Only three players in the league have made more corner threes with a higher percentage than Courtney Lee: Nick Young, Ryan Anderson, and Ray Allen. He’s connected on more, with greater efficiency, than Kyle Korver, Shane Battier, and Daequan Cook (who Lee shoots 11% better than, on just a few more attempts). Of the six players mentioned here, all are well-reputed marksman, but just one (Young) is known for having more complexity to his offensive game. By taking all these corner threes, Lee is tempering his own athletic ability in a semi-sacrificial way, complimenting wonderful playmakers like Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic by standing idle in the corner and doing right by his team.

Every shooting guard in the NBA can hit a wide open three-pointer from the corner. An argument can be made that because of its relative ease and high value, this particular shot is the smartest one in basketball. (Eight of the 10 teams that boast the highest percentage on corner three-pointers are either a lock to make the playoffs or right on the border—Houston ranks second.) Shooting for three points from this spot on the court offers a reward that so greatly outweighs any actual risk, that you wouldn’t be a smart team if you didn’t find a way to get more than a couple open looks per game. (No surprise here: Charlotte ranks last in attempts.) [read more…]

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On the outside looking in


After last night’s loss, the Rockets moved back down to 9th in the Western Conference, a familiar spot in recent weeks.  There’s no point in trying to diagnose the team’s problems.  It’s simple: they’re playing without their starting backcourt.  One could argue that Dragic and Lee have been better than Lowry and Martin, but the fact still remains that losing two critical pieces takes a huge chunk out from a team’s overall depth.  In fact, I think it’s remarkable that they’re even still in this thing.

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Patterson, Hayes and Boykins

  • As I had written last week, the Rockets had been feeding Patrick Patterson in the paint pretty aggressively in recent games.  They went away from that last night and it paid off with the big man hitting some huge jumpers down the stretch.  I think the team needs to abandon the idea of Pat in the post altogether, or at least, for now.  He just doesn’t have the touch.  He seems to put the same force into shooting the shot as he does into backing down his man.  And quite frankly, why do fans insist that he post up anyways?  He’s a good to very good jump shooter and even without a postup option, just running their normal guard oriented offense, the Rockets are top 10 in the league in production.  To be a good big man, you don’t have to post up.  If you play defense–which Pat does–and you space the floor, you will more than suffice.  That’s what Charles Oakley did and I don’t think anybody in New York was complaining about him.

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The Houston Rockets currently employ two very good point guards: Goran Dragic and Kyle Lowry.  With Dragic an unrestricted free agent next summer, and Lowry already locked up, the team will face an unenviable decision.  Over the next few months, I will look into some of the factors that will play a role in the eventual outcome.  Today, in this first installment, I took a look at each player’s statistical production.


  • As a starter, in 11 starts, Goran Dragic is averaging 16.6ppg, 9.5apg, while shooting 52% from the field and 46% on 3’s.
  • As a starter, in 38 starts, Kyle Lowry is averaging 15.9ppg, 7.2apg, while shooting 42% from the floor and 39% on 3’s.
  • Notes: The sample size on Dragic, 11 games, is small enough to where you’d probably expect those shooting averages to regress to the mean slightly, but, at the same time, it’s also large enough to where you can’t dismiss the sheer gaudiness as a total fluke.  I think the overall takeaway is that as a starter, Dragic is, and will be, very good.

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