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Is the defense fixable?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by 1Deep, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. 1Deep

    1Deep Member

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    First off, I'm not complaining because I'll take a win any way we can get it.

    Just wondering if the issues on defense are mainly related to struggles in grasping Tuner's defensive scheme?

    Is is simply our lack of size and athleticism?

    Is it an effort issue?

    I know it's early but it looks like the sky's the limit for this squad If we can tighten up on D.

    What say you?
     
  2. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Houston Knicks fan
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    stopped reading at "I'll take a win anyway we can get it." :D

    just kidding. good questions.
     
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  3. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous

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    *Lack of an additional biggish man defender is extremely obvious. Iggy would make a difference.

    *The switching requires lots of concentration and energy and communication which we've decided to eschew in favor of pace and the traditional "October Rotations"
     
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  4. gotsis

    gotsis Member

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    Always a mixture of both. But I guess in the end it's more about personnel (i'd say it's 30% system and 70% roster), we are just not a very athletic team (outside of Russ, Capela and House) and the team has a low defensive IQ, Harden and Russ get lost in lot's of plays, EG has been awful and backups like Chandler have also been porous. Our effort on transition defense has been really lackluster, watched the game against OKC and we had players not getting back in transition.

    Certainly we can improve during the season, with guys getting more acquainted with the system and a little bit more effort, but I don't see us being a top 5 defense, will be very happy if we become a top 10 defense, because our offense should be top 3.
     
  5. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    I haven’t watched the Rockets a ton so far, but just based on the personnel and the extreme pace they are playing at this was predictable.

    It’s also early days, so I hope the defense gradually improves over the course of the season, but this team is not going to be a good defensive team and I think we just have to accept that.
     
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  6. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    Durvasa you are a good poster so don't take this as me being dismissive of you, but you need to watch them before making this statement.

    Their defensive issues are not because of their pace. They are getting totally lost on switches. There were multiple times last night where Tucker switched off his man and the other Rocket didn't so you had two guys double team someone without the ball while the ball handler was wide open and just went straight at the basket. On the perimeter they have no idea what they are supposed to be doing, frequently leaving the corner 3 open while the nearest defender throws his hands up.

    The scheme is a mess. That gets magnified by our historically poor transition defense.
     
  7. harold bingo

    harold bingo Sengun Only Fan
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    Currently 1st in offense, 1st in pace, 29th in defense. Mike D'antoni nods approvingly.
     
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  8. VooDooPope

    VooDooPope Contributing Member
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    The defense will get better as the rotation gets shored up and the players get better at knowing the rotations, communicating and helping.

    I don't expect it to be top 5 but I'd take top 15 with a top 5 offense and I think the Rockets will be alright!
     
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  9. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    I don’t feel this is so different from what I was saying. Getting lost on switches and poor transition D is largely a personnel thing, isn’t it? I’d argue it can also be attributed to our pace — playing fast and sacrificing attention to detail on defense often go hand in hand. Or are you saying we are doing something a scheme-wise that we shouldn’t be doing? I hope you’re right, because that would be more easily correctable.
     
  10. Ziggy

    Ziggy 99ers STAND BY
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    They definitely do not think defense first as a unit. You have 1 guy, in Tucker, who is always thinking defense first. Then Gordon, Harden & Westbrook who only decide to concentrate on defense situationally. Everyone has to be on the same page giving it there all at least 50% of the time in the regular season (much more in the playoffs). Right now they're doing it about 5% of the time. When the game is on the line.
     
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  11. ksny15

    ksny15 Member

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    Short of a coaching staff that preaches defense and players actually being held accountable and trying no. This is the same unit minus CP that killed it on D last year after the all star break. It can be done they just do not care.
     
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  12. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    Well I'm saying that in large part it doesn't appear the guys know the scheme. When you are watching the game it's not always clear WHAT they are trying to do. Are they trying to switch everything? Run a hybrid? (Yes I know they are trying to run a hybrid)

    Personnel is also an issue to be sure. You have two guys in Harden and Westbrook that are notoriously awful off-ball. I'm curious what their defensive rating is when both are on the court vs when one is off.

    As for pace issues, I showed in the game thread that in the past several years there have been multiple teams that are top 10 in pace and defensive rating. The Bucks, the Warriors, the Thunder, can't remember all of the ones who did it. The Rockets being almost the worst defensive in the NBA can't be excused by pace.
     
  13. Nook

    Nook Member

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    There are several issues.

    First you have a mediocre defensive coach in charge and he has made changes to how the Rockets switch and defend. That takes time to learn.

    Second you have taken away one of the leaders of the defense (Paul) and replaced him with a player from outside the organization (Westbrook).

    Also in order for the Rockets to improve enough to reach their potential, they need more disciplined length at the 3/4 and 4/5. Adding someone that is disciplined on switched that has a 7'0" wingspan at the 3/4 and/or 4/5 will make a massive difference to the Rockets. Two years ago the Rockets had two players like that in Ariza and Moute. Right now we don't have any.

    The bad news is that those 3/4 or 4/5 type swings with length are very much in demand. The good news is that the Rockets do not need one that puts the ball on the floor, creates or does much else other than rebound decently and can hit an open 3.

    There are also some discipline issues on defense with Westbrook and House and at times Harden. In order for the Rockets to maximize Tucker and for the defense to work, there has to be some level of consistency in rotations and confidence where the players on the floor will be.
     
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  14. harold bingo

    harold bingo Sengun Only Fan
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    Well unfortunately if you look at those stats, the defense was only good with CP on the floor. With CP, the defensive rating was 104.2, which would have been 1st in the entire league, even ahead of the bucks and jazz. With CP on the bench, it was 111.9, which would have put us at 22nd in the league. He was the key to our great defense.
     
  15. icewill36

    icewill36 Member

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    I think the starting lineup can get better, but off the bench the lack of athleticism is evident. Ryno, mclemore, chandler ? These guys will get abused. Rivers is a decent defender but too small.
     
  16. javal_lon

    javal_lon Member

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    Can't shoot the 50 3's MDA wants if your legs tired from sliding feet on defense... So no!
     
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  17. ksny15

    ksny15 Member

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    If that is the case then we are in trouble. I knew we would be giving up a lot with the CP3 for Westbrook swap but not that much on the defensive end.
     
  18. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    Yes. They seem to be mixing in more "non-switching" moments. Not sure if that's purposeful, or what. In either case, whatever the system is, they're not running it perfectly.

    Yes. Some will point to the fact that they were generally the same size last year, though. But the Rockets were 17th in DRtg last year, so not great, and even then it was a lot on CP3. CP3 is/was a better defender than Russ. Harden has started HORRIBLY defensively. Tucker is older. Etc.

    Yes. Hate to continue targeting Harden... but his defensive effort is horrendous. Everytime I see his guy either blow by him, back door cut him as he's paying 0 attention, or see him go for an impossible steal instead of running back to try and defend a fast break, you just want to slap him in the face. All we're talking about here is effort. You don't have to be good defensively, but try just a little.

    Organizations take on the culture of their leaders. Harden is the leader. His lack of effort permeates.

    As much as Clint has played soft... imagine being constantly berated on the defensive end by the exact dude who is the principal defensive problem.

    So, yes.

    They can get better if Harden leads on this, and they just better understand their "system" and limitations and find tricks/cheats to get around it.

    But ultimately, without that PLUS getting some legit height at the forward positions, they have no real championship aspirations, imo.
     
  19. Nook

    Nook Member

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    This.

    Running a hybrid can also be more difficult than running a straight man or switch everything. It will improve some with time and practice, I just do not know how much it will improve.

    It is an interesting situation because both have been terrible off ball before and both at different points in time have also been very good. Early in his career, Westbrook was very good and Harden was solid as well. My hope is that with Westbrook not needing to carry as big a load, he will focus more on defense. There were long periods of time the last 3-4 years where Westbrook didn't even give much effort because he was exhausted. Harden has improved off ball the last few years, but I don't know how much of that was Paul.

    The biggest personnel issue IMO is that they do not have the right style of players inside defensively. They need guys with long wingspans that are mobile and know where to be. Really, Capela doesn't fit that model and Tucker is limited have Capela next to him and vice versa. Adding athletic length inside would make a huge difference.

    Pace doesn't matter as long as you have the type of players that can defend in a fast paced games.
     
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  20. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Harden's defense hasn't been "horrible", everyone has been "horrible" in large part because they are not executing their schemes. So to put that on a single player really isn't accurate or fair. In deep the Rockets strategically want players funneled into the paint at times. Harden and Westbrook both have done that. Harden (like most players) looks far better in a disciplined defense where everyone is executing.

    As far as Capela is concerned, he has been bad and he has rightfully been pointed out because so much of what we are trying to do is centered around him providing some sort of resistance and he isn't. He is not the best fit for the pace we are playing, the personnel we have and the style we want to play. So I don't think it is an effort issue; I just think he has some limitations and this isn't the best fit anymore for his skill set.

    The Rockets are targeting the type of players that would fit their system better, but it takes two teams to make a deal and the Rockets have limitations in matching salary and trade assets.

    Turner and MDA are trying to make it work but it just isn't a great fit inside.
     
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