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The Rockets and Small Ball. A Post I Wrote Before the NBA Draft, Unedited.

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by jtr, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

    Dec 4, 2011
    Likes Received:
    It has been sitting around forgotten for a couple of weeks.

    I almost never post anything from the start of the NBA playoffs until the beginning of the preseason. Fans expectations during that time can become so unbearable. This off season I have been thinking a bit about the Rockets prospects in 2015-2016. Last season was a gut check on the Rockets organization. Unbelievably strange and unusual injuries to normally healthy players. A decimated roster at times. The WC finals missing D-Mo and Beverley. The players, the coaching staff and most of all Morey stepping up time and time again. So, I thought I would organize some of my thoughts and write them down on virtual paper.

    The Draft:
    This draft for Houston is just a red herring to pique fan's interest without any chance of obtaining a player that will move the needle for the Rockets next season. Tyus Jones anyone? Can he ever overcome his lack of height, his lack of athleticism and most importantly of all his lack of quickness? I do know that some strong analytic forums like nyloncalculus have projected Jones as a top draft pick.(2) Almost every board from draftexpress to nbadraft to Ford's predictions have the Rockets taking Jones at 18. But the guy is short and slow and not athletic by NBA standards, without a great wingspan. Curry and Paul are not athletic by NBA standards, but they are lightning quick.

    The draft for the Rockets, sitting with the #18 pick, is almost inconsequential. I expect Morey to go with BPA at #18. The most interesting possibility I can see is if Kelly Oubre falls to #18. Now there is a young athlete in the vein of Capela who could make a difference down the road. If Oubre is there I expect Morey to jump all over him. Not for next season but in a couple of years after development.

    The Defense:
    The Rockets in the playoffs started to switch everything on defense. Especially against the Warriors when it became obvious that Terry and Prigs could not make it over the top of the screen to bother Curry's shot. An excellent strategy. The top two defenses in the NBA last season, the Bucks and the Warriors, relied heavily on this tactic. But for the Rockets it broke down because whomever Terry/Prigs switched onto became the focal point of the opponent's offense. Beverley suffered the same fate to a lesser degree in the regular season.(1) That is why I could see Morey drafting Wright or Grant. At 6'4”+ they can switch on defense and be effective. But no matter what they are not adding wins next season to this Rockets roster.

    And the Rockets have to attempt to simplify their defensive strategy. Currently without switching Howard, Ariza, D-Mo and Beverley work. Harden works when he cares enough. Capela showed promise at times in the playoffs, in limited minutes against backups. The rest of the roster are not exceptional at classic NBA defensive schemes, but they can handle switching just fine, and so would benefit greatly from a switch on screened defensive philosophy. They are for the most part long and athletic. Terry and Prigs are just not going to work in that defensive strategy because they cannot handle the switch consistently. GS picked on them unmercifully on switches. Harden works defending Green. Prigs or Terry not so much. Over or under the screen becomes irrelevant when the defense switches. Switching cuts down immensely on shooters like Curry's space. A Harden sized point guard would help immensely in the future. But probably not next season.

    And the Rockets need to become better on defense. Howard screaming at Jones and Smith versus GS for not making the appropriate defensive switch onto the center when Howard has to rotate to a penetrating wing has to stop. During the regular season D-Mo just glared at Dorsey and Black and Smith. It was an evil, you drop dead glare. And that does not mean getting rid of Howard. It means that Jones and Smith have to learn basic NBA defensive principles. D-Mo learned them so why can't Smith and Jones? Good one on one defense is much less valuable than fitting into the overall NBA defensive scheme. Wing defense is somewhat of a concern but the Rockets do have the long quick personnel to excel. Howard may never get comfortable out of the paint, and that is very concerning when facing Warriors small ball. And the Rockets will see a lot of small ball because everyone is going to attempt to emulate GS. The NBA is a copy cat league if nothing else. However teams will be limited by personnel because finding a player like Green who can defend the paint and still function offensively and defensively around the arc is challenging to say the least. That is where D-Mo becomes so critically important.

    Small Ball:
    The overriding story this season was the Warriors small ball. Derived from the work of Nelson two decades ago and D'Antonio in Phoenix, the system finally won a championship. Defending small ball depends on having defensive help from the weak side to cover the paint and the defensive ability to recover to their marks when the ball swings around the court. If there is no recovery there is no defense against the wide open 3 point shot from the corner after the skip pass. If NBA teams whole sale adopt small ball, players like Hibbert and Bogut become irrelevant. And maybe Howard also. Unless of course Howard can change. It could happen but I have seen no sign of it yet. But what really matters when designing a defensive system to counter small ball?

    1. You must have a quick mobile center, comfortable on the perimeter, who is capable of switching onto smaller players on defense.
    2. Every player must be fast, and capable of recovering to their mark after diving to protect the paint from the weak side or coming off of double teams.
    3. You have to have several players who can comfortably guard almost every position on the court. If a player gets caught on an inappropriate offensive player, like Curry on Cousins, help must come quickly and recovery needs to be swift.
    4. Every player on the court has to be a more than competent NBA defensive player.
    5. You have to have a defense that creates turnovers and fast breaks and an offense that can overcome losing the offensive rebounding battle and the points the offense generates from just overpowering your players around the rim.

    It is more of a personnel issue than a learning issue. Every competent NBA player understands switching on defense. The Warriors implemented it mid-season.
    Because the Rockets have Smith, Harden, Ariza and D-Mo implementing a small ball defense will probably be much easier for the home team than many teams in the NBA. But wait you should be saying right now. That is not the Warriors small ball because the players range from 6'6” to 7'0”. And that is exactly the point. The Rockets can implement a Warriors (and Bucks) style defense without giving up size to any team but the biggest in the NBA. The most basic tenet of the Warriors small ball defense is to have players that can switch everything and get away with it most of the time. Admittedly the Rockets do not have Green. And the Rockets may never have a player like Green because he may be unique in the NBA. The Rockets would be surrendering some points on a Green-Curry P&R simply because D-Mo may not be able to keep up with Curry. But Curry is certainly no Westbrook, D-Mo is really quick for a seven footer, and the Beverley-Green match up would probably be significantly worse. But next to Green, D-Mo may be the best center candidate for small ball in the NBA. WCS should be drafted in the top five simply because he, like Green, can defend any player on the floor.

    The principles of small ball offense are probably familiar to everyone. It is the old Donny Nelson 5 out offense. What type of player makes this offensive system work? Everyone has to be a threat from downtown. Everyone has to be at least competent at passing. And everyone has to have great foot speed.

    1. Every player must be a threat from beyond the arc. They do not have to shoot lights out, Green only shot 31.7% from downtown last season, but that is still a threat. Green generated 0.87 PPP from three point land last season. LMA generated 0.86 PPP from mid-range last season.
    2. Every player must be able to make the appropriate pass. With 5 out traps on the perimeter will occur with some frequency. Making that skip pass across the court becomes a necessity.
    3. While not an absolute requirement, every player on the Warriors small ball lineup can put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim. But being a decent ball handler is critical. A player must be able to dribble under pressure and maintain control.
    4. Having a great penetrating wing would be an incredible luxury in a 5 out offensive set. GS had absolutely no one on Harden's level as a dribble drive penetrator. Harden would have many 40 point games if the Rockets adopted the 5 out offensive system full time for no other reason than the shot blockers will be following D-Mo around on the perimeter.

    Golden State inverts the normal offensive lineup and brings their power forward and center out to the arc in the center of the court. The wings, normally out top many times occupy the deep corners. But there will be Curry or Thompson out running the P&R with their bigs. This leads to odd defensive alignments that look like this:

    <a href="http://imgur.com/8gGusON"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/8gGusON.png" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>

    The paint in such an offensive set is invariably sparsely populated, leading to lightly contested shots close to the rim. These are the most efficient shots in basketball. For a complete breakdown of Golden States offense see (4).

    The Rockets do have an almost viable small ball lineup on offense in place for next season. D-Mo, Smith, Ariza, Harden and Bev. The fulcrum of that lineup is of course D-Mo punishing lesser players in the post at times and shooting over larger slower players from the corners with Harden penetrating a sparsely occupied paint. If D-Mo comes back healthy next season and manages to progress in his ability to shoot from beyond the arc to say 41% for the season (what he averaged last season for the last three months) D-Mo becomes a very dangerous player. Add that to his NBA leading FG% in the post and an excellent second in the league 0.98 PPP in the post, he may be able to punish other teams unmercifully. I would explain it but it is obvious.

    Brewer, if he could actually shoot the three ball anywhere close to league average would be a perfect small ball offensive player. He has a handle just good enough to get to the basket reliably if the paint defense is sparse. And he is fast, lightening fast. But the defender will just play five feet off of him and dare him to shoot.

    But then there is Howard. The Rockets have $20+M of cap space tied up there. And if Howard is healthy and playing like he does in the playoffs, the Rockets have no real reason to go small on offense next season. Howard can just be that good still at 30 years old. On both sides of the ball. But the calculus changes immensely if Howard again goes down with an injury. Or if Green is the center when facing GS.

    The Offense:
    On offense, short of bringing in a Paul, a Conley, or a Westbrook, Harden will remain the de facto point guard. The fact of the matter is that Harden, with the ball in his hands, generated more PPP than any other player in the NBA last season. But then there are those turnovers. Having a healthy D-Mo and his post game back will help somewhat, but certainly D-Mo is not anywhere near a complete answer. The ideal player for the Rockets offense does exist in the draft, but unfortunately his name is D'Angelo Russell and he will never make it past the Knicks at the fourth pick. Having a healthy Beverley back may solve the problem. While Beverley is no Paul with the ball he sported a healthy point guard assist: turnover ratio last season of 2.2:1. People in every nook and cranny of the internet are proclaiming Llull as the answer. I just do not see it. Euroleague, while much better than NCAA Division 1 basketball, is a far cry from the NBA. Llull could come over and be like a deer caught in the headlights. I view that outcome as at least as likely as Llull coming over and averaging his Euroleague 10/1.7/5.8 line.(3) Best case is Llull becomes Beverley without the bull dog defense but maybe with some P&R utility.

    However, even without a PG upgrade, the ball handling duties can be spread around the roster to other players in many situations. Harden is a double team magnet out there. Even when Harden does not have the ball defenses shade towards him. Smith, Jones, Beverley and Ariza can take the ball up the court in most circumstances. Initiating a high pick and roll with the ball in D-Mo's hands is very similar to initiating it with the ball in Harden's hands. Hand offs are part of every NBA players skill set. D-Mo, Smith and other players have the ability to hit from the top of the key cutters and players coming off of screens at the rim. I expect McHale will integrate more of these actions into the offense this off season.

    In Conclusion:
    NBA small ball is coming to an arena near you next season. Every coaching staff is clustered together right now trying to map their roster into some, at times demented, version of the GS system. But that does not mean it will succeed in most cases. But for a roster constructed like Houston's small ball holds great promise. Long, athletic, quick, with a made to order paint protector and three point specialist like D-Mo, Morey has little to do to enable McHale and the coaching staff to implement a very effective small ball offense and defense.

    I do expect Morey to make small adjustments to the Rockets roster. However, I believe he will just be making small adjustments, not tearing it down yet again. Changing the identity of a WC finals team is probably not in the cards. And realistically, every team improves with experience in their offensive and defensive systems and with greater familiarity with their teammates. That certain improvement is contingent of Morey not turning the roster over this off season yet again. And Morey has never had a roster this close to making it to the NBA finals.

    However, the coaching staff and the players have their work cut out this off season. A fully integrated Howard into the defense against the Warriors small ball is a necessity. And that is going to take practice time. Immense amounts of it. They probably will work on a small ball offense with D-Mo at the center position. It seems a natural fit to the roster. Perhaps with D-Mo, Smith, Brewer, Harden and someone at the point guard position. That would be an incredibly difficult lineup for most second strings to handle. That would be an incredibly difficult lineup for most starting units to defend.

    Trades are probably off the table. The Rockets have exactly three valuable trade assets. Harden, Howard and Ariza. All of them will be off the table, because without them the Rockets have no chance to complete for the 'ship next season. I would normally include D-Mo, but he is injured and probably cannot pass a physical yet.

    Some will stand up and cite Kpap's non-guaranteed contract as an asset. The trade season does not start until July 4th. Tax penalties are computed on July 1st. Non-guaranteed contracts can be valuable at the trade deadline. They are significantly less so during the summer. Basically they are a tool in the summer to match salaries. Nothing more.

    (1) Beverley actually was a good defender last season on the perimeter. When he got switched onto a much larger player he broke down badly around the basket. The guy is six feet tall. In shoes.
    <a href="http://imgur.com/bhRvq5P"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/bhRvq5P.png" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>
    (2) http://nyloncalculus.com/2015/06/15/an-easier-to-interpret-nba-draft-model/
    (3) Llull can generate assists. But can he do anything at all well against the much much stiffer competition in the NBA? That remains to be seen. But an average NBA PG is better by a long shot than the best Euroleague PG. In addition Llull shot this season 38% from downtown, a sterling performance if it had been in the NBA with its extended arc and its much much better defenders. I do not understand why anyone would expect Llull to do as well in the NBA.
    <a href="http://imgur.com/KnyeLLD"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/KnyeLLD.png" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>
    A question. Does Jeremy Lin put up 20/7/8 for Real Madrid in the 28 minutes Llull got last season? I think it would be a real possibility. Heck, in Euroleague an assist is registered if the player receiving the pass goes to the foul line.
    (4) <p><span><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/o3sC6-f3q9E" frameborder="0"></iframe></span></p>
    For a much more in depth and generalized discussion of the Warrior's small ball offense and defense, please read the exceptional article at:
  2. J Sizzle

    J Sizzle Member

    Feb 27, 2012
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    Very good read and interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
  3. jbasket

    jbasket Member

    Jan 26, 2012
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    I have some qualms with the post.

    Not directed at you, but it is disappointing when people do not count quickness and the first step as athleticism. That is arguably the most important aspect of a player's game. What's the point of jumping high if you can't beat your man off the dribble? As a guard, you are basically use-less. Better be able to shoot the 3 lights out then.

    The Defense:

    They would have done this with Beverley as well.

    This was not the main reason for defensive breakdowns in the playoffs. Did it hurt? Yea, sure. I don't know about you, but I would easily take the Green post-up on Terry and Curry iso on Jones/Smith.

    Clarify this. Are you saying traditional PnR defense works with everybody but Harden?

    DMo is not good at hedging PnRs.

    Good luck :)

    Explain this more.

    This really was not the weakness in the defense. It starts and ends with Harden. Did Terry and Prigs stretch the Rockets D? Sure. But they did better than most people believed they would. Also, this is what Howard is for.

    In a vacuum, but with Howard, the post-up option with Green was not the devastating play.

    This was also not a main problem of the defense. Often, it is not the PF who should be rotating over even. And Bogut was not in the game for long anyways? It contradicts your point about the usefulness of small ball if you mention the breakdown a C brings to the table.

    The whole interior defense with DMo at center was not a pleasant thing to watch. It is blindness if you think DMo was not a contributor to the problem here. Ironically enough, Harden was the one who stepped up his game the most in the paint to make up for Howard's absence.

    Well I am glad we are in accord here.

    Smith knows it. Like his offense, it's hit or miss. Jones has some awful-looking plays, but it is not as prevalent as previously in his career. This is making it seem like they are chickens with their head cut off?

    Has he? It seems that if one poster says it, then 3 repeat it, then it branches out and is accepted like truth.

    Depends on the scheme.

    It seems with your criteria, every team will have perimeter defense concern. Harden aside, it is not a weakness.

    What? Howard was the only thing that held together the Rockets defense (+ Ariza) per usual. The only thing holding him back was his injury.

    No, this is not where DMo becomes so critically important.

    Great, some more DMo homerism. Like we haven't seen enough since a sub-par Jones playoff series. This is almost like a cleverly-disguised DMo appreciation thread. DMo got worked on defense against GS during the regular season, and he struggles defending out on the perimeter. Some people really have selective memory when it comes with DMo.

    Small Ball

    Players like Hibbert who put up 0 0 statlines will become irrelevant either way. Howard will never become irrelevant, and GS should thank their lucky stars he was injured.

    Howard was not the weakness of our defense in small-ball. He is never the weakness in any defense we will play. They can throw 5 PGs out there, and Howard will still be our most important link.

    You mean, Howard?

    Eh, Curry wasn't. Not a necessary requirement.

    One of these things is not like the other.

    If I was coach, I wouldn't be ok with Smith and D-Mo shooting several threes a game. Players still collapse off those two, eliminating the purpose of small-ball. So far, D-Mo has had one season of plus 3 point shooting, and is a career 60% FT shooter. We need more sample size of his shooting ability before proclaiming him the small ball savior here.

    And we couldn't with that line-up above.

    This would be the biggest small-ball weakness ever! This is exactly why D-Mo would get pulled.

    D-Mo vs. Curry is much less favorable compared to Beverley vs. Green.

    You really need to lay off the D-Mo obsession here. This is a ROLE player we are discussing here whom was losing minutes to Jones and Smith, before Jones had that weird lung issue.

    This is almost as bad as Mavs fans salivating over Parsons.

    D-Mo is questionable for these policies.

    As repeated, D-Mo has had one season of plus shooting. Let's not bank a whole offensive scheme on his shooting...

    D-Mo's strength's are in the post, not passing out in the perimeter.

    Definitely not D-Mo's strength.

    They won't follow him around the perimeter.

    This is a Horns set. Defenses treat the PF and C as if they are doing ball screens or a dribble hand-off. Of course they are going to be up high. That is not an odd defensive lineup, especially for Miami's blitzing defense.

    This line-up will only be used against 2nd string, if that.

    41% 3 point shooting for the season?? This is just getting ridiculous.
    D-Mo's abilities, in theory, would work with-out small ball, and we saw him in action against other centers. And it was not pretty on defense, nor sometimes on offense.

    This is a guy with a semi-breakout season off back surgery, that still registered a below-average PER.

    Parsons was the 3rd most efficient player in the PnR, but I wouldn't expand his role on offense. Extrapolating same efficiency on higher usage rarely happens. The Giannis cases the are extremes, not the norms.

    Players closed out on his three point shot.

    If Howard is healthy, Green has no chance, period. We were absolutely mauling GS before Howard got chopped by Smith. They should thank the basketball gods every day, because he did not look like the same player after that in the series.

    The Offense:

    Yes, yes, please keep that in mind.

    WAT? Dude, come on...

    In Conclusion:

    Please, let's lay off the pipe with this on D-Mo.

    Howard against a small-ball lineup will not take as much practice time as it would with D-Mo. People rely on Howard to bail them out, and... well... playing with D-Mo, they cannot.

    No matter what type of ball we are playing, Howard will be center, unless it's against 2nd string.

    Being able to match salaries and provide salary relief is an asset in itself.

    My Point

    Really, what we should do to counter small-ball is big-ball.

    If you are pointing to Golden State, their extreme small ball included:


    Of whom are not great 3 point shooters, but as you said, are "threats".

    The Cavaliers had success against the Warriors, but just didn't have talent or depth to the team. They truly only won any games because of Lebron, simply.

    But there was a line-up out there that, while it did get outscored, illustrated some offensive output that wasn't just Lebron vs GS.


    GS did their extreme small ball. The issue with Cleveland's lineup was that, while the bigs were effective, the spacing was non-existant, and the bigs just aren't that good. Having Iggy and Green try to beat them from the outside was a solid strategy. Cleveland just didn't have the talent. Common theme.

    Now, let's look at the Rockets.

    Beverley >> Delly
    Harden <<<<< Finals Lebron (sorry Harden)
    Ariza >>> Shump
    D-Mo >>>>> Mozgov
    Dwight >>>>>>>>> TT

    Why did I compare Mozgov to D-Mo and Dwight to TT? They have similar skill sets. Mozgov has more touch and less athleticism, TT did an occasional post-up and crashed the boards and oops. But, basic point, the Rockets' 4/5 >>>>>>>>> Cleveland's 4/5, and it's not even close.

    Delly was trash, besides game 2. Give me Beverley. Shump was trash as well. Give me Ariza. I'll take our bench mob over theirs as well. Maybe this is my homerism talking. Nevertheless, the key is the 4/5 combo.

    This is where D-Mo will be effective. He (and healthy Dwight) would absolutely murder Barnes/Iggy/Green, simply. D-Mo has a post game, that Smith does not, and has the high and low post passing, while not as good as Smith, to be effective.

    Spacing? Dwight won't cramp it: just throw the alley. Then D-Mo can space with the occasional 3 pt shot. His strengths are in the paint, not the perimeter.

    They will not be able to grab a rebound.

    On defense, D-Mo is about as mobile as Mozgov (I'm sorry, D-Mo is not as mobile as you think he is), and Dwight is just a monster, period.

    When discussing about Harden, let's not kid ourselves: Lebron was being lazy on defense. Is it still exponentially better than Harden's? Absolutely. But Barnes is not getting many opportunities in the future. We can hopefully work with that.

    NBA Small ball? Great, let's go big ball. Now, the only issue would actually be D-Mo's perimeter quickness. He is not the key, but actually the, X-factor, maybe? ;)
  4. bejezuz

    bejezuz Contributing Member

    Jun 26, 2002
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    You don't think Terrance Jones has any trade value? Resigning Smith and the development of Capela would make him redundant. Surely you'd be able to flip him for a backup point or combo guard.
  5. Yung-T

    Yung-T Member

    Apr 16, 2009
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    Your post looks very intimidating when accessing from my phone.
  6. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

    Dec 4, 2011
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    An excellent post as always. Well reasoned and thought out. But to respond to some of your points:

    Howard is very very uncomfortable away from the paint. I personally have never seen him on the perimeter shooting screens to keep up with a smaller faster player. He retreats to the paint at the first opportunity possible. If Howard was comfortable on the perimeter, the pairing of Asik and Howard would have been by far and away the best defense in the NBA. Can Howard do it? Yes. But will he? Probably not. He is not chasing Green around the whole perimeter through multiple screens.

    I am pretty good estimating court quickness. I watch and re-watch tape. But why ask me or speculate on your own? I depend on people who make a living estimating player quickness.
    Mirotic from NBAdraft:
    <a href="http://imgur.com/e9WgjsJ"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/e9WgjsJ.png" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>
    <a href="http://imgur.com/rznmV7W"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/rznmV7W.png" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>
    <a href="http://imgur.com/o00ZCuD"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/o00ZCuD.png" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>
    DeAndre Jordan:
    <a href="http://imgur.com/4b9cZMX"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/4b9cZMX.png" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>

    For his size they really do not make NBA players much quicker than D-Mo. Davis perhaps?

    The forever debate on D-Mo's defensive effectiveness. My canned response is 27-14 with a healthy Howard and/or D-Mo and Jones. 24-17 without Howard and Jones. 12 games playing along side of Black and Dorsey. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Or in this case the statistically significant number of data points indicating that without major major talent (and one third of their payroll), the Rocket's W/L record is quite similar without Howard and with him.

    Big ball can be effective against GS small ball. But only if the bigs are exceptional NBA players. The Clippers with Jordan and Blake did not have great success against GS if I remember correctly. The Rockets did not have a healthy Howard and D-Mo together much last season.

    I honestly have no doubt that a healthy Rockets team would run the table against that injured Cavs team. Except for the nagging suspicion that LBJ is by far and away the best NBA player and can shoulder his team and get wins. That is my take away from the finals.

    D-Mo basically shot 41% from downtown the final three months of last season. Given that D-Mo improves on everything year after year I would certainly not put it past him to hit 40% next season.

    But this post is realistically looking at a post Howard Rockets team starting next summer. If Dwight is healthy next season he probably will be looking at multiple max contract offers. At almost one third of available cap space. Morey is going to think long and hard about that situation.
  7. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

    Dec 4, 2011
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    I honestly have no idea what Jones' trade value is. Probably more than many on this forum expect, but less than Morey is willing to accept???
  8. jbasket

    jbasket Member

    Jan 26, 2012
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    As designed, and as he should.

    Asik and Howard pairing didn't work because the spacing was not right with Asik. Ironically enough that we had went to it when it mattered though.

    Let them set screens for Green. They won't though. And he shouldn't be chasing Green around: go under, and a just a slight contest will be enough.

    Using a site that states D-Mo's defense as a 6 is not a good argument. Their quickness is discussing a first step, not lateral movement.

    "Quick first step allows him to get by opponents".


    DMo could not stay on the court because he was often in foul trouble due to inconsistent lateral movement.

    Dwight and Capela both have more lateral defensive quickness than DMo.

    Correlation is not causation, and you know that. Chicago won 55 games in 94 and 57 games in 93. Does that mean Jordan's loss was only worth 2 games, or did others step up? Or was it a general indicator of general talent on the team?

    And it was these numbers that lead to those that thought Dwight was expendable. But if it wasn't clear that D-Mo could not cut it defensively, we were not watching the same game.

    And if they were healthy, do you doubt them?

    So you are saying DMo will start shooting as well as Dirk?
  9. jbasket

    jbasket Member

    Jan 26, 2012
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    It's not like I haven't recognized that DMo is not completely irrelevant there. I was one of the first to discuss DMo's defensive improvement. Even giving credit, when he didn't have a great defensive performance.

    It's just that people have gone too far with this. Too far.
  10. Texanasiafan

    Texanasiafan Member

    Mar 13, 2013
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    Beverley actually was a good defender last season on the perimeter. When he got switched onto a much larger player he broke down badly around the basket. The guy is six feet tall. In shoes.


    I think you probably forgot how much time Dwight missed last year, when your rim protector is Dorsey or even D-Mo.

    Any PG will struggle the same way you mentioned above.
  11. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

    Dec 4, 2011
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    Green's 3PT% of 31.6% translates into 47.4% from mid-range. Just about LMA's FG% last season. Are you saying that LMA is not a threat to score? It sounds like it.

    I do believe that from a statistical standpoint the Rockets performance with and without Howard goes beyond mere correlation. The confidence interval of that 27-14/24-17 record does reach the 95% level. Unless of course you are going to attribute the Rockets success to Dorsey or Black.

    The Bulls performance with and without Jordan just shows how talented his supporting cast was. Nothing more.

    I do recommend that you watch more tape of both Capela and D-Mo switched onto very quick wings driving to the basket. I do somehow doubt you can find more than one example of Capela sticking with someone like Paul. Howard, as the defensive backstop is very rarely put into that position also. Neither guards a really quick wing above the free throw line often, to say the least. And when they do there is a lot of space between them and the wing.

    Last season D-Mo had no trouble staying of the court. The over anxious foul prone hyperactive child we saw in previous seasons is gone.

    You do realize that assessment is currently over four years old do you not? Players will never be quicker than at the time of their assessment. They can and do learn how to play better defense. D-Mo is currently very good on defense against fours and fives and most wing players. Unless of course you are again intimating that the Rockets excellent record with Howard and Jones (and Bev for many games) is due to Black's and Dorsey's contributions.

    That statement is pretty hilarious. With Asik manning the paint and Howard roaming around terrorizing the PF and the wings on defense, that lineup should have been excellent on defense. But you are right about one thing. The spacing was horrendous. The defensive spacing.
  12. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

    Dec 4, 2011
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    I actually do also believe that Bev was a more than adequate perimeter defender last season. But the guy is what six feet tall? In shoes? He is going to get hammered on any switch. The fault realistically is in the Rockets help defense.
  13. jbasket

    jbasket Member

    Jan 26, 2012
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    Ah great, jtr's passive-aggressive condescending schtick. My last response here; always have to ruin it.

    If you leave LMA open, he burns you. If you leave Green open, it's not the end of the world. There is a clear difference in the shot difficulty that one takes.

    Tell me how you can make a statistically significant sample with as many moving variables that illustrates this record without Dwight was all D-Mo's doing. Which test did you do?

    Did you watch Golden State? Capela was lauded for his lateral mobility when switched out on the perimeter against Curry.

    Of course it is not ideal for a center to guard a quick wing above the free throw line, and when you are taller and longer, you can give more space and get a good contest.

    You are right; I forgot to mention previously. My mistake.

    I agree you can learn how to play better defense, but lateral quickness is something you generally have or not as well.

    Ah, the classic jtr is back, sarcastic tone ever so prevalent. Aldridge hit some tough shots in the playoff series, but it was pretty well-defended for a floor-spacing 4 from players with "lack of mobility". Jees, I'm not a DMo hater, as I illustrated before. This isn't personal against him.
  14. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

    Dec 4, 2011
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    There are of course some independent variables in that statistical analysis. And I do believe I laid them out clearly for all to see. Black and Dorsey. And later Smith. Who exactly are you attributing that 24-17 record to anyway? My god, 24-17 without Howard and Jones. One third of the payroll. A phenomenal record considering the circumstances. That I certainly attribute to D-Mo.

    I have reviewed many hours of tape. D-Mo's lateral quickness is obvious IMHO. After all that is probably the main measure of quickness from nbadraft is it not?

    Yeah right. Capela has a lot of potential but he is what 21 years old? He certainly is not an athletic freak like Howard and will struggle against starting centers in the NBA. McHale yanked his butt quickly in many games. Young centers just take longer to develop than any other position. As will Capela.

    Let us get over this MA fascination. He is not coming to the Rockets and he certainly warps defensive alignments much much less than Harden. He is certainly not a great shooter. Not Dirk in his prime.
  15. elainas

    elainas Member

    Jun 26, 2012
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    As great this thread is it's ridicules. Resume -- just agree that is good to have DMo on the team. I hope that DM after next FA re-sign him(personally would love him to retire as Rox) after chase of KD, but once again this season DMo will show how he recover from injury, how more he improve(it's rare, but he true gym-rat like i.e Dirk, so he can again improve himself) and what his value will be.

    From last season stand point -- first think to remember -- DMo put lots and lots of screens for Beard, and it work very vell and his 3's % was good enough. And for this season.. Well McHale will play lineup which play best that day and there won't be any DMo hate/love if he beats TJ or JS he be on the court otherwise not simple as that.

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