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Five Out: Belated Christmas Gift

Awesome Discounts on Mediocre Thoughts!

Houston Rockets v Boston Celtics
Controversy Is My Middle Name
Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Sorry Five Out Lovers (I see all twelve of you!) this is a very late Five Out. Blame holidays. Blame weather. Blame illness. By all means, blame me! I didn’t abandon you, though.

This Five Out will hopefully be quickly followed up by another Five Out, before 2023. This one will focus on more general topics, the next on individual players.

Run to the corner!

The Rockets Look Like An NBA Team More Often

The talent of the Houston Rockets is beginning to show through. Their professionalism is something yet to be determined. There are now games where the Rockets don’t break 20 turnovers. There are games when the Rockets realize they can, and should, use their speed and athleticism, comparatively everywhere on the court, to take the game to the opponent. They’ve notched quality wins in the last 20 games. Milwaukee, Phoenix, etc. But then...

The Rockets Don’t Have Any Sort of “Plan B”

The Rockets competence is like the last of a jar of mustard smeared across five sandwiches. It’s damn thin. If a team can run two actions on offense, it’s usually an open shot or layup. If a team can change its coverage, even into a 2-3 zone defense, the Rockets fall apart.

This isn’t a question about what the Rockets approach should be, this is a question about what their approach is right now.

It’s easy, and possibly fair, to claim that this is a very young team, doing its best. Why is it though, that teams with pretty clearly lesser casts like Miami with their starters sitting, or San Antonio with, in my view, zero players better than the Rockets starters in terms of talent, and both with a lot of G-Leaguers, crush them?

Is this a “give it time”? question? I’m not sure.

Is “Showcasing” Eric Gordon Worth It?

Should the Rockets be playing Eric Gordon now? What is to be gained from showing that he can play guard in the NBA, shoot, and defend his position pretty well? Are there any teams that don’t know that?

The trade window is now open, and it seems like the worst thing, in terms of realizing value for Eric Gordon is risking an injury. Yes, it’s probably a month before anything gets done, as NBA teams seem convinced bargains exist if they wait. (I have seen no evidence of this.)

Do you play him once a week to remind people he exists, keep him sharp? Do you do the current thing where he starts some, sits often?

Would Gordon’s value be enhanced by ONLY playing him as a PG/SG and never with two other SG? Gordon pretending to be a “small forward” only happened out of a desire to get the Rockets best players, and shooters, on the court at once. Why has it persisted when the Rockets have two actual small forwards? Both Rockets small forwards are worth developing, and make good things happen. It’s arguable than KJ Martin is basically the same player now as Mikal Bridges. That would indicate 30+ minutes a night.

Can The Rockets Hold Luka Under 50?

The Rockets play Dallas a couple of times between now and Monday, with Luka Doncic on an historic hot streak (60-20-10 is really something).

How might the Rockets hold him down? My first suggestion is to start Tari, and see if he can tire Luka out. Another is try to wear him down with attacks at him on offense, but in general Doncic ignores defense, and won’t get suckered into to tiring out his offense by playing on the other side of the court any more than absolutely necessary.

Does Boban just bear hug him six times, if the game is pretty close?

I’m open to suggestions as to how to slow him down. There’s a prize somewhere in the NBA if you can figure it out.

Lukaball Without Luka

The question of supernova Luka suggests an exercise. Watch the two Rockets vs Mavericks games between now and Monday closely. Look for differences in the offense that don’t stem from Luka just being better at basketball. What is the system? Is there a system, or is it just a hypertalented player at work? Try to see what it would take from Kevin Porter Jr, playing very well, to be that sort of fulcrum.

My supposition is that the Rockets are employing a system that basically requires the likes of Luka, or has been recently suggested, James Harden, in order to function effectively. No better way that to see it with, and without, The Sun King.


I mostly blame

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  • 20%
    Polar Vortex Elliott
    (11 votes)
  • 18%
    The Christmas Spirit
    (10 votes)
  • 9%
    The Interests of Didacticism
    (5 votes)
  • 7%
    (4 votes)
  • 43%
    (23 votes)
53 votes total Vote Now