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First returns from SportVU player tracking: Houston Rockets Edition

I told myself I’d hold off for at least 10 games before digging into these numbers, but I just couldn’t resist.  Sometimes the geek in me can be overwhelming.

Off the bat, Trevor Ariza is leading the entire league in ‘catch and shoot’ total points, at 45.  Dirk is second at 36 points.  Ariza is shooting 60% on those catch and shoots, and 60% on catch and shoot 3’s.  Four games in, you could say Ariza has fit in pretty well into this Houston offense.

Opponents are shooting 51.9% against Anthony Davis, at the rim.  They are shooting 45.7% against Dwight Howard.  Of course, they are shooting 42.9% against Omer Asik.  (Then there’s Nerlens Noel at 33%; after watching him last night, I have little to no doubt Noel is going to be an absolute beast on the defensive end).

James Harden is averaging 7.3 drives per game.  (Monta Ellis is averaging 11, in the same number of games).  Harden is shooting 44% on those drives.  Amazingly, Kobe Bryant is shooting 56.3% on a similar number of attempts.

Here’s an interesting one: James Harden is creating 18.8 points from his assists, per game.  Chris Paul, who is leading the league in assists, assist opportunities per game, and passes per game, is generating 21.8 points per game by his assists.  A big part of that is that Harden is passing out for open Ariza 3’s.

James Harden is fourth in the league in pull up shot attempts, at 8.5.  Steph Curry leads the league at 9.3, not surprisingly.

Last of all, an interesting point I noted last season: Dwight is nowhere to be found in the league leaders for contested rebounds per game; he’s near the top in uncontested rebounds.  This struck me as fascinating, leading me to wonder if it was corollary to the hidden Dwight Howard Intimidation Effect.  Opponents may just not be even bothering to crash the glass against Howard, like they do against lesser-named players.  It’s one of the areas where numbers can lead to further inspection.

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

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