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Should the Houston Rockets pursue Eric Bledsoe? Part 3 – Offense


You can read Part 2 of this series here.

Initially, a reader has taken great exception to the fact this discussion (continued on this week’s podcast) has not made mention of Bledsoe’s troubling injury history.  I’ll dissect that matter in the next installment.

In Part 2, I compared Eric Bledsoe’s defensive stats with those of Pat Beverley’s, concluding the two players were comparable on that end of the floor.  Offense is trickier.  In that assessment, Beverley was a logical starting point because a) he’s the incumbent, but b) he’s elite.  With whom do I compare Bledsoe on offense?  I could do Rondo, under the discussion of trade target preference, but is Rondo the true opportunity cost?  Again, I think the best bet here again is Beverley.  If we understand the degree of disparity between Bledsoe and Beverley on offense, already having concluded similar value defensively, we can gauge Bledsoe’s reasonable market worth.  (I’m fully aware I could just compare him to both Rondo and Beverley, but I don’t have that kind of time).

Here are the numbers:

Bledsoe shoots 47.7% from the field overall, while Beverley shoots just 41.1%.  From three, the two guys are comparable with Bledsoe shooting 36.2% and Beverley shooting 36.4%.  (By the way, this figure needs to go up to 39% for Beverley for the Rockets to comfortably contend with him in the lineup).

In isolation, Bledsoe scored on 41.6% of his tries, while Beverley scored on just 34.5% of his.  It’s nice that Bledsoe can score in isolation, but it also isn’t problematic that Beverley really can’t.

As the pick&roll ball handler, Bledsoe scored on 40.7% of his attempts, while Beverley scored on 47.1% of his.  I found that pretty surprising.  Bledsoe had 215 attempts while Beverley had just 77.

On spot-ups, Bledsoe scored on 46% of his attempts, whereas Beverley scored on 35.5% of his.  Bledsoe ranked 68th in the entire league here.  But again, Bledsoe spotted up just 87 times whereas Beverley spotted 234 times.

Coming off the screen, Bledsoe scored on 41.7% of his attempts, while Beverley scored on 27.3% of his.  Bledsoe had 12 attempts; Beverley had 11.

Off a hand-off, Bledsoe scored on 41.4% of his attempts, while Beverley scored on 43.8%.  26 to 16, Bledsoe-Beverley in total number.

On cuts, Bledsoe scored on 64.3% of his attempts, whereas Beverley scored on 38.5%.  14-13 in attempts.  I would have thought that figure would be much larger.

On offensive rebounds, Bledsoe scored on 56.3% of his attempts, whereas Beverley scored on 61.5% of his.  The number of attempts is 26-16 in favor of Beverley.  Beverley, in fact, ranked 9th in the entire league in efficiency here.

In transition, Bledsoe scored on 54% of his attempts, while Beverley scored on 49.5% of his.  187 to 105 in favor of Bledsoe here, in total number of attempts.

And last of all, for “all other plays”, whatever that means, Bledsoe scored on 37.5% of his 48 attempts, while Beverley scored on 38% of his 50 attempts.

The above data was pulled from Synergy Sports.  I wanted to check out a few other things, so I turned to BasketballReference next

Bledsoe shot 75% last year on 2’s, and 34% on 2’s from between 0-3 feet.

By comparison, Beverley shot just 47% on 2’s and just 20% on 2’s between 0-3 feet.  I had not realized how low this figure was and am actually finding this highly disturbing.

I’m not looking at assists at all because Bledsoe had a USG% of 25; Bledsoe also, obviously, gets to the line more often.

A point of relevance: this is what makes the Rockets great at what they do.  It’s not about having data or having access to data.  It’s about knowing how to properly apply it and draw the right conclusions.  Every person/organization will have a different opinion on which set of figures above holds the greatest relevance.  Whereas I may gloss over the 2% difference in hand-offs, someone else might see that as indicative of something far greater.  And this is how multi-million dollar corporate decisions are made.  At the margins.

Bledsoe’s clearly the superior player offensively, but we already knew that.  Is he $11-$12million better?  Absolutely not.  But that conclusion is skewered when remembering that a) Beverley will hit the market next summer and b) the Rockets have to make an upgrade somewhere, at some point.

Ultimately, I don’t even know what to think.  As I’ve been saying all along, I just wish there was a power forward available out there, because that would make the perfect sense.  If Beverley could just improve his three point shooting slightly, and the Rockets could pick up a veteran power forward upgrade, I think that route would represent the greatest gain.  At the moment, I’m not entirely blown away by Bledsoe.  Having said that, if there are no other alternate avenues for improvement, I would be satisfied with the move.

View this discussion from the forum.

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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