Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fast start for the Rockets

Early season discussions frequently make writers look like fools... I mean they would if anyone remembered what was written a month ago, also if anyone was reading this that also might help.  On the other hand- fuck it, its way more fun/interesting to speculate off small sample sizes.

The Rockets are 5-0, whoop dee do Basil, we know that Houston will be good this year and a 5 game win streak against 4 bottom feeders and one playoff team isn't unexpected.  What about the fact that all the wins are by double digits with a 14.5 average margin?  Ok, getting warmer. What about the fact that 4 of them were road games?  That is something worth getting a little excited for.

Defensively the Rockets have been surprisingly good.  Losing Asik (even with limited playing time last year) weakened their big man rotation, and swapping out Parsons for Ariza should have at least caused some continuity issues, instead they are #5 in Drtg after being #13 last year, what has gone on so far?

1- the opposition has been not amazing- on the other hand its been not terrible.  Philly has looked like crap (30th in o as expected) but their other opponents so far are 4th, 6th, 11th and 16th in Ortg so far this year.  Even if these rating don't hold up (some of them won't) they aren't ONLY going up against the dregs.

2- No more Lin and Parsons.  Lin is an awful defender, I know that a lot of people hate Drtg, and it has many (many, many many) flaws but Lin's Drtg was 2 pts worse than Harden's last year and you shouldn't be worse than a guy considered one of the worst in the league when you are on the same team, playing a lot of over lapping mins.  Lin is awful defensively and is already showing it on the Lakers (worst Drtg on the team of anyone playing >11 mins a game- on a team of awful defenders).  Parsons had a Drtg 1 pt worse than Harden's last year, and they played a crap load together.  I have heard about his length and intelligence, but I have also seen him pushed around and get stuck on picks.  The long and the short of it was that he has serious flaws on D and while you can probably hide them on some teams sticking him out there with Lin, Harden and a 2nd year PF probably isn't that situation. 

3.  Ariza in for Parsons- they didn't just lose Parsons, they replaced him with a very good defender- that helps.

4. ?????? the addition of Kostas Papanotgonnaspellthisrightnikolaou- I don't know anything about Euro players, and am not going to pretend to.  The draft express page has this to say though "Papanikolaou's profile may not jump off the page on first glance, but his size, defensive prowess, experience and productivity at the highest levels of European basketball" From
Considering he has played the 4th most mins on the team and they are surprisingly good at D so far I think he warrants a mention and a "I'm keeping my eye on you this year".

Offensively there isn't a huge amount to say- the teams they have played are currently ranked 30th, 29th, 23rd, 22nd and 19th <--- that one is Philly, the BEST defensive team they have played so far is Philly!  Harden and Dwight are destroying fools, and Ariza has a TS of 80% against an extremely soft lineup. 

The one offensive note I want to make is that the combo of Harden/Dwight is putting a lot of teams in awkward rotational situations by getting backup big men in foul trouble.  Last night Josh McRoberts checked in for the Heat for 5 total mins.  In that span he shot zero times, grabbed zero rebounds, made zero assits, steals or blocks but he did manage to foul Dwight twice, and Harden and Beverly once each before getting nailed back down to the bench.  In what was still a reasonably close game at the end of the 3rd and the Heat being a little shorthanded due to Deng leaving the game this was one factor in allowing the Rockets to run away with the game.  Bradley, Sullinger and Zeller all found themselves on the bench with 5 fouls in less than 27 mins for the first two and less than 20 for Zeller, and Davis fouled out for LA on opening night, with Bryant and Mathews getting called 5 times each. 


  1. Good stuff. I'm surprised by the defensive leap but when you break it down it makes sense. Beverly > Lin, Ariza > Parsons, new foreign guy, better team chemistry w/o Asik.

    The offense may have a bit more trouble once they face some good defenses though. Overmatched defenses foul a ton, but a defense that matches up well will be able to keep players on the court.

  2. I was hoping last night would give us some clarity, but then SA sat Duncan and Ginobli and we are left wondering if their 17 pt win means anything. The good news for the Rockets is that they generated 33 FTs against a well coached team, and held the Spurs to 41% TS, but then the spurs usually wont shoot 2/20 from 3 and they turned it over 21 times (17 times from regulars before they were pulled for deep bench guys at the end of the blow out).