Rockets History

Rockets’ History: What if the 2017-18 Houston Rockets were still together?

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 24: The Houston Rockets bench reacts against the Golden State Warriors late in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 24: The Houston Rockets bench reacts against the Golden State Warriors late in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets Chris Paul James Harden Trevor Ariza Luc Mbah a Moute PJ Tucker (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Chris Paul James Harden Trevor Ariza Luc Mbah a Moute PJ Tucker (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

What if the 2017-18 Houston Rockets were still together: Remembering their historic season

The 2017-18 Houston Rockets were led by James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, and Eric Gordon. That group combined to average 98.7 points of the Rockets 112.4 points per game and were the only Rockets to start a playoff game.

Everything the Rockets did on offense centered around James Harden and Chris Paul orchestrating the league’s most dangerous attack. It should be remembered that this was before the Rockets went isolation crazy and Capela was still an integral part of their spread pick and roll attack.

The combination of two elite perimeter players with one of the league’s most dangerous rim runners left defenses in near-constant no-win situations. The backbone of the Rockets attack was their willingness to shoot from behind the arc as they paced the league in 3-point attempt percentage, becoming the first team to take over 50-percent of their shots from behind the arc.

All of the threes they took opened up driving lanes to attack the rim and the Rockets took 28.8-percent of their shots within three feet of the rim. This was only the 11th highest mark in the NBA but because the Rockets were taking so many 3-pointers, their shots at the rim represented 57.8-percent of all of their 2-point attempts.

The 2017-18 Rockets had constructed the league’s most analytically friendly shot diet. Full of shots at the rim and from behind the arc with the dozen or so free throw attempts from James Harden mixed in. Regardless of the team’s chemistry off the court, what they were able to accomplish on it was groundbreaking.

Next: Where the 2017-18 Rockets are now

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