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@  miketheodio : (01 May 2013 - 11:56 PM) I wonder if the flu symptoms are similar to jordans flu symptoms.
@  feelingsuper... : (01 May 2013 - 08:41 PM) Harden flu like symptoms, wonder how that is going to turn out?
@  2016Champions : (01 May 2013 - 04:52 AM)
@  Richards : (30 April 2013 - 10:42 PM) Lin was shooting with left hand. Thanks Sefalosha for making JLin left hand stronger. :)
@  2016Champions : (30 April 2013 - 06:02 PM) Lin participated in conditioning and shooting--game time decision.
@  2016Champions : (30 April 2013 - 05:31 AM) @JasonCFriedman 30m
Harden when asked about his struggles tonight: "well I did have a double-double."
@  2016Champions : (30 April 2013 - 05:10 AM) I mean iso attacking the rim is okay, but not iso step back J
@  2016Champions : (30 April 2013 - 05:09 AM) If the pick and roll doesn't work then pass, don't go iso smh
@  2016Champions : (30 April 2013 - 05:08 AM) Harden was driving me crazy this game.
@  pharmag : (30 April 2013 - 04:42 AM) +/- is such a screwy stat, but I do think Parsons was most effective when Harden was on floor, which is probably why.  Also, he had 7 TOs in first half and only had 3 in 2nd.  That is definitely a good sign
@  miketheodio : (30 April 2013 - 04:35 AM) harden is somehow +9 with 10 turnovers
@  bboley24 : (30 April 2013 - 04:33 AM) we beat the refs.
@  pharmag : (30 April 2013 - 04:31 AM) Haha they win the game on defense and a rushed attempt by Ibaka
@  bboley24 : (30 April 2013 - 04:31 AM) asik.
@  miketheodio : (30 April 2013 - 04:30 AM) PRAISE ODIN
@  pharmag : (30 April 2013 - 04:28 AM) If this goes into OT, then we may be watching scrubs play each other lol...
@  miketheodio : (30 April 2013 - 04:25 AM) fml
@  pharmag : (30 April 2013 - 04:22 AM) Put him back on Durant
@  pharmag : (30 April 2013 - 04:22 AM) They need to put Garcia back in.  Improves offense and if he fouls out, so be it...
@  pharmag : (30 April 2013 - 04:21 AM) Ugh...if we lose this game, I may die lol

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Are the 2013 Rockets the 2010 Thunder?


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 30 April 2013 - 12:49 AM

    New post: Are the 2013 Rockets the 2010 Thunder?
    By: Forrest Walker

    The world has yet to see if the new, improved Houston Rockets can grab a playoff win in their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant and his Thunder have twice pulled the rug out from under a Rockets team surging to overcome huge deficits, and the Rockets are learning about playoff basketball in the hardest way possible. The present may be full of pain and heartbreak for Houston, but if we turn back the clock just a few years, we can see another team that was handed the same lessons in their first playoff run.


    In 2010, the Oklahoma City Thunder were in just their second year of existence, and already had managed to secure a surprising 50 wins in 82 tries. They leapfrogged their previous 23-win record to land in the 8th seed of a particularly competitive year for the western conference. The three-way tiebreaker between Oklahoma City, Portland and San Antonio handed the Thunder the unenviable task of unseating the Los Angeles Lakers, the defending NBA champions. The Thunder were still very much a work in progress, and this was to be Kevin Durant’s first test against the most difficult possible opponent.


    The Lakers went on to win another NBA title, but the first round series they played against the Thunder is burned into Oklahoma City’s legacy. Three of these games were decided by five points or less, and the teams traded blowouts in games four and five. The home team won every game until the fateful game six, in which the Lakers edged out the Thunder by only a single point. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka took the hard lessons they learned and turned them into a Western Conference Finals appearance the next year, and an NBA Finals berth the year after that.


    But now that James Harden has split from one of the most stable rosters in the NBA and found a leadership position on his own team, it’s Houston’s turn to try to internalize a first round loss and turn it into the skills, toughness, savvy and focus that an NBA team needs in the playoffs. Whether or not the Rockets can turn this group of potential stars and young role players into a contender has yet to be seen. But some clues can be found in a comparison to the Thunder of yore, back when they had more questions than answers.


    At the start of the year, The Houston Rockets resembled the inaugural Thunder, they of 23 wins and an unpolished core. But as everyone predicted a trip to the lottery, the Rockets shocked the world by transforming from a ragtag group of misfits to an eighth seed (and as high as the sixth seed for one heartbreaking moment). The question is this: just how much do the Rockets have in common with that 2010 Thunder team?


    The answer is a surprising. The most notable stat in the pile is that both teams sported a 3.5 point margin on the season, which was good for 50 wins for Oklahoma City, but only 45 for Houston. As a yardstick of overall quality, average margin is remarkably useful, and shows that the two teams separated by time are at least in the same ballpark in terms of overall quality. The thunder shot 46.2% from the field that year, with the Rockets managing 46.1% this year. Their total rebounds differed by only six, OKC edging Houston out with 3567 (Though in fairness, the Thunder had 960 offensive boards to Houston’s 909).


    In places where numbers differed, NBA ranks were similar. Both teams were in the top 4 of free throws attempted and top 3 of free throws made (though the Thunder shot free throws about 5% better). Both teams finished in the bottom 6 in turnovers committed, with Houston’s 30th spot partially caused by their breakneck pace. With only 25 steals separating the teams (Rockets led with 679), it’s not hard to see the comparisons.


    Of course, the teams differ in significant ways, including a rather stark contrast in three point shots. Houston was second in the league in both number of tries (2396) and makes (867). The 2010 Thunder were near the bottom of the league with a paltry 418 makes and 1229 tries. The 2013 Rockets also out-assisted the 2010 Thunder, with a 6th best 1902 as opposed to a 23rd best 1639. The Thunder, on the other hand, dominated the league in blocks with a massive 481, while the Rockets are 24th with only 359.


    What can we take away from this, then? The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. The Rockets lead in execution stats, like threes and assists, but trail in athletic stats like blocks. Houston is playing a more optimized game under Morey’s infamous advanced stats, but may have a lower ceiling than the rougher Thunder. Given that the Thunder managed the same margin of victory and more wins with far fewer threes and assists, this suggests the obvious: the core of Oklahoma City’s team is more talented than Houston’s.


    This can be borne out by the somewhat different course of the two playoff series. The Thunder played hard and won their first two home games against a truly great team. The Rockets, on the other hand, suffered a heartbreaking loss at home to a team missing their second best player. It’s possible that the Rockets pull out a game or two, but a 3-0 hole is all but insurmountable in the best of circumstances, and Jeremy Lin’s chest injury isn’t helping.


    The hope here is that the Rockets can replicate a similar rise in following years. While the comparative lack of talent might make this sound unlikely, Houston actually has one very good reason to believe they can improve at the same rate. Houston has a giant pile of cap space and a gutsy general manager to go with it. Houston may not have reason to believe that three of their players will become all stars, but they have the option to bring on into the fold in the offseason.


    The “Thunder model” has been touted as a path to the Finals, and every young team seems expected to follow that route. When comparing the Rockets model to the Thunder’s, there is a pattern of similarity. That similarity frays around the edges, however, but that’s fine. Houston doesn’t need to follow the Thunder model, or even the Heat model. They’re following the Rockets model.



    #2 RollingWave

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      Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:23 AM

      mayyyybe... though I don't see anyone that has a Durant upside, Harden's upside is comparable to Westbrook though (actually he was better this year. though I think the usage pattern helped him a bit there.)

       

      The Rockets do have the advantage of a deeper bench, and in the longer run can probably afford to spend a bit more than the Thunder, but at this point, there's basically 2 generational talent in the NBA, and one of them is in OKC, all 28 other teams need to think of a way to win without one.  and as good as Harden is, he is at best comparable to Kobe Bryant type of player in a career context. and not say.. the Michael Jordan / Lebron James type. (which isn't a knock on him obviously, because that is just a knock below the most unique group ever.)

       

      The Rockets would need to surround Harden with a very complete team, they can't afford a center tandem of Perkins + Thabeet I'd guess. 



      #3 thejohnnygold

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      Posted 30 April 2013 - 04:27 PM

      Whoa!  Harden as good as Kobe?  :blink:

       

      If that happens then we'll be fine.  Maybe I misunderstood...are you saying he needs to be surrounded with talent to succeed?  Even MJ and Lebron will tell you that's true. 



      #4 2016Champions

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      Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:18 PM

      I think Kobe's reputation is way overblown, Harden is definitely just as good as Kobe if not better at this stage in their career.

       

      Kobe isolation: 0.93PPP

      Harden isolation: 0.93PPP

       

      Kobe PnR handler: 0.86PPP

      Harden PnR handler: 0.98PPP

       

      Kobe post up: 1.05PPP

      Harden post up: 0.73PPP (small sample)

       

      Kobe spot up: 0.93PPP

      Harden spot up: 1.04PPP

       

      Kobe transition: 1.21 PPP with 184 attempts

      Harden transition: 1.22 PPP with 294 attempts

       

      Kobe overall: 0.98 PPP

      Harden overall: 1.02 PPP

       

      Give Kobe credit for being so good at posting up, but that's not enough to make up for all the areas Harden is better (Harden's bread and butter is really the PnR, he needs to use that more but McHale needs to find ways to make it less obvious. Getting Dwight will also help).

       

      And for whatever it's worth, Harden's RAPM is significantly better. Apparently the only players who are more important to their team offensively are Lebron, Chris Paul, and Durant.


       “Every [player] decision has two main components, the scouting or traditional analysis and the numbers … depending on the situation, you weight them differently.” - Daryl Morey

      Small sample sizes exaggerate effects. 

      Do not read statistics as gospel. Statistics provides tools that you need in order to react intelligently to information you hear or see.


      #5 thenit

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        Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:29 PM

        There is also the difference in ownership of the team. Kobe will sometimes take the heat, also he played defence in his younger days. Harden hasn't done it all series and its the F******** playoffs. So maybe the offense is similar, but Kobe at least defended his man and his help defence was a lot better than Harden. Also his "clutch" finishes are exaggerated but so much better than Harden. When kobe takes over the game he really does. Harden dominates usually only if he gets to the line.



        #6 2016Champions

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        Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:34 PM

        You must be talking about Kobe's younger days because Kobe's defense this season was just as bad as Harden's. 


         “Every [player] decision has two main components, the scouting or traditional analysis and the numbers … depending on the situation, you weight them differently.” - Daryl Morey

        Small sample sizes exaggerate effects. 

        Do not read statistics as gospel. Statistics provides tools that you need in order to react intelligently to information you hear or see.


        #7 thejohnnygold

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        Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:16 PM

        If you guys want to say Harden is as good, if not better, than Kobe go right ahead.  Whether you are talking about this season, or career, that is just ludicrous.  Maybe, after Harden's career has played out this can be looked at, but for now it's not even remotely accurate.  Take away Harden's free throws and there isn't much left to stand on--something we've all come to realize is 100% accurate.



        #8 2016Champions

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        Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:22 PM

        Take away Harden's free throws and he's not a very good player, I agree, but why would you take away his free throws?


         “Every [player] decision has two main components, the scouting or traditional analysis and the numbers … depending on the situation, you weight them differently.” - Daryl Morey

        Small sample sizes exaggerate effects. 

        Do not read statistics as gospel. Statistics provides tools that you need in order to react intelligently to information you hear or see.


        #9 thejohnnygold

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        Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:25 PM

        Mostly to make a point, but it seems to be lost here...



        #10 2016Champions

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        Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:35 PM

        For clarification: Are you calling the Harden/Kobe comparison "ludicrous" on the premise that Harden sucks when you take away the free throws? 


         “Every [player] decision has two main components, the scouting or traditional analysis and the numbers … depending on the situation, you weight them differently.” - Daryl Morey

        Small sample sizes exaggerate effects. 

        Do not read statistics as gospel. Statistics provides tools that you need in order to react intelligently to information you hear or see.


        #11 thejohnnygold

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        Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:53 PM

        All I'm saying is that James Harden is not in Kobe's class yet.



        #12 Steven

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          Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:13 PM

          Kobe has won 5 championships and is like a 10-time all defense 1st team, lets wait on the Hardin/Kobe comparison.

          #13 Cooper

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            Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:22 PM

            Harden has Kobe esq abilities not necessarily Kobe heart/determination however very few people do.

            #14 LashtonBryth

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              Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:11 PM

              Drawing fouls is not only a skill, it is a valuable skill.  Harden shoots 86% from the field and averages over 10 free throws a game.  Those 8.6 points per game are super efficient that takes an otherwise pedestrian night and turns it into a good one.  James Harden true shooting percentage for the season, which takes into account a players field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and 3 point percentage, was tied for 28th in the NBA at 60%.  For comparison, Kobe, in one of his most efficient seasons of his career, was 68th at 57%.  (Harden's True Shooting percentage was higher than CP3, Wade, Westbrook, Tony Parker, Duncan, Steph Curry, Bosh, Dwight, etc.)  You are severely underrating Harden's offensive performance this season, especially in comparison to Kobe.



              #15 2016Champions

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              Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:17 PM

              By several different metrics, Harden this season has been better than Kobe this season. That's just the truth. I get the feeling I'm being blasphemous, but Kobe is not a God. 


               “Every [player] decision has two main components, the scouting or traditional analysis and the numbers … depending on the situation, you weight them differently.” - Daryl Morey

              Small sample sizes exaggerate effects. 

              Do not read statistics as gospel. Statistics provides tools that you need in order to react intelligently to information you hear or see.


              #16 feelingsupersonic

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              Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:55 PM

              I agree on certain points you are making 2016Champions. Kobe is no god to me either, he is one of the greats but I definitely don't revere Kobe. I think you are right in a vacuum Harden was better than Kobe this year and the numbers point to that. Of course what Kobe deals with in L.A. is something very few can stomach and we see Howard caving from the pressure at times and Harden carrying the Rockets is a relatively easier task. Having briefly touched on a couple things the reality is you cannot really compare them and if you do you have to do a little suspension of disbelief. I am with you though barring injury Harden has the potential to make it in the great guards of all time discussion if he can win a couple championships. Personally I think Kobe is overrated, he couldn't ever do much unless he had Jackson and a great big next to him.


               The 2013 Red94 Fantasy Basketball League Champion


              #17 Steven

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                Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:03 AM

                By several different metrics, Harden this season has been better than Kobe this season. That's just the truth. I get the feeling I'm being blasphemous, but Kobe is not a God.


                But you're comparing a 23 yr old James Harden to 34 year old 17 year vet Kobe Bryant. That was all I was saying. Kobe is arguably the second greatest SG of all time.

                #18 thenit

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                  Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:22 AM

                  You must be talking about Kobe's younger days because Kobe's defense this season was just as bad as Harden's. 

                   

                  I did say in his younger days. This season its hard to have Kobe play that kind of defence due to age and all those minutes he logged. Harden is in his prime physically and can't even care to even try. Unless you play both sides of the court, your lack of defence kind of negates what you do on the offence.



                  #19 timetodienow1234567

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                  Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:28 AM

                  The initial point was that Harden is more of a Kobe type ceiling.

                   

                  Durant has an MJ/Lebron type ceiling.

                   

                  Most rational people would put Kobe a class lower than top tier. I personally have him 8th on my list of all time greats. Of course, I believe that Lebron will pass him up and eventually be either 1st or 2nd as soon as his rings and stats start piling up.

                   

                  I don't think Harden will crack my top 20 list to be quite honest. And if he does, I don't see myself putting him above MJ/Kareem/Magic/Hakeem/Duncan/Wilt/Oscar/Bill/Bird/Kobe/Shaq/Dr J/Malone/Stockton the list goes on and on.


                  Why so Serious? :D


                  #20 2016Champions

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                  Posted 01 May 2013 - 02:17 AM

                  I agree on certain points you are making 2016Champions. Kobe is no god to me either, he is one of the greats but I definitely don't revere Kobe. I think you are right in a vacuum Harden was better than Kobe this year and the numbers point to that. Of course what Kobe deals with in L.A. is something very few can stomach and we see Howard caving from the pressure at times and Harden carrying the Rockets is a relatively easier task. Having briefly touched on a couple things the reality is you cannot really compare them and if you do you have to do a little suspension of disbelief. I am with you though barring injury Harden has the potential to make it in the great guards of all time discussion if he can win a couple championships. Personally I think Kobe is overrated, he couldn't ever do much unless he had Jackson and a great big next to him.

                  Agreed. 

                   

                  I was only talking about who had the better season this year, I'm not trying to talk about Kobe-prime or Kobe's legacy so I don't even know why that is being brought up  but since someone opened that door here it is:

                   

                  Like you said, Kobe greatly benefited from having a great coach, great team mates, and being very marketable in a great market. If you take all those things away would people still be saying Kobe is top 10 all-time? I think alot of people used to consider Jerry West a top 10 all-time player too, but after all the hype died down people saw him more clearly, and now Jerry West sits somewhere around 20th on the all-time rankings.

                   

                  Kobe has one MVP in his career and he robbed Chris Paul to get it. He has 5 championships but that's a team award, and I think team awards should weigh lightly on an individual while his performances should be weighed more heavily. You can say "Kobe stepped up when it matters the most" but that would only be partially true, people tend to remember Kobe's "clutch" moments while forgetting all the times he has under-performed in big moments. Regardless, Jerry West's nickname was "Mr. Clutch" but he's not top 10 either. Jerry West also has 10 1st NBA-Team selections and 4 1st All-Defense selections. Kobe shouldn't be compared to Jordan who has 5 MVP's. Kobe should be compared to Jerry West who ranks around 20th All-Time.

                   

                  As for Harden, I won't include him in Kobe All-Time comparisons for obvious reasons, but he clearly has the potential to become the best SG in the league and a top 5 player. He has a long way to go, he needs to play better defense and work on perfecting that floater or a mid-range game, but I feel very optimistic about Harden. Where Harden lacks in pure talent, he makes up for it by being the most efficient PnR shooting guard in the league. If we get better PnR partners around Harden, and improve the offensive system so the pick and rolls are less predictable and harder to stop, then we might see Harden go down as the best PnR shooting guard in history. But who knows, maybe that will never happen and we will just keep seeing too many Harden isos which will put a huge blemish in his legacy. Only time will tell. 


                   “Every [player] decision has two main components, the scouting or traditional analysis and the numbers … depending on the situation, you weight them differently.” - Daryl Morey

                  Small sample sizes exaggerate effects. 

                  Do not read statistics as gospel. Statistics provides tools that you need in order to react intelligently to information you hear or see.





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