In defense of Thaddeus Young

I wrote back on Sunday that trading for Thad Young would be a mistake – that he wasn’t enough of an upgrade over Terrence Jones to warrant losing Asik.  Forum member 2016Champions makes a compelling case in favor of Young arguing that, we shouldn’t be looking at a Young trade as a replacement of Jones but rather of Omri Casspi:

– We can rest Parsons more. We don’t want Parsons to make the same mistake T-Mac (or Larry Bird) did.

– We need a perimeter defender and Young is a good defender (DRAPM of 1.7–only Josh Smith, Al-Farouq Aminu and Kirilenko was higher among stretch 4’s last season)

– He gives us more depth at the 3 and 4

– Regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench, he will be eating mostly into Casspi’s minutes and he’s a HUGE upgrade over the underrated “Great Casspi”.

Additionally, he argues, Young provides depth as Parsons insurance.  We’ve seen the Rockets weather injuries to Jeremy Lin and James Harden because of interchangeability with Aaron Brooks; things have fallen apart without Parsons.  Also notice the cited DRAPM.  While I disagree with classifying Young as a “perimeter defender” as that data was compiled with him playing the ‘4’, he’s a plus defender.

While I still think future draft considerations are the way to go, Young seems to be a more viable option if viewed from this perspective.

in from the editor

The Rockets Daily – December 11, 2013

The Gift – Kevin McHale was absent from practice on Tuesday for personal reasons, which meant that assistant coach Kelvin Sampson had to step in and run practice and handle interviews. Dear readers, it’s a gift when Kelvin Sampson does interviews. He is candor con carne, and he offers insights about what the team wants to do that McHale and the players usually don’t. A few gems from Tuesday on the teams official site:

On the offense:

“We’re reading that better and we’re learning how to play around Dwight. I thought early on we were probably force-feeding him a little too much. Now we’re being a little bit more selective and Dwight is doing a good job of passing. Dwight can get a lot of touches – that doesn’t mean he’s going to shoot it a lot – Dwight’s a very willing passer. So we’re playing through him (better) and then James – James has just been a lot more efficient.”

On the question of how Jeremy Lin looked in his first practice back from a knee bruise:

“I saw flashes of the old Jeremy, but you can’t be out that long and not have some kind of effect, whether it’s cardiovascular, or trusting his injury, or trusting his physicality. You know, it’s sort of like wading your way into water.  You know, you go from two feet up to four feet, and for him it’s just getting comfortable.”

On chemistry:

I think it’s improving. I think when you add–you know there’s pieces and there’s pieces. You know, we didn’t just add a piece; we added Dwight Howard. And we’ve had to learn to play with him, and he’s had to learn how to play with us. And while we’ve been doing that it created a chemistry issue, but I think our chemistry is better today than it has been at any point. I feel good about our chemistry.

Injury Statuses – In case you didn’t click on the link above, Jason Friedman reports that Lin is back and feeling pretty good, Omer Asik and Greg Smith will still be out against Portland, and Chandler Parsons is only partially participating in practice because of his back spams.

[read more…]

in columns

Huge grain of salt here.  Huge.  But I thought this was fun.  I have data from dating back to the 1996-1997 season, and the Rockets’ current 47.7% field goal percentage is higher than the team’s final percentage in any of the years during that time frame.  Impressive considering how much better defenses have gotten in the modern era.  Incidentally, the second highest accuracy was that ’97 team that went to the Conference Finals, having shot 46.8% over the year.  Of course, it’s only been 22 games thus far and this year’s mark could possibly regress or b) one of those previous teams might have had a higher mark at this point in their season.  Having said that, I do think this 22 game sample size is a very accurate reflection of this team’s prowess.

Looking at the data, this year’s 107.8 offensive rating stands as the second best during the period cited.  The 43-39 2010-2011 team posted an offensive rating of 108 points per 100 possessions.  That previously cited ’97 team only scored 105.8 points per possession.  That difference is likely largely due in part to the fact that those geriatric Barkley/Drexler Rockets walked the ball up the floor and threw it into the post every trip down, at a snail’s pace.  Oh wait.  I forgot, scratch that; offensive rating (i.e. points per possession) is inclusive of pace discrepancies unlike the archaic “points per game” numbers you see cited on your local broadcast.

This year’s team also has a much higher net rating than any of the previous Rockets teams included in the data.  That ’97 team had a net rating of +4.4; the McGrady ’07 team ten years later posted one of +6.4  On the flip side, Francis’ 2001-2002 team posted a net rating of -6.1.  Oh dear.  I think that might have been the year they started Walt Williams and Matt Bullard in tandem across the frontline.  I’m too horrified to look.

Okay, that’s it.  That’s all I have for today.  I’m going to go get ready for work.

in musings

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