View Full Version : Should the Rockets be getting so much criticism for their 1 on 1 style of play?

05-10-2018, 09:43 PM
Missed work today so Ive been hearing the talking heads + former/current players really express their lack of faith in Houston, with a surprisingly high amount expecting a short series. Each show reciting the sportsvue stats (no passes vs the passingest team), not that you need to, many players were quick to point out the difference in the defensive ability of a Draymond vs Gobert in 1v1 situations as being the difference maker. Even the guy that built this team recognizes their only chance is to double down on a high variance gameplan (According to Max, havent kept up with DM news). So the prevailing theme seems to be you cant play 1v1 against the Warriors, especially since they've FINALLY reengaged themselves defensively and are playing their Hampton five extensively.

I understand people not favoring the Rockets, but should their style of play really get so much criticism overall? They're basically playing a style similar to the Heatles in their year 1 experiment where it was "your turn my turn", only with FAR more defensive support and shooting around their 2 stars. I also remember a study awhile ago suggesting that isolation basketball suffers the greatest drop off come post season when teams focus on stopping simplistic sets, forcing teams deeper into their options. This was during the iso-Joe days so I dont know if that trend has reversed since then. Still, its not like the Rockets offense is struggling, though I couldn't help but notice Hardens individual efficiency+scoring/assists rates have faltered and hes about to face his toughest challenge of the Loffs.

I think an underreported story surrounding the Rockets actually has to do with Harden and CP3 sort of clashing. I dont think Im alone in noticing that they have basically swung series by having explosive games on their own, not really in concert with each other. For all the talk about how the Rockets have integrated 2 ball dominant stars, they really built much of their RS success with how they have throttled teams relying on only 1 of them at a time , particularly the bench units with CP3 against other teams benches. (Raptor fans can recall the Lowry+Bench lineups of last year working much the same way when DeRozen sat).

(Rockets Stats per48)
Harden without CP3: +8.3
CP3 without Harden: +13.6
Rockets with both: +12.4

Their stats with and without each other are basically what you would expect too, per36 Harden sits at 31.5 and 10.1, CP3 at 26.1 and 11.5 (holy **** imagine him in the Nash system back in his hey), the payoff in efficiency for Harden comes in being a 40% 3pt shooter with CP3 setting him up vs 34% without. On the other end however, CP3 has looked absolutely pedestrian alongside Harden (16-7)with a modest increase in efficiency. This has flipped in the playoffs, they have been at their best with both (with CP3 playing more to form) and its the sans CP3 lineups that have done better than vice versa.

With the way they crushed teams and got solo minutes it seemed like Harden+CP3 worked fabulously but they have actually been less productive together than Bron-Wade it seems. Maybe this is irrelevant given their RS success (might be overstating their overlap based on how CP3 paces himself too) but this leads me to another playoff axiom we all know well by now, that depth matters less in the post season...


Will the Rockets depth and solo star lineups give them an advantage vs the Warriors or will the Warriors simply stagger their multitude of stars to combat that?

Is the Rockets game plan of 1v1 playing right into the hands of the Warriors defensive strength or do the Rockets have the versatility to say the same about the Warriors offense?

Or is it simply just about talent and KD being a *****? Cuz thats basically all Tmac had to say about the series and even he thinks he might be underrating their dominance if they win in 5.

05-10-2018, 10:00 PM
I didn't know they were getting criticism for that. I haven't watched them very much this season but the NBA is all about individual greatness - even if the new rules and last few years have seemed to shift that slightly to a more ball-movement style (almost entirely because of the emphasis on shooting).

If you have a player that can go and get it done then there is no reason to pass - that's true at all levels of basketball but even moreso historically in the NBA because it is a star league that caters to that. From what I've seen of Harden this year he has taken his game to another level. More consistent floaters, more consistent pull-up jumpers around the FT line extended, and better ballhandling. I think if you have the best playmaking backcourt in the league, which they do, then there is no reason to kick the ball out to Ariza or Tucker or some other guy you don't want dribbling too much, shooting too much, or really doing anything other than hustling and defending.

And I definitely don't think it'll be a quick series. I think the Warriors will win like most people but even if it's 5 games I think they'll be fairly close games. The Rockets backcourt gets talked about a lot but their frontcourt defense has impressed me against the Jazz, which was the only 2nd round series I watched much of outside of Boston. I'd say Warriors in 6, with 4 games being decided by 5 or less.

05-10-2018, 11:29 PM
I don't know that it's criticism so much as saying it's a factor in the matchup with the Warriors.

I think the Rockets, if they play their best team game or get really hot for the series, give the Warriors a challenge. Game 1 will mean a lot, if the Warriors make CP3 and Harden work iso ball, don't get caught fouling too much and not allow them to pass out to open shooters or cutters it could be a quick series.

05-10-2018, 11:41 PM
I find it silly how the national media criticizes the Rox for style of play. More passes isn't always good. It can lead to more turnovers.

The Rox offense is a simplistic approach. Hunt mismatch. Exploit that, and have a high percentage shot with the numbers backing it up. Why not have two h.o.f pgs controlling things? I think it could be an issue if first or second option doesn't work but that why they've slowed pace down so much and are trying to control tempo. Fewer possessions against a dominant team is what they're doing. Narrative that Rox wanna run and gun is false. They wanna slow it down, and get best look. From there, they play numbers game of 3s>long 2s.

Will it work? We shall see. As far as should they be getting criticism? Only from dumb national media. So, no.

I've heard national media say how things would get hard for rockets when place slows down in postseason yet THAT'S what the rockets wish for as far as pace.

05-11-2018, 12:29 AM
That's a good point about limiting the number of possessions and still playing the numbers game. Don't know how many teams have actually done that. They're the anti warriors in many ways

05-11-2018, 12:47 AM
4-2 gsw

05-11-2018, 01:00 AM
They have two of the best 1 on 1 players in the league, and surrounded by athletic, long, high level defenders that can hit 3ís.

Now god forbid I speak anything positive about a warriors opponent, Iím not saying that in order to down play my team. But Morey meant what he said, they are absolutely obsessed with the warriors, that roster was specifically designed to play against this team. High level defenders capable of switching and hitting the 3 surrounding 2 elite ball handlers and decision makers

You guys know me, Iím the anti stat guy. Opposite of Morey. Iím hedging my bet on my approach, not his. My eye test favors the warriors, versatility, underrated factor in 7 game series

05-11-2018, 05:36 AM
Its only OK when LeBron does it. Seriously though Mike D will always look to simplify and with those two you don't have to get complicated. It makes sense. That said I do think GS has better personal then most to deal with it

05-11-2018, 07:08 AM
If the Rockets can hit their shots, itíll be a series. If they canít, itís dunzo. The Warriors will be the Warriors. They donít seem to go cold like Houston tends to.

05-11-2018, 08:35 AM
If the Rockets can hit their shots, itíll be a series. If they canít, itís dunzo. The Warriors will be the Warriors. They donít seem to go cold like Houston tends to.

The Warriors go cold ... see game 4 vs Pels. But it's certainly unusual for Curry, KD, AND Klay to go cold.

05-11-2018, 08:46 AM
Some really good points made in here by Chronz and Htownballa. Interesting conversation.

So, I don't think there's a ton of negative attention coming Houston's way regarding their offensive style of play, but I have seen a little of it when teams compare the Rockets to the Warriors. But while the Warriors may have advantages offensively over the Rockets, there's a lot of things the Rockets do offensively that will benefit them over Golden State.

Like Chronz said, offensively, the Rockets are the anti-Warriors. So for starters, the Warrior offense is constantly moving, while Morey and D'Antoni have mastered the art of maximizing their offense and defense with the least possible amount of movement on the floor. I think I recently saw a stat that the Warriors are at the top of the league in most screens and most passes in the NBA, while the Rockets are dead last in both.

There are benefits to this from Golden State's standpoint, like finding the best possible shot in a possession. But there are also negatives, like way more chances for turnovers and wasted possessions. For example, the Warriors were 26th in the league this season in team turnovers per game (15), while the Rockets were 10th (13.2). That has been even more apparent in the playoffs, which Houston averaging an absurd 9.7 turnovers per game. So even though the Rockets haven't shot the ball especially well (44.6% from the floor and 35.3% from 3), that turnover differential is going to net them 4-5 more shots per game than their opponents before you factor in rebounds, free throws, etc.

Chronz, I liked your point earlier comparing the Rockets the Harden/Paul duo to Miami's Lebron/Wade duo. In many ways this offense is like that team on steroids offensively. But I disagree with the notion that Harden and Paul clash when they're on the floor together. If anything, I think the whole "taking turns" approach allows them to figure out which one of them is hot and maximize that guy's game. That's why you see games with Harden putting up 32/10 with Paul posting 16/7, or like in Game 5 against Utah where it's the opposite.

I also think it hits on what Morey and D'Antoni have really tried to do with this team: Maximize performance with the least amount of work and movement possible. It allows those guys possessions off so that when they're on the floor solo without one another, they can go at 100 percent without having to slow down. So they're not just getting 48 minutes of elite point guard play; they're getting 48 minutes of RESTED elite point guard play. It also saves them for later in games. I recall a LOT of times in earlier seasons where Harden would tire late in games and settle for contested 25-footers that would fall short. Now, he's driving in those last possessions because he still has gas in the tank.

I don't have numbers or data to support this, but I really think this is happening. When those guys are playing 35-36 minutes, I think it's like most guys playing 30-32 minutes in terms of superstar workload. And when your guys feel fresh, it allows them to pull out close games in those last 3-4 minutes. I've seen the Rockets do it all season. They'll let teams stick around, but then they put them away in those final minutes when everyone is operating at maximum effort and other teams are slowing down with tired legs.

If there's a reason why the Rockets can win this thing, that's it: Houston will have more energy left in the tank in the final minutes than the Warriors will.

05-11-2018, 09:52 AM
I do think that the people who really don't think the Rockets have any sort of a chance are people who just don't believe in Iso-ball. I mentioned it in another thread, but it seems like a lot of national media commentators just sort of assume that because the Rockets put up a ton of points they run a fast paced offense. That teams like the Jazz and T-Wolves should have had a lot more fast break opportunities because they were facing the offense.

Iso-ball is ugly looking in general, but far more efficient than some people seem to think. Houston has the ball in their best playmaker's hands 90% of the time. The role players just stand out behind 3 point range and wait for a pass. When they get the ball they either immediately shoot it or just pass it to the guy next to them. It's line an assembly line. Roles are very defined. Offensively, they look lethargic because they are just pounding the ball for 90% of the possession and aren't rotating.

Harden had 8 turnovers in Game 4 versus the Jazz. The rest of the team had 5. Even when the ball handler struggles, they are still efficient overall. The Rockets have 9.7 turnovers per game in the postseason, and because of that, it's hard to get out in transition against them. It doesn't hurt that Houston has a Center that can run the court.

I think the Rockets may lose this series in 5, but I think a lot of commentators think that Iso-ball is just not an effective or pretty system to win a Championship in. People seem to think that the Rockets have a punchers chance just because they could maybe somehow out-shoot them for four games, but their offensive system is far better than that.

05-11-2018, 03:00 PM
One things for sure. beans is out of his mind for condemning certain rocket players if they lose without knowing how they perform

05-11-2018, 03:05 PM
I always go back to what Barkley said about any team vs the Warriors and the Warriors themselves.

Harden+CP3 have to play great every game if they want to beat the Warriors.
Klay+Curry+Draymond+KD don't have to play great every game and they will still beat you by double digits.

The threat of the Warriors is that you can play your best and it still won't be close to enough. Your only hope is to pray Warriors miss their shots, turn the ball over, turn those turnovers into wide open threes on the fastbreak, and make sure you can stop at least Klay from heating up. If Klay+Curry+KD are heating up, you likely have no chance.

05-11-2018, 05:37 PM
The rest factor cannot be undersated , cp3 has literally jumped with joy over how much help he's had. I should've looked up the 4th quarter numbers too. Cp3 has paced himself like never before, same goes for harden

05-11-2018, 06:03 PM
I want a vintage Klay no show but not at the expense of the other stars. These warriors are truly a pick your poison type of team

05-11-2018, 06:10 PM
To those saying it's not a criticism, listen to the many analysts and players that proclaim this to be hero ball vs team ball. It's nothing new either, I've been hearing it in small grumblings beforethe inevitable finals

05-17-2018, 09:36 PM
Two games in. Both games featured a shot ton of isos only they got into their series quickly in g1. Was d Antonio correct