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With Greg Smith as the starter

Via Jason Friedman:

Since that contest, Houston has featured a lineup with Greg Smith at the power forward position and the club has gone 5-1 in the six games that have followed that switch. During that stretch, the Rockets have posted some impressive numbers themselves, scoring at a top-five rate while defending like a top-10 team. Perhaps most impressively, they are dominating the offensive glass, corralling more than 30 percent of their misses – a rate that would place them among the top-5 offensive rebounding teams in the NBA. To be sure, those numbers are the epitome of limited, dirty data given the small sample size and the fact they’ve largely come against less than stellar competition. Still, Smith’s expanded role has certainly helped Houston, and his play in the aforementioned Memphis game showed hints that it might do exactly that when he grabbed five offensive rebounds and was a team-high +7 during his 25 minutes of action.

The new lineup has certainly been a revelation.  What’s more, Smith, when serving as the roll man in pick&roll situations, is scoring 1.29 points per possession, good for 12th in the league.  It’s in these instances where he’s doing his most damage, using his gargantuan hands to catch passes Omer Asik has no hope of catching.  (I was surprised to find that Smith is shooting only 43% in post-up situations, good for 0.77 PPP, a seeming incongruence with his prowess in the eye test.)

The greatest cause for reluctance for inserting Smith at the ’4′ was the purported effect he, in combination with Omer Asik, would have in clogging the lane for James Harden.  It has been conventional wisdom that the Rockets need a stretch shooting power forward to operate their offensive scheme.  On the contrary, in the 95 minutes the trio of Smith, Asik, and Harden have seen together on the floor (191 possessions), Harden is shooting 49% from the field.  With Motiejunas in place of Smith (in 259 minutes), that number for Harden is 43.8%.  Granted, the latter is a far greater sample size, but at the least, for now, it can be hypothesized that Smith’s presence has not served deterrent to Harden’s effectiveness.

 

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Total comments: 8
  • BenQueens says 1 YEAR ago

    Yes.

    To break it down: Greg Smith's fg% on pick and roll is 73.9% and he gets fouled 21.5% of the time.

    Speaking of: I'm interested to see how Smith's FT% holds up with the increased minutes. It's definitely jumped in these last 5-6 games, and the sample size beforehand was fairly small (he shot ~10% of his career NBA FTs in the Portland game). His college % was significantly lower.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Yes.

    To break it down: Greg Smith's fg% on pick and roll is 73.9% and he gets fouled 21.5% of the time.

  • Jeby says 1 YEAR ago

    Question: do those points per possession on pick and rolls include the resulting free throws on may of those possessions?
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Yeah, chances are it was mostly the fatigue. I think defense + little spacing could have played a small part though, 10% at least.

  • phaketrash says 1 YEAR ago

    Greg Smith in the starting line-up hasn'tdeteredHarden against the weak defenses (Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix) but against Denver he went 2-10. I'm sure Iguodala's defense had alot to do with it, but last time Harden Iggy defended him he went 6-13 and the time before that 8-17. It's hard to make adefiniteconclusion with such a small sample size, but I think the lack of floor spacing deters Harden if there is also great defense being played on him.

    I agree more w/ Steven. Not sure if that was due to spacing or not. Iggy always gives Harden a pretty tough time. The other game Harden went 5-15. meh. And in all of them, he goes INSANE on TOs, except for this 2-10 game (others were 6, 6, 7 TOs).

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago

    Greg Smith in the starting line-up hasn't deterred Harden against the weak defenses (Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix) but against Denver he went 2-10. I'm sure Iguodala's defense had alot to do with it, but last time Harden Iggy defended him he went 6-13 and the time before that 8-17. It's hard to make a definite conclusion with such a small sample size, but I think the lack of floor spacing deters Harden if there is also great defense being played on him.


    The 2-10 can be explained with being the second end of a back-to-back in the altitude of Denver, when Denver was rested. Come playoff time that one game won't matter. If Lawson is still hobbled, come playoff time Rockets in 5. If healthy, Rockets in 6.
  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago The run with Smith at the starting 4 is also the time that T-Jones started being the backup. They seem to be more constant then the D-Mo T-Rob combination McHale was using.
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Greg Smith in the starting line-up hasn'tdeteredHarden against the weak defenses (Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix) but against Denver he went 2-10. I'm sure Iguodala's defense had alot to do with it, but last time Harden Iggy defended him he went 6-13 and the time before that 8-17. It's hard to make adefiniteconclusion with such a small sample size, but I think the lack of floor spacing deters Harden if there is also great defense being played on him.

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