No more Moreyball; just basketball

My latest from over at ESPN:

Before an early-November home game, Omer Asik peeks out from the corridor — near the showers where press is not allowed — into the Rockets locker room. Seeing a few reporters awaiting pre-game availability, he retreats back into safety around the wall. A week earlier, already clad in blue jeans and a green sweater, Asik is stopped by Rockets staffers on behalf of the media as he attempts to dart toward the exit elevators. This was the same night that Howard was introduced over the PA as the starter at power forward for the first time since 2004. “This is the only time we’ve gotten to speak to him in two years,” someone quips of the shy big man. Asik is asked his thoughts on starting next to Howard, an experiment to which the Rockets — at the time — were committed. He responds in expected generalities.

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Total comments: 6
  • 2016Champions says 4 months ago

    I just want to point out that Houston are currently 2nd in offensive efficiency despite leading the league in scoring. That's not easy to do, our offense can become historically good if we just cut down on those turnovers.

  • feelingsupersonic says 4 months ago

    If you look at the ESPN shot chart of the last Rockets/Mavs game, you'll see Moreyball to the extreme. Shots at the rim and behind the arc. (In contrast, the Mavs shot chart shows even distribution.) I do think while this form of offense may be effective if the opposition is not looking for it (a reason why we play far better against Eastern Conference teams), it becomes ineffective when the opposition is looking for it. I think it's a core reason why this team fizzles offensively late in close games. And in the post season. It's easier to defend just the rim and arc, compared to defending the entire third of the floor. It's fool's gold.

    The Rockets are very fortunate it has a couple players that excel under this system, James Harden and Chandler Parsons. But it also limits bigs who like Dwight had a 10 footer in their arsenal, but seem to be instructed not to use it. It makes the pick and roll and lob plays less effective because opposing bigs don't have to worry about defending the midrange game. (The "pick and pop" becomes a non option.) It's also a system that really stifles players whose game is strong midrange, but not necessarily so at the rim or long range. Jeremy Lin is maybe the biggest victim here, in spite of his improved 3-point shot.

    I think fundamentals are the key to winning basketball, not some formula that might look impressive in most part but totally falls apart when the defense is dialed in.



    Great points and I agree. The analytical approach is an essential tool but it is not the solution alone. I think McHale is probably a good filter to all Morey's Moreyness.
  • Rahat Huq says 4 months ago

    If you look at the ESPN shot chart of the last Rockets/Mavs game, you'll see Moreyball to the extreme. Shots at the rim and behind the arc. (In contrast, the Mavs shot chart shows even distribution.) I do think while this form of offense may be effective if the opposition is not looking for it (a reason why we play far better against Eastern Conference teams), it becomes ineffective when the opposition is looking for it. I think it's a core reason why this team fizzles offensively late in close games. And in the post season. It's easier to defend just the rim and arc, compared to defending the entire third of the floor. It's fool's gold.

    The Rockets are very fortunate it has a couple players that excel under this system, James Harden and Chandler Parsons. But it also limits bigs who like Dwight had a 10 footer in their arsenal, but seem to be instructed not to use it. It makes the pick and roll and lob plays less effective because opposing bigs don't have to worry about defending the midrange game. (The "pick and pop" becomes a non option.) It's also a system that really stifles players whose game is strong midrange, but not necessarily so at the rim or long range. Jeremy Lin is maybe the biggest victim here, in spite of his improved 3-point shot.

    I think fundamentals are the key to winning basketball, not some formula that might look impressive in most part but totally falls apart when the defense is dialed in.

    Nice thoughts.

    I think its a lowest common denominator case where it can get a marginal team to the playoffs or it can safely get a team like ours a top-5 seed, but it will need to be tinkered for that next step of becoming truly elite. case in point: lebron was all sorts of efficient last year and had his best season ever, avoiding midrange jumpers. but how did he win game 7? with his midrange jumper. so i think its a case where, just by the odds, it can get you to "good enough", but can't get you over that next final hump. in most cases, "good enough" suffices (most years, we'd be pretty happy about being at 8-5), but not with the expectations on this team.

  • 2016Champions says 4 months ago

    Our offense looks great when we're not running isos, I don't think we need to change so much as we need to perfect what we're already doing. It's really our defense that we need to worry about though, we can't keep giving up 3s at our current rate, teams are playing Moreyball against us and we need to force them into more contested range shots.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 4 months ago I want Lin/Harden to work on their midrange game. I watched Parker/Conley last night and we would do well with somebody like that.
  • Hockey the Harden Way says 4 months ago

    If you look at the ESPN shot chart of the last Rockets/Mavs game, you'll see Moreyball to the extreme. Shots at the rim and behind the arc. (In contrast, the Mavs shot chart shows even distribution.) I do think while this form of offense may be effective if the opposition is not looking for it (a reason why we play far better against Eastern Conference teams), it becomes ineffective when the opposition is looking for it. I think it's a core reason why this team fizzles offensively late in close games. And in the post season. It's easier to defend just the rim and arc, compared to defending the entire third of the floor. It's fool's gold.

    The Rockets are very fortunate it has a couple players that excel under this system, James Harden and Chandler Parsons. But it also limits bigs who like Dwight had a 10 footer in their arsenal, but seem to be instructed not to use it. It makes the pick and roll and lob plays less effective because opposing bigs don't have to worry about defending the midrange game. (The "pick and pop" becomes a non option.) It's also a system that really stifles players whose game is strong midrange, but not necessarily so at the rim or long range. Jeremy Lin is maybe the biggest victim here, in spite of his improved 3-point shot.

    I think fundamentals are the key to winning basketball, not some formula that might look impressive in most part but totally falls apart when the defense is dialed in.