Lack of mid-range shots
During Booker’s match against LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, he was offering pointers to the former Houston Rockets reserve, including telling him to shoot corner 3-pointers with P.J. Tucker. This is beyond gamesmanship, and isn’t necessarily something many would do for their opponent.
But Booker led by double digits at the half, so he probably wasn’t concerned with Harrell winning the game. Harrell was also shooting several mid-range shots, which is extinct in Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni‘s desired style of play.
Booker offered this reminder to Harrell also, saying, “D’Antoni’s over there. You know D’Antoni doesn’t want them shooting them.”
It’s well known that the Rockets are in love with the 3-point shot, and understandably, as it’s the quickest way to score on fewer shot attempts. This is partly why they didn’t need a big man, because they’re not feeding the ball into the post.
The Rockets certainly don’t take the mid-range shot, as they only have one player on the team this season who has attempted more than four percent of his shots from that area of the court. Chris Paul was the only starter from the previous two seasons with 20 percent of his attempts coming from the mid-range.
On the flip side, the Rockets have broken the record in 3-point attempts in each season dating back to the 2016-17 season. This season, the Rockets’ long-range attempts took a slight dip, as they attempted 45.4 treys last season, compared to 44.3 this season.
This is easily explained by having Russell Westbrook on the roster, who isn’t shooting the same amount of threes as Chris Paul was. In fact, Russ has attempted 3.8 treys per game this season, while CP3 averaged 6.3 triples per game during his time with the Houston Rockets.
But the Rockets still led the league in triples this season, which goes back to what Booker said: D’Antoni doesn’t want them taking mid-range shots.