The Houston Rockets practically exploded on the offensive end of the floor last season, finishing among the league's best despite not possessing a "star" player. The reason? Team offense. Houston fared well in off-ball situations and moved the rock like a seasoned Rick Adelman squad should.
Now, Kevin McHale enters the fold. We're not quite sure what his plan for an offense is just yet, but since I've still got a handy Synergy Sports account, I decided to crack the significant numbers McHale will have at his disposal.
This post will show you: A) A good number, B) A bad number, and C) An otherwise interesting number about each player on the Rockets, at least those who qualified. Remember these numbers, folks. Perhaps you should even consult them before games early in the season to see how they'll be affected in a new offense. If anything, know them so you can know what to expect from each player in certain situations.
The Good -- Martin loves the transition three-point shot. If you watched even a handful of games, you'll remember a time or two when Kyle Lowry pushed the ball downcourt, only to kick the ball to a fading Martin on the wing for the trifecta. Martin made 46 of 90 transition threes this past year, good for 51.1 percent. It's basically a layup for him.
The Bad -- Martin's catch-and-shoot ability ranks among the league's best from behind the arc, but in isolation from behind the arc, he's not so fancy. Often, he'll square up his defender and suddenly chunk up a seemingly desperate shot. Martin only made 20 of the 71 isolation threes he took this year, good for 28.2 percent. It's good to keep a defense honest, but perhaps Martin could crack down on these a bit.
The Interesting -- Outside the arc, Martin isn't exactly an isolation dynamo. Inside the arc, however, Martin's isolation value skyrockets. He ranks eighth in the league in isolation conversion, and while he only shoots 41 percent on isolation attempts inside the arc (that's not too bad, actually), consider the obvious: Martin draws a shooting foul once every five times he takes the ball in isolation, bumping his scoring percentage to a wholesome 49 percent. He recorded eighteen And 1s off isolation plays last season.
(Note: Scoring percentage is different from shooting percentage. Shooting percentage only involves actual shots from the field. Scoring percentage is bland. It asks the question: No matter how you did it, at the end of the possession, did you score or not?)
The Good -- Chase Budinger used the backdoor cut as effectively as any Rocket in Rick Adelman's system. Last season on 76 cuts, Budinger scored 68 percent of the time either via basket or free throw. His field goal percentage on cuts hovered just above that number at 69 percent.
The Bad -- Fortunately for Budinger, he doesn't end up in isolation situations often. It's not his forte, to say the least. On 23 isolation attempts last year, Budinger shot 3 for 14 from inside the arc -- good for 21.4 percent -- and 1 for 6 from three-point land.
The Interesting -- Thirty percent of Budinger's offense came from spot-up situations. On 234 attempts, Budinger's scoring percentage was 38.9 percent. He shot 38 percent from inside the arc and 36 percent beyond it. I'd like to see better from Bud given the number of touches he gets in those situations.
The Good -- Luis likes to run. He's also very good at it, as he possessed a 1.24 PPP (points per possession) in transition last year. He rarely turned the ball over in transition situations (six percent of the time) and shot 63 percent on the run.
The Bad -- Luis isn't great away from the block in isolation. Nor should anyone expect him to be. He turned the ball over one-fifth of the time. His scoring percentage wasn't pretty either, just 34.8 percent.
The Interesting -- We like Luis in the post, but after looking at the numbers, they aren't as great as we'd expect. Given his sneakiness on the block, Scola didn't draw fouls often (just five percent of post-up possessions). That number lowered his scoring percentage to 44.5 percent. He shot 46 percent from the field, a number that could certainly be higher.
The Good -- Jordan Hill can pick and roll it quite nicely. Sadly, he doesn't get a chance to do it very often, but when he's able to roll and receive a pass, Hill converts at a good rate. On 21 pick & roll plays that resulted in Hill receiving the pass, he shot 56.3 percent and converted two And 1s. Fun Fact: Dwight Howard leads the league in P&R Man situations. 81.7 FG percent on 82 shots. This, on 129 overall attempts, meaning he draws plenty of fouls. That's nuts.
The Bad -- The more Hill improves his jumper, the better he'll be. On 31 spot-ups last year, Hill only shot 38%. Like Carl Landry did a few years back, Hill should work on this and try to get his percentage at least into the mid-forties.
The Interesting -- Hill in transition gets a little dicey. His shooting percentage -- 61 percent on 26 attempts -- is good, but his scoring percentage rests at a paltry 47 percent. Why? Hill turned the ball over almost once every four times he caught the ball running in transition. Converting wasn't a problem for Hill, but getting the chance to convert became difficult at times.
The Good -- Hand it off to Kyle and he'll make the magic happen. Lowry finished eighth in the league in converting handoff chances. He shot 50 percent from inside the arc and -- get this -- 45 percent from beyond the arc when handed the ball. Lowry also found a happy place when shooting off the pick and roll from behind the arc, likely off a step-back move. He converted 44 percent of the time in those situations.
The Bad -- Perhaps Kyle Lowry is the perfect human being, but he's not quite up to par in isolation situations yet. Lowry shot just 36 percent from inside the arc and 31 percent from behind the arc in isolation situations, putting his points per possession at 0.85.
The Interesting -- Lowry's cuts fared well, too. He scored a whopping 71.8 percent of attempts off cuts and shot 21 of 30 from the field.
(Note: In fact, looking at the analysis, many Rockets fared quite well on cuts. No surprise -- this was a Rick Adelman-coached team. You have to wonder if they'll be able to keep this up under Kevin McHale. It was a key part of the offense last year.)
The Good -- Patterson ranked twelfth in the league in converting on offensive rebound attempts, a situation that accounted for 18 percent of Patterson's offense. Patrick scored on these attempts 64 percent of the time. He's a bouncy one, that's for sure.
The Bad -- If Patterson is going to eventually become a starting power forward, he's going to have to get better in the post. In those situations, Patterson only shot 35 percent. He's clearly got time and room to grow, but if I'm Coach McHale, I make that the number one priority for Patterson the minute camp starts.
The Interesting -- Patrick's bread and butter was the spot-up shot. He made 53.5 percent of his attempts, shooting 46 for 86. Interestingly enough, Patterson wasn't fouled once during a spot-up shot. Take that for what you will.
(Note: Here, we're only looking at Dragic's numbers in Houston.)
The Good -- The sample size isn't large, but boy are the results fantastic: On spot-up threes, Dragic shot 60 percent from the field. In total, his spot-up numbers ranked him second in the league, as he scored the ball 55 percent of the time, good for a phenomenal 1.66 points per possession.
The Bad -- Unfortunately, Dragic drove the ball quite a bit more than he spotted up, especially off the pick and roll. His numbers when keeping the ball off the P&R weren't pretty. He shot 30 percent from the field and turned the ball over 18 percent of the time, good for a scoring percentage of 33 percent.
The Interesting -- As you might expect from an agile miniature dragon, Dragic performed well in transition, converting 64 percent of all attempts. Among those 44 attempts, Dragic managed three And 1s.
Let's talk about Terrence in a different format. His Synergy numbers aren't all that useful, since he only played sparingly. If you'd like to know them, here they are: He shot one for nine when keeping the ball on the pick and roll, six for fifteen in isolation and two for ten in spot-up situations. In other words: pretty horrible.
Then again, Williams wasn't given a fair chance to prove himself last year. I'll contend that the playing time was fair given the talent around him, but when evaluating Terrence, it would be unfair to solely look at these numbers. To expand, we're going to consult HoopData.com and look over a few statistics that I've been wanting to share with you Williams supporters for a while.
Williams is billed as a slasher, a one-dribble lightening bolt into the lane. Let me describe a slasher in longer, perhaps more cynical terms: An athlete without the handles to boot.
Slashing is code for "no left hand." You know who could slash? Trevor Ariza. He's a giant, red self-destruct button.
Slashers only use one dribble because the second normally results in a turnover. I'm no doctor, but I'm fairly certain fetal kicking is nothing more than an angry reaction to Williams' horrible turnover rate. It's a number that hovers around fifteen, but in his limited time with the Nets this past season -- and during a period in which Williams was supposed to assume a greater role with the offense -- that number jumped to a whopping twenty-four.
Ladies and mostly gentleman, that's not very good. It's pitiful.
But let's assume for a second that Terrence can survive an endeavor. He's in the lane. His defender is beat, and now it's decision time. The numbers say two things are likely to happen: Williams will miss the shot, or Williams will not draw a foul. Isn't that splendid?
In three years, Williams has connected on no more than 55% of his shots around the rim, an uninspiring percentage. Even worse is his penchant for avoiding the free throw line. He has never averaged two free throws per game, and that is despite playing over twenty minutes per game during what amounts to be just over a full season with New Jersey.
Remember why we liked Kyle Lowry during his years as a backup? He got to the free throw line. He used his slashes effectively. You know how long it takes to draw a foul or finish a layup off the drive? Maybe five seconds. Williams hasn't played much, sure, but he has possessed the ball enough in those minutes to have done far better for himself.
The Good -- Courtney Lee, like Kyle Lowry, enjoys the handoff. Perhaps the two could simply hand off to each other all game long. On handoffs, Lee ranked third in the league, scoring the ball 53 percent of the time. He shot 53 percent from behind the arc off handoffs and 56 percent inside the arc. Good lord, that's good.
The Bad -- Lee ran the pick and roll and kept the ball 96 times in 2010-2011. How'd he do? He scored 29 percent of the time, good for 175th in the league.
The Interesting -- Lee isn't an isolation player. He only scored 26 percent of his 50 isolation attempts. On the contrary, he's a great spot-up player, as he connected on 46 percent of his 105 three-point attempts in spot-up situations.
Hasheem Thabeet didn't play enough last year -- or ever in his career -- to merit analysis. Marcus Morris and Chandler Parsons are rookies, Marqus Blakely and Marcus Cousin are question marks to even make the roster and Chuck Hayes is a free agent. As such, they were not considered in this post.