The Rockets Daily – September 18, 2013

Ranketology – ESPN’s 2013 NBA Player Rankings kicked off this week, with the bottom 100 announced on Monday. Current Rockets ranked so far:

  • 498 – Jordan Henriquez
  • 493 – Robert Covington
  • 478 – B.J. Young
  • 419 – Isaiah Canaan

The Rockets aren’t relying on any of these guys to contribute, and woe to any team counting on a guy in the 400 range to step up (hey there, Robert Sacre). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention former Rio Grande Viper Royce White being ranked last at number 500. Lavoy Allen famously used that ranking two years ago as motivation to become a solid rotation player. Sadly, I think that motivational tool will be wasted on Royce White, because lack of motivation is the reason he is ranked that low to begin with.

But if ESPN’s slog through the league’s dregs is too slow for you, then you’re in luck. Sports Illustrated’s The Point Forward blog is simultaneously running through a quick-and-dirty top 100. If you like your player ranking the way I like my cereal (cheap, quick and off-brand), then this is for you!

Unlike ESPN’s rank, which is done by a massive panel of writers (including our own editor-in-chief), SI’s rank is done by two guys–Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney–who, to be fair, are excellent writers. Before getting into the ranks, they offered a pretty comprehensive list of notable omissions, which included Jeremy Lin:

The Man, the Myth, The Linsanity Legend came hurtling back to earth in his first year in Houston. In a rocky 2012-13 season, Lin started slowly, ceded crunch-time minutes on multiple occasions and ended on a whimper because of a chest injury that caused him to miss time during the playoffs.

In the actual rankings (which are only up to no. 31 for now), Chandler Parsons slips in at 94, just behind Ricky Rubio. And in the greatest travesty against basketball since the 2002 Western Conference Finals, Omer Asik was ranked one spot behind Monta Ellis. Asik was ranked no. 69, to the amusement of middle-school-aged Rockets fans everywhere.

Hall of Clutch- The founder of The Dream Shake has laid out his case for why Robert Horry deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I can’t argue with him, only because Robert Horry was my first favorite basketball player. It didn’t take long before Olajuwon’s manifest greatness was clear to my 8-year-old consciousness, but still you never forget your first. But check this out:

Horry played in 7 NBA Finals series.  His team won all of them.

Only Bill Russell exceeds that rate of success (11-for-11), while Jordan can almost match it, going 6-for-6.

Karl Malone played in 3 NBA Finals.  He went 0-3.
Charles Barkley lost the only time he played.
Hakeem Olajuwon was 0-1 in the NBA Finals before he met Horry.
Shaquille O’Neal was 0-1 before he played with Horry.
(Horry of course is the reason Barkley, Malone and Shaq were ringless).
Even Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have lost twice in the NBA Finals.

Was Robert Horry just incredibly lucky, or did he have the super-secret sauce? Yes.

The Best – According to Bradford Doolittle (ESPN Insider), the WARP projection for Houston’s backcourt is the best in the league with a combined WARP of 22.6. To clarify, Doolittle is referring to the starting PG, starting SG, and the third guard (usually the backup PG). In Houston’s case, that’s James Harden, Lin and Patrick Beverley:

Surprised? Well, remember that elite players in the NBA generate such a disproportionate amount of a team’s production that unit rankings will invariably be dominated by star performers. So it is with the Rockets, who landed a big man as the jewel of the current offseason yet still project to have the league’s most valuable backcourt. The rating is of course driven by MVP candidate Harden, now entering his age-24 season, and it’s somewhat speculative given the optimism about Beverley despite his short track record.

One of Houston’s key questions entering the season is whether Beverley or Lin fits better as Harden’s primary partner. In the playoffs this past spring, Lin and Harden played together for 70.2 minutes, per Basketball-Reference.com, during which Houston was outscored by 28.7 points per 100 possessions. However, Harden teamed with Beverley for 172.4 minutes and the Rockets outscored opposing Oklahoma City by seven points per 100 possessions. We’ll see whether those results hold up in preseason play and affect Kevin McHale’s formulation of his new rotation.

It should be pointed out that in the OKC series, Lin played most of his minutes before Westbrook went down with his injury, and he was playing hurt.

Always exercise caution when projecting future performance based on a single playoff series. J.J. Barea looked like Tony Parker after ripping up L.A.’s defense a few years ago, but he remains just about an average backup point guard. Roy Hibbert looks like the next Patrick Ewing after pushing Chris Bosh around for a few games, despite only shooting 44.8 percent from the floor for the season, seeing his PER drop from 19.35 to 17.32, and struggling to defend guards on the pick-and-roll. Patrick Beverley could fall into the same group.

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Total comments: 20
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    thanks for lining up the stats for me JG..............you know me......I'm just using the old eyeball test :lol:

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    not me.....I disagree. lets take a look at these players stats

    Sanders average 9.5 ppg 9.8 rpg 2.8 bpg .506 fg% .618 ft%.........played 71 games last year

    Asik average 10.1 ppg 11.7 rpg 1.1 bpg .541 fg% .562 ft%..........played all 82 games last year

    Pekovic average 16.3 ppg 8.8 rpg 0.8 bpg .520 fg% .744 ft%.....played 62 games last year

    Jefferson average 17.8 ppg 9.2 rpg 1.1 bpg .494 fg% .770 ft%......played 78 games last year

    Nene average 12.6 ppg 6.7 rpg 0.6 bpg .480 fg% .729 ft%.....played 61 games last year

    considering I think the centers most important job is to anchor a teams defense and rebound I would take Asik over any of these guys. Asik out rebounds all of them. shoots a higher % than any of them and played in more games than any of them. I could make a case for Sanders to be on par with Asik, but the rest..........NO WAY. Look at it ......Asik is the only one who averages double digit rebounds. I know my vision is impaired by my Rocket colored glasses, but even Stevie Wonder can see this.

    I will first of all say I agree that Asik is the guy to go with if defense and rebounding are what you are looking for at the center position. I also agree that this is a solid way to look at the position.

    I would like to point out that your stat comparison is not exactly fair as you have not normalized it to any degree by going with a per36 or per 100 plays. Looking at these guys per36 numbers gives a slightly different picture, but based off of your criteria Asik still wins out--especially when you look at his 30%+ def. reb. rate which is insanely good and his very low usg. rate which means his points come in the flow of the game.

    The per36 numbers look like this (fg% & ft% stay the same)(also, I left Jefferson off this list because he is Al Jefferson):

    Sanders 12.9 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 3.7 bpg

    Asik 12.2 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg

    Pekovic 18.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 0.9 bpg

    Nene 16.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 bpg

    To me, this makes for an interesting case. Sanders' numbers are solid and those near 4 blocks a game come with that invisible stat of how many shots did he scare people out of even taking...

    Pekovic puts in a solid 18 & 10 which is not bad at all except that his usg rate is higher and his fg% is lower.

    Nene was listed as a PF last year and put up some solid numbers, but again the usg rate is higher and fg% lower.

    So, as you said RBF, based on your criteria and factoring in injuries Asik is far and away the best option right now. I still think Sanders is on an uptick and hasn't hit his ceiling yet, but that is a bird in the hand vs. 2 in the bush argument. Sanders usg rate was almost identical to Asik's and he only missed 11 games so I really think that one is a toss up. Still, the disparity between 69th and 43rd is huge. I am starting to think that these rankings may factor in some kind of future expectations including Asik having to fight with Dwight for playing time and the assumption that Sanders is still getting better....ultimately, it doesn't matter because no one will be thinking about these rankings next May/June :D

  • Cooper says 1 YEAR ago There was 4 guys (Dwight, vuvecic asik and horford) that averaged 10 or more rebounds per game so if that's your qualifying stat for a good center you're gonna be disappointed. Vuvecic and horford aren't big time shot blockers either, so really only Dwight fits your criteria. asik doesn't necisarily block shots (your boy chris bosh averages more) but he's big enough to effect a lot of shots. Jeffersons post defense isn't terrible there are guys that can dominate him but those guys can also dominate everyone else save maybe a fully healthy Dwight or perhaps Marc gasol. His help defense is bad because he's fat and doesn't move well but a good help pf can cover him a little so it's not a complete disaster. Could also have him guard the other teams powerforward and have better defensive pf guard the other teams center in certain matchups And in the same sense Jefferson or pek are more one dimensional asik is a complete non factor on offense if you remember to box out.
  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago I think Asik was ranked about right, it was more that others getting overvalued and some of the writers always count potential not what they currently are
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    I think sanders is as good as asik or at least close plus he has a little more room to grow being younger and more athletic. And if I had say serge ibaka, KG, etc a more defensive player at pf or really needed a second scoring option I'd take Jefferson and live with his crap defense to get solid post presence. Pekovic is an interesting case he has some offensive ability and rebounds well enough but it seems his defense or just the wolves defense in general was quite poor so I'd probably pass on him over asik unless the rest of the team/coach was adept defensively and didnt expect him to be a Dwight like stopper. And like i said before not a big nene fan since he can't rebound/misses a lot of time.

    don't get me wrong it's great when your center can score, but whether he can score or not.......the last thing I want is a center who rebounds under double digits and is a defensive liability. the worse thing I hate to see is teams having a layup drill with my top center in the game. a defensive PF is great, but there are so many stretch PFs in the league they would keep your defense on the perimeter. you need a center who can at least alter shots instead of being posterized. can you win with a bad center?.........Yes, but it sure makes the job harder.

    now we didn't get into this before and I really don't weigh it as much, but Asik makes less than all of them which to me should make him a little more appealing. however IMO on just talent alone Asik is right now better than these guys. some have potential to surpass Asik in the future, but right now he is better to me. I don't care how much talent a center has..........if he's going to routinely miss 20-22 games a year...that's production you are paying for but not receiving. and trust me those 22 games will find a way to happen at absolutely the wrong time. like I said before a case for Sanders can be made, but Asik was ranked 69th.................69th...............69th, Nene 58th, Jefferson 44th, Sanders 43rd, Pekovic 50th........on talent alone Asik deserves a better ranking than that. is it me just valuing our players too much? could be, but I don't think so Asik should have been # 42

  • Buckko says 1 YEAR ago I'm the opposite, I want a defensive center with an offensive PF with a post game and jumper.
  • Cooper says 1 YEAR ago

    not me.....I disagree. lets take a look at these players stats
    Sanders average 9.5 ppg 9.8 rpg 2.8 bpg .506 fg% .618 ft%.........played 71 games last year
    Asik average 10.1 ppg 11.7 rpg 1.1 bpg .541 fg% .562 ft%..........played all 82 games last year
    Pekovic average 16.3 ppg 8.8 rpg 0.8 bpg .520 fg% .744 ft%.....played 62 games last year
    Jefferson average 17.8 ppg 9.2 rpg 1.1 bpg .494 fg% .770 ft%......played 78 games last year
    Nene average 12.6 ppg 6.7 rpg 0.6 bpg .480 fg% .729 ft%.....played 61 games last year

    considering I think the centers most important job is to anchor a teams defense and rebound I would take Asik over any of these guys. Asik out rebounds all of them. shoots a higher % than any of them and played in more games than any of them. I could make a case for Sanders to be on par with Asik, but the rest..........NO WAY. Look at it ......Asik is the only one who averages double digit rebounds. I know my vision is impaired by my Rocket colored glasses, but even Stevie Wonder can see this.

    I think sanders is as good as asik or at least close plus he has a little more room to grow being younger and more athletic. And if I had say serge ibaka, KG, etc a more defensive player at pf or really needed a second scoring option I'd take Jefferson and live with his crap defense to get solid post presence. Pekovic is an interesting case he has some offensive ability and rebounds well enough but it seems his defense or just the wolves defense in general was quite poor so I'd probably pass on him over asik unless the rest of the team/coach was adept defensively and didnt expect him to be a Dwight like stopper. And like i said before not a big nene fan since he can't rebound/misses a lot of time.
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Depending on the rest of the roster there are situations I would rather have SANDERS, Pekovic or Jefferson. Probably not nene.

    not me.....I disagree. lets take a look at these players stats

    Sanders average 9.5 ppg 9.8 rpg 2.8 bpg .506 fg% .618 ft%.........played 71 games last year

    Asik average 10.1 ppg 11.7 rpg 1.1 bpg .541 fg% .562 ft%..........played all 82 games last year

    Pekovic average 16.3 ppg 8.8 rpg 0.8 bpg .520 fg% .744 ft%.....played 62 games last year

    Jefferson average 17.8 ppg 9.2 rpg 1.1 bpg .494 fg% .770 ft%......played 78 games last year

    Nene average 12.6 ppg 6.7 rpg 0.6 bpg .480 fg% .729 ft%.....played 61 games last year

    considering I think the centers most important job is to anchor a teams defense and rebound I would take Asik over any of these guys. Asik out rebounds all of them. shoots a higher % than any of them and played in more games than any of them. I could make a case for Sanders to be on par with Asik, but the rest..........NO WAY. Look at it ......Asik is the only one who averages double digit rebounds. I know my vision is impaired by my Rocket colored glasses, but even Stevie Wonder can see this.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    On supply and demand I'm pretty sure that is what he meant, but got his words tripped up. No big deal--the point is well made. I agree that finding young, athletic gunners who have no shame about shooting from anywhere at anytime is easy. Finding stoic 7 footers who go hard on every single play and have excellent fundamentals is not so easy.

    Regarding WARP....meh. It's just so difficult to use without context that it nearly negates itself--why not just look and see for yourself since you will have to anyways? I mean, what was Lowry's WARP over Dragic? Probably not very much...what does that tell me? Probably not very much. Watching them play told us everything. Now, before anyone cites the statisticians' new adage about the modern stats leading us to ask better questions--that only matters if you don't know the better questions to begin with.

    I invite you to peruse Mr. Derrick Coleman's statistics--advanced and all--from basketball reference. While his eFG% suffered due to his unfounded belief that he was a solid 3 pt. shooter one would otherwise surmise that this guy played some very solid years of basketball and posted solid PER's, TS%, Reb %, Ortg, and Drtg amongst other things--even his career stats are solid. And none of that would tell you that he was a virtual cancer that destroyed everything he touched.

    The reason I get fussy about these things is because they are so context-dependent (which is fine); yet, people repeatedly pull them out of context to make a point and the majority of people will listen to it like gospel. :angry:

  • areteejay789 says 1 YEAR ago

    Alituro, while i agree with your point, i would suggest that any data that implies Ellis is better than Asik is flawed, even before we take into account supply/demand. Also, as an economics student it physically pained me when you said : "With a higher supply, the demand lessens and value drops."

    Supply does not affect demand. It affects quantity demanded, and value, but not demand itself. The amount that teams want these players (demand) is not diminished with an change in the amount available, but the money these teams are willing to pay for them is. Similarly, a decreasing supply, doesn't increase demand.

    But as i said, I agree with your point, Asik probably would come out as more valuable, even if you thought ellis was a "better" player. Which i dont.

  • Cooper says 1 YEAR ago Depending on the rest of the roster there are situations I would rather have SANDERS, Pekovic or Jefferson. Probably not nene.
  • Alituro says 1 YEAR ago

    curious what everyone's thoughts are on the WARP ranking

    It bodes well for us even if the relevance of WARP is shaky. The most glaring statement from the quote (not an insider) is: "MVP candidate, James Harden..." hopefully JH will work this season to change the statement to "MVP favorite, James Harden..."

    On the SI Top 100 piece... The task of ranking these players is a tough one as described in the Asik/Ellis conundrum. I wonder what the results would be if they took their data and said: "OK so now we know all about each player, if I were GM, how much would I be willing to pay said player for 1 season?" then based their rankings on the monetary numbers. Meaning, OK so Ellis may be a better player based on the data collected, his offensive capabilities outweighing his defensive inefficiencies, more so than the reverse situation on Asik. But, there may be 15 players at Ellis' position with equal, better or only slightly lesser stats. With a higher supply, the demand lessens and value drops. With Asik there may be only 5 players in the league with similar capabilities, lessening the supply, increasing both value and demand. I think an approach like this would better assess each players rankings.

  • Cooper says 1 YEAR ago It's not that surprising lots of teams have a good two but not much off the bench or some have 4 solid guards but no one that's a big difference maker. I don't see where you could make a great argument about who is better.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago

    curious what everyone's thoughts are on the WARP ranking

  • Alituro says 1 YEAR ago

    Yeah those rankings are BS... Parsons at 94 insinuates he's worse than the worst 3rd option on any team.. 70-75 is more realistic. In the same vein, 69 for Asik says he's one of the better 3rd options on any team, or worse than any other 2nd option, probably around 45-50 realistically...

    Horry needs to be in the Hall of Fame... key word is "Fame", it's not Hall of Great Stats, or Hall of Illustrious Careers, and he has earned himself the Fame by being a deciding factor in the biggest game within the game more than anyone except Russell..

  • Richards says 1 YEAR ago

    Bev's quickness and aggressiveness helped his defense. He looks a lot beefier recently, I believe he gain more power but not sure about speed. Can't wait to see all Rockets players.

  • bearkat414 says 1 YEAR ago

    to make it more relatable...for all you video gamers...Robert Horry was the best "oh shit" button ever.

  • bearkat414 says 1 YEAR ago

    Just watch ESPN for a second.....teams they dont like get disrespected and people take those opinions to the bank. We are clutch city. Suck it. best sports town nickname ever. We just need a Big Shot Rob type player back. thank you for contributing to the team of destiny that was clutch city, you are my second favorite player ever. HOF worthy? the detractors are stupid. the man influenced 7 nba finals in his favor. what if he never made a basket besides those big ones he made in the playoffs? I would still vote him in. its not a statistical anomaly after 7 appearances. he wasnt just the best role player ever, he was maybe one of the most clutch players ever. Yall ever played sports? being clutch is one thing, doing off the bench cold is another. his mental game must have been amazing.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    hey Jeby there was finally a little meat on the bones and you went to town :lol:.......very good read..................I was FLOORED by Asik's and Parsons ranking. at # 94 Parsons fell behind players like V-Carter # 86, Amir Johnson # 84, J R Smith # 83, Brandon Jennings # 91............that'sblasphemy. Asik fell to #69 while Larry Sanders was at # 43, Al Jefferson # 44, Nikola Pekovic # 50, Nene # 58.............I'm speechless. I know it's just a matter of opinion, but the writers obviously don't watch Rocket games

  • Buckko says 1 YEAR ago I have been saying that we have the best back court in the NBA along with one of the deepest and most talented front courts. However rockets still get no love, Parsons at 94?! He should at least be put above Hayward and Batum.