The Rockets’ transition defense
The Rockets’ transition problems don’t end on offense. When I said they were the worst in nearly every transition metric, I meant it. This season, the Rockets are allowing their opponents the most transition possessions (22.8), the highest frequency (20.2%), the fifth most points per possession (1.2), and the most points in transition per game (27.3).
While the Rockets’ poor transition offense is new, their poor transition defense is a carryover from last season, when they gave up the most transition possessions (21.4), allowed the highest frequency (18.9%), were fifth in points per possession (1.17) and allowed the most points per game (25). Their consistency is startling. This season, it appears their transition defense has gotten worse, but it has largely stayed the same as transition possessions and frequency are both up league-wide.
The good news is that the Rockets’ transition defense staying the same compared to the league average has come even as their offensive performance should be leading to more transition opportunities for their opponents. They’re turning the ball on a higher percentage of their possessions this season, and they’re crashing the offensive glass with abandon. Turnovers and chasing offensive boards instead of tracking back are the fuel of transition opportunities.