Jump to content


Toggle shoutbox Shoutbox Open the Shoutbox in a popup

@  Mario Peña : (10 October 2015 - 01:12 PM) If your part if the Red94 Fantasy Basketball League check the thread to vote for the date and time for the draft event. Thanks y'all!
@  jorgeaam : (07 October 2015 - 08:47 PM) Guys we need 1 more owner for the Red94 fantasy league, if interested please comment on the post in the fantasy basketball thread
@  slick shoes : (07 October 2015 - 06:50 PM) Kobe ranked one spot higher than Ariza? Is this based on legacy or...??
@  slick shoes : (07 October 2015 - 04:13 PM) It was hard to keep up with both the Astros and Rockets at the same time. Should be interesting on Thursday with the Texans and Astros on simultaneously.
@  Mario Peña : (07 October 2015 - 04:09 PM) It was fun to have the Rockets on last night! Right now I'm watching the Celtics versus Milan and Alessandro Gentile is impressive.
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 07:47 PM) Well, thinking twice about it, I'd rather have him score less and have the team as a whole do better. Lawson should take a lot of his load off
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 07:47 PM) Loving that, hope he hits 30 PPG this year
@  thejohnnygold : (06 October 2015 - 06:15 PM) Someone is feeling confident :) : LINK
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 05:54 PM) 10 Teams done, will need 2 more
@  Mario Peña : (06 October 2015 - 02:35 PM) Alright guys, if anyone is interested in joining the Red94 fantasy basketball league we could use one more player to get us to 10 teams (or three to get us to 12 teams). Just check the thread in the Fantasy Basketball forum. Thanks!
@  thejohnnygold : (05 October 2015 - 06:23 PM) I use leaguepass here in Austin with no problems...
@  skip 2 my lou : (05 October 2015 - 03:14 PM) Hey fellas, I'm a rocket fan but I live in the heart of Dallas. Does anybody know if I buy NBA Leaguepass if it's too close to be subject to blackouts?
@  Losthief : (02 October 2015 - 02:24 AM) tks jg
@  thejohnnygold : (29 September 2015 - 05:16 AM) FYI, it was media day today. Interviews are up at NBA.com
@  slick shoes : (23 September 2015 - 06:37 PM) kind of late in the day but NBATV is broadcasting classis Rockets games all day today.
@  SadLakerFan : (16 September 2015 - 04:37 AM) Man, as a Laker fan, I'm learning how little you care about the off season when your team sucks. Anyway, a quick moment to remember Moses. Still remember watching the 81 team as a kid - losing record, NBA Finals. I would have cried w/joy if they could have beaten the Celtics.
@  jorgeaam : (15 September 2015 - 08:30 PM) http://bleacherrepor...ist-after-crash
@  jorgeaam : (15 September 2015 - 08:30 PM) So to celebrate his new contract, Montrezl Harrell saved someone's life on monday
@  thejohnnygold : (14 September 2015 - 04:36 PM) A good article from Blinebury talking about when Hakeem and Moses used to play in the park. LINK
@  rockets best... : (14 September 2015 - 02:29 AM) I agree totally. I got to watch his Rocket days and the man was a hell of a player. BIG MO R.I.P.

Photo

Let's Talk About Defense


  • Please log in to reply
118 replies to this topic

#1 thejohnnygold

thejohnnygold

    Veteran

  • Moderators
  • 4,128 posts
  • LocationAustin, TX

Posted 24 June 2014 - 03:32 PM

While free agency is at the forefront of everyone's thoughts right now, mine keep drifting away to our defense.  What is it about our defense that is so.....distressing?

 

First, let's try to avoid the worn out blasts against Harden and McHale.  I get it.  Harden would be a world-class matador.  McHale is a lap dog who can't hold Harden accountable.  Worse than that, he thinks "tactics" are little orange mints that come in tiny, plastic containers.

 

2747.jpg

 

So, let's try and look deeper than scapegoat levels.  Anyone who watched the majority of our games last season can attest to the fact that all of our players had individual defensive issues of one type or another.  I can live with that--there is no such thing as a perfect defender and that's not really the point of the game, is it?

 

Ultimately, our team defense is what matters--the final score.  Opposing teams are going to take shots.  It's about how difficult those shots are, how many go in, and controlling those pesky rebounds.  Seems simple enough, right?

 

I went looking for some compelling statistical evidence, or support, to try and see what is good and what is bad.  The longer I looked the more convoluted it became.  Our numbers are decent--not great.  Yet, we are in good company in many significant categories.

 

On percentage categories we rank pretty well.  Due to our 5th ranked pace our volume numbers get skewed upwards (something we already knew) making our per game stats seem more problematic than they actually are.

 

One of my favorite indicators of team play is the net plus/minus.  At NBA.com, we rank 5th behind the Spurs, Clips, Thunder, and Heat.  That's a good thing.  However, that masks our 19th ranked defense (based on points/100 possessions).

 

There are so many numbers available today it becomes burdensome.  Here is what we know.  We've got a team of elite athletes at every position.  There is no reason any one of them cannot play defense.  It's not like we're talking about the Shawn Bradleys and Gheorghe Muresans of the world--these guys can all move their feet and have enough strength to stand up to their opponents.  So that's not the problem.

 

What's left?  Focus, effort, preparation, familiarity, trust, experience.  These are the words players use (fans prefer more colorful terms that often include a multitude of bodily functions).  I like these words.  I think they are valid and pertinent.  It takes all of these to operate a successful team defense--and we're learning.

 

Think about it.  Until recently, even DPOY Dwight Howard was somewhat of a stranger to team defense.  He had always been a one-man wrecking crew in the middle frightening would be shooters by sending anything within 4 feet of the rim into the 5th row of the stands.  As this season wore on, I found that the slight decline in his athleticism has forced him to reconsider his approach--and that is a good thing.  He's truly learning to play his position now.  I think moving forward we will see less of "Highlight Dwight", but his effectiveness will improve overall.

 

T-Jones has all the tools (outside of a couple extra inches...save the "that's what she said" jokes, please) to be a superb weak-side, help defender.  Where he lacks is in the focus, preparation, and experience departments.  That will come.  I have no doubt he will spend countless hours watching film of himself getting lost, out of position, and committing bad fouls over the Summer.  He will learn to be more disciplined and let the play come to him and then let his athleticism do what it does.  Hopefully, they show him some tape of Chuck Hayes as well so he can learn to hold his ground and not get backed down as easily in the post.

 

Parsons, while the least athletic player on the floor, has the size and smarts to compensate and play solid defense.  His future is cloudy to me.  Will he ever return to his rookie form?  Once he gets paid can he get back to the business of being a solid two-way player?  We know he can....

 

Harden, well, we'll see.  Much has been said and seen and I don't want this to turn into a Harden bashing thread.  We all know he needs to do better.  Speculating as to why he played the way he played doesn't give us answers, nor does it provide hope.  Also, his exploits have been blown way out of proportion.  The way most talk, you'd think any schmoe from the local YMCA could take Harden to the rack.  Make no mistake, Harden is a physical specimen and would destroy us all.  I'm not worried about his ISO defense.  His team defense is what matters and, according to the numbers I can find, he is actually solid in this department.  So, let's move on and, please, try and save the belligerent Harden-bashing for other forums.

 

Patrick Beverley.  Once again, hyperbole takes hold in peoples' minds and a player who hustles on defense, makes plays, and is a guy you can't seem to take your eyes off of gets put on the roller coaster of public opinion.  Beverley makes no claims--the media and the fans do.  He didn't ask for the label of "shut-down", "stopper", or any other exaggeration.  If anything, he probably prefers "pest".  He doesn't claim to stop, or shut down, anybody.  He claims to make your day a tough one and to do the things he hates to his opponent.  That's it.  He does this pretty well.  Moreover, I think he is a solid defender and his team defense is slightly under-rated.  He shades well and funnels players to the help defense consistently (or where the help defense should be--which makes him look like El Matador, himself, at times).  In reality, that was a team defense breakdown.  Bev is solid, and his offense takes a lot of unnecessary criticism as well.

 

All in all, the pieces are there.  They have the ability.  They just need time to come together and an asst. coach to install a solid foundation and system.  Anyone who has tried to make homemade pasta sauce (probably chili in these parts) knows you can't just throw everything in the pot, give it a stir and expect it to be great.  It takes time.  Transformations happen.  Things blend together and form a single, better entity.  Houston's defense is in this process and will probably require all of next season to get close to that final product.

 

Perception is what it is, and the path of least resistance is a law of nature.  It is easy to recall the most egregious failings and point the finger at the obvious scapegoats, but that ignores the big picture and the grand intricacies of the game.

 

"Harden sucks!  McHale sucks!"  "We'll never win a title with those guys!"

 

Come on.  The Clippers were everything we were last season, plus everything we weren't: top guard at his position who plays tough on both ends of the floor plus a top-flight coach with a proven track record.  Guess what?  They nearly got bounced by Golden State and were then thoroughly trounced by OKC.  So, perhaps it's a bit more complicated than simply getting guys who "don't suck".

 

With more experience and a new found focus and vigor, the Rockets are poised to improve on their offense and defense next year.  Even if free agency yields little more than new butts to fill in the bench we will be improved.  There will still be lapses on defense and terrible, youtube-worthy lowlights of players getting blown-by and posterized.  Deal with it.  Every single team deals with that.  These guys are amazing.  What we need to focus on is the big picture.  Solid team defense that limits high percentage opportunities and gobbles up rebounds.  Based on what I've seen, I think we are on our way.


  • 1

#2 Buckko

Buckko

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,636 posts

    Posted 24 June 2014 - 03:44 PM

    Harden is NOT a bad defender. He is someone who doesn't care to defend. Completely different. Harden has great attributes and measurements where if he ever wanted to be, I bet he could become an almost shutdown defender. He has an almost a 6'11" wingspan, ( That's Insane for a SG) 6'5+" extremely sturdy frame with great center of gravity and weight. He's probably one, if not the strongest guard in the game along with considerable athleticism, become a wall for post defense. Smart and quick as we've seen him play the passing lane. All of these attributes are important for a great defender, however its a matter if he ever wants to be one.


    Edited by Buckko, 24 June 2014 - 03:45 PM.

    • 1

    #3 Cooper

    Cooper

      Senior Member

    • Members
    • PipPipPipPipPip
    • 1,290 posts

      Posted 24 June 2014 - 05:45 PM

      I think it was an effort issue parsons and Harden both have the tools, harden was out of shape. Bev and Lin tried as hard as anyone but both have limitations, bev is a little small, lin a little slow staying in front. Jones tries hard and has the tools but like you said not a lot of the know how and savvy. Howard doesn't trust the other guys and really they haven't earned it which causes some more breakdowns. They should be better and really they don't need to be the bulls or pacers defensively just make the plays that are there hopefully they can bring in Hollins to solidify things even more.


      • 0

      #4 Buckko

      Buckko

        Senior Member

      • Members
      • PipPipPipPipPip
      • 1,636 posts

        Posted 24 June 2014 - 06:53 PM

        If Lebron comes here. I'm betting hollins signs on as an assistant and the rockets are top 5 defensively if not top 3 along with #1 offense. Lionel will create a whole functioning scheme, but Lebron would be the leader to make harden and everybody else work on both sides of the ball. 


        • 0

        #5 slick shoes

        slick shoes

          Junior Member

        • Members
        • PipPipPip
        • 347 posts
        • LocationHouston, TX

        Posted 24 June 2014 - 07:08 PM

        If Lebron comes here. I'm betting hollins signs on as an assistant and the rockets are top 5 defensively if not top 3 along with #1 offense. Lionel will create a whole functioning scheme, but Lebron would be the leader to make harden and everybody else work on both sides of the ball. 

         

        Key part being "IF Lebron comes here." Im with you my man, but were gonna have to sell him on the idea that Hollins is with us and everyone will buy in upon his arrival.


        • 0
        trickin' six digits on kicks and still holdin'.

        #6 Buckko

        Buckko

          Senior Member

        • Members
        • PipPipPipPipPip
        • 1,636 posts

          Posted 24 June 2014 - 07:30 PM

          Will the last open HC job is with the lakers and they are looking like they are narrowing down the job down to Bryan Scott, so hollins best bet is to take an assistant job and I don't see one any better than becoming the leader for Houston's defense.

           

          If you take a non-bias look at all of lebron's options, in terms of talent and depth, Houston is by far the premier choice. 


          • 0

          #7 uojoe82

          uojoe82

            Junior Member

          • Members
          • PipPipPip
          • 123 posts

            Posted 24 June 2014 - 07:43 PM

            Harden is NOT a bad defender. He is someone who doesn't care to defend. Completely different. Harden has great attributes and measurements where if he ever wanted to be, I bet he could become an almost shutdown defender. He has an almost a 6'11" wingspan, ( That's Insane for a SG) 6'5+" extremely sturdy frame with great center of gravity and weight. He's probably one, if not the strongest guard in the game along with considerable athleticism, become a wall for post defense. Smart and quick as we've seen him play the passing lane. All of these attributes are important for a great defender, however its a matter if he ever wants to be one.

            COMPLETELY AGREE. Has all the tools to be an above average defender, except the desire. Saves all his energy for offense. In late game situations he should never be on the court if the Rockets need a stop however his ego will never allow for a defensive sub.


            • 0

            #8 rockets best fan

            rockets best fan

              glad you're on board, but I been on this boat since it left

            • Members
            • PipPipPipPipPipPip
            • 4,124 posts
            • Locationhouston

            Posted 24 June 2014 - 08:59 PM

            @JG

            schemes can be just as important as physical abilities. while I could point out each players faults, I believe it start with faulty schemes. I could go on a McHale bashing rant, but you know how I feel about him. he isn't just a scapegoat.........he is a large part of the problem. he isn't putting players in the best positions to succeed. just like the offense has to be tailored to take advantage of the players strengths, the defense must also be tailored.  


            • 0

            you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


            #9 majik19

            majik19

              Junior Member

            • Members
            • PipPipPip
            • 272 posts

              Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:46 PM

              COMPLETELY AGREE. Has all the tools to be an above average defender, except the desire. Saves all his energy for offense. In late game situations he should never be on the court if the Rockets need a stop however his ego will never allow for a defensive sub.

               

              Harden is a poor defender. Yes, he has all the tools, and yes he lacks desire, but a viewer can also tell he isn't prepared on defense. Some of the preparation relies on the scheme and coaches, but there is also an individual component where you have to understand what the opposing player and offense wants to do. Harden clearly did not know or understand (or was unable to react to) what the opposing team/player did. He also didn't seem to understand the scheme (what limited scheme there was).

               

              He seemed completely unaware of when picks were coming (especially multiple picks to free a shooter). He also did not seem aware of the opposing players' tendencies at times. 


              • 0

              #10 thejohnnygold

              thejohnnygold

                Veteran

              • Moderators
              • 4,128 posts
              • LocationAustin, TX

              Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:48 PM

              @JG

              schemes can be just as important as physical abilities. while I could point out each players faults, I believe it start with faulty schemes. I could go on a McHale bashing rant, but you know how I feel about him. he isn't just a scapegoat.........he is a large part of the problem. he isn't putting players in the best positions to succeed. just like the offense has to be tailored to take advantage of the players strengths, the defense must also be tailored.  

               

              I agree and I made a brief mention about that.  We all know Kelvin Sampson was the defensive mind--not McHale.  I know that does not matter to you, but it does to me.  On top of that, there is no inside knowledge that our schemes were not good and our execution was just incredibly poor ( I know, it's the coaches job to get them ready.  Coaches can only do so much though).  If I were to guess, I'd venture to say Sampson knows how to coach defense and our guys were just slow, sloppy, lazy, whatever in executing it.

               

              Regarding LeBron coming in and "making everyone work"--let's all remember Dwight's exit interview and subsequent remarks.  He is ready to lead--even if it means not being liked.  He has made it clear it is his team and it is "my way or the highway".  I can almost guarantee that if Melo comes here he will fall under that umbrella as well.  LeBron already gets it so no worries there, but the point stands--Dwight is going to lead on both sides of the court next season.

               

              Am I the only one that remembers it takes time to learn to lead for the majority of people?  Sure, guys like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Tim Duncan came in ready to lead (at least it seemed so), but for every Duncan there are Jordans, Bryants, Malones, Barkleys, Dirks, LeBrons, Billups, Garnetts, Pierces, Olajuwons and on and on who take time to figure it out.

               

              We're not asking these guys to flip burgers or dig ditches.  We are asking them to do one of the hardest things there is in the world (at least, among trivial things like sports)--be the best basketball team on the planet.  Yes, we should be aware that our guys have come up short on certain traits that a champion generally needs, but it is not a full on indication that they are incapable--only that they were not there yet.  


              • 0

              #11 nonenadazilch

              nonenadazilch

                Newbie

              • Members
              • Pip
              • 1 posts

                Posted 25 June 2014 - 12:21 AM

                how ironic that many people thought howard would be the 'cancer' to the team.  howard played remarkable during the playoffs and clearly rose to leadership status. 

                 

                harden surely knows what a defensive liability he is.  his teammates surely know his ego demands the offense revolve around him.  unless his attitude and arrogance change dramatically, james harden is the cancer that drags down his own stardom as well as the rockets' championship hopes.  what a shame.


                • 0

                #12 rockets best fan

                rockets best fan

                  glad you're on board, but I been on this boat since it left

                • Members
                • PipPipPipPipPipPip
                • 4,124 posts
                • Locationhouston

                Posted 25 June 2014 - 12:22 AM

                @JG

                I would have to disagree with this statement

                " there is no inside knowledge that our schemes were not good and our execution was just incredibly poor"

                 

                the Rockets are well aware their defense was lacking. hence their search for a strong defensive influence to supplement their coaching staff. in addition anybody who watched more than a handful of games saw our shortcomings on full display. it's no secret. defensively our stats say we are ok, but in critical moments during a game we break down. if you can't hold a team in the last 5 minutes of a game having beautiful stats prior to that are rendered meaningless. we can't stop teams when the game is on the line.


                • 0

                you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


                #13 thejohnnygold

                thejohnnygold

                  Veteran

                • Moderators
                • 4,128 posts
                • LocationAustin, TX

                Posted 25 June 2014 - 01:09 AM

                @JG

                I would have to disagree with this statement

                " there is no inside knowledge that our schemes were not good and our execution was just incredibly poor"

                 

                the Rockets are well aware their defense was lacking. hence their search for a strong defensive influence to supplement their coaching staff. in addition anybody who watched more than a handful of games saw our shortcomings on full display. it's no secret. defensively our stats say we are ok, but in critical moments during a game we break down. if you can't hold a team in the last 5 minutes of a game having beautiful stats prior to that are rendered meaningless. we can't stop teams when the game is on the line.

                 

                I agree with all of this.  I have no doubt the Rockets know better than anyone their own defensive failings.  My statement was in regards to us outsiders not knowing what was going on between the coaches, players, schemes, practice, and execution.  I whole-heartedly agree with bringing in a defensive guru (part of why I was on the Mike Brown train...something I know you were strongly averse to) and think our failings were as much about plan as they were execution.  That's the thing.  For 40 minutes we can be a superior offensive team and defensive team, but in crunch time we need to isolate the problems (they were many and multifaceted) and come up with solutions....and I believe we will.  I am not worried.


                • 0

                #14 slick shoes

                slick shoes

                  Junior Member

                • Members
                • PipPipPip
                • 347 posts
                • LocationHouston, TX

                Posted 25 June 2014 - 02:18 AM

                Will the last open HC job is with the lakers and they are looking like they are narrowing down the job down to Bryan Scott, so hollins best bet is to take an assistant job and I don't see one any better than becoming the leader for Houston's defense.


                That is to say that Hollins isn't holding out for a head coaching job. I'm baffled that the guy wasn't snatched up after being let go.
                • 0
                trickin' six digits on kicks and still holdin'.

                #15 Buckko

                Buckko

                  Senior Member

                • Members
                • PipPipPipPipPip
                • 1,636 posts

                  Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:20 AM

                  That is to say that Hollins isn't holding out for a head coaching job. I'm baffled that the guy wasn't snatched up after being let go.

                  That wouldn't be smart. The best thing for a coach's career is a winning team and if he hops on the rockets and they go on to win a championship. You know teams will be calling then.


                  • 0

                  #16 slick shoes

                  slick shoes

                    Junior Member

                  • Members
                  • PipPipPip
                  • 347 posts
                  • LocationHouston, TX

                  Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:41 AM

                  That wouldn't be smart. The best thing for a coach's career is a winning team and if he hops on the rockets and they go on to win a championship. You know teams will be calling then.


                  whose bench is Marc Jackson on next?
                  • 0
                  trickin' six digits on kicks and still holdin'.

                  #17 rockets best fan

                  rockets best fan

                    glad you're on board, but I been on this boat since it left

                  • Members
                  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
                  • 4,124 posts
                  • Locationhouston

                  Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:30 AM

                  @JG

                  on the Mike Brown issue........he's just not a good coach IMO. I am on board with trying to get a defensive guru in the coaching staff and would be good with Hollins, but Mike Brown knows as much about coaching offensively or defensively as he does about brain surgery. I am not from the school of thought that says if you have been in successful organizations or have been around basketball long enough that automatically makes you qualified to coach. coaching is an art to me. you either have it or you don't. it coexist with being a leader of men. I have said it here many times before..........having knowledge and being able to teach that to others are two different things. not all smart people can teach what they know in a way that it can be absorbed by others and when it comes to Mike Brown I'm not sure he has the knowledge to begin with

                   

                  back to the defense..........I think it would be fair to say our execution, effort, preparation and focus in addition to schemes all fall below necessary standards. however what I believe is at the root of the problem is discipline. none of the other problems can be fixed in the defense without first addressing this. I hate to keep coming back to McHale, BUT       

                  whether we get Hollins or some other coach to handle defense if he does not also install some discipline to change the team our results won't change either. I liken it to a classroom..........the teacher can only teach when she has the attention and cooperation of all students. McHale only gets the respect of the substitute teacher. so no matter how good the information he wants to teach is he will never teach it because he doesn't have the attention of the students. this is just one of many hats the coach needs to wear. I know good coaches when I see them. Mike Brown and McHale do not fall into that category. the Rockets have chosen to hold McHale for at least one more year so I can only hope the man we choose to be his #1 is up to the task.

                   

                  if you look at stats from last year on just about any category you will find both offensively and defensively our play declined as the game wore on. by the fourth quarter if we don't have a nice lead our chances of winning decrease drastically. that smooth running offense grinds to a halt and we suddenly forget how to play defense. that's no accident..........it's a reflection on our leadership


                  • 0

                  you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


                  #18 timetodienow1234567

                  timetodienow1234567

                    Veteran

                  • Members
                  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
                  • 2,596 posts
                  • LocationAlabama

                  Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:12 AM

                  Mike brown can coach defense. to think otherwise is hilarious. Did you not watch the Cavs? Having a good defense with Varejao/Ilgauskasas your rim protectors is impressive.
                  • 0

                  Why so Serious? :D


                  #19 Buckko

                  Buckko

                    Senior Member

                  • Members
                  • PipPipPipPipPip
                  • 1,636 posts

                    Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:09 AM

                    Ya I watch the cavs and they were a burning dumpster fire. For being a defense first coach, the cavs had a terrible defense last year.
                    • 0

                    #20 thejohnnygold

                    thejohnnygold

                      Veteran

                    • Moderators
                    • 4,128 posts
                    • LocationAustin, TX

                    Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:24 PM

                    @Buckko, he was talking about before, with Big Z.  This past season they had nobody--Varejao just can't stay healthy and had to play limited minutes off the bench.  After that you're talking about Irving, Waiters, Thompson, Bennett, Gee, Miles, Zeller......and they still finished 19th out of 30 in the league for Def. Rating.  Think about that.....11 teams were worse defensively than the Cavaliers.  Ouch.  (Houston was 13th per basketball-reference.com).


                    • 0




                    1 user(s) are reading this topic

                    0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users