One key area the Rockets’ young backcourt needs to make a leap

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Portland Trail Blazers
Houston Rockets v Portland Trail Blazers / Soobum Im/GettyImages
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Is it Stephen Silas’ fault?

Blaming the coach is easy. It’s why it happens all the time when teams struggle. However, I find it hard to blame Stephen Silas completely for the Rockets’ inability to generate the most valuable threes. In his first season, the Rockets took the 12th-highest percentage of their threes from corners at 22.7%. Looking at the Rockets’ game tape against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Rockets almost always have a man camped in the corner. 

The offensive structure is clearly there for the Rockets to get more corner threes. The fact that early in Silas’ tenure, they generated those looks also goes a long way in absolving him of blame. 

Is it the personnel?

Another reason for the Rockets' lack of corner three attempts could boil down to personnel. P.J. Tucker, like Bruce Bowen before him, made a career out of strong defense and corner-three proficiency. Tucker last played for the Rockets in 2020-21, when they finished 12th in the league in corner three rate, but he only featured in 32 games and averaged 2.7 3-point attempts per game.  

Jae’Sean Tate, who has missed the opening two games, took the corner-three king mantle from Tucker. However, he only took 2.6 threes per game and took an even smaller percentage from the corners than Tucker did.

The lost volume in corner three attempts shouldn’t have had such a dramatic effect on the Rockets. Factor in that neither Tucker nor Tate were so deadly from the corners that it should have caused the Rockets’ offense to abandon the shot altogether, and it’s unlikely that the men in the corners are to blame.