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Being a Top 10 Defensive Teams and Playoff Chances

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Carl Herrera, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. spaceage808

    spaceage808 Member

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    great post. but i agree with other posters. the effect of having a 7' 6'' guy clogging up the middle is hard to quantify. our defense will surely go down. other teams will have easy put backs if we cannot grab defensive boards. we basically got owned by other tall athletic teams, when yao and deke were not playing.
     
  2. Nero

    Nero Member

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    Well, it comes down to replacing the stats Yao gives.

    @20ppg, we can measure that as a tangible. And let's just call it 10rpg. I'm rounding for ease of discussion (from 19.7 and 9.9 - close enough).

    Let's just set the bar at last season, and try to see where, at least offensively, the slack can be made up.

    First, if Chuck is the starter at the 5, and that's a big 'if', then he will surely generate more than the 1.3pts and 3.5 rebounds per game. I would have to think that he would be good for at least 5 or 6 points, and at least double the rebounds. So, roughly, on Chuck's back, let's add 4 pts and 3 rebounds.

    But at the 5 we may have the more likely scenario of DA and Dorsey sharing the starting center minutes, with Hayes being more of the specialist he really is, depending on circumstances. In any case, the 5 spot generated right at 15 rebounds per game last year between Yao, Hayes and Deke.

    So looking into the magic eyeglass, can Dorsey, Andersen and Hayes manage 15rpg between them? That's a toughie. Dorsey looks like a man possessed, the real question is not whether he will be able to rebound (he will), but whether he can remain on the floor long enough to GET them and not foul out. Realistically, with DA getting probably the lion's share of the minutes, my guess is that the 5 spot will drop by a rebound or two this year.

    On a side note, the 5 generated right at 3 blocks per game. Dorsey is now really the only guy who can do that, and no way he averages 3, so that is definitely going to be a factor.

    Offensively though, the real question is not just whether the 5 spot can make up for Yao's absence, but the team as a whole can.

    Back to Yao's points - 20ppg. Let's leave Chuck's point around 3, since his minutes probably won;t be high enough to generate enough garbage bucket opportunities. So 17 to go. DA, in Adelman's offense, playing the role of Brad Miller, *if* he can hit the outside shot as advertised, let's say 8 points per game. I have never seen the guy play, so maybe other people can say whether that is wildly unreasonably optimistic, but geez I hope not.

    Anyway, let's run with it. Chuck and DA, let's jsut round it down to 10 points. Dorsey? I would not count on anything more than maybe 2 points as an average. Obviously he will have some games of more than that, but others there will be only rebounds, and no points. 2 sounds about right for this year.

    So we're at 12 from our 5 spot. Eeek. 8 points to be made up elsewhere. But where?

    Brooks is my main guy here. There should be no way he does not dramatically increase his average points over the 11 of last year. He could even push close to being 20ppg this year, but that may be a bit optimistic as well, I would be more comfortable pegging it around 16 or so, and anything above that is gravy. So add another 5.

    So we're at 17, 3 to go. 3 more real possibilities. Shane, Scola and Ariza.

    Shane is a smart guy. He won't start the season injured this year (knock on wood) and he knows the offense is going to need more from him, and having another *young-legged* wing defender in Ariza should allow him the luxury of slightly fresher legs during the games. In any case, he averaged only @7 points, so we are talking about one made 3 per game more. Again, as an average, maybe optimistic. Let's say 2 points more out of Shane.

    Leaving Scola and Ariza...

    Scola came in just uner 13 a game, and my guess is, with him having to pulls more defensive duty, my gut instinct says he will pretty much stay put. Let's hope it doesn't go down any.

    Now with Ariza, the question is whether he can score more than Artest did on average. That may be tough. Artest clocked in at 17 and 5. Can Ariza bump that scoring average up by one more over the whole season? Man that would be nice wouldn't it? That's the real x-factor, and I have no idea how it will turn out. I don't even have a guess. Let's just *hope* he can.

    Maybe Lowry can bump it up a bit, maybe Landry can take that next step and be more consistent.

    The other x-factor is how to replace Wafer's scoring, which was higher than I thought on average, just shy of 10 per game. Can the rookies and White make that up? Probably not quite.

    All in all, my guess is our average points end up being maybe 2 per game less.

    But if our defense is close to last years' stat-wise, we still averaged +4 per game, so this would still leave us with a winning record, even in the West, which would mean wins somewhere in the mid-40's. Playoffs? Yikes, mid-40's may not make it in the West.

    Gonna be exciting to find out, no matter what.
     
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  3. sbyang

    sbyang Member

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    Can the Rockets be a great defensive team without a shot blocking presence in the middle? Can they still get enough rebounds to be a great defensive team? The team will do well in perimeter defense and with team defensive concepts like communication and rotations. But they need a presence in the middle to be a top 10 defense. Unless Andersen is alot better shot blocker than I think or Dorsey steps up we will likely be middle of the pack defensively.
     
  4. jump shooter

    jump shooter Contributing Member

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    Good post. With the lack of a true shotblocker and size, your talking about a lay up drill at some point during most games. I commend the moves Morey has done over the years and Im a huge fan of his, but the one thing thats irked me worst than ever was the lack of an athletic shotblocker or two with size. I know the ideal situation would have to sign that type of player in Gortat, but it didn't happen. Without a true shotblocker, I just don't see the rockets defense as good as it was last year.
     
  5. Alvin Choo

    Alvin Choo Member

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    Its tough to be a good defensive team when your best post defender is a 6"6 PF.
    With Yao, Deke and Artest gone. There is no more shot blocker at the team. Landry may get a weak side block every 2 games or so. Battier will block some shots at the perimeter and basically thats it.

    I just cant see how a team can be a top 10 defensive team with no shot blocking presence. Yao and Deke may not be so agile, but with their size they just took up so many space. Something that no one is able to compensate.

    Anderson may be a 7ft. But if he plays a perimeter game on the offensive end, how well do you think his defense will be? Heck I be happy if he play defense like Okur.

    And to Nero, sometimes is just not that easy to quantify a player's contribution to a team. Yao may only get about 10 rebound a game, but on the defensive end, his the one that box out everyone allowing others to grab it. And on the offensive end, most defense pay so much attention to Yao which allow others to go for the rebounds. With Yao out, I really do see Rox rebound numbers to go down.

    On the offensive end however, with Yao out, Rox will be playing more up tempo instead of the half court set that emphasize on Yao. Hence PPG for rox should raise.
     
  6. waytookrzy079

    waytookrzy079 Member

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    Excellent research and logic. But i'm pretty optimistic about T-Mac coming back and making an impact. I think he can definitely make up for Super Von's 9ppg. I think if a healthy T-MAC can give us at least a 15-17 ppg, I think we'll make up for a couple points short of matching RonRon and Yao.

    BUT if T-MAC cant contribute, according to your logic (which i think makes a lot of sense) i think tanking the season would be a much better idea. Get a higher draft pick (i dont know how good the draft is going to look); and target a good free agent. I think Chris Bosh would be a logical choice simply cuz hes a big man who clogs the paint, athletic, has a nice outside game to go with a decent inside game and could definitely play in RA's system. And once Yao returns, we've got our 21st century TWIN TOWERS!
     
  7. waytookrzy079

    waytookrzy079 Member

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    ...sorry...switch the two bolded terms. Its tough multitasking while at work. lol
     
  8. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    While the lack of shot-blocking is not favorable, it is certainly not impossible to have a good (i.e. top 10) defense while not racking up blocks. For instance, both the Spurs and Hornets were among the bottom 5 teams in shot blocking last season, but were among the top 10 in defensive efficiency (6th and 5th, I think). The Hornets, in particular, had no one with more than 70 blocks a game (T. Chandler-- who averaged a bit more than 1 per game, missed quite a few games, and I think their leading shot blockers were David West and Rasul Butler).

    If the team has great wing defenders in Battier and Ariza, and smart defensive teamwork, they may well be able to cover for the lack of a shot-blocker.

    Besides, while Yao was helpful overall last season, he was far from the perfect defender-- pick and roll and transition D were his weaknesses. The team might well do better in some respects on D without him.
     
  9. pmac

    pmac Contributing Member

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    I think the act of actually blocking a shot is extremely overrated. It doesn't really account for that many possessions a game, especially considering many of them fly out of bounds or back in to the hands of the offensive player.

    What you need is an inside presence that deters players from the paint. The Hornets had that with Chandler and the Spurs clearly have that with Duncan one of the best defensive big men in the league for years. For all of Yao's deficiencies, he was an inside presence. Players are less likely to go inside when he's there because it is difficult to score on him, even if he doesn't block their shot.

    Chuck Hayes is probably a better overall post defender but when Ariza/Battier get beat he is no threat unless he gets completely in front of them. A player can simply jump and lay it up right in his face.
     
  10. BimaThug

    BimaThug Resident Capologist
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    I agree with all your points, except that I'd argue that the likelihood of opposing teams even being ABLE to get into the paint on a regular basis is not likely, given the current makeup of this roster.

    For instance, how often during the seven game Lakers series did Kobe Bryant get into the lane for an easy bucket AGAINST SHANE BATTIER??? Not often at all. Now, when Artest was covering Kobe (which, for some inexplicable reason, even happened for some stretches when Shane was in the game!), that was a different story. But with Shane guarding him, there were very few easy shots. Sure, a bunch of made, contested, long two-pointers (with a few 3s mixed in); but only the rare easy bucket. And we're talking about Kobe Freakin' Bryant here.

    The fact of the matter is that Shane Battier (definitely) and Trevor Ariza (probably) are among the top 10 defensive wings in the NBA right now. They are excellent at staying in front of their man and keeping them out of the paint. Just about the only way for their man to get into the paint is via the pick-and-roll . . .

    Enter Chuck Hayes, the best "big man" in the league at defending the pick-and-roll this side of Kevin Garnett. With either Battier or Ariza able to defend the opponent's best wing scorer pretty much every second of the game, combined with Hayes guarding the opponent's best screener/pick-and-pop big man (Scola and guard the other guy), the Rockets will be VERY difficult to get into the paint against.

    This is why Adelman will be faced with an interesting decision about his starting center. If David Andersen has a great training camp and preseason, showing that he can quickly adjust to the NBA game, then sure, he probably gets the start at C for offensive purposes. But if he even has one hiccup (which he likely will, and there's nothing wrong with that), then I think the Rockets open the regular season with Chuck as their starting C. Remember, Scola came off the bench behind Hayes at PF until about 40% of the way through the season. You might see the same thing this year with Andersen and Hayes.

    And don't let me forget about Kyle Lowry, who I think is one of the best defensive PGs in the league. I truly believe that Rockets fans haven't seen anything yet out of Lowry and that he will be a significantly better player for the Rockets next year, with an entire offseason and training camp with the team and learning Adelman's system.

    Defensively, Lowry will be able to plug the "hole" in the Rockets' defense: namely, Aaron Brooks and his ability to be out-muscled/posted up by opposing PGs. The Rockets also benefit from the "misperception" of Lowry's size. Several teams will look at Lowry's 6-0 stature and attempt to post him up, needlessly wasting their possessions trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, since Lowy has the lower body strength to hold his own down in the post without giving up much position (think of him as a miniature Chuck Hayes in that respect). This, combined with his perimeter defense, and the Rockets have yet another defensive ace.

    As for shot-blocking, the team also has some in the form of Battier (look it up, he's actually a good shot blocker) and possibly Landry (but he still needs some work). And if Dorsey can prove his way onto the floor for any meaningful minutes, there's one more shot blocker. Sure, it's not much shot-blocking. But at least it's SOME shot-blocking.

    Bottom line: In Battier, Hayes, Lowry and Ariza, the Rockets have four of the top defensive players in the league. Not many NBA teams can make this claim. Other players like Scola (decent post defender) and even Brent Barry (don't laugh - he gets killed guarding his man one-on-one, but he's actually a decent team defender) can contribute to the Rockets' team defense. If a guy like Brooks or Andersen are getting consistently beat on defense, the Rockets have ready substitutes to come in and solve that problem.
     
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  11. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    Well put. I think, on average, the current lineup can do just as well as they did last season defensively. They will, however, have a tough time matching up with some team. One thing that can really help them is a Przybilla (or Gortat) type shot blocker/rebounder.


    The Rockets as currently constituted is can be an interesting experiment in odd ball combination of talents. Can a team play good defense for 82 games without that backstop big man? Can a team devoid of offensive stars manage to score enough points if they have a smart coach and unselfish smart players? Can guys who did well in limited roles on offense maintain the same efficiency when given more touches?

    It may or may not be pretty-- and there is certainly probability a trade would change things around-- but I am kind of looking forward to seeing what this group can do night in an night out just as a matter of curiousity.
     
  12. LewLLOYD

    LewLLOYD Member

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    true, but i still think we are still top 10 defensively.

    chuckwagon, scolandry, lowry, battier, ariza, dorsey
    how can you have this many competitive team oriented defensive minded hustle players on the court at once and not be top 10 defensively? i think there is a good chance we are top 5 defensively even with stepping up the pace of the game.

    we will win games on heart and hustle.
    people will love this team. book it.
     
  13. Alvin Choo

    Alvin Choo Member

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    there is a reason why teams do not attack the basket when playing Rox. Its because of a 7"6 giant inside. Now replace him with Hayes/Dorsey/Anderson, there is no intimidation factor. I'm not saying teams will post them up, as the rox wing are long making entry pass tough. But teams will be trying to attack the rim with cuts.

    Battier and even Barry likes to funnel their players to the base line which they will meet Yao/Deke. Now they can't do that as Hayes is better at taking charge, Anderson and Dorsey is unproven at this level. On the perimeter the defense will be good, but once opponents past that defense, its almost a certain basket.
     
  14. pmac

    pmac Contributing Member

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    nice post. This is exactly what I came back here to say. Part of what makes Battier's defense great is that he understands where his teammates are and how to use them.

    Kobe Bryant can get by Battier. Shane knows this. What Battier does is back up as Kobe drives and he attempts to funnel him into Yao. Bryant stopped and popped for a lot of mid-range jumpers because he felt it was a better shot. It was better to shoot on Battier than get in the lane and be stopped by Yao. In today's NBA, in which you can't touch anyone, this is really the best defense for a great scorer like Kobe. Unfortunately, it isn't as effect without that inside presence.

    If Adleman plays Chuck Hayes more we can still be really good defensively but I get the feeling we'll see much more Andersen/Landry. And, we'll probably see more of Brooks than Lowry. Scola is sure to get big minutes, as well.
     

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