The latest in Jason Friedman's series of Q&As with Rockets coaches and players.
They talk mainly about defense. Sampson says they did a good job last year defending the paint, but did poorly defending the three point line, particularly the corners. He says one of the keys to this is simply better individual defense, so that guys don't have to give help so much.
He says guys sometimes used how hard they were running in transition as an excuse to not play hard on defense. He says that a lot of the transition problems were a result of guys not being experienced playing together.
He credits Beverly and Lin as being good defenders, says Lin is especially good at help defense, and the coaching staff is hoping that having Dwight at their backs will free them both to be more aggressive on defense.
Last year they mainly funneled the ball away from the basket, this year they're talking about funneling the ball toward Dwight. They planning on making some changes to their pick'n'roll coverage, but he wouldn't get into specifics. Again, he came back to having better individual defense, so that they're able to stop the pick'n'roll with two guys instead of three.
He specifically calls out Chandler Parsons and James Harden to play better defense. Later he says that the team's weakness defensively is a the the two and three spots. He says that Chandler's offense this last year was much better than in his rookie year, but his defense was much worse, and the challenge for him this coming year is to do both. He says that Harden needs to become a two-way player, Parsons needs to put in more effort on D, and Lin need to become a better two way players.
He talks a bit about analytics. It's obviously part of how he conceptualizes the game. The example he gave was of using analytics the track the percentages of shots they challenge.