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The Houston Rockets Defense: Perception vs. Reality

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by crash5179, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    Regarding the Rockets Defense

    Wing Defenders are bad or horrible – Perception

    Last season the Rockets had Kyle Lowry, Courtney Lee a full season and Shane Battier most of the season and all are considered very good to elite level defenders. All were able to effect games on the defensive side of the board. This season the team still has Lowry and Lee while McHale has already said that Terrence Williams has the ability to be an elite level defender. Kevin Martin is average to poor as is Chase Budinger but neither are as bad as some people try to pretend. When Shane was traded and Chase was inserted into the starting line-up the defense did not suddenly get bad.

    There were a lot of situations last season where the defense was very good…. For the first 24 seconds. But when your defense can not secure a defensive rebound the opposing team tends to get 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances to score points and this was the issue that happened time and time again to the point where is was ready to throw stuff at my TV.

    Kyle Lowry and Courtney Lee will continue to be outstanding wing defenders and Terrence Williams has a chance to make a difference with a new coaching staff. Terrence has been a good defender in the past and Kevin McHale seems to have taken notice of him in the early portions of training camp. The defense by the teams Point Guards, Shooting Guards or Small Forwards is not this teams problems.

    Post Defenders are bad or horrible – Fact

    The Rockets best post defenders last season were Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson and Jordan Hill. Hayes as we all know is a great one on one defender and can change the game guarding multiple positions and he is so strong he can usually just push his man out of the paint. However his weaknesses are that defenders can shoot over him, he does not protect the rim and while he is a good rebounder, he has trouble getting the defensive rebounds at crucial points of the game when the opposing teams have a pair of bigs in the post 6’11” or taller.

    Patterson looked like a very solid defender last season when he started getting playing time. But the season was almost half over before he started to get meaningful minutes. Pat had much better athleticism than anticipated with great jumping ability as well as some ability to block shots. Pat looked like he could become a very good rebounder as he had some really good games rebounding the ball but there were also games that he was not very effective rebounding. Pat has the best combination of strength and athleticism of all the Rockets post players and looks to have the best all around game but he is still developing.

    Jordan Hill is by far the most frustrating of all the Rockets post players. Although Jordan is not as strong as Pat or Chuck he is a true 6’10” player that showed he could crab rebounds and block shots at critical times in the game. When Jordan has his head on straight he looks like a game changing defender but he rarely buts that type of effort together for two halves and has a tendency to go on long stretches that sometimes last multiple games where he just seems to be running around the court in a haze or day dreaming. Just about the time I will say I’ve seen enough of Jordan he will have a monster half playing defense, rebounding and guarding the basket. I think this year is but up or go away for Jordan.

    Luis Scola is one of my favorite players but he could not spell defense if you spotted him all three e’s as well as the d and the n. Scola went to the school of flopping and allowed them to convince him that was how you play defense. To Scola’s credit he is a good rebounder but like Chuck, he lacks the athleticism to get defensive rebounds at critical times of the games which allows teams 2nd, 3rd or even 4th chances at scoring.

    As a unit they are mostly responsible for the team’s lack luster defense ability last season. With no-one that has shown the ability to consistently protect the rim or get defensive rebounds during critical times of the games. With Chuck taking his talents to Sacramento, there is no proven man to man post defender. From the current group of players we have to hope that Jordan learns to bring the same effort and concentration every night and both halves and we need to see if Pat can continue to grow into a solid defender for a full season as the team increases his playing time.

    I have no reason for hope regarding Hasheem Thabeet. If the Rockets don’t sign Samuel Dalembert then I’m guessing he will have his chance to prove me and a lot of people wrong or right.

    Defensive Conclusion

    The lack of defensive Rebounding at critical stages of the game and shot blocking is the main reason for the Rockets poor defensive performances. I have never seen a team give the opposition more 2nd, 3rd and 4th chance scoring opportunities as the Rockets did last season. If the Rockets can land Samuel Dalembert he will instantly be the best defensive rebounder and shot blocker the Rockets have had since Dream and yes Sam is a better rebounder / shot blocker IMO than Yao was (no disrespect to Yao). The one single thing that hurt the Rockets defense more than anything the last two seasons was not having Yao in the paint for the wing players to funnel their man to. Not having Yao Ming to collect defensive rebounds, block and alter shots is the one thing that the Rockets have not been able to replace. Not having Yao or someone to defend the basket and get critical defensive rebounds to prevent 2nd, 3rd and 4th chance scoring opportunities is the single root cause for the defensive issues of the Rockets. Change that and the Rockets go from being a very poor defensive team to a good defensive team, they go from being a borderline play-off team that drafts 14 every year to a team that could be seated as high as 5 or even 4 so long as there is not a major offensive drop in production this season.
     
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  2. iconoclastic

    iconoclastic Member

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    Except replacing Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola with Samuel Dalembert and Patrick Patterson would lose us as much offense as we gain on defense.
     
  3. pmac

    pmac Contributing Member

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    I apreciate the analysis but if Kevin Martin was close to an average defender he'd be a superstar.
     
  4. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    I don't know about that. Not looking to replace Scola just yet but Pat lookes to have a high ceiling on the offensive end. He has the post moves and proved he had a very good stroke from the outside last season and shooting a very high percentage.

    Sam can score just as well as Chuck and even bring some ally oops to the center position. Chuck was an exceptional passer though and that part of his offense is going to be missed.
     
  5. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    I think average to poor is exactly correct. A lot of people grab perception and then exaggerate on that. Martin is not a good defender but not as bad as people like to make out either.
     
  6. BC51fan

    BC51fan Member

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  7. Hakeemtheking

    Hakeemtheking Member

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    Really enjoyed reading this. I would only disagree that Cbud and Martin could be average to below average defenders. Imo, they are both atrocious at defense, often making opposing scrubs look like allstars when playing us. Other than that, great write up.
     
  8. pmac

    pmac Contributing Member

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    There used to be a website by the name of hoopnumbers that had Martin ranked as the second worst defender in the nba (according to his defensive adjusted +/- right behind Aaron Brooks). Also you can check his overall adjusted plus minus on basketballvalue.com. He is a net negative by that measure and considering he's an elite scorer it is only reasonable to say he must be an atrocious defender.
     
  9. RudyTBag

    RudyTBag Contributing Member
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    Our perimeter defense is absurdly ****ty. Chuck Hayes had to guard Martin/Budinger & Scola's man, as well as his own. Chuck is a fantastic, FANTASTIC, help defender, and he was the "Tebow" of timely rebounds. We are going to wake up to the harsh reality that Chuck was the last Gundy remnant that was holding this team together on defense.

    1. Kevin Martin tries to play defense, but there is only so much you can do when you are a 145lb fairy.
    2. Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger are cannon fodder for superstars. They don't play physical and they do not have the length to Battier-contest shots.
     
  10. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    Disagree on a couple of points:

    1st - I'm not sure what you are considering timely rebounds but the Rockets were attrocious at limiting the opposition at one shot a possession last season perticularly in the 4th quarter and even when Chuck was in the game. Chuck is a good rebounder as is Luis but both were lacking in that department when it really counted. We all witnessed that over and over and over last season. (BTW, I love Chuck as a defender and think he is one of the elite man on man defenders in the game)

    2nd - Courtney Lee is a terrific defender and made some game changing defensive plays last season. His ability gets stretched when he tries to guard some of the small forwards in this game because he is just not big enough.
     

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