Can the Rockets' Small-Ball Lineup Work Out Long Term?

I'm going to go ahead and say it, the small ball lineup will get you somewhere, but not everywhere. As we can see, the Rockets are having a decent season, 42-24, so the small ball lineup isn't doing bad, but if they want to make a serious push, I think there might need to be some change.


I'll first start off with the advantages and disadvantages of the Rockets offense. The Rockets have led the league in threes attempted this season as they take a historically high number of threes per game. Some nights they have been on, and some nights they're off. Overall for the season, they are 34.9% from three, so a mediocre shooting average from three this season. The only reason I would continue with this type of lineup is if they consistently hit their threes, which they are not doing. Despite not having a good three point percentage, they take so many threes that they are first in the NBA in scoring. It helps that Russell Westbrook can take it to the defense on the drive as well. Another way they score is off of transition points. They are a fast team and every player on the team has quick hands, resulting in a lot of steals and fast break opportunities.


On defense, obviously they struggle with fending off big men and taller, stronger players. On any given night, they can get 30 pieced by Brook Lopez who also had 15 rebounds, that's just what happens when the tallest starter is 6'7 and the tallest man in the 8 player rotation is 6'8. This team is, however, very good at forcing turnovers. They forced 22 Milwaukee turnovers, 15 Lakers turnovers, and 14 Clipper turnovers. These stats are based off of the last game the Rockets played against these teams.


The reason teams are struggling to keep up with the Rockets is because they're not used to it, they've never went up against a team that played like this. I think once teams form a game plan and specific plays, the Rockets small ball lineup success will be a thing of the past. However, if teams don't figure out how to beat the Rockets, I don't see a reason to change things up.




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