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The Houston Rockets need an Assist to jumpstart the offense

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz
Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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How the Rockets’ poor passing is hurting their 3 top shooters

The Rockets’ slow offensive start to the season is largely a function of the slow starts made by Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., and, to a degree, Kevin Porter Jr. The trio rank one, two, and three in minutes played and field goal attempts per game. All three have effective field goal percentages well south of the league average of 53%. 

Porter has been able to offset an effective field goal percentage of 46.1% with an increase in free throw attempts, but Green and Smith have struggled tremendously, posting effective field goal percentages of 44.6% and 38.6%. A large reason for this is the trio is asked to generate far too many unassisted baskets. 

51.3% of all 2-point field goals and 82.4% of 3-point field goals have been assisted this season. However, only 23.4% of Porter’s 2-point field goals and 37.5% of his 3-point field goals have been assisted. For Green, those marks improve to 37.5% on twos and 56.5% on threes, and Smith, who has been assisted the most, comes in at 53.3% on twos and 94.1% on threes. 

Green, as the second option on offense, shouldn’t be self-generating that many buckets, and Smith, as the team’s fourth, possibly fifth option, shouldn’t barely be above league average on assisted 2-point field goals. 

While Porter has done an admirable job converting self-generated shots, it is a waste of his excellent catch-and-shoot 3-point abilities. Last season, he hit 48.3% of his catch-and-shoot opportunities on 1.9 attempts per game. Instead of feeding him more catch-and-shoot opportunities, he has seen his attempts per game decrease to 1.3, and that’s with a sizeable uptick in shots. 

Next: Assists are the key to efficient offense

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