Lineup #3: Kevin Porter Jr./Joshua Christopher/Tari Eason/Jabari Smith Jr./Usman Garuba
At first glance this lineup looks a little wonky, and Stephen Silas hadn't thrown it out there enough possessions for cleaning the glass to rank the numbers, but I think this could be a lineup that new Rockets Head Coach Ime Udoka could really utilize this upcoming year.
The KPJ/Josh Christopher/Tari/Jabari/Garuba lineup only logged 35 total possessions, but somehow managed a positive differential rating of +14.3. That would rank as the Houston Rockets' third-best lineup with a minimum of 30 possessions this season!
While keeping in mind that with the minimal amount of possessions this lineup had and it not being ranked on leader boards, the first number that pops out at you is the bonkers 140 points per 100 possessions the Rockets scored.
A common theme among the winning lineups have been how low the turnover rates are, especially considering Kevin Porter Jr has been manning the point guard spot with most of the lineups (turnovers being the main issue his detractors point to). This lineup sported a great 11.4 percent turnover percentage.
The lineup really allows KPJ, Jabari, and Tari to get into their bags while Jalen and Sengun get breathers. Kevin Porter Jr and Jabari Smith Jr really started to gain synergy with each other in pick-and-roll actions/pick-and-pop, and Jabari's mid-post touches allow KPJ to play off-ball.
Tari being the energizer bunny that he is, always making something happen, pushes the lineup's free throw rate to 31.3 percent, which, if qualified for rankings, would be towards the top of the league.
Garuba's DHO potential, transition passing flashes, and corner 3-point shooting potential, just adds so much depth to this lineup and I'm very excited to see how Ime Udoka utilizes him this season.
Main issue for this lineup was just the sheer amount of possessions that we missed out on. Fans' biggest gripe with Silas was his unwillingness to experiment with lineups.
And, that costed the Rockets valuable lineup data in the process. This lineup in particular could be looked at as an example of one that should have gotten more burn.
With Ime Udoka manning the sidelines for the Houston Rockets for the foreseeable future, I am confident that these 3 lineups will be in his arsenal to help maximize and develop Jabari Smith Jr.
These 2 are a perfect fit together, and I really believe Ime will take Jabari and develop him into the great 2-way star the Rockets drafted him to be.