These 3 Houston Rockets need to start mixing in more mid-range shots

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

On those nights where threes aren’t falling, the Houston Rockets need these guys to be able to put the ball on the floor and create better looks.

Throughout Coach Mike D’Antoni‘s tenure as the head coach of the Houston Rockets, they have always been at or near the top of the league in 3-pointers attempted and made. It’s the way he’s usually run his teams, and that has led to some of the most dominant regular-season runs in NBA history. With that strategy though comes a big problem: predictability.

I’ve addressed this issue several times this season, yet it still remains a major problem. Teams know what to expect when they’re heading into a matchup with the Rockets: there will be a lot of outside shooting mixed in with some drives by Russell Westbrook and James Harden, followed by more outside shooting.

When everyone’s hitting their threes, everything goes well for the Rockets, but then again, that’s the case for all 30 teams in the league. Conversely, it’s hard for many teams to still pull off victories on poor shooting nights, yet the elite ones still manage to do so often. The Rockets are not one of those teams.

With a middle-of-the-road defense, Houston has a tough time winning a game in which their outside shots aren’t falling, and that has burned them way too often in the past and has already happened many times this season.

Teams are starting to collapse inside to prevent drives by Harden and Westbrook, which is smart since they are both excellent finishers at the basket. Russ has still been able to have success at driving but has had an increase in turnovers as of late due to teams focusing more on him after his hot February.

With teams crowding the middle, the Rockets are being dared to shoot from the outside, and during their recent losing streak, those weren’t falling. It’s time for Houston to start incorporating more variety into their offense, starting with the elusive mid-range jump shot.

Houston is currently dead last in shot attempts from mid range, shooting just 5.6 per game, which is all part of D’Antoni’s plan. Some guys in the rotation are definitely more than capable of mixing in more shots from just inside the arc, though, and they should start using that to their advantage.

Next: No. 3