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Morey: What works and what doesn't

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by DarkHorse, Nov 19, 2015.

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How is Morey doing?

  1. Analytics is working for both talent acquisition and for efficiency on the court

    30 vote(s)
    35.7%
  2. Analytics is only working for talent acquisition

    37 vote(s)
    44.0%
  3. Analytics is only working for improving the Rocket's efficiency on the court

    7 vote(s)
    8.3%
  4. Analytics is killing the team

    10 vote(s)
    11.9%
  1. DarkHorse

    DarkHorse Contributing Member

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    What with the chatter about Morey being on the hotseat, let's take a look at what was working for the Rockets last season, and what changes Morey is responsible for in terms of what's going on this season.


    There are 3 main areas outside of "the players need to play better" that we can point to as potential reasons for the Rockets struggles this season:
    1. Coaching - Rotations, play calling, execution, accountability
    2. Strategy/Game philosphy - 3's and layups, attack in transition offense, no mid range game, Lack of post game, Pick & Roll?
    3. Personnel - Chemistry, mix of talent, strengths that match offensive/defensive philosophy

    I would argue that to have a truly successful team, at least 2 of those areas need to improve substantially.

    Last season, with McHale, the coaching was pretty poor in terms of rotations, play calling, and accountability, but the execution was generally good. This is where a lot of the narrative that the team was good "despite McHale" stems from, and why people have been calling for his head.

    But the philosophy and personnel are all on Morey. In terms of philosophy, the preference for 3's and layups, as well as the aggressive attacking in transition offense seemed to both work pretty well last season, and well as mesh well with the personnel. (Harden was built for the 3's and layups offense. Ariza is a decent 3 and D guy, Beverley is a poorer version of that, and has regressed on both fronts. Brewer and Terry, at least last season, worked well pushing the offense in transition. DMo provided a capable presence down low to run some post play, but he was pretty much the only one. Dwight tends to stagnate the offense when they try to go to him. I have no idea why they don't run more pick and roll with Dwight. Jones tends to get more "open guy" or "garbage man" looks)


    This season, the team has been a hot mess.

    They seem to have weirdly gone away from the high pick and roll, seem to be attacking less, and the number of 3's taken has gone through the roof. I don't know if this is coaching, poor decisions by the players, or a deliberate offensive philosophy, but I think many people suspect the latter.

    While it's probably premature to grade the most recent offseason acquisitions, the early returns are not great. Having said that, the acquisition of Lawson without giving up anyone significant, at least on paper, seems like an incredible coup. Capella, D-Mo, the Harden trade, the Dwight signing, the Ariza signing, and many other positive moves in the past seem to point to Morey knowing what he's doing from a talent acquisition standpoint, or at the very least being smart from a metagame "playing the market well" kind of way.




    His main jobs have been talent acquisition and helping to define the team's on court philosophy's. (both theoretically using a data driven approach)

    So the question is, how would you grade Morey to this point?
     
    #1 DarkHorse, Nov 19, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  2. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos Pay tucker
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    The offensive strategy worked against LAC in a fluky sort of way, 9 times out of 10 they would decimate us just like they did the first 4 games, and it was terribly exposed against GS.

    When the game slows down you have to be versatile. Can't turn players into 1 trick ponies that know how to just run up to the 3pt line and fire.
     
  3. ISOBall

    ISOBall Member

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    Beautiful basketball = Beautiful chemistry

    Rockets will never win a championship using the Moreyball system
     
  4. ibm

    ibm Member

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    i have long wondered if and how one can use analytics to quantify and evaluate the mental side of the ball.

    character, toughness, drive, determination, psychology patterns, etc.
     
  5. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

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    You need efficient shooters in this "system" to be successful. Ariza was the only player Morey has signed that had historical evidence of being really good at specific areas.

    Beverly is an average 3 point shooter at best
    Terry is good but he can't sustain big minutes anymore
    Harden is streaky from behind the 3
     
  6. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

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    I've denied it since Harden was traded here but I think the best way to quantify the mental side of the ball is how hard a player works on the defensive end. Even Reggie Miller tried hard on defense in his prime.
     
  7. bulkatron

    bulkatron Member

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    With regards to game planning, analytics tells you what shots to get, what shots are your bread and butter, which way people tend to drive when defending them, efficiency running specific sets, added value for each shot/pass/drive at any given position on any given set, etc...

    It does NOT tell you how to get those shots, when to shoot and when to pass, how to make switches, what to do with running or defending a pick and roll, when you need to ignore the math a bit and go for what makes the most sense in the current situation - that's COACHING. We never had that part down.

    The two work hand in hand. Neither is a replacement for the other.


    With regards to team building, analytics gives you concepts of added value, which ideally you interpolate into your own sets to get a sense of where you can find hidden value. For example, players utilized in offenses that minimize their talents but have shown glimpses of stardom in certain sets or situations. Harden and Khris Middleton are two great recent examples of this. You can extend this logic to finding duos, trios, etc... that have unusual synergy together, whether in specific offensive sets or just in general.

    Analytics doesn't tell you about chemistry issues, work ethic, extracurricular stuff like when PG3 reportedly stole Hibbert's girl, anything that you can't quantify or extrapolate. This is the concept of variance in statistics. You can take raw stats and figure out how much of a given outcome you can expect that stat to explain in a model. You'll never have a model that explains 100% of production, if for nothing else, then the random nature of sports. But there's probably a significant portion of production that you simply cannot predict, and that's where you need someone who really understands these relationships the players have with each other, on and off the court. This is where analytics fails, and you need someone who just understands human nature, specifically of these athletes.

    Again, analytics is a powerful tool. But it's only part of the puzzle.
     
  8. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    This. So much this.

    I mean hot damn, I was sure that Morey would pursue true shooters this offseason. Volume vs efficiency just doesn't work when shooters are slumping. It boggles my mind that Morey has not put enough effort thus far into a true sniper who can play serious minutes.

    I am fine with the nature of the system, but if we continue with inefficient shooters playing big minutes it will never win.
     
  9. rocketsballin

    rocketsballin Member

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    the post game will come with a healthy dwight and dmo. it seems like a lot of rockets fans fell for the media hate and forgot how dominant dwight is when he's healthy, avg 26 and 13in his first playoffs stint with the rockets, being guarded by robin lopez who had his best season that year.

    and dont forget about dmo. arguably thist eams best post player. and was on the verge of being a stretch 4 last season.

    i still beleive this rockets team can be unbeatable, all they need is to get healthy! one thing overlooked about the shooters is that since the bigs are missing games, more of the offense is on the shooters, which means more defense focused on them. not excusing them for missing wide open jumpers but still thry
     
  10. Dmo for 3mo

    Dmo for 3mo Member

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    Any system that focuses on the quality of the shot instead of the quality of the player taking the shot. I want to see team basketball (spurs, hawks, gs) something in that mold.
     
  11. sealclubber1016

    Supporting Member

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    Is there some aspect of Moreyball that says you can't run an offense? I am completely on board with 3's and layups, but I am not OK with dribbling and just jacking up contested 3's.

    I have trouble believing that Morey thinks the best offense doesn't involve any kind of cutting or ball movement, because that's preposterous. There is no branch of analytics that says a contested 3 is a good shot.
     
  12. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    He did get Thornton.

    At the end of the day, you get the best players you can get and if they're not great shooters you at least have them take the correct shots. It might not look pretty, but 33% from 3 is still better than 45% from mid range. And I don't think anyone would question the ethos of getting to the rim and the FT line.

    A real stretch-4 would do wonders though. We'll see what happens when D-Mo gets back.
     
  13. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    So much of that is just Harden though.
     
  14. zcarenow

    zcarenow Member

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    What you need to work moreyball efficiently is a Ryan Anderson, Kyle Korver, and Chris Middleton kind of guys....or Jason Terry in his prime
     
  15. zcarenow

    zcarenow Member

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    and a light version of olajuwon's post ups to keep the perimeter defense honest.
     
  16. sealclubber1016

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    Our entire offense is just Harden, and that's the problem.If Harden is flat our refusing to runs plays then we have a major problem, but from what I see we don't have plays. We dribble the ball up, 2 guys run to the corners, Harden Iso's or runs a PnR. That is literally every half court set.

    If they double team Harden, we're f**ked because nobody else has any clue what to do. If Hardens not in the game we usually look completely impotent.

    If Morey want's us to run that "offense" then we will never win anything, but I can't possibly believe that is what Morey actually wants.
     
  17. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Member

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    I think it also has to do with the recruiting process as well as playing defense.
     
  18. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Member

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    I think analytics can work if the process is completed. That includes adding the right coach to the mix. For this team to have the success they would have to get a more defensive minded cloach at the helm.
     
  19. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

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    The MAIN problem, the one that we're all aware of but didn't link the two together, is that Morey's emphasis on shooting 3s and getting points in the paint is his lack of talk or discussion about defense. You can build the greatest offensive system ever seen in NBA history but if you don't put some focus/resource into defense you're toast.

    Getting Howard to anchor your defense was a great move but he was coming off of injuries.

    Getting Ariza was smart but that was only due to Parsons grabbing max dollars in Dallas.

    Getting Brewer was a steal but that was only due to him getting out of Minnesota.

    The championship Rockets teams won with shooting a lot of 3s and scoring in the post but they also had average to elite defense.
     
  20. SemisolidSnake

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    Personally, ever since I found out about the Rockets' extreme, analytics-influenced reliance on threes, I said, "We're not winning a championship this way."

    It's just a such a difficult shot to rely on even if it does give you 50% more points. Threes also often produce long rebounds, making for easy fast breaks unless your team is trained to hunt those down and run the court. The Rockets do not do that.

    Also, any sort of large-sample mathematical analysis saying threes are the way to go needs to work on a game-by-game level as well. That means, you need your shooters to CONSISTENTLY hit at least 33% of threes. The Rockets may be the most inconsistent team in the NBA. A consistent high-percentage of threes requires smart ball movement to get a shooter an open, uncontested shot. This is where Popovich succeeds where we fail. The Rockets have sticky-ball movement and struggle mightily with the concept of inside-out play. Our big guys are not good assisters to the outside shooters.

    Let us not forget that every team will be a different animal to play, so there needs to be compensation for that in order to bring consistency game-by-game.

    The overall point is that it's not just about about strategy winning the day. There's are all sorts tactical and reflexive skills that need to be properly learned, honed, and applied to make "the system" work as intended. Again, the Rockets are extremely inconsistent, so trying to force a system that demands consistency on to them is counterproductive and fails dramatically once you face a team like the Warriors that IS a model of consistency.

    I'd rather the biggest superstar on our team be our coach, and have him be capable of making quick corrective adjustments within each game.
     

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