Houston Rockets: 3 ways to turn around their turnover problem

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns
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Jae'Sean Tate, Josh Giddey, Darius Bazley,  Houston Rockets
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Houston Rockets way #2 to limit turnovers: More off-ball movement 

One of the persistent themes of Rockets turnovers has nothing to do with the man turning the ball over. The Rockets, as a team, have far too little off-ball movement and it’s leading to turnovers. 

As the Rockets offense is currently run, whoever has the ball is flanked by four statues waiting for a catch and shoot opportunity. Sometimes one of these statues will come alive and cut to the basket, but even that is not enough. The Rockets offense too often looks like five guys waiting for a chance to shoot. 

Off-ball movement does three things to help limit turnovers. The first is that it gets guys open. It’s hard to turn it over when a guy is wide open. The second is that it redirects defensive focus. When a man is moving off-ball the defender has to too, and it means they can’t key in on the ball. The third is that it creates an offensive flow where everyone is ready for the ball and not desperate to shoot as soon as possible. 

Stephen Silas helped the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic orchestrate one of the best offenses in league history before taking over as the Rockets head coach. That offense was as heliocentric as they come. The offense was centered around Luka with a screener and shooters orbiting his star. 

The Rockets don’t have the personnel to play offense like that. They don’t have a passer as talented as Luka and they don’t have the shooters to drag defenders away from the paint. One of the reasons the Rockets keep turning over the ball is because their offense is simply putting players in uncomfortable and congested situations. 

Turnovers are the product of bad offense. The Rockets don’t have the personnel to create space on the perimeter but they have the speed and athleticism to create chaos through off-ball movement. The Rockets need to use off-ball movement in lieu of a 3-point threat to create space for passing and driving lanes. When they do that, the turnovers will dip and the results will start to improve.