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A few small thoughts about this season.

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by jtr, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    I have no idea if it is worth reading but it was interesting to write. Futzing around on the fire McHale thread I wrote this:

    I actually view the situation at the beginning of last season as an incredible stroke of luck. The right coach (McHale) and an offensive playbook that was nonexistent (Harden). That combination forced the coaching staff to implement R&R. An extremely complicated system at the highest of levels, but one that has absolutely no set plays. Scouting a R&R offense is impossible. Preparation comes down to "well guys play your best and play as a team". NBA offenses are incredibly complex these days, but nothing is more complex and chaotic than the R&R.

    NBA defenses are based on the tag-tag principal, but it is difficult to keep that level of discipline against the R&R for 24 seconds. In addition the presence of Howard and Harden will stretch any defense to the breaking point. Both must be tagged every moment. Howard is incredibly difficult to control because an assist can be made 18" above the rim. When the Rockets offense gets oiled up is there even the option to rotate off of Howard? And Harden? There are a few players in the league who can control Harden one on one (Iggy, George, LBJ) but if he comes clear off of a screen it is Katy bar the door. It is an almost certain defensive breakdown since help will not generally be available off of Howard.

    On the offensive end much depends on the 3 point shooting or the driving ability of Lin and the PF. Obviously leaving Parsons open for an uncontested corner three is not palatable. This season the Rockets will see uncounted defensive breakdowns, so the PG and PF positions should see a ton of uncontested shots. How easy is an uncontested shot for a NBA player? Without a hand in the face it becomes perhaps the most efficient shot in basketball.

    The defensive side is also very interesting. The tag-tag defense becomes much easier when you have a center as mobile as Howard. His tag radius is larger than any other center that I can think of in the NBA. Perhaps larger than any PF or SF. This gives the trail defender a much wider follow gap. More time to work around screens. I would imagine that the Rockets defense will be mostly based on pocket trail. However with Howard, shooting screens around the basket becomes a viable option.

    This season I do imagine that Harden will be relieved of some of the offensive burden he carried last season. The question is not can Harden be a plus defender. It is will he be a plus defender. He has all of the necessary physical attributes to shut down most players he is matched up against. I believe that his teammates will exert the pressure needed to get Harden active on the defensive side of the ball. If they do that, then the coaching staff does not have to intervene.

    So Howard is obviously an incredible upgrade over Asik on the offensive side. But how much of an upgrade is he on the defensive side? Analysts have said that he is a minimal upgrade. Obviously the 48 minute paint protection cannot be underestimated, but I believe that Howard is a big upgrade over Asik defensively. Nothing against Asik, next to Harden and Howard he is by far the most precious diamond that Morey has uncovered. But Howard plays well above the rim both offensively and defensively. Most shots within 7 feet of the rim this season will be altered by Howard. Painfully altered. He seems to have the reflexes of a cat and can figuratively jump out of the gym. That value added is enormous.

    On defense the center position could not be better staffed. Parsons has shown promise also. As previously discussed Harden athletically can well handle the position. Point guard is well manned as well since Bev and Lin are both plus defenders. As on the offensive side, the defense at the PF position is suspect. The Rockets only need somewhat below average defense at that position. Neither Jones or D-Mo was capable of that last season. We can hope for better this season.

    As for the coaching side of the equation, coaching incredible talent is incredibly easy. Exhibit one to support this idea is Spoelstra. In the 2011-2012 season there was debate as to whether Howard or LBJ was the more valuable player. I certainly am in the camp that LBJ rules, but it was up for debate. The coaching staff's job next season should be easy. Talent. Depth. Two top ten players in the NBA. A R&R offense that is pretty much maintenance free. A paint defensive presence for 48 minutes. "Even a cave man could do it". The only real question is what happens at the PF position. And that people is a question I have no clue about.
     
  2. bmd

    bmd Member

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    ... they do have set plays...
     
  3. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    Do they have set plays or just an area to attack?

    Certainly for in bounds and jump balls they have set plays. No argument there.
     
  4. bmd

    bmd Member

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    They have set plays.
     
  5. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    Perhaps a few coming out of a timeout. And certainly some offensive sets are preordained such as DDMO. And R&R patterns do reoccur. But overall offensively the Rockets are very good at just taking what the defense offers.

    I should amend this post to emphasize that I am talking about this season. Certainly last season the Rockets were more constrained by the offensive inefficiencies at the center position. Two go to offensive threats allows for many more offensive options.
     
    #5 jtr, Oct 12, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  6. Realjad

    Realjad Contributing Member

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    They run alot of P&R variations but they don't have 'set' plays
     
  7. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    I miss the JVG years. I miss the years before the NBA sucked the life out of the defense. Those were years that the NBA big man battle was man versus man, and everybody was bruised after the battle. Unfortunately Stern changed the rules and eviscerated the defense. IMHO that was his biggest sin.
     
  8. JustAGuy

    JustAGuy Member

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    I like having the smaller guys flying around; they tend to be better athletes (bigger pool = better odds of athletic freaks). Still, I understand the lure of watching something completely different in style.
     
  9. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    It is just a matter of preferred style. There is no wrong preference. But for us old and grumpy guys ... LOL.
     
  10. Rox23

    Rox23 Member

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    I thought you said "small" thoughts...

    JTR has some good things to say but he just writes way too much. I don't have the time nor the interest to read all that. Maybe someone will be so kind as to present a paragraph summary of JTR's essay for those of us with low attention spans and/or other things to do...
     
  11. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    The Rockets next season are going to be insanely good. If Jones or D-Mo step up then it will be rock and roll time. In a nutshell.
     
  12. JustAGuy

    JustAGuy Member

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    We are going to be good. How good depends to some extent on the PF position.

    The bulk of the post is why that is the case. It might be worth reading, depending on how much you already know about the Rockets systems on offense and Defense.
     
  13. JustAGuy

    JustAGuy Member

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    Heh. Wrote more, dondensed my comments twice and I arrived at what you had, only slower.
     
  14. JustAGuy

    JustAGuy Member

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    dondenced->condensed
     
  15. Rox23

    Rox23 Member

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    Had you titled the thread more specifically, for example: "A few thoughts about the PF position" I would have been much more inclined to read the writeup.
     
  16. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    I think I need to qualify "insanely good". As a Rockets fan for decades it means just/slightly short of MIA and SAS.
     
  17. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    True, but that question was just a small part of the post. I have been threatening to do a post on modern NBA defenses for a while. I probably need to work on that.
     
  18. HOUSTONJS

    HOUSTONJS Member

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    They run variations of HORNS, different floppy sets, and when things start going a little stagnant, they go to some Princeton offense principles. They don't have a clearly defined that they uphold the whole game though.
     
  19. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    Absolutely true. But I believe that those rotations are versions of R&R. But since it has 35 levels I certainly cannot be sure. The one thing that I was trying to convey is that the Rockets offense is fluid, and will adapt to take advantage of whatever the defense offers.

    I honestly do not see many horns sets out of the Rockets. More common is the DDMO set with two guards high and the PF and SF in the corners. In order to run horns two dangerous big men are generally used, but teams like the Lakers will sub in a SG or SF. Since the ball is in Hardens hands most of the time, he is not going to be setting up in the high post area. Just my humble opinion. And needless to say with a dangerous center like Howard it may be different this season.

    Yet another edit. Sorry. Asik around the elbow is not a threat. Howard may change that this season.
     
    #19 jtr, Oct 12, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  20. burlesk

    burlesk Serious business

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    Yes, Realjad and Kelvin Sampson, but...

    They do have set plays.

    bmd says. Twice. One more time and it's absolute fact. ["What I tell you three times is true." -- Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark]

    next time bmd just put "/thread" after your assertion and we can move past all this trivial argument based on concrete, observed details.

    /postpolicing
     

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