Breaking down the strengths of the Houston Rockets’ improved bench unit

Houston Rockets Ben McLemore (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Ben McLemore (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images) /

Eric Gordon

Strengths: Shooting and perimeter defense

Unfortunately, the question that seems to come to mind first when it comes to Eric Gordon this season is whether he’s healthy or not. In the recent victory over the New York Knicks, he left the court once again with a sore knee.

While he’s had difficulty staying healthy for extended periods, Gordon is still truly the Rockets’ sixth man. E-Money, along with McLemore, is among the best catch and shoot snipers on the team. When healthy and ready to go, Gordon provides above-average perimeter defense and the ability to guard bigger players in the post.

He’s also capable of catching fire at any moment, as he showed in tremendous fashion in a victory over the Utah Jazz in which he finished with 50 points.

Related Story. Behind the numbers of Eric Gordon’s historic game

The Rockets may be better off resting Gordon for the majority of the last 25 games because he’s still the Rocket’s third-best one-on-one scorer.

Ben McLemore

Strength: The catch and shoot

When Ben McLemore was signed in the offseason, not too many people thought much of it. After only playing 19 games last year for the Sacramento Kings, expectations were low of the seventh-year guard.

Even earlier this season there was talk of possibly cutting McLemore because he was struggling so much with his shot. That seems like a distant memory now.

In his last 22 games, Ben McLemore is hitting 46.3% from three-point range and is now the best shooter on the Rockets this season at 39.4% from three. He was widely considered a lottery bust when Houston signed him.

— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) February 25, 2020

McLemore has gone from almost being released to the being the Rockets’ best 3-point shooter. This is a remarkable accomplishment for a player who was labeled a “bust” before coming to H-Town. Given the number of shots the Rockets take from downtown (a league-leading 44.1 per game), having a 40 percent 3-point shooter is a huge advantage.

Austin Rivers

Strengths: Shooting, driving to the basket and defense

Let’s be honest: before Austin Rivers came to the Rockets he was one of the most hated players among Rockets fans. Since joining the Rockets midway through last year, however, Rivers has become a fan favorite.

Rivers is one of a handful of Rockets who can create his own shot on his own. He can also spot up for three off of ball movement and even has broken out the stepback trifecta from time to time.

Austin also plays above-average perimeter defense and is a capable 3-point shooter, which is necessary for Houston’s offense that’s dependent on spacing.

Next: The New Guys