 4 and 5 positions.

    But OP your post was well considered and well thought out. Good job.

    I agree there might be some benefits to minor tinkering with the rotations. The problem is that it takes at least several games to figure out if a rotation is working. Not a lot of time is left.
     
  14. StrawberryJamm

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    Garcia and Brooks came in last year and played great when they were needed in the playoffs despite not getting consistent minutes throughout the season, they're veterans that's what they're paid to do.

    I'm in favor of giving the higher potential guys like Dmo and Covington the minutes at this point of the season, and if you don't trust it in a playoff game you've got Brooks, Casspi, and Garcia on the team for that very reason.
     
  15. saleem

    saleem Contributing Member

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    It was a good post from the OP, but Harden should not be taken out at the 6-8 minute mark for Lin. Lin is the PG, and he should initiate the offense when he comes in. However, Lin is a scorer first. He is confident when he attacks the basket. He needs to run the pick and roll with Howard, to set up easy baskets and also to attack the defense when he has the opportunity, or to shoot when he is open.

    Harden and Lin can and should alternate ball handling responsibilities. Harden's defense has gotten a little better, but he needs to put more effort on the defensive end.
     
  16. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    I basically agree with everything in your post. I really don't think DM will make a move this year as crazy as that sounds when talking about Daryl Morey.

    McHale has already put Garcia back into the rotation as well as Asik so our assuming those two perform the way they should, our front court is set. Garcia should help lower CP25's minutes.



    I would however like to see
     
  17. hotballa

    hotballa Contributing Member

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    In all honesty, I dont think theres too many changes needed. I havent had too many issues with McHales rotations this year. By and large I feel most of our problems comes from the lack of depth on the team. Frankly, outside of Lin, there is not one bench player who can even be considered average. AB maybe, but he and Lin are basically replicants of each other in many aspects. I'd like Harden to play less minutes, but don't know if thats possible considering our best (and only) wing player off the bench is Garcia.

    CP is also playing too much, and I think it will affect him down the stretch
     
  18. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member
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    Asik?
     
  19. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member
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    We are 3 days from the trade deadline. I think the "Rotation Changes" discussion should wait till after we know what the roster will look like after the deadline.


    ASSUMING... there are no trades made, I think you almost have to stick with the same one that has led to the team running off 7 straight games. I like D-Mo coming off the bench alongside Asik and moving Casspi over to the 3 for the time being. I dont think you really gain that much going small with Casspi at the 4 considering the fact that he really isn't someone who is as much of a spot up shooter as they would have liked for the Delfino role even though he's still played very well.

    Brooks is someone you'd like to find minutes for because of his shooting, but unfortunately Brooks, and Lin cannot exist in the lineup at the same time because of their turnover issues. No two players on the roster can cough up leads faster than these two guys by making dumb mental mistakes or making a bad pass in traffic.

    I think Lin still gets the minutes and Brooks is just going to have to marinate as insurance in case of injury once again.

    -Same with Garcia, but I think he can be used in situational lineups when maybe you want him to take a crack at someone defensively on the perimeter if the wings are getting torched, and you want him to come jack up a couple 3's to try and make a run. I love having Garcia on this team, but I dont by any stretch think that they need to guarantee him rotation minutes.

    So if no trades are made....just keep it the same.
     
  20. conquistador#11

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    absolutely none, except using their best guard line up, bev and lin with harden at center or wherever the less talented player he has to guard is.
     
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