Powered by the superb play of MVP runner up James Harden, the Houston Rockets offense ranked 4th last season in points per game, averaging 104.7. Ahead of the Rockets were the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Golden State Warriors who finished first, averaging 108.6 points per game.
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
What is puzzling about the Rockets offense is that while they managed to put up more points per game than twenty six other teams, they ranked low in other important offensive categories . Last season they ranked 12th in offensive efficiency, which isn’t terrible, but the three teams ahead of them in points per game all ranked within the top five of that category.
The area the Rockets struggled in the most during last season was turnovers. Only the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers averaged more turnovers per game than the Rockets. The Rockets also ranked in the bottom quarter of the league in turnovers per possession, assist/turnover ratio, and turnovers per offensive play.
Turning the ball over that often, how do the Rockets manage to score so many points each game? The obvious answer is that the Rockets shoot the three ball more than any other team.
Last season they ranked first in points per game scored from the three point line. Because so many of their points come from shooting the three, the Rockets are able to score more points than other teams on fewer made buckets.
The second reason the Rockets are able to score so many points is because they play so fast. Though they only ranked seventh in fast break efficiency last season, they ranked second in fast break points scored per game, demonstrating that the speed at which they play the game can make up for their offensive errors.
During the upcoming season one of the Rockets’ main focus will be to cut down on turnovers. Fortunately, newly acquired guard Ty Lawson is the perfect man to help the Rockets accomplish that feat. Last season Lawson finished third in assists per game, and second in assists per turnover.
If the Rockets can successfully combine the talent of Lawson with the rest of the team’s ability to shoot the three and run the break, the Rockets should be able to cut down on turnovers, and transform into one of the most efficient offenses in the league.
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