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The focus on defense is misplaced

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by topfive, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. topfive

    topfive CF OG
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    Offense and defense: Is one ultimately more important than the other?

    All of the hand-wringing over the hiring of Mike D'Antoni got me thinking about this topic. But let's leave our new coach out of the discussion for a moment...

    Points scored per game and points allowed per game are meaningless when it comes to wins unless considered as a pair. It's the combination of the two that results in your point differential. Outscore your opponent and you win the game, regardless of the points involved.

    The line of thinking I hear most, though, is that ideally you want that balance. Great offense and great defense, like the recent-vintage Warriors. That's great if you have the two-way talent they have, and a system to utilize it. But what if you had a mediocre defense combined with an offense that was so amazing it didn't matter? What if you could rely on your team to outscore almost anyone?

    Look at it as two mini-games: Your offense vs the Warriors defense just needs to get you more net points than their offense vs your defense. That's a tall order, but it's way more realistic than trying to out-balance them.

    "But defense wins in the playoffs."

    Um, no, it really doesn't:

    "Of the 69 NBA championships from 1947 to 2015, the league’s best defensive teams during the regular season have won ten titles – including the Warriors last year – while the best offensive teams have won seven. In the playoffs, the better defensive teams win 54.4 percent of the time, while the better offensive teams win 54.7 percent of the time – almost dead even. And among more than 55,000 regular season games, the better defensive teams win no more often than the better offensive teams." (link)

    The only thing that matters, regular season or playoffs, is very simple: Outscore your opponent.

    Getting back to MDA now. His job (and that of his staff) isn't to give us a top-10 defense, and Les knows this. It's to give us a high-octane offense that utilizes the historically good, other-worldly offensive talents of our best player, and to give us a defense at least good enough to hold the opposition to a few points less. Last season's defense fell short for whatever reason -- some combination of lack of talent and effort -- but our offense wasn't consistently burning it up either. Had the defense been better, we would have won a few more games. But the same can be said for the offense. We had lots of 20+ point blowouts, but we also had lots of close games we couldn't close out.

    This year's offense is almost guaranteed to be substantially better that McHale's and JBB's, and it's hard to imagine the defense being much worse. It falls on Morey's shoulders to upgrade the roster, and to make it better fit the new system, and that's difficult but that's not impossible. Most of our players aren't as bad as they looked last year (nor as good as they looked the year before) and we have cap space to work with. Losing Dwight will be addition-by-subtraction for the offense, provided Morey does his job on the FA and trade markets. But he also knows his owner-mandated focus is to make this team a mind-blowing offensive juggernaut. If the coaching staff can do that while getting only a marginally better defensive showing, we can do some damage much sooner than most of you seem to think.

    TL;DR: It's total BS that you have to be a great defensive team in order to win. You can be mediocre defensively and still outscore everyone.
    <BR>
     
    #1 topfive, Jun 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
  2. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Defense wins Championships - Not True<br>Final 4 teams in Offensive Efficiency <br>#1 - Warriors<br>#2 - OKC<br>#4 - Cleveland<br>#5 - Toronto<br><br>SAS was #3</p>&mdash; David Locke (@Lockedonsports) <a href="https://twitter.com/Lockedonsports/status/732244759306076161">May 16, 2016</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Best be able to shoot - Rank in EFG%<br>Warriors #1<br>Cavs #3<br>Thunder #4<br>Raptors #12</p>&mdash; David Locke (@Lockedonsports) <a href="https://twitter.com/Lockedonsports/status/732247245798539264">May 16, 2016</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Forcing turnovers doesn't seem that important<br>Warriors 18th in NBA<br>Raptors 19th<br>Cavs 22nd<br>Thunder 27th</p>&mdash; David Locke (@Lockedonsports) <a href="https://twitter.com/Lockedonsports/status/732246898405318656">May 16, 2016</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
     
  3. HadToDoItCF

    HadToDoItCF Member

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    Yeah we know Murphy and Leslie, we already saw you hire D'antoni...
     
  4. DrNuegebauer

    DrNuegebauer Member

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    So there are multiple cases of a bottom 10 defensice team winning rings???
     
  5. Le$$

    Le$$ Member

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    you cant play defense anyways now cause these guys throw it up from half court like curry or get illegal screens so shooters can get open 3pt shots. You just got to run it and get layups. this halfcourt illegal screens stuff is why gs,spurs,okc + flops get all the calls and win.
     
  6. Easy

    Easy Very Calm
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    OP, I think you are beating a straw man. The outrage about the D'Antoni hiring isn't because we all suddenly think that "defense wins championship."

    The problem is not that defense is MORE important than offense. It is that defense is AS important as offense, and we happened to have been a bad defensive team while a pretty good offensive team in the past disastrous season.

    NO ONE is arguing that you don't need a good offense to win. We are just arguing that you need also to have a decent defense, which we clearly do not have and D'Antoni clearly will not bring it.
     
  7. jk103

    jk103 Member

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    You're probably joking, but just in case

    2015 Warriors - #1 Defensive efficiency
    2014 Spurs - #4 Defensive efficiency
    2013 Heat - #7 Defensive efficiency
    2012 Heat - #4 Defensive efficiency
    2011 Mavericks - #7 Defensive efficiency
    2010 Lakers - #5 Defensive efficiency
    2009 Lakers - #5 Defensive efficiency
    2008 Celtics - #1 Defensive efficiency
    2007 Spurs - #1 Defensive efficiency
    2006 Heat - #17 Defensive efficiency *only team outside the top 10 in the last decade
    2005 Spurs - #1 Defensive efficiency
    2004 Pistons - #2 Defensive efficiency
    2003 Spurs - #1 Defensive efficiency

    2016 Houston Rockets - #20 Defensive efficiency
     
    2 people like this.
  8. topfive

    topfive CF OG
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    I look at last year as an outlier, as there were obviously very serious chemistry and effort issues. 2014-2015 is a better indication of what the current roster is capable of, and we finished were #10 in defensive efficiency. Like I said, a marginal improvement over that, combined with a scary offense, will improve us greatly.

    Is that enough to beat the Warriors? Probably not, but I say our best shot is a slightly improved defense (over 2015) coupled with what we hope will be a high-powered offense.
     
  9. rox4lyf

    rox4lyf Member

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    No idea who this Locke dude is but he conveniently omits the defensive rankings of these teams. You will see that you need a combination of good defense and good offense to win a championship. It's not one or the other. Shame on you for reposting this trash.
     
  10. choujie

    choujie Member

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    Hope you understand outscore means the sum of offense and defense, not offense only.

    To have a better change to win Championship, you need offense AND defense.

    A #10 offensive rating with #30 defensive rating team is not likely to outscore a #15 offensive rating with #5 defensive rating team in a 7 game series.

    Rockets was terrible on one end of the floor, so it needs more improvement than the other end.
     
  11. Swish4fives

    Swish4fives Member

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    It's a good attempt at a spin on the situation but you obviously need a team that can perform well on both sides.
     
  12. napalm06

    napalm06 Fertitta-McNair School of Management
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    Things like turnovers and defensive rebounds spur the very offense Dantoni runs. It's hard to run a fluid offense when you're inbounding it every time. That makes a huge difference.
     
  13. aussie rocket

    aussie rocket Member

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    "Every possession you get a stop, that's one less possession you have to score"

    One of my junior coaches. RIP Dudley Billing
     
  14. waytookrzy079

    waytookrzy079 Member

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    Agreed.

    I live in Cleveland so naturally I'm rooting for the Cavs in the finals. I told several people prior to game 3 that if Kevin Love doesn't play-regardless of who replaces him in the starting lineup, Cavs win Game 3. Why? Kevin Love can't play defense to save his life.

    You're not gonna beat GSW with great offense. You can't match them offensively. Only way to counter their attack is solid defense. Having an old Richard Jefferson gave GSW more fits with his defense than Love did with his offense.

    Great teams have balance on both sides of the ball. This is what made the Rockets a special team last year and complete joke this year.
     
  15. DrNuegebauer

    DrNuegebauer Member

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    I'm shocked that we were that good last year :eek:

    Thought we'd be bottom 5 for sure...
     
  16. Phillyrocket

    Phillyrocket Member

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    Game. Set. Match.
     
  17. Shroopy2

    Shroopy2 Contributing Member

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    With this team, its "easier" to get offensive improvement over defensive improvement.

    Offense was improved mostly by SCHEME, almost regardless of the coach. The GM and analytics handled that.

    Defense requires STRONG coaching with structure of accountability. You can't have an accidentally-good d. It has to be a conscious approach.

    Its not about Defense-Over-Offense theory. Because yes good O is needed too. Its more about the type of coaching candidate. Its about getting the hardest to get type of coach, the type that makes a difference on D and gets players to buy in. Than the coach who's more dime-a-dozen.

    If the assistant "coordinator coach" works, then thats where you can have best of both.
     
  18. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member
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    Not really, it's much easier to improve from being the 21st rated defense in the league to something more respectable than it is to improve an offense that's already the 7th most efficient in the NBA.

    Sure there's room to improve both, but it's a LOT easier to stop sucking on defense than it is to perfect the offense.
     
  19. topfive

    topfive CF OG
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    Especially after a year in which a horrible start and ongoing chemistry issues combined to form a defense where most of the players barely gave a sh!t. Bringing in a new staff and dealing with those chemistry problems will go a long way to improve that.
     
  20. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Member

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    Yes, the focus on defense was definitely misplaced.
     

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