One Team, One Stat: The Right Kinds Of Shots In Houston

From Media Day until opening night, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann will provide a key stat for each team in the league and show you, with film and analysis, why it matters. Up next are the Houston Rockets, who added another star this summer.

The basics
HOU Rank
W-L 45-37 t-11
Pace 98.6 1
OffRtg 106.7 6
DefRtg 103.5 16
NetRtg +3.3 9

The stat

14.6 percent - Percentage of Rockets shots that came from mid-range.

The context

That was, by far, the lowest rate in the league. In fact, it was just a little more than half the league average (28.3 percent). Mid-range shots are the least efficient shots and the Rockets did their best to avoid them.

Houston took 38.7 percent of their shots from the restricted area, the third-highest rate in the league, behind only Denver and Detroit. They took 10.3 percent of their shots from the corners, the second-highest rate in the league, behind only Miami. Lastly, 24.5 percent of their shots were above-the-break threes, again the second-highest rate in the league (behind only New York).

The Rockets’ shot selection helped them make the most of their talent offensively. They didn’t rank in the top 10 in field goal percentage from any area on the floor, but because they took the right kinds of shots, they ranked fifth in effective field goal percentage and sixth in offensive efficiency.

Rockets shooting by area, 2012-13

Area FG% Rank %FGA Rank
Restricted area 61.5% 11 38.7% 3
Other paint 35.0% 24 11.7% 27
Mid-range 36.6% 27 14.6% 30
Corner 3 39.4% 12 10.3% 2
Above-break 3 35.6% 14 24.5% 2

Omer Asik ranked fifth in the league in shot attempts from the restricted area, while James Harden ranked second among guards. Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons both ranked in the top 20 in corner 3-point attempts, and Harden, Delfino and Parsons all ranked in the top 25 in attempts from above the break. Harden led the league in free throw attempts.

The following are highlights from a win in Milwaukee when 56 of the Rockets’ 83 shots were from the restricted area (where they were 26-for-38) or from the corners (9-for-18). Only eight (9.6 percent) of the 83 shots came from mid-range.


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The addition of Dwight Howard shouldn’t change the Rockets’ shot selection much. Howard ranked second in the league in shots from the restricted area and, as a more dangerous threat than Asik on the pick-and-roll, he will create tons of open looks for the Rockets’ shooters.

Delfino, who signed with Milwaukee, will be missed. He fit right in as a small-ball four who was a threat from either the corner or above the break and wouldn’t hurt the Rockets too much defensively. Houston has started three different power forwards in four preseason games thus far, looking for the right fit on both ends of the floor.

Whether he starts or not, the hope is that Omri Casspi can replace Delfino’s shooting. Casspi has actually been the better shooter from the corners over the last four seasons, but Delfino has been better from above the break and has shot at a much higher volume.

3-point shooting by area, last four seasons

Corner 3 ATB 3 Total
Player FGM FGA FG% FGM FGA FG% FGM FGA FG%
Omri Casspi 92 209 44.0% 153 480 31.9% 245 694 35.3%
Carlos Delfino 205 484 42.4% 278 823 33.8% 483 1,309 36.9%

Donatas Motiejunas has yet to get comfortable beyond the arc and Terrence Jones probably doesn’t belong out there yet. So the search for the right power forward in the Rockets’ pace-and-space system will go on. The right fit could be what turns Houston into a true title contender, and it may be that it requires trading Asik.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

7 Comments

  1. jimbo says:

    Nice thought, but BKN will want more than just Asik for KG. Who else is valuable that Houston could afford to part with…Lin ??

  2. G Race says:

    What are your feeling about an Asik for K.G. trade all we would need is two good years from K.G. and he would provide that nessary defense and a strong mid-range game….

  3. GL says:

    The Rockets had one in Patrick Patterson but traded him away for Thomas Robinson who got traded away to Portland. He would have been a good match at the 4 with Howard.

    • Rob says:

      Ya but we also got Fransisco Garcia out of that trade, and I wouldn’t trade him back even by himself for 2Pat

    • KennyLi says:

      In theory yes. But without trading away Pattern+TD+CA (which gives us TRob which then freed up our cap space), the Howard trade wouldn’t have happened.

      Can have both.

      • mark says:

        We didn’t trade for Howard. He signed as a free agent. Trob didn’t free up cap space, we had to trade him away and take no salary in return.

      • asdf says:

        They didn’t trade for Howard, but the trades of Patterson etc. were need to have enough cap space to sign Howard as a free agent, since Harden has a big contrant, Asik’s is also pretty big and Lin’s is huge in the last year.