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@  Johnny Rocket : (21 August 2014 - 03:20 AM) Thanks for the great links, Buckko!
@  txtdo1411 : (20 August 2014 - 10:13 PM) Bledsoe scares me because of the injuries... that being said it is still probably the right move.
@  jorgeaam : (20 August 2014 - 10:09 PM) Let's go Morey!
@  jorgeaam : (20 August 2014 - 10:09 PM) The Suns are now discussing trade possibilities for restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe, according to Jude LaCava of FOX Phoenix.
@  thejohnnygold : (20 August 2014 - 04:52 AM) That article is a nice change of pace :)
@  Buckko : (20 August 2014 - 01:14 AM) http://probasketball...am-usa/related/ About Harden being the leader for team USA.
@  rockets best... : (17 August 2014 - 07:23 PM) good find Buckko
@  Buckko : (17 August 2014 - 05:35 PM) One for Covington too http://www.ridiculou...houston-rockets
@  Buckko : (17 August 2014 - 05:34 PM) http://www.ridiculou...ets-next-season
@  Buckko : (17 August 2014 - 05:34 PM) Great article on Troy Daniels
@  Buckko : (17 August 2014 - 04:49 PM) Harden stat line 18/5/5/2/2 with 2 TOs and 11-11 from the line.
@  Willk : (17 August 2014 - 01:12 AM) harden's passing is unbelievable tonight
@  Cooper : (15 August 2014 - 03:31 AM) yeah the injury aspect is overrated they're gonna play somewhere might as well be with top notch coaches, players, and training staffs.
@  feelingsuper... : (14 August 2014 - 11:31 PM) Players could get hurt at any time and they play all summer. On Team USA they have the best courts, coaches and trainers so to me it's pretty clear that I'd rather have Harden on USA than playing the Drew.
@  jorgeaam : (14 August 2014 - 11:30 PM) Well, last year there was smoke in the arena because of a short circuit, so the game wasn't played, but yes, that game included the Wolves too
@  rockets best... : (14 August 2014 - 11:00 PM) Cousins hurt at team USA's practice today. how many injuries will it take before the NBA looks at a review of policy?
@  RollingWave : (14 August 2014 - 08:27 AM) Isn't this the second strait year the Wolfs play in Mexico? I think the NBA i setting them up to move there lol
@  jorgeaam : (14 August 2014 - 02:53 AM) So the Rockets will be playing a game in my country, Nov 12 in Mexico City against the Wolves
@  Adi1008 : (14 August 2014 - 02:35 AM) Here's the NBA schedule: http://i.usatoday.ne...eam_by_team.pdf
@  thejohnnygold : (13 August 2014 - 07:01 PM) ...and that's how the NBA generates ratings :)

Photo

Looking at James Harden's defense


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#1 Red94

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:24 PM

New post: Looking at James Harden's defense
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#2 thenit

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:35 AM

Great clips on Harden's defense. The rockets will need him to elevate to the next level where he locks in on the other team's star player to win a championship. E.g Lebron, Jordan, Kobe, Garnett and many more champions. Usually you need the star to set the tone and take pride in defense. He doesn't have to be the best but lead the team with inspiration. Thats the difference between the winners and offensive star players like, Melo, V. Carter, T-Mac, Iverson. I can see how Durant is developing in that aspect because he knows he needs to commit to defense in order to win. Hopefully Harden will work on it and not realize it too late that defense wins in playoffs, and not be another A.I or Melo.
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#3 phaketrash

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:20 AM

Too bad we don't get to see Harden put forth the effort to do some of this:



He'd probably be happier lol.
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#4 thejohnnygold

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

I agree that Harden, and every Rocket, needs to put forth the effort on defense. I can't help but think this is something Morey has analyzed and is willing to live with. I was glancing at Harden's stats and comparing previous years to this one. His rebounds have held fairly steady from year to year. As his minutes increased his defensive rebounds increased by 1 from roughly 2.5 to 3.5. His offensive rebounds increased from .5 to .9. Not much change. Further, his number pf personal fouls has held constant at roughly 2.5.

Now, I believe Harden could grab at least 4-5 more rebounds a game given his athleticism--if he wanted to. But looking at those two numbers I think I see a different ideal at work. Perhaps Morey and McHale have decided to protect Harden from foul trouble. By limiting his opportunity to pick up cheap fouls on rebounds and driving guards Harden is able to stay on the court without worry. Compound that with the offensive opportunities he creates by "slipping" down court for easy baskets--we all know that as "cherry-picking"--and perhaps Morey's numbers indicate a mathematical advantage over the course of the game by employing this strategy.

It does seem a little far-fetched. For us, I think it is difficult to watch lackluster effort by anyone. Harden is a competitor. Surely he would prefer to hold his own out there--unless he is being specifically instructed not to do so.

I have been watching NBA basketball for well over 20 years now. Over that time patterns develop and I can tell you that one pattern I have seen is the "referee effect". In a game, the team whose star player picks up 2 early fouls loses the majority of the time. I remember during the Rockets 2 championship years this was almost a rule. Whether it was Hakeem vs. Robinson or Hakeem vs. Ewing, etc.....the big that got early foul trouble was on the losing team. These days the rule may not be as effective as many teams have multiple stars, but on a one-star team it is deadly. Houston is one of those teams.

Again, I would love it if Harden could be a top-5 defender at his position....and maybe he would be if instructed to do so. Just some food for thought...
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#5 timetodienow1234567

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

So the coaching staff is telling Harden to play worse defense than Steve Nash? Are you serious? I'm sure he was instructed not to foul, but you can play quality defense without fouling. It's harder for big men, but not impossible. I do think Harden is conserving himself some because he plays so many minutes, but whose fault is that? Mchale needs to give him some more rest. Running a 5 of Lin/Parsons/Delfino/PPat/Asik while Harden gets rest is fine. It won't be much worse on defense since Harden doesn't play any. And on offense, it's not as good without Harden, but Lin can drive and then kick out to the open shooter or find Asik for a dunk. We need Harden to play both ends of the floor if we expect to win a championship. We don't need LBJ-calibre defense but we need better than what he's giving.
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Why so Serious? :D


#6 idiotfan

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

Harden right now is your proverbial double-edge sword.

One of the issues with Harden is that he's #5 in the league in scoring. When you get up there, it's natural for any competitor to start trying to do everything he can to compete in that arena... the high scorer arena. I would do it, you would do it, Harden does it. It's very difficult to score 26 pts/game. If you have an off-night of 15, you have to come back and score 37 the next day to maintain the average. So Harden's focus isn't entirely on competing to win, because there is the side distraction of competing to score to keep his status among the top 10. This is all new to him, it's exciting being in the top 10. You ask Kobe or Lebron and they'd still care about ranking, but LESS.

Now, he's not exactly selfish about his scoring. The team depends on his scoring. But do they need him to score 26 per? I think it would be better for him to average 22, and play better defense. Sometimes you see him just not using his energy on the defensive end just so he can conserve it on the offensive side...... again, not only bc the team needs him to score, but this top-10 scoring ranking keeps calling out to him. Case in point, Wednesday's game, Rockets down 101-88 to denver. He drives, gets his layup blocked, and immediately stops as the defender rebounds and pushes the ball up. He was was too tired to start hustling back to the other end to play defense... he's got to save that energy for defense. He stands there just looking for a second and then slowly jogs back down the court.

Harden does indeed have the ability to play defense. He's not as smart on the defensive end but very capable of being very good. He is an excellent defender manning the passing lanes and in the open court when there is a scramble or fast break... 1.8 steals is not bad. Where he fails is:
1. effort, or lack of focus on this aspect of the game (defense)
2. pick-n-roll or team defense where there are switches
3. the opponent's fast breaks... but near the basket. Harden refuses to contest an opponent's layup or finish BC........ he doesn't want to pick up a foul and get himself into foul trouble which ends up affecting his offense.
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#7 thejohnnygold

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:14 PM

So the coaching staff is telling Harden to play worse defense than Steve Nash? Are you serious? I'm sure he was instructed not to foul, but you can play quality defense without fouling. It's harder for big men, but not impossible. I do think Harden is conserving himself some because he plays so many minutes, but whose fault is that? Mchale needs to give him some more rest. Running a 5 of Lin/Parsons/Delfino/PPat/Asik while Harden gets rest is fine. It won't be much worse on defense since Harden doesn't play any. And on offense, it's not as good without Harden, but Lin can drive and then kick out to the open shooter or find Asik for a dunk. We need Harden to play both ends of the floor if we expect to win a championship. We don't need LBJ-calibre defense but we need better than what he's giving.


Not exactly what I am suggesting--and it is a bit of an absurd suggestion--still, I think it is worth consideration. Not fouling is easier said than done. The offensive player can, and does, initiate contact resulting in a defensive foul. It is something I dislike about the NBA. If you're team strategy was to protect a player it might be necessary to play "worse defense than steve nash".

As I already said, Surely Harden is athletic enough to play defense. I also presume he is competitive enough to care and not want to get torched by his opponents. So what gives? His lack of effort is obvious--no coach would allow that from any player....which begs the question of, "is it intentional"?
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#8 timetodienow1234567

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

Not exactly what I am suggesting--and it is a bit of an absurd suggestion--still, I think it is worth consideration. Not fouling is easier said than done. The offensive player can, and does, initiate contact resulting in a defensive foul. It is something I dislike about the NBA. If you're team strategy was to protect a player it might be necessary to play "worse defense than steve nash".

As I already said, Surely Harden is athletic enough to play defense. I also presume he is competitive enough to care and not want to get torched by his opponents. So what gives? His lack of effort is obvious--no coach would allow that from any player....which begs the question of, "is it intentional"?


Was it intentional for Melo to never play defense? Or STAT? Or Nash? Sometimes, players just suck at defense and don't prioritize learning it. I watched him in OKC, he was not good at defense. You need to stop your lovefest with Harden and just accept that either A) he can't play defense, or B) He just doesn't care about defense. Both of those options are much more likely than the coach telling him it's okay to play zero defense.
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Why so Serious? :D


#9 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:19 PM

Lovefest? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#10 thejohnnygold

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:44 PM

The following is a list of Houston's players as they rank amongst the league in personal fouls per game. It is interesting. First, look at PPat! less than 2 fouls a game and solid defense--as you said, TTDN, it is possible. What I find more interesting is that none of our players averaging significant minutes is over 3 fouls per game. That is awesome, and points towards a particular team strategy--don't give the opponent free throws. It makes sense that if we value them so highly on offense we would equally value not giving them out on defense.

#47 - Omer Asik - 2.6
#68 - Jeremy Lin - 2.5
#94 - James Harden - 2.4
#114 - Marcus Morris - 2.2
#122 - Greg Smith - 2.2
#148 - Toney Douglas - 2.1
#158 - Chandler Parsons - 2.0
#195 - Patrick Patterson - 1.9
#247 - Carlos Delfino - 1.7

As a counterpoint to this, I will point out that only 20 players in the entire league average 3+ fouls per game. Is it just me, or did teams use all their fouls in the past? Seems like, in the fourth quarter they would always show the "foul trouble" graphic and each team would have 3-5 players on it with 4 or 5 fouls each. The times they are a changin'.
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#11 thejohnnygold

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:50 PM

Was it intentional for Melo to never play defense? Or STAT? Or Nash? Sometimes, players just suck at defense and don't prioritize learning it. I watched him in OKC, he was not good at defense. You need to stop your lovefest with Harden and just accept that either A) he can't play defense, or B) He just doesn't care about defense. Both of those options are much more likely than the coach telling him it's okay to play zero defense.


Lovefest??? :wub: Hardly. I agree that your reasons are way more plausible. It is just something I was thinking about. As I've stated before in other threads, I like to let my mind travel down as many paths as possible....it is always ok to come back from a dead end or wrong turn, but if we never investigate how will we know anything for sure?

Oh, and who is "STAT"?
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#12 thejohnnygold

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:50 PM

Lovefest? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.


Haha...didn't even think about that. True enough.
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#13 phaketrash

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:22 PM

STAT is Stoudemire. "Standing Tall and Talented" lol.
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#14 Sir Thursday

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:06 PM

As a counterpoint to this, I will point out that only 20 players in the entire league average 3+ fouls per game. Is it just me, or did teams use all their fouls in the past? Seems like, in the fourth quarter they would always show the "foul trouble" graphic and each team would have 3-5 players on it with 4 or 5 fouls each. The times they are a changin'.


One of the reasons why scoring is down in the league this year is that players are getting to the line less often than they have done in the past. IIRC the percentage of possessions ending in free throws is the lowest it has been for several years. To an extent you can explain that by the refs cracking down slightly on continuation and rip-through calls and the like, but they're also letting the players play a bit more. Naturally, you end up with fewer players getting in foul trouble as a result.

ST
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#15 idiotfan

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:10 PM

A couple of the videos above highlight a key point for Harden and his thought process: he will not challenge shots bc he doesn't want to draw a foul. Getting into foul trouble means less time on the court. Once his man beats gets past him, Harden lets him go, because of fear of fouling.

as I mentioned earlier, there is tremendous pressure on him to score to keep his per-game average up. A 19-point game means he would have to pour in 33 the next game to keep his average of 26. Lots of pressure during the game to "get to 25" including forcing the action to get a foul call and get to the line, and in so doing also risk turnovers, or continuing to shoot on off-nites. So this new-found mini-obsession on maintaining the high scoring average leads (rationalized by "my scoring helps the team win") to several negatives. So the player starts making decisions about his role as a top league scoring machine, and one of them is to save energy during the game on the defensive end, not making defensive fouls, and also not giving 100% effort off the court in learning to become a better team defender.
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#16 timetodienow1234567

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:51 PM

A couple of the videos above highlight a key point for Harden and his thought process: he will not challenge shots bc he doesn't want to draw a foul. Getting into foul trouble means less time on the court. Once his man beats gets past him, Harden lets him go, because of fear of fouling.

as I mentioned earlier, there is tremendous pressure on him to score to keep his per-game average up. A 19-point game means he would have to pour in 33 the next game to keep his average of 26. Lots of pressure during the game to "get to 25" including forcing the action to get a foul call and get to the line, and in so doing also risk turnovers, or continuing to shoot on off-nites. So this new-found mini-obsession on maintaining the high scoring average leads (rationalized by "my scoring helps the team win") to several negatives. So the player starts making decisions about his role as a top league scoring machine, and one of them is to save energy during the game on the defensive end, not making defensive fouls, and also not giving 100% effort off the court in learning to become a better team defender.


Exactly. But some people can't take off their blinders and see Harden for what he is. An offensive player who doesn't play defense. He seems "obsessed" with his points. I've noticed several times where he tries to get points rather than make the best play. I guess I'm just used to watching stars like Duncan/LBJ/Nash/etc... who will make the best play regardless.
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Why so Serious? :D


#17 Cooper

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 03:32 AM

Saying harden doesn't care about winning is kinda ridiculous, yeah he's not a great defender but who is that is also a great scorer? Not a long list for sure. In a playoff series he would put more effort in on defense which is really all I expect from him. Wade doesn't play great d during the regular season. Ellis can't play d at all, Gordon is a mediocre defender, Kobe can play good d for stretches but most elite scoring guards aren't that good at defense because they never really had to play it or don't put much effort in until they really have to.
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#18 rockets best fan

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 05:17 AM

Saying harden doesn't care about winning is kinda ridiculous, yeah he's not a great defender but who is that is also a great scorer? Not a long list for sure. In a playoff series he would put more effort in on defense which is really all I expect from him. Wade doesn't play great d during the regular season. Ellis can't play d at all, Gordon is a mediocre defender, Kobe can play good d for stretches but most elite scoring guards aren't that good at defense because they never really had to play it or don't put much effort in until they really have to.

agreed. harden provides scoring for this team. how many wins do we have without harden scoring above 20 pts? I think harden is capable of good defense, but conserves energy during games. the rockets have 21 sets of back to backs this year. to put up above 20-25 every nite requires him to play the game, but also look at the big picture. thier are 82 games to play. I also hear whinning about his turnovers. while I want to see them decline over time I understand harden is the player who must force the action when other teams are playing inspired denfense on us. this is his first time handling this responsability. it like everything else is a learning process. our other players are learning and guess what harden is too! he like all other players on this team I expect to get better over time. he is learning how to be a star and balance his energy verses need to make a play. I can't even believe we are having a dicussion about hardens few faults based on how he has changed the outlook for the future of this team......crazy isn't it? harden is the reason I see hope. without him we are cellar dwellers. he has lived up to what I expected, but I also expect him to improve. after all he's only 23. that's why what we have is so great (IMO) we are both young and good. sure we will add to what we have, but looking at these rockets makes me think we have laid some of the concrete on that championship foundation
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you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


#19 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 05:53 AM

I agree rockets best fan. It is pretty rediculous that fans, on a forum, a message board for Rockets fans, criticize James Harden as if he were the Rockets problem. In reality he is the greatest player this franchise has had since Olajuwon.


(Yes I wrote that proclamation after drinking too much wine and yes I got ahead of myself there but not by much.)
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#20 thejohnnygold

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 03:23 PM

I second, or third, whatever Rockets best fan as well. I see a lot of players we will want to keep and there is still so much potential waiting in the wings. Just imagine if things go well and everyone continues to develop (as they should) we will have one of the deepest, baddest teams around.
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