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Five Out: Mostly Rockets

Welcome to the Working Week

NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz
Cherish the Grudge!
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Five Out - back again with the persistence of a viral infection.

This week saw the NBA get under steam for real, and we can start drawing premature conclusions from 5% or less of games played.

Thinking About Thinking About

Some of my most successful pieces of analysis, professionally, or semi-professionally (here) have come when I try to put myself in the place of whatever organization I’m analyzing. What do they see? What are their constraints? Most importantly, how do they make decisions?

How do you know you’re on the right track with this exercise? When your suppositions about what a person or organization will do starts to match what they actually do. The more data you have the better. The more honest, and less forgiving, you are of your own assumptions the better.

That brings up another question - how reliable is your data in term of predictive value? I’d say in the case of this Rockets team - not very reliable. The players and situation has changed drastically over two years. Assumptions may or may not be warranted. I’d honestly say we don’t have enough data now for strong statements, but we might in about two to three months. Just because something isn’t happening right now, doesn’t mean it won’t happen, if your analysis was sound. Patience is often required.

Just How Inexperienced ARE These Rockets (part 2)?

I wrote a story back in 2012 for this very blog (Yes, I know.) about just how inexperienced that Rockets team was. One of the facts I noted was that the Rockets coach, Kevin McHale, had played more NBA minutes (by about 750) than the entire Rockets starting lineup. (Daryl Morey even referenced this piece, but as is our fate, he attributed it to Clutch Fans.)

I may do similar analysis, but I will note that that the nine young players being developed by the Rockets right now have all of nine full years of NBA experience combined.

Teams like that lose a lot of games.

Eric Gordon Is Unmoved By That Outburst

In the Rockets home game against the surprisingly frisky Utah Jazz, there was a bit of a dust-up. I don’t think it goes as far as a “fracas”, “altercation” or even “contretemps”. Jalen Green got angry at Jabari Smith about a missed pick, and Jabari reacted with some vehemence.

Eric Gordon simply looked bemused. I can only imagine the phlegmatic Gordon thinking “Child, please. Try watching James Harden dribble for 16 seconds. Trying playing defense with him.”

At least Jabari attempted to set the pick. It wasn’t like Christian “horseshoe” Wood where “in the vicinity of a pick” was close enough. It’s good to see passion and fighting spirit, and since that fighting spirit couldn’t also be described as “criminal assault” (CA Penal Code section 240), all is well.

Something I hate? Having to play a bunch of games against teams that you’re pretty certain will be terrible later in the season, early in the season, before they’ve been broken up, or quit trying. Like Utah.


Speaking of Eric Gordon

Why do people keep talking about Chavon Rainer “Buddy” Hield in relation to the Los Angeles Lakers season being saved or whatever when they really SHOULD be talking about Eric Gordon?

A quick consult with Kings fans left me with the impression that Buddy is basically a siege weapon. He can shoot, he can dribble a little. He absolutely, positively, does not defend. Even when he tries, it’s bad, and his defense has only declined in the NBA.

Eric Gordon is a good defender, can initiate offense to a better level than Hield, can attack the basket, and oh, by the way, can shoot the basketball too. His deal expires after this season. If the Rockets would accept a later first round pick for Gordon, and indications were they would (Hey, how are you enjoying Caris LeVert, Cleveland? Pretty happy to have him locked up, I bet.) why couldn’t the Rockets accept a pick with some protections?

Actually this passes The Trade Machine. Picks would be something like protected 29 pick to Indiana, 2nd rounder that converts to pick NOLA swaps (23 or 24 - I think you can do that), protected 27 pick to Rockets.

The Lakers are currently a very good defense, and terrible offense. They need to do this trade now, right away. Not in two months. Or they can burn to the waterline. I’m fine with that, too.

It must be ok?

16 seconds or less?

I heard on a podcast that Seven Seconds or Less Phoenix disciples David Griffin and Willie Green practice running the Pelicans offense on a 16 second shot clock. It forces the team into early offense, discourages pounding the ball.

I would truly love to see the Rockets doing this, as the Pelicans are a really good team this year, and as much as it pains me to say it, fun to watch. Except Ingram. He’s not fun to watch.

I remember when David Griffin was the NBA’s biggest moron. Patience.


When is Eric Gordon traded?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Trade Deadline.
    (78 votes)
  • 24%
    (43 votes)
  • 32%
    Sooner than trade deadline.
    (57 votes)
178 votes total Vote Now