Previewing the Houston Rockets’ 2016-2017 season on the Dunc’d On podcast

I joined Nate Duncan on his Dunc’d On podcast in an interview published Sunday night.  The call was recorded earlier in the month, hence the long discussion over the potential contributions of now former Rocket Michael Beasley.

We discussed a variety of topics, from the offseason additions of Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson, to the team’s potential strengths and weaknesses.  I ultimately predicted a 51 win season, but put the Rockets’ ceiling at 55 wins, reiterating a point I’ve been making for weeks: this current roster is as, if not more talented than the 2015 team.  And all of the chemistry issues figure to be gone.  Why can’t the Rockets repeat the success they enjoyed that year?

Nate and I both expect the team’s offense to be amongst the very best in the league, but naturally were in agreement that the defense will be the biggest barrier to a rise in the standings.  I should correct myself, however, over a point I made in support of my premise.  I stated that it was questionable whether Patrick Beverley was any longer a good defender.  On the contrary, as I recently outlined, Beverley was 5th best last year among all point guards in DRPM.  It was the prior season when he finished in the bottom 20’s.

The cause for concern is Trevor Ariza who slipped all the way down to 45th among small forwards, below even Chandler Parsons and Chase Budinger, and just ahead of Carmelo Anthony.  In 2015, Ariza finished 7th.  Unless Clint Capela turns out to be Dwight Howard circa 2010, Beverley alone can’t carry the poor defenders in this lineup.

You can tell from listening that I’m really excited about this season.  I know the Rockets probably won’t contend, but they’ll definitely be an intriguing team to watch and follow.  As I repeated many times, just simply removing the negativity of the past few years from the equation will be a step in the right direction.

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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Jatman20

Surely there has to be someone here to question my 58 (+/-2) wins prediction for 2016/17. (You) I do question it…..and don’t call me Shirley. I will take this time to clarify my position in about 4 posts. I’m close to Rahat’s win ceiling of about 55 (56 to 60 wins if major players stay healthy most of the season). Injuries can derail a projected win total; many in Vegas have Houston at about 41.5 wins. This must be assuming injuries. I was not pleased w/FA pickups this past summer due to each players history of injury. Nene, Gordon, Ryno… Read more »

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Jatman20

The scheme for D’Antoni can go heavy towards
PnR/PnPop w/kickouts to shooters. This requires
a facilitator (ball handler) w/screener & spot up
shooters along the perimeter………………………………
Facilitators: Harden,Gordon, Ennis, Ryno, Dekker…..
Screeners (Roll): Ryno, Capela, Nene, Harrell, D-Mo..
Screeners (Pop): Ryno, Nene, D-Mo………………………
Shooters: Beverley,Harden,Ariza,Ryno,Gordon,Ennis
D-Mo,Wiltjer.

Per NBA/Stats.com. 2015/16 Ball Handler:………………
Harden……25.9% (Freq)…..0.97 PPP…..91.4 percentile
Gordon…..26.4% (Freq)…..0.95 PPP…..89.3 percentile
Ryno………2.3% (Freq)…….0.92 PPP…..85.2 percentile
Ennis……..40.1% (Freq)…..0.79 PPP…..52.8 percentile

Dekker I feel can do well here (yet to be seen).
Prigioni…..44.2% (Freq)……0.57 PPP…..26.6 percentile
*Trade talk-Rudy Gay…7.0%…..1.03 PPP…95.5 percentile
-Cont 2-

Jatman20
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Jatman20

Roll-Man……………………………………………………..
Capela…..18.5% Freq……1.17 PPP…..83.6 percentile
Ryno………15.1% Freq…..1.07 PPP…..63.5 percentile
Nene………16.9% Freq……0.96 PPP….39.3 percentile
D-Mo……..18.2% Freq……0.88 PPP….23.7 percentile
Harrell…….20.0% Freq…..1.04 PPP…..58.9 percentile
*All of these numbers should improve with the perimeter
shooters and attention on Harden driving. Centers
will have to pick up Harden going thru the lane after
Harden’s defender is picked. My money is on Harden.
Help has to come. Thus the open shooters. One defender
most likely will be between 3 point shooter in corner & wing.
Pick your poison!! -Cont 3-

Jatman20
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Jatman20

Spot ups…………………………………………………………
Harden……8.2% Freq….1.27 PPP……96.7 percentile
Bev……….36.5% Freq….1.11 PPP…..83.7 percentile
Gordon….27.6% Freq….1.06 PPP…..76.3 percentile
Ariza……..40.3% Freq….0.89 PPP…..39.2 percentile
Ryno……..20.1% Freq…0.95 PPP……51.3 percentile
Ennis…….19.8% Freq….0.98 PPP…..58.9 percentile
D-Mo……21.2% Freq….0.79 PPP…..23.5 percentile
*trade talk Rudy Gay 19.5% Freq..0.91 PPP..43 %ile

Off Screens………………………………………………………
Ryno……….10.2% Freq….1.06 PPP…..78.0 percentile
Harden…….3.4% Freq……1.04 PPP….70.3 percentile
Ariza………..8.4% Freq……1.02 PPP….68.3 percentile
Gordon……11.1% Freq…..0.95 PPP….53.7 percentile
-Cont 4-

Jatman20
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Jatman20

Catch n Shoot (Thru Player Tracking)……………………… Bev………..41.1 (3P%)…………………61.3 (eFG%)……… Harden…..41.0 (3P%)…………………60.3 (eFG%)……… Ariza………38.1 (3P%)…………………56.9 (eFG%)…….. Ryno………37.8 (3P%)…………………55.1 (eFG%)……. Ennis………36.4 (3P%)…………………52.8 (eFG%)……. Gordon……35.2 (3P%)…………………51.4 (eFG%)……. *All individual offensive numbers should tick up due to spacing of the floor. Ryno is already saying he has never been so wide open….not just our players in scrimmage will have this problem on defense. The best defenses in the league can’t cover both the paint and “all” 3 point shooters. This leaves Transition (Fast Breaks)……………………….. Ariza………24.0% Freq……1.31 PPP…….85.0 percentile Ryno……….8.3% Freq…….1.19 PPP……70.3 percentile Harrell……..18.5% Freq…..1.21 PPP……73.9 percentile Bev1.09 PPP…..Gordon1.20 PPP…..Nene1.15 PPP….. Brewer 1.10 PPP(where he… Read more »

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