The Houston Rockets have a terrific bench… and don’t use it

During the recent game against the Chicago Bulls, Aaron Brooks came off the bench for a few minutes. Jeff Van Gundy remarked, “If Aaron Brooks were on the Bulls he would be their best offensive player. He’s the third string point guard on the Rockets. That’s how deep this team is.”

JVG is right. The Houston Rockets are incredibly deep.  Coming off the bench regularly are a scorer (Lin), two 3-and-D wings (Garcia, Casspi), a big (Asik… yeah, I know), and a grinder (Smith). Seeing spot duty or injury fill-in duty are a microwave man (Brooks) and a stretch 4 (D-Mo).  Those are very useful roles to be filled by young, talented players. Just ask the Pacers or the Bulls (when Rose was whole) how valuable a productive bench can be.

Here’s how the Houston Rockets bench ranks league-wide, according to NBA.com:

  • 3rd in points per possession
  • 4th in TS%
  • 5th in net points per possession
  • 8th in +/- per game

But here’s the most important stat about the Houston Rockets bench:

  • 25th in minutes per game

Only five other teams play their benches less than the Houston Rockets. Below is a chart that plots every team’s bench according to how much they play and their net points per possession (click for a full-sized interactive version).

Playing time on the y-axis is in terms of the percentage of a team’s minutes played by the team’s bench.

There are a couple of things I want to point out. Most teams’ benches don’t play very much, and most teams benches aren’t very good. The number of teams below and to the left of the respective average lines are far more numerous than their counterparts. The averages are skewed positively by some truly remarkable bench play.

Unsurprisingly, the Spurs are running away with the title of most amazing bench ever. The Heat and the Thunder also have some incredible benches (hint, these three teams have a track record of knowing what they are doing). The chart also portends a dangerous a future for teams like the Pacers, Blazers, and Warriors. Their benches are pretty meh and don’t play very much (probably because they’re pretty meh). Injuries and fatigue loom darkly.

The Houston Rockets, it turns out, are one of very few teams (maybe just two, with the other being the Clippers) that has an incredibly productive bench… that doesn’t play. It’s very apparent where those minutes are going.

  • James Harden ranks 3rd in the league in mpg
  • Chandler Parsons ranks 12th in the league in mpg
  • Harden, Parsons, and Dwight Howard rank 1st in the league in mpg for all 3-man lineups
  • Harden and Parsons rank 4th in the league in mpg for all 2-man lineups

Basically our super productive bench is being squeezed through a bottleneck. Those five guys (potentially seven) are all subbing in for two players, Jones and Beverley, thus severely limiting their playing time.

Interestingly, the Houston Rockets staff seems to know this. The big question regarding the Asik trade has always been who can be brought in to help the team? The answer seemed to gravitate towards no one, because any player received in return will be a role player who will only add to a talented bench that doesn’t play very much. Hence, the focus became draft picks, which never materialized.

But to fix this situation, doesn’t that mean (gasp) Harden, Parsons, and Howard have to (gulp), sit? Yes. Their replacements are more than capable.  It also keeps them fresh and healthy. Don’t forget that these three players, over the course of less than a year, have all suffered or are suffering from what can be considered chronic wear-and-tear ailments (Howard-back, Parsons-back, Harden-ankle and foot). To make matters worse, Parsons is also 4th in the league in distance traveled per game. Why not give them a break?

 

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Total comments: 38
  • 08huangj says 7 months ago

    Great post. Rockets have the best 2nd unit in the league when healthy, good enough to beat most 1st units in the league

    Sorry but I don't agree with what you say. Just look at the Rockets bench today against the timberwolves! Only Greg Smith was injured. How would a squad of Lin, Garcia, Casspi, Motiejunas, and Asik beat Sacremento's squad of Isiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson, and Boogie? By the way, Sac is the worst team in the west right now.

  • Buckko says 7 months ago

    We'll see Steven.

  • Steven says 7 months ago

    Howard is going to get a lot more break time come after Allstar break with a in-shape asik.

    Until Asik is traded.
  • feelingsupersonic says 7 months ago

    McHale must have been listening! Parsons with 30 minutes and Harden with 32 tonight. Harden even sat out the entire fourth quarter. Yeah Howard played 39 minutes, but it's a good start.


    The last few weeks McHale has been talking about cutting starters minutes. I believe there was a game at the beginning of this little win streak where Parsons sat the entire fourth quarter.

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2014/02/with-garcia-healthy-rockets-can-reduce-workload-on-harden-parsons/
  • Buckko says 7 months ago Howard is going to get a lot more break time come after Allstar break with a in-shape asik.
  • shirtless says 7 months ago

    McHale must have been listening! Parsons with 30 minutes and Harden with 32 tonight. Harden even sat out the entire fourth quarter. Yeah Howard played 39 minutes, but it's a good start.

  • feelingsupersonic says 7 months ago This is great stuff Richard. I am so glad to have your work right here on Red94. Now time to reread this.
  • Red94 says 7 months ago New post: The Houston Rockets bench revisited
    By: Richard Li

    [caption id="attachment_13990" align="aligncenter" width="300">Thumbnail Click for a full-size interactive version[/caption>

    Last year I took a look at the Houston Rockets bench. The data showed that the Rockets had one of the most productive benches in the NBA, but also one of the least utilized. Now I'm revising the Rockets bench with updated data.

    Technical information

    The chart above is very similar to the one from my previous post. The only differences are that I've color coded the teams, made the sizes of the circles correspond to the teams' winning percentages, and added a filter at the top right that allows you to toggle between when I collected data.

    Limitations

    Data is calculated from the beginning of the season through specified dates, not in separate segments. In other words, the data for February 10th is not from December 19th to February 10th, but from the beginning of the season to February 10th.

    A player's status as starter/bench is determined by where he is when the game begins. Thus, over the course of a season, the same player's status changes from game to game (like Darren Collison), and the stats he accumulates will count towards starters or bench depending upon the game.

    Observations

    The Rockets bench has declined in performance a bit, but is still strong compared to the rest of the league. The Rockets bench currently ranks:

    • 6th in points per possession
    • 9th in net points per possession
    • 11th in true shooting percentage

    These ranks are all lower than what they were when I first collected data on December 19th. Additionally, the Rockets bench now ranks 28th in minutes played. That is also lower than on December 19th, when the Rockets bench ranked 25th in minutes played.

    Bench usage across the NBA didn't budge very much between December 19th and now, decreasing about 0.5%. Net rating moved even less, increasing from -0.87 to -0.85. What did change is the range of both measures. Extreme outliers from December 19th, such as the Wizards and Heat, are now closer to the league average. Even the Spurs and the Thunder benches, while still markedly more productive than everyone else's, are a little closer to the average.  Basically, teams are clumping towards the middle of the graph.

    Injuries are certainly a part of the conversation, since the Rockets have quite a few. But, like I mentioned in the forums, it's not like other teams haven't suffered injuries. What I find interesting is that despite injuries increasing as the season progresses, bench data hasn't changed much. Usage and productivity have both, for the most part, stayed constant. This means that teams are either playing their remaining bench players more minutes (to make up for minutes lost to injured players), or are playing new players from the practice squads or D-League teams. And these new bench configurations aren't losing productivity, though this might be due to the fact that everyone's weaker benches are playing each other, so it's a zero sum game.

    I am even more skeptical now of the Warriors and Trailblazers chances for sustained success. Despite winning, they are the only two teams to play their benches less than the Rockets, and their benches aren't particularly good. They are one injury away from being a footnote.

    What's interesting is how different teams have responded to a similar set of circumstances. In this respect, the Rockets are interesting. From December 19th to February 10th, the Rockets bench was on the floor 2.1% less of the time, or more than 4x the NBA average. Compare that to the Clippers, whose dot overlapped the Rockets on December 19th. They suffered their own injuries, but their bench minutes only decreased at the NBA average of 0.5%.

    There are certainly different philosophies about how to handle injuries and new players. I've made it known that, for lots of reasons, I think it's better to play bench players more. A legitimate counter-argument is that teams need to rely on the players they've come to trust instead of introduce new and untested ones. But to me it almost seems dangerous to respond to injuries by running uninjured players even harder, thus increasing the chances that they then become injured.

    For four straight games (San Antonio through Phoenix), the Rockets played with an eight man rotation. Yes, people were hurt, but Covington and Brewer dressed for each game and logged zero minutes total. Brooks didn't play in (I think) two of those games, despite being healthy. On a team with this much depth and injury concerns, there is no reason for Parsons and Harden to approach 40 minutes per game. At this stage, prolonged health is more important than individual wins. And who knows, some players might surprise given the opportunity and the trust.

  • rocketrick says 9 months ago

    I thought Green was the starter.


    Whoop, you're right. So substitute Ginobili for Green then as a bench player. What a luxury to have both Ginobili and Belinelli coming off the bench, in addition to Splitter, Diaw, Bonner, etc. Some of these guys are for sure starting for a lot of other NBA teams.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 9 months ago I thought Green was the starter.
  • rocketrick says 9 months ago I forgot to add that the Spurs also have the luxury of not really caring what seed they end up with because of all the playing experience they have on their roster plus having the best coach in the league right now. So Pop can rely on his bench much more than typical NBA teams.

    The Rockets, on the other hand, are a young, up and coming team with an exciting new system of offense that should only continue to get better and jel the longer the roster stays together. The Rockets, in my opinion, need one of the top 4 seeds to better position for a deeper run into the playoffs because of the overall youth on their roster. Thus every win matters and when the bench is on fumes and losing large leads, McHale has no choice but to put his starters back in sooner than he would prefer.
  • rocketrick says 9 months ago

    Wherever a player began the game, that's what he counts as. If he started on the bench, then he's a bench player. If he started on the court, he's a starter. Per my previous example, in games when Lin started due to an injury to Harden, he counts as a starter. In games when he comes off the bench because Harden is healthy, he counts as a bench player.

    What's interesting is that what you suggest, which is what a lot of people (including myself) would predict, isn't happening. The Spurs, who often start their backups, and thus make their bench as considered by NBA.com even shallower, are STILL leading the league in bench production. That's amazing. Their third string players become the bench and are outperforming other teams' second string players, and probably their starters in the case of teams who don't go to their benches very much.

    For the Rockets, the injuries* haven't limited their bench production at all. As you said, one might expect bench production to be less because the backups are starting, leaving third stringers as the bench. But the data show that Houston's bench, like the Spurs bench, is STILL very productive, just used less. That's why I argue the bench needs to play more.

    *The reasons I keep emphasizing that other teams have their data collected similarly is because they also have injuries. And their backups also fill in when those injuries occur. So their data are similarly skewed, if any skewing occurs. Emphasizing Houston's injuries would only be relevant if Houston is injured more than other teams, and I don't know what the data about injuries say.


    OK, great for clearing that up! Really appreciated your thoughtful article, well researched and something we can continue discussing on the boards.

    As a longtime Rockets fan I believe that the Spurs are a great example of how to build a successful NBA organization. They are in an enviable situation with Duncan, for instance, willing to forgo some of his salary so that the Spurs can sign better depth. I'm not sure what Chicago was thinking, but the Spurs addition of Belinelli looks golden for them! Danny Green would likely start for many teams but comes off the bench for the Spurs (except when they sit their big 3 or Ginobili misses time with injury). Splitter and Bonner have been with the Spurs for several seasons now, a luxury the Rockets to date have not been able to enjoy with their ever shuffled roster these past few years. Boris Diaw is yet another bench player for the Spurs that has much NBA experience including playoff action with the Suns.

    I believe once the Rockets stabilize their roster, they can begin to build depth that can stick so that there is much more consistency going forward with their system. A much different system than the Spurs in terms of the Rockets relying so heavily on 3's, shots at the bucket and free throws. Something to look forward to when the Rockets have consistent players on the bench that can be counted on like the Spurs have accomplished. It may also take one of our stars to accept less money at some point so that more money is available to sign more depth.

    Lastly, it seems like forever that the Spurs have had their big 3 of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. I look forward to the day when the Rockets roster has stabilized and we have major players here for that length of time!
  • shirtless says 9 months ago




    This makes the otherwise well-written and thoughtful analysis that much more confusing to me. Which is it, bench players plugged into the starting lineup due to injury count as a starter or count towards the bench?

    If the latter, then for sure San Antonio is going to lead the league because of their preponderance to sit their big 3 out of games throughout the season ala the Golden State game last night where Duncan, Parker and Ginobili showed off their well tailored suits. DWade also is going to miss more games through the year as has pretty much always been his history, which easily explains Miami's showing in the analysis.

    If the former, then all the injuries that have hit the Rockets have had a negative impact on their bench scoring primarily because they have had to plug in one of their top bench players in the lineup on multiple occasions so far this season while simultaneously having another top bench player sitting out due to injury making their bench even that more shallow.

    Still, very thought provoking article that I have no doubt required a lot of time and research and I for one greatly appreciate your efforts.

    It would be nice to have the basis cleared up though (actual definition of a starter and of a bench player) so that all of us can discuss this under the correct assumption(s) going forward.

    Wherever a player began the game, that's what he counts as. If he started on the bench, then he's a bench player. If he started on the court, he's a starter. Per my previous example, in games when Lin started due to an injury to Harden, he counts as a starter. In games when he comes off the bench because Harden is healthy, he counts as a bench player.

    What's interesting is that what you suggest, which is what a lot of people (including myself) would predict, isn't happening. The Spurs, who often start their backups, and thus make their bench as considered by NBA.com even shallower, are STILL leading the league in bench production. That's amazing. Their third string players become the bench and are outperforming other teams' second string players, and probably their starters in the case of teams who don't go to their benches very much.

    For the Rockets, the injuries* haven't limited their bench production at all. As you said, one might expect bench production to be less because the backups are starting, leaving third stringers as the bench. But the data show that Houston's bench, like the Spurs bench, is STILL very productive, just used less. That's why I argue the bench needs to play more.

    *The reasons I keep emphasizing that other teams have their data collected similarly is because they also have injuries. And their backups also fill in when those injuries occur. So their data are similarly skewed, if any skewing occurs. Emphasizing Houston's injuries would only be relevant if Houston is injured more than other teams, and I don't know what the data about injuries say.

  • rocketrick says 9 months ago

    I, too, struggled with this a little bit, as NBA.com is not very transparent with their methodology. As far as I can tell, a bench player is one who begins the game on the bench, so bench players are defined on a game-by-game basis. For example, when Harden was hurt, Jeremy Lin was considered a starter. When Harden was healthy, Lin was considered a bench player.



    I think this is the biggest limitation of my analysis. What Lifestyle pointed out, as far as I can tell from looking at NBA.com's data, is entirely accurate. A bench player can be on the court with four starters and his contributions, perhaps bolstered by playing with starters, will count as bench productivity.


    This makes the otherwise well-written and thoughtful analysis that much more confusing to me. Which is it, bench players plugged into the starting lineup due to injury count as a starter or count towards the bench?

    If the latter, then for sure San Antonio is going to lead the league because of their preponderance to sit their big 3 out of games throughout the season ala the Golden State game last night where Duncan, Parker and Ginobili showed off their well tailored suits. DWade also is going to miss more games through the year as has pretty much always been his history, which easily explains Miami's showing in the analysis.

    If the former, then all the injuries that have hit the Rockets have had a negative impact on their bench scoring primarily because they have had to plug in one of their top bench players in the lineup on multiple occasions so far this season while simultaneously having another top bench player sitting out due to injury making their bench even that much more shallow.

    Still, very thought provoking article that I have no doubt required a lot of time and research and I for one greatly appreciate your efforts.

    It would be nice to have the basis cleared up though (actual definition of a starter and of a bench player) so that all of us can discuss this under the correct assumption(s) going forward.
  • shirtless says 9 months ago

    Perhaps I misunderstand the post above, but wouldn't bench players' numbers be inflated by being on the court with Harden/Howard/Parsons so much, though?

    Your argument is like saying Steve Kerr hit so many 3s that the Bulls should've rested Jordan more and allowed Steve Kerr to shoot more open 3s. But Jordan's presence was paramountly important to Kerr's success... Right?

    I think this is the biggest limitation of my analysis. What Lifestyle pointed out, as far as I can tell from looking at NBA.com's data, is entirely accurate. A bench player can be on the court with four starters and his contributions, perhaps bolstered by playing with starters, will count as bench productivity. On the other hand, one could argue that bench players who are on the floor with starters are less productive personally because they are deferring to starters instead of being more aggressive. In this respect, it is pretty much impossible to isolate bench productivity.

    Something else to consider is whom the opponents are playing. If the Spurs are playing the Warriors, for example, the Spurs bench will be playing against the Warriors starters for half the time the Spurs bench is on the floor. Whereas the warriors bench would almost certainly be playing exclusively against the Spurs bench. This makes the Spurs bench productivity all the more amazing.

    To reiterate what I said in my previous post, these limitations also apply to all other teams. Their benches are also playing with their starters, and are also benefiting/being hindered by playing with their starters. Their benches are also playing against other teams' starters and benches at varying rates depending upon who the opponent is.

  • shirtless says 9 months ago

    This is a really interesting area to look into! Bench play would seem to be pretty well correlated with team success looking at the teams in the top-right quadrant.

    I'd be interested to know though - what is the methodology used to define a 'bench player' here? Are we talking about "All players were not on the court at the start of a game", or "All players not defined as the team's starters"? As others have said, the former definition can be affected in a big way by injuries - if those are forcing bench players to be 'starters' for certain games, it will have the effect of diminishing the number of minutes the bench plays (3rd string players become the 'bench' and the coach is less likely to trust them playing big minutes). On the other hand, the latter definition is a difficult one to define, since for some teams who the 'starters' are is rather fluid.

    ST

    I, too, struggled with this a little bit, as NBA.com is not very transparent with their methodology. As far as I can tell, a bench player is one who begins the game on the bench, so bench players are defined on a game-by-game basis. For example, when Harden was hurt, Jeremy Lin was considered a starter. When Harden was healthy, Lin was considered a bench player.

    Injuries definitely affect who is a bench player and who is a starter on any given day. However, regardless of who starts, there is always a bench. Also important to note is that other teams are subject to the same methodology. So their injuries and what not skew their starters/bench data in the same way the Rockets' injuries do. Whether or not the Rockets have been more injured than other teams, and thus their starters/bench data more skewed than other teams, I'm not sure.

  • rm90025 says 9 months ago

    This post underscores why the Rockets, based on their current roster and rotations, will not likely crack the Western conference's top 4 and will likely lose in the first round of the playoffs. In order to become a team capable of advancing to the western conference finals and possibly the NBA finals, they need to exploit their competitive advantage, which is the personnel who currently come off the bench. I think at the end of this month's games, they'll get a clearer understanding of their relative position. Personally, I don't think you can beat the top 4 with Beverley and Jones playing major minutes.

  • John P says 9 months ago

    Just wanted to say this is a great article. Thanks for this.
    Keep them coming.

  • Lyfestyle says 9 months ago

    Perhaps I misunderstand the post above, but wouldn't bench players' numbers be inflated by being on the court with Harden/Howard/Parsons so much, though?

    Your argument is like saying Steve Kerr hit so many 3s that the Bulls should've rested Jordan more and allowed Steve Kerr to shoot more open 3s. But Jordan's presence was paramountly important to Kerr's success... Right?

  • rockets best fan says 9 months ago

    I agree with the view point that injuries this year have affected what we would consider bench play. Lin being out, Asik being out in addition to starters for some games must be accounted for when considering our bench play. I also agree with the view that we need to play our starters more heavily until we have developed better chemistry. we have plenty of time to rest before the playoffs. however we are not yet clicking on all cylinders. I have seen flashes of what we can become, but we are not there yet

  • Sir Thursday says 9 months ago

    This is a really interesting area to look into! Bench play would seem to be pretty well correlated with team success looking at the teams in the top-right quadrant.

    I'd be interested to know though - what is the methodology used to define a 'bench player' here? Are we talking about "All players were not on the court at the start of a game", or "All players not defined as the team's starters"? As others have said, the former definition can be affected in a big way by injuries - if those are forcing bench players to be 'starters' for certain games, it will have the effect of diminishing the number of minutes the bench plays (3rd string players become the 'bench' and the coach is less likely to trust them playing big minutes). On the other hand, the latter definition is a difficult one to define, since for some teams who the 'starters' are is rather fluid.

    ST

  • 2016Champions says 9 months ago

    I think Jones emerged as a 3pt shooter shooting over 40% on 3s his first several games as a starter, but he has digressed to the mean shooting only 18% on 3's the last 5 games.

  • sli says 9 months ago

    This is the first time I see analysts or media calling out the coach. Previously they have carefully avoided criticizing McHale. What gave me that conclusion was how all media types referred to TJones' "emergence". Everyone tries to imply by saying "TJones emerges" that Jones earned his spot by significantly improved his play last year, which was not true. TJones could have contributed last year. The truthful words to use should be "TJones unleashed"!

  • RollingWave says 9 months ago

    Yeah, injury have played a part in this, with probably the exception to Chandler Parsons who's been runned like that all year long regardless.

    which is why I have argued that we need another wing, if your not going to play Brewer (and there's plenty of good reason that they aren't.) then waive him and find anyone else for that spot. there are plenty of mildly functional wings you can trade for with a Dmo. we don't even need the guy to play massive minutes, just 10 freaking functional minuets.

    I was hoping we swindle Iman Shumpert somehow. that seems like one of the more ideal role player for what we need now. but the Knicks massively overvalue him and it's hard to matchup anything reasonable.

  • lawprofsr says 9 months ago

    I think the starters need lots of minutes right now to get in sync with each other, especially after working out the Asik/Howard and Lin 6th man ideas. Another few weeks of this, and then there's plenty of time to get the starters more rest before the playoffs while the bench gets to work out their kinks. At least, that might make sense if you give them credit for having a plan.

  • SadLakerFan says 9 months ago

    It's not inperil but its certainly notsafe. Consider that Morey fired a future HOFer in Adelman and a universally respected one on JVG. Noone here is safe. Pops on the other hand pretty much runs that organization.

    This is an excellent point. The decision to limit starter minutes in the hopes of a long playoff run has to be an organizational decision.

  • feelingsupersonic says 9 months ago

    Even though OKC rated well in this statistical study, the author failed to mention the heavy minutes that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant play are comparable to James Harden and Dwight Howard. Another comparison would be with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.RW 33.1 mpgKD 38.1 mpg71.2 mpg for top 2LBJ 35.5 mpgDW 33.7 mpg69.2 mpg for top 2JH 38.7 mpgDH 33.6 mpg72.3 mpg for top 2Also factor in that Miami not only has a veteran team, but is also playing in the Eastern Conference, and have the luxury of sitting their players out due to more blowout wins.I did notice that Chandler Parsons is averaging 37.0 mpg but I would argue that Harden and D12 are the Rockets top 2 options just like LeBron and DWade are in Miami and KD and Westbrook are in OKC. Certainly proves the importance of having Chandler Parsons on this team!Don't forget all the injuries the Rockets have dealt with thus far this season:Harden missed 4 gamesBeverly missed 3 gamesParsons missed 2 gamesAsik missed 9 gamesLin missed 8 gamesFrancisco missed 1 gameCasspi missed 1 gameTJones has 3 DNP-CD's due to the Twin Towers ExperimentD12 is the only top 9 Rockets player that has not missed a single game thus far. So much for D12 injury concerns!I have seen too many times this season when McHale is trying to get what is left of his bench to play well enough in the early 4th quarters of several games and being forced to pull them due to the opponent making a run.Anyway, I don't want to say too much more because I tend to be seen as a sort of "Homer" for choosing not to criticize as much as a number of other members on this board.



    Outstanding post rocketrick and good counter argument. Applying those stats in the real world goes a long way towards truly understanding the bigger picture. I also happen to agree with your point of view. Unlike other contenders or almost contenders the Rockets are a lineup getting forged in the fire this year and next year the experience this team gains will result in a noticeable jump.

    Also thank you to Richard for raising this question. The topic is presented well.
  • rocketrick says 9 months ago

    I'd expect harden and Howard to start be pulled a little earlier in games against the bottom teams to hopefully save them a little wear and tear.


    I'm all for that, but I would also like to see the Rockets obtain the highest possible seed in the Western Conference, too. The challenge for Coach McHale and the rest of his staff is figuring out how to "save" Harden and Howard (and Parsons) while not affecting the big picture. Hopefully our key bench players can return to health (Lin and Asik) and stay healthy to give us the necessary boost. Kudos to AB for his efforts thus far this season. His efforts have been valuable and sorely needed!
  • Cooper says 9 months ago I'd expect harden and Howard to start be pulled a little earlier in games against the bottom teams to hopefully save them a little wear and tear.
  • rocketrick says 9 months ago

    It's not inperil but its certainly notsafe. Consider that Morey fired a future HOFer in Adelman and a universally respected one on JVG. Noone here is safe. Pops on the other hand pretty much runs that organization.


    JVG was given an opportunity to return but waited to long to make a decision after the miserable Game 7 loss at Toyota Center to the Utah Jazz. He was offered an extension during the regular season that year and chose to wait until the end of the season then he was anything but certain whether he wanted to return or not afterwards until it was too late.

    Adelman was butting heads with Morey on the roster changes. I think the whole roster flipped again even after the firing of Adelman with the exception of Chandler Parsons and Greg Smith.
  • Rahat Huq says 9 months ago

    Without Lin and Asik the Rockets bench would not be competitive. What effect has their missed games had on bench productivity?

    Mr. Huq says:

    "Great post. Have to remember that McHale is coaching for his coaching life as well. Someone like Pop can look ahead because he's safe."

    What makes you think that McHale's job is in peril? I do not understand that viewpoint.

    It's not inperil but its certainly notsafe. Consider that Morey fired a future HOFer in Adelman and a universally respected one on JVG. Noone here is safe. Pops on the other hand pretty much runs that organization.

  • rocketrick says 9 months ago Even though OKC rated well in this statistical study, the author failed to mention the heavy minutes that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant play are comparable to James Harden and Dwight Howard. Another comparison would be with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

    RW 33.1 mpg
    KD 38.1 mpg
    71.2 mpg for top 2

    LBJ 35.5 mpg
    DW 33.7 mpg
    69.2 mpg for top 2

    JH 38.7 mpg
    DH 33.6 mpg
    72.3 mpg for top 2

    Also factor in that Miami not only has a veteran team, but is also playing in the Eastern Conference, and have the luxury of sitting their players out due to more blowout wins.

    I did notice that Chandler Parsons is averaging 37.0 mpg but I would argue that Harden and D12 are the Rockets top 2 options just like LeBron and DWade are in Miami and KD and Westbrook are in OKC. Certainly proves the importance of having Chandler Parsons on this team!

    Don't forget all the injuries the Rockets have dealt with thus far this season:

    Harden missed 4 games
    Beverly missed 3 games
    Parsons missed 2 games
    Asik missed 9 games
    Lin missed 8 games
    Francisco missed 1 game
    Casspi missed 1 game
    TJones has 3 DNP-CD's due to the Twin Towers Experiment

    D12 is the only top 9 Rockets player that has not missed a single game thus far. So much for D12 injury concerns!

    I have seen too many times this season when McHale is trying to get what is left of his bench to play well enough in the early 4th quarters of several games and being forced to pull them due to the opponent making a run.

    Anyway, I don't want to say too much more because I tend to be seen as a sort of "Homer" for choosing not to criticize as much as a number of other members on this board.
  • rocketrick says 9 months ago

    New post: The Houston Rockets have a terrific bench... and don't use it
    By: Richard Li



    During the recent game against the Chicago Bulls, Aaron Brooks came off the bench for a few minutes. Jeff Van Gundy remarked, "If Aaron Brooks were on the Bulls he would be their best offensive player. He's the third string point guard on the Rockets. That's how deep this team is."

    I don't mean to nitpick, but I also distinctly remember JVG's comment last night on the ESPN broadcast and he actually stated that if AB were on the Bulls, he would be their best PG...............

    Which when you see who the Bulls have playing PG since the DRose injury, is not hard to understand.

    I think I would rank Boozer above AB in terms of offense.

  • NorEastern says 9 months ago

    Without Lin and Asik the Rockets bench would not be competitive. What effect has their missed games had on bench productivity?

    Mr. Huq says:

    "Great post. Have to remember that McHale is coaching for his coaching life as well. Someone like Pop can look ahead because he's safe."

    What makes you think that McHale's job is in peril? I do not understand that viewpoint.

  • goRockets says 9 months ago

    Maybe McHale is saving his super bench for the playoffs? Well, if not, and he continues to play Harden, Parson, Dwight long minutes, then chances are at least one of them probably will have some type of injury sooner or later (matter of probability) and he won't have any choice but to play bench players more. I think if he were smart, he should give his best players the rest they need in the regular season. We all know doesn't matter how many games you win in regular season, you must win 16 games in playoffs to win the championship. Granted Lin is still working back from injury and Asik is out too, so bench is really just Brooks, Garcia, Casspi and Smith coming back recently. But would be nice once Lin is healthy again and Omer back too (since he's not getting traded for at least another month or too probably), that these guys would see more minutes, it's good for team and for starters health. But not sure if the old school McHale would do it though, his trust in Lin and bench in general is not that high, when starters are playing well, he tends not to pull them out.

  • Rahat Huq says 9 months ago

    Great post. Have to remember that McHale is coaching for his coaching life as well. Someone like Pop can look ahead because he's safe.

  • 2016Champions says 9 months ago

    Great post. Rockets have the best 2nd unit in the league when healthy, good enough to beat most 1st units in the league.

  • NYerinCalifornia says 9 months ago

    Agreed. I think JLin could be the Harden in OKC of Rox. Instant production, feasting on other teams second unit, and freedom to lead when he is on floor. When Harden is out of game entirely (few x this season for minor injuries) Lin unleashes and scores. He's a top driver in NBA, breaks down defenses. If Lin and Asik were in more together we'd see extraordinary integration that we just dont get otherwise.

    To play devils advocate, though, it might be that McHale is trying to get the younguns some seasoning quickly, then will take foot off gas later and let them rest. Sadly, I dont think McHale is a good enough coach to plan that far ahead like that.