You can read Part 2 of this series here.

Initially, a reader has taken great exception to the fact this discussion (continued on this week’s podcast) has not made mention of Bledsoe’s troubling injury history.  I’ll dissect that matter in the next installment.

In Part 2, I compared Eric Bledsoe’s defensive stats with those of Pat Beverley’s, concluding the two players were comparable on that end of the floor.  Offense is trickier.  In that assessment, Beverley was a logical starting point because a) he’s the incumbent, but b) he’s elite.  With whom do I compare Bledsoe on offense?  I could do Rondo, under the discussion of trade target preference, but is Rondo the true opportunity cost?  Again, I think the best bet here again is Beverley.  If we understand the degree of disparity between Bledsoe and Beverley on offense, already having concluded similar value defensively, we can gauge Bledsoe’s reasonable market worth.  (I’m fully aware I could just compare him to both Rondo and Beverley, but I don’t have that kind of time).

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The Red94 Podcast: Episode 55


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Management quickly moved to secure head coach Kevin McHale’s seat shortly after the team’s ouster from the postseason in the first round.  I speculated at the time that the move was more a show of cohesion on the public front (with the team very much in the free agent market) rather than an actual show of confidence in McHale’s abilities.  After all, even national observers scratched their heads collectively over some of Houston’s strategic miscues.  I noted, at times, the team did not even appear to have a gameplan, appearing lost defensively; and there was, of course, the last play of the season.

But to delegate the assignment of “learning to use a clipboard” as McHale’s summer task would be unfairly reductive and an improper commentary upon the head man’s role within the organization.  After all, he’s respected, liked by both his star players, and by all accounts, in ownership of full faith in his lockerroom.  And he brought Dwight Howard to Houston.  Those things are of tremendous value.

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The Eric Bledsoe negotiations continue.  I posed the question last week whether the Rockets should be in pursuit of the free agent guard.  It’s time to look deeper into the numbers.  To begin, Bledsoe’s greatest selling point may be that while he isn’t anywhere near elite offensively, he has developed a reputation as a true “two-way” player, someone able to provide significantly above average production on both ends of the floor.  Let’s dig in to Bledsoe’s defensive numbers.

The obvious point of comparison here would be Patrick Beverley, the man Bledsoe would be signed to replace in the starting lineup, if acquired.  As is the case with any statistical exploration, take these numbers with a grain of salt as any player’s individual production is inherently linked within the ecosystem of defensive schemes and interactions in which he exists.  Houston ranked 13th in the league last season in defensive efficiency; Phoenix was 15th.

Bledsoe’s man scored on 38.5% of his opportunities against him.  That figure was 39% for Beverley.

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Terrence Jones last year, in his first regular stint of playing time, at just 22 years of age, put up twelve points and seven rebounds per game on 54% shooting from the field.  Per 36 minutes, that already impressive production stretches out to a meaty 16 and 9.  Despite my criticisms, this is a chip.

In many ways, Jones was the very symbol of the Rockets’ 2013-2014 campaign.  It was Jones’ insertion into the starting lineup, in place of the plodding Omer Asik, that catapulted Houston into the upper echelon of offensive units, his cuts to the rim and overall deft finishing ability (72% on close field goals) providing Dwight Howard and James Harden the room they needed to operate.  It was Jones’ steady play that allowed Daryl Morey to hold his hand at the deadline rather than cash in on one of the unflattering Asik deals on the market, and it was Jones’ play, perhaps, that kept Morey from overpaying for the veteran he probably needed.  In the playoffs, Jones’ position was the difference where he had no business sharing the court with forward LaMarcus Aldridge – the team had no choice but to play Asik and Howard in concert, simply to keep Aldridge, relatively speaking, at bay.

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