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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The Rockets’ young guards are cutting corners

Not to bury the lead, but the primary driver of the Rockets' lack of corner threes likely rests on the play of their lead ball handlers, Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green. The dynamic backcourt duo has generated plenty of highlights and is one of the better backcourts at generating their own shot. However, great offensive players do more than create for themselves. 

Breaking down Kevin Porter Jr.’s passing to the corners

Porter has made strides as a lead ball-handler, but it’s clear that he still has a ways to go. The difference between being a fine playmaker and an exceptional one is the ability to see 360 degrees on the court. Looking at three of Porter’s first-half highlights against the Memphis Grizzlies, you can see his lack of court vision. 

In the first highlight, Alperen Sengun sets a strong screen that gives Porter the chance to drive and force the defender in the corner into a help situation. Once the help comes, it’s an easy pass to Jalen Green in the corner. Instead, he opts for pull-up three. 

The next highlight is more damning. Porter does a fantastic job driving at his man, stopping on a dime, and creating a wide-open midrange jumper. Notice how the entire defense has their gaze set on him and how Tari Eason has his hands at the ready in the corner for the skip pass that never comes. 

In the final highlight, Porter doesn’t miss anyone in the corner, but he does miss Alperen Sengun running unopposed to the rim. Sengun slips the screen and has a full head of steam as his defender is left flat-footed. A simple lob would have given Sengun the ball with no one to meet him at the rim. Instead, Porter takes a contested three. 

None of these reads are easy, but being a lead guard at the NBA level is the most difficult task one can ask of a player. Great point guards pass up good shots for great ones, not the other way around. 

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