Samuel Dalembert has helped give the Rockets more of a defensive edge this season, but they still rank in the middle of the pack in most areas of that department.
In most cases, the basic, raw stats for an NBA team doesn’t tell the whole story. But when you go advanced, well, that’s a whole other thing.
Here’s a look at how the Rockets are fare in advanced measures offensively and defensively. Stats courtesy of hoopdata.com, my favorite NBA stats site.
PACE (Average possessions used in 48-minute game): 94.9 (10th in the NBA).
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY (Points scored per 100 possessions): 101.8 (9th in the NBA).
TRUE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE (Weighted efficiency, adjusting for 3s and free throws): 52.5% (12th in the NBA).
%AST (Percentage of field goals that are assisted): 55.3% (23rd in the NBA).
TURNOVER RATE (Percentage of possessions ending in a turnover): 14.04% (10th in the NBA).
FREE THROW RATE (Free throws attempted per field goals attempted): 22.3% (30th, last in the NBA).
3-POINT RATE (3-pointers attempted per field goals attempted): 23.5% (15th in the NBA).
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY (Points allowed per 100 possessions; best measure of opponents’ PPG): 99.7 (15th in NBA).
OPP. TRUE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE (Weighted efficiency, adjusting for 3s and free throws): 52.2% (14th in the NBA).
OPP. %AST (Opponents’ percentage of field goals assisted): 51.83% (3rd in the NBA).
OPP. TURNOVER RATE (Percentage of possessions ending in a turnover): 14.15% (15th in the NBA).
DEFENSIVE PLAYS RATE (defensive plays (blocks, steals, charges) per 100 possessions): 15.7 (16th in the NBA).
OPP. FREE THROW RATE (Free throws attempted per field goals attempted): 25.2 (8th in the NBA).
OPP. 3-POINT RATE (3-pointers attempted per field goals attempted): 21.3 (9th in the NBA).
Some quick notes before I head off to work:
Defensively, the Rockets have shown fast improvement. Just look at the opponents’ rates from the free throw line and 3-point line. It’s very tough to get easy buckets against this team, and that’s one thing coach Kevin McHale has brought, an accountability defensively. I also love the opponents’ assist percentage number. Anytime you can hold a team to isolation basketball, you have a good shot to win.
Offensively, a couple things stick out to me. One, the Rockets are one of the better teams in the league in assisting on field goals, which is kind of shocking. Under Rick Adelman, the Rockets always fared well in assists, usually in the top five or so. This year, they’re ranked 13th in assists per game, which is a bit odd since you don’t consider their roster as full of creative, one-on-one players.
Another thing is the poor free throw rate, which is not good. The Rockets simply do not get to the free throw line, and I think that will come to haunt them as the season goes on, and it will definitely bite them should they make the playoffs. When you consider they don’t get a high 3-point rate either, that’s doubly troubling. I could see if they were shooting a boatload of 3s to kind of offset that lack of free throw rate, but they don’t. Something to keep an eye on.
Overall, it’s what we should expect. The Rockets are fine offensively, but troubled in key areas. Their defensive is improving, but still middle-of-the-pack. It’s 30 games into a 66-game season, and I feel, at this point, what we see is what we get. If the Rockets can find some way to get an aggressive attacker by the trade deadline, that would help things considerably offensively, the department that has more dire need than defense (it feels weird to say that in regard to this team). Otherwise this is a team that doesn’t hold a lot of promise for a significant playoff run should they get there.