The Rockets Daily – October 23, 2013

Shut. Up. – The ESPN brain trust says James Harden will be the fourth-best player in the NBA this season. The Rockets brain trust says:

I was frankly shocked that he was ranked higher than Westbrook, and even more shocked when I saw that it was based off of Westbrook’s pre-injury ranking (Patrick Beverley can be seen lurking in Westbrook’s picture for the article. Clever).

As noted yesterday, offense-oriented guards seem to have gotten a lot of love from these rankings, while some defensive bigs have arguably been overlooked. But today Rockets fans can exult in the fact that within three years of saying goodbye to Tracy McGrady, the Rockets again have a top-5 player manning the shooting guard position.

Bird’s Eye View - A few days ago, Myles Ma wrote a fine season preview over at Hickory High. What makes the article even more interesting in light of Harden’s #NBArank, is that completely reasonable people have totally different reactions to Harden’s performance last season. Ma writes:

James Harden has to continue to prove that he’s worth max money after a somewhat disappointing showing in the playoffs. Omer Asik has to show he’s more than a backup. Jeremy Lin has to somehow find the middle ground between the impossible heights of Linsanity and the lows of last year, when he was at times benched in favor of Patrick Beverley. Chandler Parsons has to stay adorable. Dwight might have higher expectations than any of them. He’s the highest paid player on the team. James Harden might be the face of the franchise, but he can’t impact a game the way Dwight Howard does at his best.

Neither Ma’s piece nor #NBArank is the partisan work of uninformed fans, but they still paint very different pictures of a very good player.

 Loweball – Grantland’s Zach Lowe has 32 bold predictions for the season. Lowe and behold, one of them involves the Rockets:

9. Houston Will Drop at Least Three Spots in the Pace Rankings, But Not Much More

Houston played at the league’s fastest pace last season, averaging about 99 possessions per game, according to NBA.com. Integrating a back-to-the-basket post player, as Howard fancies himself, slows down any team, and how dramatically Houston alters its very effective offensive attack to accommodate him is one of the biggest stories in the league.

He goes on to explain that most of Howard’s post-ups will be quick-hitters. Fingers crossed.

Let’s Just Go Home – Jason Friedman has an in-depth analysis of how the Harden-Howard PnR creates space up on the team’s website. The crown jewel of the article is the most audacious phrase ever used to describe Lebron James:

“the two-time defending champs down in Miami have unleashed fire and brimstone upon the NBA with their pace-and-space attack that revolves around LeBron James’ multifarious abilities and amorphous positional versatility”

James Harden may be the fourth-best player on the planet, but no one is calling him multifarious yet. Stay hungry, Mr. Harden.

Got any sweet links or suggestions? Email them to jeby901@gmail.com or message @EbyNews on Twitter.

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Total comments: 6
  • 2016Champions says 9 months ago

    I thought I was an optimist for predicting 59 wins. I'm just a realist! lol

  • NorEastern says 9 months ago Good write up as always John. Thanks for the effort. I just finished reading an article over at box score geeks (used to be NBA geeks). Some pretty smart amateur stats people there. Here is what they posted:

    E2p4dSY.png

    http://www.boxscoregeeks.com/articles/the-rockets-the-treadmill-to-the-title

    There are some holes in their analysis since they do not spend the days it takes to completely understand a team. For instance they did not reduce Smiths contribution to the team like most of us would. But it's still the preseason and everyone needs an occasional introduction to optimism.
  • thejohnnygold says 9 months ago

    Hi Fury, welcome to the forum

    That's all very interesting, but it seems kind of skewed to me. If I understand it correctly, it's like taking all the ingredients of chicken soup separately and deciding how good it will taste based off of each compnents' individual flavor. I don't think things work like that--you've got to combine them, let them merge into one entity and then see what you've got.

  • Fury says 9 months ago

    We can use #NBARank to create a prediction for the upcoming year. #NBARank was supposed to factor playing time into its decisions. Assuming that teams use 8 man rotations, I've created composite scores for the top 8 players on each team. These scores can, theoretically, provide a ranking for the teams. Here's what I found:

    EAST WEST

    BKN 51.28 LAC 50.45

    CHI 51.19 GSW 49.93

    MIA 51.06 SAS 48.64

    IND 49.99 MEM 48.60

    NYK 46.90 HOU 48.53

    CLE 46.84 OKC 47.70

    DET 44.00 MIN 47.33

    ATL 43.99 DEN 46.74

    WAS 42.61 POR 45.95

    MIL 42.15 NOP 45.44

    BOS 42.53 DAL 42.59

    TOR 41.72 SAC 41.78

    ORL 40.59 LAL 41.35

    CHA 40.14 UTA 38.18

    PHI 33.97 PHX 36.03

  • Fury says 9 months ago

    We can use #NBARank to create a prediction for the upcoming year. #NBARank was supposed to factor playing time into its decisions. Assuming that teams use 8 man rotations, I've created composite scores for the top 8 players on each team. These scores can, theoretically, provide a ranking for the teams.

  • rockets best fan says 9 months ago

    good read Jeby..................I agree......it's amazing how wide ranging the opinions in regards to the Rockets are. some have us winning the west while others have us down for a first round playoffexit. even though the latter are probably Laker fans who still have not recovered from us taking Howard from them. most believe our results are tied to what kind of player Howard will be this year. the Orlando Howard or the Laker Howard. while I would agree Howard is a major part of the equation.........this team is very deep around Howard with quality players in addition to possessing another star in Harden