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Analyzing the changes in the Houston Rockets' offense

N.B. Lindberg
Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Have the Rockets leaned into Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun?

The Rockets have clearly not overhauled their offense in the direction of more movement. While that may come in time, have they heeded the suggestion to lean into Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun on offense? 

Taking a peak at the tracking data, Kevin Porter Jr. is still clearly piloting the Rockets’ offense. He leads the team in usage at 27.6%, passes made per game (52.8), passes received per game (61.0), touches per game (79.0), time of possession per game (7.2 minutes), average seconds per touch (5.47 seconds), and drives (17.4). 

Porter leading the Rockets in some of these metrics is fine, but the gulf between him and Jalen Green indicates the team isn’t in a hurry to hand the offense over to Green. Green’s usage of 27.1% is close to Porter’s, but he is far behind him in passes made per game (29.8), passes received per game (43.6), touches per game (55.2), time of possession per game (4.2 minutes), average seconds per touch (4.58 seconds), and drives (11). 

Green is a far more explosive athlete than Porter, and it could do the Rockets’ offense some good if he were to increase his number of drives. From there, he could increase his passes per game as he gets comfortable collapsing a defense and then kicking out to shooters.

Green has also spent most of his minutes sharing the court with Porter. Of the 171 minutes he’s played this season, 149 have been with Porter on the court. Simply put, the Rockets haven’t leaned into Green being the lead ball handler this season. 

As for Alperen Sengun, there isn’t much data to suggest that the Rockets are keen on leaning into him as a creative hub. His 28.7 passes per game, in 24 minutes a game, make him one of their more prolific passers on per minute basis, but it has only led to three assists total. Last season, he averaged 5.9 assists per 100 possessions, this season it’s down to 2.0.

Sengun is fourth on the team in touches per game, which is noteworthy considering he’s sixth on the team in minutes per game. When Sengun is on the court, the Rockets are getting him the ball but it appears to be as a play-finisher and not a playmaker. 

It should be noted that Sengun has only played in three games and has yet to start. However, he has been able to play close to half of his minutes with Porter and Green. In that small 32-minute sample, the trio has produced an offensive rating of 115.5 points per 100 possessions. The Rockets would be wise to explore this lineup a bit more. 

It has only been five games and three for Sengun, but the suggestion to lean into Green and Sengun on offense is a mixed bag. Green takes up a sizeable load on offense, but he is the clear second fiddle to Kevin Porter Jr. Sengun has been getting touches, but he’s either struggling to find passes, or the offense isn’t leaning into that aspect of his game. 

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