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@  thejohnnygold : (17 September 2016 - 03:38 PM) I think they will eventually settle on a good deal, but it will likely have early team options to protect against his chronic injury problems.
@  slick shoes : (16 September 2016 - 02:47 PM) If no one else is making any offers, why would we exceed the minimum? Is it that he/his agent think his value is higher than the market dictates?
@  thejohnnygold : (16 September 2016 - 01:08 PM) Yup. The last sentence of that article says it all. "All deals get done in the 11th hour".
@  DenverRocket : (15 September 2016 - 06:16 PM) The latest on D-Mo http://www.espn.com/...rockets-lagging
@  slick shoes : (29 August 2016 - 11:42 AM) At some point they've got to start trading SOME of these picks for veteran players...
@  thejohnnygold : (26 August 2016 - 10:03 PM) Call me crazy, but I'd rather have Kendall Marshall than 2 2nd rounders.
@  slick shoes : (26 August 2016 - 08:30 PM) the 76's trade for another center? im assuming they were really after the two 2nd rounders...
@  thejohnnygold : (07 August 2016 - 07:16 PM) Nope, but there is some raw talent to work with there. He is years away...
@  majik19 : (06 August 2016 - 11:53 PM) well it doesn't look like Zhou Qi is NBA-ready
@  thejohnnygold : (25 July 2016 - 04:26 PM) I think I am going to like Bobby Brown...that is within the confines of our current strategy which is score, score, SCORE!
@  slick shoes : (22 July 2016 - 08:02 PM) The "super team" Knicks? lol
@  thejohnnygold : (22 July 2016 - 06:05 PM) On Josh Smith...my guess is the Knicks eventually sign him.
@  slick shoes : (21 July 2016 - 04:29 PM) The Jet has been released. Josh Smith will likely play for another team next season. Maybe he teams up with Dwight in ATL?
@  slick shoes : (21 July 2016 - 12:17 PM) Harden is now sending hitmen after Rockets legends' sons for badmouthing him on social media *facepalm*
@  slick shoes : (18 July 2016 - 02:22 PM) If you haven't seen the 30 for 30 "The Guru of Go", I recommend it before the upcoming season.
@  Shy Silver : (14 July 2016 - 07:20 PM) Yea I know, but there were reports both sides were willing to have a reunion before Chicago signed him. So at the time, Canaan was an option, and a better one than Pablo at that. We should've capitalized on that one, especially with how well he fits the system for obvious reasons + age on his side.
@  thejohnnygold : (14 July 2016 - 03:43 PM) Canaan signed with Chicago already
@  Shy Silver : (14 July 2016 - 03:24 PM) Don't love the Prigioni move. Thought for sure we had better options like bringing Canaan back or getting someone like Shane Larkin
@  DenverRocket : (14 July 2016 - 04:36 AM) Apparently signed Prigioni to a one-year contract (veteran minimum) with a team option for a second season.
@  slick shoes : (13 July 2016 - 08:38 PM) Chris Finch is out as an assistant. Bummer.

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More on Donatas Motiejunas and Dwight Howard


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 13 February 2015 - 08:35 PM

    New post: More on Donatas Motiejunas and Dwight Howard
    By: Richard Li

    I previously wrote about the differences between Donatas Motiejunas and Dwight Howard. Defensively, they are comparable. Offensively, DMo is much more capable. I dug up some additional data that supports the latter conclusion.

     

    In the first piece I wrote, I mentioned that DMo's FG% increases by almost three percentage points when he dribbles, whereas Howard's decreases by almost six percentage points. This suggests that DMo is much better at putting the ball on the floor, such as posting up or driving, than Howard is. It also means that Howard should concentrate on catching and finishing, rather than manufacturing offense himself. Amazingly, despite these differences, Howard still dribbles and holds the ball more than DMo and almost every other center.

     

    According to SportsVU and NBAsavant.com, Howard has attempted 327 shots this season and has dribbled 290 times before those shots. His FG% when he takes 0 dribbles is 72%. When he takes JUST ONE DRIBBLE, his FG% is 44%.  When he takes two dribbles, he's down to 38%. His average number of dribbles per shot (0.887), is seventh in the league among all centers, and that's only if you consider Boris Diaw a center.

     

    DMo, on the other hand, has taken 482 shots and dribbled 378 times during those shots, for 0.784 dribbles per shot. When he dribbles once, he shoots 46%. When he dribbles twice, he shoots 60%.

     

    Also worth noting is how long Dwight holds the ball when he touches it. On average, he holds it for 2.377 seconds each touch. That's 8th in the league among centers. Holding the ball increases the risk of turnovers (you're all nodding) and the chances that he's going to dribble, which we've already established is a bad idea. DMo holds the ball for 1.872 seconds per touch, 24th in the league.

     

    Just to offer some comparison, take Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan,who have pretty much defined what it means to be a defense, rebounding, and dive to the basket center. Pretty much everyone who writes for this blog thinks that the team would be better served with Dwight playing more like these two because he would actually be better at doing what these two do. Chandler has shot 303 times this year, and dribbled 35 times on those shots. Jordan has shot 333 times and dribbled 58 times on those shots. They hold the ball 0.886 seconds and 0.761 seconds per touch, respectively. This catastrophe can be summed up in the following table.

    Player Shots Dribbles on shots Shot/dribble ratio Average time per touch
    Howard 327 290 0.887 2.377
    Chandler 303 35 0.116 0.886
    Jordan 333 58 0.174 0.761

     

    If you're going to use possessions in the manner that Howard does, you better produce results. We already know that he doesn't. Here's data to prove it. Unbeknownst to me, Synergy data is now available through NBA.com. Ready for Dwight's post up data? Avert your eyes! Hide the women and children!

    Player Post up freq. % PPP FG% TO frequency % Score frequency %
    Howard 50.7 0.72 41.60 17.3 39.6
    Motiejunas 28.1 1.03 56.8 11.7 52.2

     

    (That score frequency stat is the % of post ups that result in the team scoring at least one point)

     

    Look at that! It's just so bad. And now I'm going to make it worse. Here are their league rankings in these stats among the 48 players with at least 100 post ups.

    Player Post up freq % PPP FG% TO frequency % Score frequency %
    Howard 3 46 37 44 44
    Motiejunas 18 1 1 26 1

     

    Uhh. UHH. UHH. (Throws papers into air). Someone's going to stop this madness... right?


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    #2 thejohnnygold

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    Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:38 PM

    Nice article, Richard.  I have one main thought after reading it.  Are we not blowing things out of proportion just a tad?

     

    You noted that, ultimately, Motie scores 5 out of every 10 attempts in the post and Dwight scores 4 out of every 10 attempts in the post (52.2% vs. 39.6%).  When expressed in that way, and considering neither one posts up much more than 10 times a game normally we are basically talking about 2 points per game.  Not nearly the calamity that is being presented here.  Over the course of the season, how many games does that cost us?  I would argue not very many at all.

     

    I get your point--Dwight should post up less.  We all get the point loud and clear.  I think this mountain may be more of a mole hill.  Sure, using Dwight as a defense wrecking pick n roll monster would be great--nobody argues that--but the data itself shows that he's not single-handedly destroying the Rockets' season by posting up.  Would we be better off?  Probably.  My disagreement comes in the form of what I perceive as sensationalism.

     

    That chart from NBA.com that shows his number of dribbles and corresponding fg% is here:

     

     

    Just as you said, there are the numbers.  What you left out is the last 2 where he dribbles quite a bit and scores about 50%.  It was also overlooked that his horrific "2 dribble fg% of 37.5%" comprises a mere 13.7% of this distribution.  Combined with the "1 dribble" category you get a total of 36.2% of his total shots.  Meanwhile, the other 63%+ of the time he is scoring in the upper 60% range.  Mole hill versus mountain? 

     

    Here is some data that supports my stance:

     

    Dwight's W/L splits:

     

    Wins: 16.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.6 blocks, 2.9 turnovers - Ortg of 104 & Drtg of 93 - .573 fg% & .503 ft%

     

    Losses: 16.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .8 blocks, 3.4 turnovers - Ortg of 103 & Drtg of 115 - .580 fg% & .628 ft%

     

    Pretty much across the board he plays better (statistcially) in losses.  The clear difference is on the defensive end.  LINK

     

    Let's look further at this:

     

    Dwight's on off shows that Houston increases statistically across the board on offense when he is on the court (I realize he spends lots of time with Harden which definitely matters).  On defense, opponent eFG% dips .007 points (not very significant), but their Ortg drops 4.4 points--more significant.  Most importantly, The disparity between our Ortg when Dwight plays and our opponent is +7.2 points in our favor.  So, whatever affect these post-ups are having in making our offensive possessions worthless--it's not killing us nor is it losing us games.

     

    In games where Dwight has shot under 50% overall, we are 7-3.

     

    Now, something that better supports your stance is that we are 8-6 when Dwight has 4+ turnovers.  Thus, your point about the dribbling does seem to diminish our win% quite a bit.  We are 14-4 in games with 3 or fewer turnovers.  Here's the thing.  We are 22-10 overall with Dwight playing....and 14-7 without him.  That is a W% of .688 with Dwight and .667 without him.  Again, not moving the needle much, but moving it in the right direction.

     

    I get it.  Everyone hates Dwight post ups.  When viewed through a microscope it's the worst thing ever in the history of the NBA.  Worse than Antoine Walker threes.  Worse than Shawn Bradley's existence.  Worse than Stockton's shot.   :o

     

    Yet, on the macro level I can't seem to find much outside of his turnover numbers to indicate he is killing the team.  Given the number of offensive foul calls he receives (which count as turnovers) that I think are largely bogus I am reluctant to count this against him.

     

    We all know that if Shaq got whistled the way Dwight does he would likely have ZERO rings and if Dwight were allowed to bulldoze the way Shaq did he would already have a few of his own.  That's neither here nor there--just saying not all of his turnovers are due to being stripped or poor dribbling.

     

    Mountains and molehills.  Clearly there is something that Morey, McHale and Co. are seeing that we do not--something in that "Big Picture" that results in Dwight continuing to get post touches.  

     

    That's my two cents.


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    #3 thenit

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      Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:40 PM

      Thats stunning numbers that re-enforced what I already knew. I just didn't think it was that big of a difference and that Dmo is nr 1 in postup efficiency. One thing that helps us that is the fouls Howard draws, which results in Harden and everyone getting to the line earlier in the Qs. But numbers like that I think teams might start to NOT foul him unless its a clear dunk since his efficiency is so low that its below his free throw %.


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      #4 thejohnnygold

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      Posted 14 February 2015 - 12:01 AM

      Something I just noticed is that NBA.com and Basketball-reference.com have different Ortg and Drtg numbers for Dwight in his splits.

       

       

      Very different.  Not sure what to make of that, but the difference is huge.  The to% doesn't move much and the eFG% even less.  He only takes 1 more shot per game in Losses versus wins and only has .5 more turnovers per game.  Again, not sure what to make of all that--just wanted to note the discrepancy in numbers.


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      #5 Michael

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        Posted 14 February 2015 - 10:29 AM

        Hi Richard,
        I appreciate your article, it was well written and the numbers support the eye test BUT I still believe that Dwight has been playing injured for most of this season and is actually trying to do more pick and rolls (when he is healthy enough to move quickly to the rim). Post-up's are probably easier to do when you don't have quickness and explosiveness needed to roll hard but as the numbers clearly show he needs those two things for post-up's as well. 
        I think he is not that bad at it when at full strenght and speed, last year he had quite a few good games from the block, but he clearly can't do it with skill only, he desperately needs quickness and power also.
        Just my 0,02.

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        #6 Jatman20

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          Posted 14 February 2015 - 03:00 PM

          A case where salaries trump (D12's is much greater than DMo's) analytics....but how much is guys hacking D12 every post up and D12's knees having been problematic all year long considered/ not considered. Should the Rockets trade Howard? In a day and age where the center seems less and less effective (just ask the Pacers and Hibbert) Yes/probably. Will the Rockets? No.
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          #7 Losthief

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          Posted 14 February 2015 - 04:21 PM

          I think if the guy can play (semi-healthy) he's a game changer defensively still....he could be our ben wallace 2.0 (plus dunking) even with no offense generation ability. That said...the if healthy thing is a HUGE issue. Don't think anyone would trade for him now anyways...and we don't have the assets to package with him to sell him off even if we wanted to. 


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          LoSTHieF

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          #8 thejohnnygold

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          Posted 14 February 2015 - 10:24 PM

          Are we really talking about trading Howard?  Who are you going to trade him for?  Truly, the grass is always greener.

           

          Any center that one might deem better is not going to be available--especially based on the premise that we are trading Dwight because he is old, worn down, ineffective, and over-paid.

           

          Like it or not, our wagon is firmly hitched to Dwight until his contract is up.


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          #9 thenit

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            Posted 14 February 2015 - 10:37 PM

            LostChief

             

            I agree, that a 80% Howard is still a game changer, but in a playoff series where a few points will decide a game, you can't waste possessions on howard post ups when they result in those poor numbers richard alluded to. If he was ok with playing like jordan or chancler he will be a better version of those two it will help our team tremendously. His catch and finish with Harden is unstoppable, and he should stick to that. Getting 15 and 15 aint that bad and adding to his elite D, we could enjoy a deep run.

             

            BTW I don't think most of us are asking for a trade. I am not doing that.


            Edited by thenit, 14 February 2015 - 10:37 PM.

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            #10 DaDakota

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            Posted 18 February 2015 - 05:50 AM

            You just have to know Morey is telling McHale this, but for whatever reason McHale is not relaying the info to the team, or forcing them to do what everyone else in the Rockets nation can see...get Dwight out of the block and put DMo into it.

             

            DD


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            #11 King's Gambit Accepted

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              Posted 18 February 2015 - 11:17 AM

              Are we really talking about trading Howard?  Who are you going to trade him for?  Truly, the grass is always greener.

               

              Any center that one might deem better is not going to be available--especially based on the premise that we are trading Dwight because he is old, worn down, ineffective, and over-paid.

               

              Like it or not, our wagon is firmly hitched to Dwight until his contract is up.

               

              I think its useless to trade him...imho the fact is he still is a great/talented player, the problem lies in how you use his talent...doesn't mater if you trade him for Lebron if you use Lebron incorrectly afterwards..


              Edited by King's Gambit Accepted, 18 February 2015 - 11:22 AM.

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              #12 thejohnnygold

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              Posted 18 February 2015 - 05:45 PM

              I think its useless to trade him...imho the fact is he still is a great/talented player, the problem lies in how you use his talent...doesn't mater if you trade him for Lebron if you use Lebron incorrectly afterwards..

               

              Welcome to the forum!   :)  In my opinion, the use, or mis-use as many prefer to see it, of his talent is overblown.  Dwight is still fifth in fg% in spite of all his inefficient, morale-destroying post up plays.  He has clearly not been healthy for some time now.  You can see it squarely in one stat: Blocks.  He has not had a multiple block game since Dec. 18th.  Seriously, every game since reads like binary code with either 1 block or zero.  Prior to that he was averaging 2.54 blocks per game.  Since then, he is averaging 0.58.

               

              That is a drastic drop-off.  Too big to ignore; yet, that is precisely what many are doing.  It's much more fun to rant about the inefficiency of post up plays and how he should just run pick n rolls until they rename them "Power Howards" or "Dwight Flights".  I have yet to read any actual study on post up efficiency that incorporates the big picture and doesn't simply point to the singularity of an individual's fg% rather than total team efficiency and success in relation to post up usage.  There are reasons for this.

               

              One, it would be really difficult.  Two, it doesn't fit their subjective agenda so why do all that work just to find out things may not be as bad as one may want them to be.

               

              Yet, we all agree that playing inside-out is a good thing.  We all agree that opposing defenses suffer particularly when their starting centers are on the bench with foul trouble.  We agree that double teams create open looks that go in at a higher percentage.  We agree that shots at the rim are higher percentage shots (to use Morey's words, "trust the process, not the results").  We agree that shooting foul shots (even at Dwight's lousy 53% which still nets just over 1 ppp) is a good thing.  We agree that offensive rebounding is a good thing which often results in easy points or at least increased opportunity which missed post ups often generate.  We agree that letting Dwight work in the post allows Harden to rest and not be relied upon as the sole initiator of offense on this team.  We (should) agree that missed post ups result in far fewer fast break opportunities and allow our defense to get back and defend the opposing team better.

               

              Truly, the only thing I can really critique Howard on in his post play is his lack of court vision for passing and his lack of a shooter's touch on his hook shots.  How his previous coaches allowed that mechanic to become ingrained in him I don't know, but it is criminal and they should be punished in some ironically appropriate way.

               

               

              Getting back to the point, there is a bigger picture than Dwight's fg% on post-ups and people conveniently avert their gaze to the idyllic world where Dwight and James run pick n rolls on every play and never miss and always get an "And-1" and we win every game 157-72 on our way to back-to-back-to-back-to-back championships with Dwight averaging 30 points and 20 rebounds with zero dribbles per game.  That's not how things work.

               

              I'd be curious to see what percentage of plays are Dwight Howard pick n rolls.  We do run them.  They often get snuffed out....why?  Because opposing teams have scouting reports and go out of their way to not let that happen.  That, and Dwight might be the worst screen setter in the league over 6' 6" tall.

               

              I'm not arguing that Dwight's post ups aren't ugly, turn over prone, and, in a vacuum, one of our least efficient scoring options.  I'm arguing that the issue is being blown out of proportion and ignores the bigger picture which I believe produces solid results (although, I'm not crunching those numbers anytime soon so I have no statistical proof)....and that's before accounting for his defensive presence (which is about the only thing the anti-post-uppers will acknowledge).


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              #13 King's Gambit Accepted

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                Posted 19 February 2015 - 08:19 AM

                Welcome to the forum!   :)  In my opinion, the use, or mis-use as many prefer to see it, of his talent is overblown.  Dwight is still fifth in fg% in spite of all his inefficient, morale-destroying post up plays.

                 

                Thnx for the welcome! :D

                 

                Does this accounts for how many times he turns the ball over or is being stripped of the ball, fumbles it or make offensive foul or traveling violation prior to even taking the shot ?

                 

                Anyway I am not per se against posting up Dwight I think it should be done even more and more consistently perhaps then he would become better and more efficient in it...I like it more than bombing more and more and more 3s... :rolleyes:


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                #14 thejohnnygold

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                Posted 19 February 2015 - 03:58 PM

                Thnx for the welcome! :D

                 

                Does this accounts for how many times he turns the ball over or is being stripped of the ball, fumbles it or make offensive foul or traveling violation prior to even taking the shot ?

                 

                Anyway I am not per se against posting up Dwight I think it should be done even more and more consistently perhaps then he would become better and more efficient in it...I like it more than bombing more and more and more 3s... :rolleyes:

                 

                No, that does not include anything besides made shots.  Turnovers (which include offensive fouls), assists, and drawing fouls is not.  The turnovers are problematic (although, I cut him a lot of slack on many of his "offensive fouls" as he seems to get at least 1 per game that is a blatant defensive flop).  I also feel like he does not get "star" treatment on the other end.  It seems like he absorbs lots of contact on many possessions with no whistle to be found--which is odd.

                 

                I'm not proposing we run our entire offense through him--that would not be a good idea.  I'm just not going to rail against him (the way many do) because I think his post failings are fairly insignificant in relation to everything else that occurs.  I also do not think that cramming the pick n roll down people's throats is some magic elixir.  It is easier said than done, but nobody wants to hear that.

                 

                I do think that the more Dwight posts up the better he gets.  He may miss the first 3, but then get 6 in a row while picking up 2-3 fouls and forcing the starting center to sit down.

                 

                I also agree that we have reached the diminishing returns level on 3 pt. volume.  


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                #15 King's Gambit Accepted

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                  Posted 20 February 2015 - 02:50 PM

                  yea i think Dwight is perhaps one of the worst officiated players in the league...I wonder if that has something to do with letting down Lakers who are influential in the league...

                   

                  btw when I spoke of better using Dwight I was also thinking of giving him the ball at better places, ie near the rim in order for him to avoid dribbling...reposting him etc...


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                  #16 Chichos

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                    Posted 23 February 2015 - 07:21 PM

                    yea i think Dwight is perhaps one of the worst officiated players in the league...I wonder if that has something to do with letting down Lakers who are influential in the league...

                     

                    btw when I spoke of better using Dwight I was also thinking of giving him the ball at better places, ie near the rim in order for him to avoid dribbling...reposting him etc...

                    Having Dwight post on second and third options would mean he would have to set multiple screens and run decoy actions for the first 10 seconds or so of the shot clock.  He hasn't seemed as spry (hopefully just the injuries) or as interested in playing with urgency every second on the court.  That's why we should involve him in the primary pick and roll to start the play just about every time.  If only he could be happy catching lobs and getting easy finishes and put backs...

                     

                    In a some what related note, OKC just traded their Dwight stopper in Perkins.  Everyone hates that guy but he was always a great defender on Dwight.  I don't know if I should be excited that Dwight will now have an inferior defender on him or worried that OKC has no fear of him now.


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                    #17 King's Gambit Accepted

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                      Posted 25 February 2015 - 07:33 AM

                      ..

                       

                       I don't know if I should be excited that Dwight will now have an inferior defender on him or worried that OKC has no fear of him now.

                       

                      Dwight had trouble scoring in post on Andrea Bargnani and many other inferior post defenders .... hes been very inconsistent....i think his post game may be influenced  more by other factors than whos defending him...


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                      #18 clydesmoustache

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                        Posted 08 April 2015 - 10:14 PM

                        Donatas out for the season! Man this stinks! :(
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                        #19 YaoMan

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                          Posted 09 April 2015 - 01:22 AM

                          I know everyone's bummed. I feel like the Tmac/Yao curse is still here. The Rox will need some Herculean efforts from Josh Smith and TJ in the playoffs to battle thru the Western Conference gauntlet...


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