Thoughts on Grizzlies – Rockets: Joey Dorsey’s Coming-Out Party

2010 February 5
by rahat huq

9:00 AM – Updated analysis and implications.

Joey Dorsey played the first significant minutes of his career tonight and had a personal coming-out party.  The forward was huge for Houston, grabbing 12 boards (6 offensive) in his 18 minutes.  Dorsey was everywhere defensively, rotating quickly to close out on Memphis’ guards and using his bruising frame to bother the Grizzlies’ skilled bigs.  Perhaps of greater importance, Joey was competent offensively, scoring 7 points and looking comfortable in numerous pick&roll situations, giving hope that his overall court presence may be palatable in the net result.

Joey Dorsey is important and not your average 12th man – to date, he is the sole blemish on Daryl Morey’s managerial track record.

In his 6 first half minutes, Dorsey scored 5 points, and grabbed 4 boards, 2 of them on the offensive glass.  More impressive though was that he was involved in some way on almost every possession of the game during his stint.

  • 4:35 2nd – Dorsey scored his first basket of the season.  He rolled to the basket and fumbled the pass off his leg, regained it, missed the initial attempt, but followed it up with the putback.
  • The next possession down, Dorsey grabbed an offensive board, eventually leading to Landry free throws.
  • A few plays later, on the defensive end, Dorsey kept his feet moving, staying in front of Zach Randolph and stripping the ball away.
  • The next trip down, he almost jumped out of his shoes in biting on a Gasol pump fake.  Gasol then scored on the counter move.  Dorsey’s first mistake of the game.
  • The next time down, with 2:30 remaining in the 2nd, Dorsey rolled to the basket and got fouled.
  • On the very next defensive possession, he contested Gasol, bothering his hook shot and grabbing the board.
  • On the ensuing defensive possession, Dorsey contested Randolph, maybe even deflecting the attempt as Randolph came up with only air.
  • Moments later, Randolph drove in left and Dorsey contested, forcing the former’s layup attempt to go wide right off the glass.
  • Then, on the next possession, Joey deflected the post entry attempt away from Gasol, denying the postup and making the Grizzlies reset.
  • At the other end, Joey blocked off Gasol so that Scola could get the offensive board.
  • The very next play down, Dorsey and Ariza hook up to deflect an interior pass leading to a steal for the Rockets.

It was more of the same for Joey in the second half as he returned with 31 seconds remaining in the 3rd.

  • Last play of the 3rd, he set a nasty pick for Lowry and then followed the Lowry miss with a missed tip-in which kept the possession alive for Landry to then tip it in.
  • On the first play of the 4th, Gasol pump faked a jumpshot and Dorsey bit again.  However, Gasol did not score this time.
  • On the next offensive possession, Joey held the ball indecisively for too long at the high post and then threw a bad pass to Ariza, making Trevor have to re-gather and take a which even he would have preferred to not take.
  • On the very next trip down, Dorsey drove in and did an incredibly awkward pseudo-spin but was able to pass it off to Landry.
  • At the 9:35 mark of the 4th, Dorsey grabbed another offensive rebound.
  • At the 8:22 mark of the 4th, Randolph was able to back Landry down all the way into the paint.  As he went up with the attempt, Dorsey rotated over and sent the shot back to the free throw line, emphatically.
  • Then, at the 7:50 mark of the 4th, Joey rotated quickly on the baseline to pick up Randolph once more, cutting him off, and allowing the help defender to block him from behind.
  • At the 6:55 mark of the 4th, Dorsey rolled to the hoop in transition for a monster jam off a pass from Kyle Lowry.
  • What came at the 6:38 mark of the 4th was Dorsey’s most impressive sequence of the night: He started off guarding Gasol in the high post on the left block.  As the Grizzlies guard drove baseline, Dorsey rotated off of Gasol to cut off the guard, but then recovered quickly enough to get back to Gasol.  Memphis swung the ball around to the other side and Dorsey rotated off of Gasol once more, blocking a shot attempt in the lane.

Other thoughts on Dorsey:

  • Despite his impressive performance, this game exposed two glaring weaknesses in Joey’s game:
  1. He bites on just about every pump fake.  Contrast some of his defensive stands with the one by Chuck Hayes at the 4 minute mark of the 3rd.  Hayes never left his feet after a series of fakes by Gasol, catching even the Grizzlies’ play-by-play crew’s attention.  The natural reaction by some here will be that this isn’t cause for concern as Joey can just be taught to rein in his instincts and lay off the pump-fakes.  However, I’m not really sure the conventional wisdom there is accurate if human instinct is inter-sportitudinally related (And yes, I think I made that word up.) One of the staple’s of the Moneyball philosophy is that unlike power, plate discipline cannot be taught.  How much difference is there between resisting the temptation to swing at a bad pitch and resisting the urge to bite on a pump-fake?  This may perhaps come as paradoxical, but I would say that the latter feat is more difficult.  ‘Lack of plate discipline’ isn’t inclusive of getting fooled by sliders – it means you’re swinging at things you know you have no business chasing.  On the other hand, it’s completely rational to bite on a pump-fake as it looks no different than an actual shot attempt.  In essence, you don’t know you shouldn’t be doing it.  All of this begs numerous philosophical questions.  Ultimately, we must ask, is it that easy to suppress instinct and be taught to not jump at pump-fakes?  I don’t think so.
  2. Dorsey is very bad at the high post.  He looked uncomfortable in this position and was very hesitant in making the pass, even drawing Adelman’s ire on one occasion.  This comes as no surprise as Joey isn’t exactly a polished offensive player nor is he known for anything remotely feigning basketball intelligence.
  • The Rockets looked awesomely physical with both Landry and Dorsey in the game, despite Landry’s relatively small stature.  There were numerous times when the two came together in the paint to sandwich an opponent and rough him up with their physicality.  This greatly bothered the Grizzlies all game.
  • Dorsey’s performance had serious implications:
  1. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but he brings an element that this team didn’t have.  The other Rockets hit you hard and play big.  Joey Dorsey hits you hard and is big.  With his massive size, he brings a physicality that could really help this team as it struggles to compensate for the loss of Yao Ming.
  2. Perhaps even more significant was that Dorsey didn’t hurt the team on offense.  There’s no benefit in playing him if offensive incompetence offsets his defensive contributions.  Last night, he looked very comfortable rolling to the hoop off of pick and rolls, and he fit in very well in running the floor in transition.

Other game notes:

  • Trevor Ariza’s usage last night was exactly how it should be every night.  I don’t remember him even once attempting to juke his defender off the dribble.  Everything came immediately off the catch in attacking the rotation of the defense.  This could be due to the frantic pace of last night’s game or it could be due to Lowry’s return.  Either way, it needs to continue.
  • My final note is on Brian Cook: Late in the 4th with the game completely out of hand, he caught the ball on the left block and squared up his defender.  What then ensued had more shock value than any single play in Rockets history since Mario Elie’s kiss of death.  Cook eluded his defender with a decisive pump-fake, and then deftly blurred past the baseline en route to a two-handed slam.  My jaw dropped.  I pray I never forget.  As I tweeted after the game, the play beckoned Bird: That wasn’t Brian Cook you saw last night.  That was Shawn Kemp disguised as Brian Cook.
Bookmark and Share
  • dfantchise
  • jr249
    The focus will be on the rebounding, but good point about how (surprisingly) well dorsey was rotating...The Francis and B. Barry free agent signings are not blemishes on Morey's track record (albeit minor)?
  • bob schmidt
    Want to bet that other teams will be looking over the model of Houston having their affiliation with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the D league? Same offense, same plays, same philosophy and a chance to play full games is a great advantage for young players. Lack of practice time in the NBA hurts player development. Dorsey has obviously learned a lot while with the Vipers..........Good to see it!
  • RoxBeliever
    Great breakdown. You can't teach height or physicality. I just hope with enough patience and hollering from the coaches, he will acquire a basketball sense. He seemed willing to learn; he said his stint in the D-League gave him back his love for the game.

    I loved the excitement that he brought tonight--like a kid on a roller-coaster ride for the first time. It was very contagious and the rest of the team fed off of that. Even Brian Cook--I couldn't believe my eyes also.

    Lowry's return was also key for us. And is RA preparing JT to be a combo guard? JT was playing the point in the closing minutes.

    I do hope we keep our team intact. Just trade TMac's contract without losing any of our pieces
  • Mike
    Any place I can see that brian cook play? I DON"T BELIEVE IT!!!
  • Sir_Thursday
  • rahat_huq
    jr - i think the francis signing was more of a move done for alexander than morey. you have a point with barry.

    bob - interesting point that i hadn't considered. are the rockets the only team with a D-league affiliate?

    roxbeliever - i can't see us being able to trade mcgrady without including someone.
  • bob schmidt
    This link, , will give a little info on the Rockets/Vipers affiliation.

    I believe that since the Rox handle operations, the coaching staff is theirs and they are using the same plays. Until the exclusive affiliation this year, the Vipers were featuring both Rockets and Hornets players under a different arrangement. This year's preseason game with Boston was held on the Vipers home court. I am quite sure that the Rox are subsidizing the Vipers team as their own exclusive "minor league team" and call all of the basketball shots.

    One interesting note, the Vipers have the best record in the D-League, a good omen for the talent that exists there. Google the RGV Vipers for more links...........
  • rahat_huq
    that's interesting because one of the things i wanted to explore for the morey series was an equivalent for the A's handling of their minor league teams. there's some interesting stuff there but didn't know if it fit here. i will have to dig deeper into this.
  • chiflatirons
    CHI flat irons remain a popular choice as hair straighteners. CHI offers ghd straighteners ceramic plate widths, flash heat for quick heat-up time and is lightweight. CHI offers pretty much the plate widths with .7", 1" and 2" plates, and CHI flat irons come with flash heating, so that the plates are hot and ready to use within seconds. From the points of mine, the quality and design of the CHI flat iron is ghd hair straighteners better than that of other flat irons.
blog comments powered by Disqus