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How do Rockets players score?


Since many are debating about isos, PnRs or postups, I thought it'd be interesting to check on the effectiveness of different types of scoring options. I know SportsUV is great, but I am sticking to SynergySports for now. Below are some information about the major scoring options of Harden, Howard, Lin, and Parsons. I added some of my thoughts, but the purpose is to provide a context for more interesting discussions.

ppp: points per play

James Harden
Transition: 1.35 ppp, 23.7% of times, ranked #4
Isolation: 1.11 ppp, 24.1% of times, ranked #2
PnR (ball handler): 0.84 ppp, 27.6% of times, ranked #17

Dwight Howard
Post-up: 0.57 ppp, 47.7% of times, ranked #35
PnR (roll man): 1.18 ppp, 8.7% of times (not enough plays for ranking, but Blake Griffin's 1.03ppp is ranked at #8)
Cut: 1.74 ppp, 9.7% of times (I have no idea what a cut means for Dwight)
Offensive rebound: 1.45 ppp, 11.3% of times (not an exactly a play you can run)

Jeremy Lin
Spot-up: 1.33 ppp, 25.6% of times, ranked #6
Isolation: 1 ppp, 11.9% of times (not enough plays for ranking, but Lebron James is at 0.82ppp and ranked at #8)
PnR (ball handler): 0.98ppp, 25% of times, ranked #6
Transition: 0.82 ppp, 22.2% of times, ranked #32

Chandler Parsons
Spot-up: 0.92 ppp, 31.2% of times, ranked #32
Transition: 1.05 ppp, 22.4% of times, ranked #22

Two caveats: it is a small sample size, and that may distort some ranking numbers because other quality players haven't played enough to qualify for ranking.


My takeaway
a) Dwight's post up is okay but far from elite. 0.57 ppp is not a major threat. For reference, Tim Dunan is at 0.9 ppp, Al Jefferson at 0.88 ppp. Meanwhile, he's very limited PnR plays are at an elite level, probably still ranked within the top 10 and possibly top 5 (Kevin Love is at 1.2ppp).

b) Fast breaks remains important for Rox. That's one-fifth of the scoring repertoire of Harden, Lin, and Parsons. Harden is an elite fast break finisher. Parsons and Lin aren't as great, but it's still a highly efficiency option.

c) Hate perimeter isos? Prefer PnRs? This one surprises me. Both Harden and Lin score more efficiently on isolations than off PnRs.

Part of the reason is the ration of three pointers involved. The FG% for iso and PnR are about the same for Harden (around 45%), but the efficiency is higher for isos because he shoots a higher proportion of 3s. Lin isn't as good at isos (39% FG%) but better at PnRs (60%). Still, the average effiency is balanced out with the three pointers involved in isos.

Still, FG% may be more important eFG% when it comes down to running a play you don't want to mess up. In that case, the best two types of plays among these four players are having Howard as the roll man (72.7% FG%) and having Lin as the PnR ball handler (60% FG%). In contrast, if the goal is to score as much as possible on a particular possession, then Rox should give the ball to Harden and run an isolation. That's, of course, probably still not as good as a well designed well executed set play.

d) Lin's spot up numbers are amazingly good, shooting over 55% on FG%. I'd expect that to cool down a bit. Meanwhile, Parsons's spot up FG% are still pretty good at 43%.

So what are your thoughts? Feel free to push back on my interpretation, build on the information, or add more to the discussion.

No cursing in title. No pirated material, such as links to online game streams. Do not cut/paste entire sections of content from other websites. Thanks.

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