Searching for Linsanity

When Daryl Morey offered Jeremy Lin a back-loaded 3-years $25 million contract this offseason, the move generated both controversy and excitement amongst Rocket fans. Were the Rockets getting a bargain on a potential star player with international appeal who had taken the league by storm over the span of a few weeks of “Linsanity” or had they just overpaid for a mediocre turnover-prone point guard with no jump shot? While it is far too early to definitively evaluate Lin’s season (let alone his NBA career), early signs suggest that, as is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in-between these two extremes.

[read more…]

in essays

Marcus Morris has been killing it


Look at those numbers!  The man so many declared a bust last season is shooting 49% overall this year and 40% on threes!  Per 36 minutes, he’s averaging 17.3 points and 7.9 boards.  At the moment, Morris is far and away this team’s second best offensive weapon.

Also noteworthy is the rebounding rate.  Morris is getting 12% of the available rebounds while he’s on the floor.  Patrick Patterson is getting 9% of the available rebounds.  (By comparison, Omer Asik grabs 20% of available rebounds.)  I’m not sure how much value that comparison holds as Patterson shares more court-time with Asik and also plays more against first-stringers…but it’s something to note.

in musings

How defenses are dealing with James Harden

James Harden is an efficienct game plan in human form. Taking into account his ability to attack the rim, shoot with accuracy from anywhere on the court, live at the free-throw line (and make free-throws), and actuate an opposing defense with potent penetration and smart decisions, he excels at everything you want from a guard in today’s NBA.

The same people who’re unsatisfied with his offensive game would ask for more money after winning the lottery. It isn’t perfect because, well, he’s still technically a human being. But it’s damn near close.


Harden’s offense is genius in that the results are predictable, yet the defense is still helpless as he’s about to do what everyone in the gym already expects. Despite shooting an embarrassingly low 27.9% on three-pointers, defenses still have to treat his range honestly, knowing an early season shooting slump could melt away in a matter of seconds.

According to, only 4.1 of his 18.9 shots per game come from 3-23 feet, an absolutely astounding figure. All of his action either comes at the rim or behind the three-point line. Part of this is by design: Harden’s a smart player who—I’m guessing—understands the value of a three-pointer over an 18 foot jump shot, just as drawing contact at the hoop is more helpful than settling on a floater in the paint.

This isn’t to say Harden can’t shoot mid-range shots, it’s just that they aren’t a great component of his game. He’s smart enough to recognize that the value of this shot isn’t nearly as great as the other two options when extrapolated over the course of an entire season.

How do you guard James Harden? A fair answer might be “you don’t.” But let’s take a look at how opposing coaching staffs have tried, however futile they may currently be. [read more…]

in essays

Utah Jazz 102, Houston Rockets 91

I hate Utah.

I’m 22 years old, and Stockton’s 3 is my very first clear memory in my life.  While I generally had some interest in basketball throughout my life, I became truly devoted with the Yao-McGrady Rockets – where they repeatedly ran into the one team which frustrated that team that was supposed to lead us to the promised land twice.  In my eyes, Utah is evil.  Whether it is Kirilenko flops or Malone elbows or Stockton nut shots, even this completely different Jazz team is always the enemy – just as the Cowboys will be the enemy even when Jerry Jones is six feet under.

[read more…]

in game coverage

Feel for Andrew Bynum, and remember.

Yesterday, like most days in my life, I argued with one of my co-workers, a former D-1 basketball player, about NBA basketball. I had been informing a couple of hoops-ignorant Chinese-born students I was tutoring about the greatness of Yao Ming, comparing him to the various players they had heard of (“Is he better than Michael Jordan?” “Well no, but…”), when the comparison came to the current day Rockets and their freak talent, James Edward Harden Jr. Relishing the opportunity to pour on the superlatives, I had nary said a word more than “He was definitely better than Harden” before my co-worker loudly disagreed, mentioning that health is a talent. I might add that this man is a former point guard, a Chicagoan, and a casual NBA fan, so his lack of appreciation for a mid-Aughts, enormous center from a team that only kind of mattered at the time is unsurprising, but it is representative. There is an entire generation of fans that thinks Yao Ming was not all that great of a basketball player, and this crushes me. This always will crush me. [read more…]

in essays

Follow Red94 for occasional rants, musings, and all new post updates