ROCKETS -at- LAKERS - 11/21 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings
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SunshineMan89
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2021 11:40 pm    Post subject:

Definitely glad that we've at least been able to eke out some wins vs. bad teams (as opposed to the embarrassing loss vs. the Thunder). But I think some of our issues are still present.

The Bad:

Monk has continued to be more or less unplayable defensively, and when he's not contributing anything offensively his minutes are tough to watch. With Russ/LeBron's minutes staggered, we don't really have a huge need for a high-usage creator, so he has to either pick it up significantly on the defensive end or start drilling some shots. Unless he can turn it around quickly, I wouldn't be shocked if his minutes go to Ellington pretty soon (and Nunn/THT/Ariza longer term). Lot of Quinn Cook vibes here.

We're still running a lot of plays that see AD receive the ball in the high post and iso. Way too many jump shots from a below average outside shooter. Would love to see more motion, especially with AD as the roll man.

I like Reaves' court awareness and BBIQ - he definitely rotates well and gets the most out of his tools. But he has some pretty clear physical limitations in terms of strength, footspeed, and wingspan, and our lack of any kind of wing depth has put us in a tough position where we've had to choose between having him check a larger wing or exposing someone like Monk or Melo. Vogel doesn't have any good alternatives for this problem right now, but hopefully THT or Ariza solves it eventually. Or an external acquisition.

I don't think DAJ has been terrible - he's a big body who can block the occasional shot in drop coverage, grab rebounds that come to him, and throw down the occasional lob. But man, was he exposed trying to check Wood in space. The mobility has been poor enough that I don't think he's going to be any kind of option against teams who play five out.

The Good:

It looks as though Russ has made some degree of effort to reign in the most egregious of his contested pull-up midrange twos. He's still an issue for us any time he's off-ball, but if he can shoot 30%+ from three and avoid actively hunting the worst shots that'll be big.

Melo's defensive effort and attention have been much better over the last few games. He's never going to be a positive on that end of the court, and we should expect teams to target him whenever possible, but if he can avoid being a liability that'd be huge.

LeBron is still good at basketball.

Vogel's removal of Rondo from the rotation and insertion of Bradley should help us defensively. AB isn't a great player at this point, but he's competent in a way that we were lacking when we were running out trainwreck lineups with Rondo/Monk/Melo all sharing the floor.

Nunn would fill a hole on this roster for a two-way guard - Bradley doesn't offer much offensively and Monk doesn't offer much defensively. Ariza would fit perfectly into our biggest need - if he can give us 20-30 minutes a night of wing defense, it would prevent us from having to match up Reaves with bigger wings. THT will need to improve his outside shooting in order to play with Russ, but he should hopefully improve our on-ball wing defense as well. In other words, while we could still certainly stand to improve on the wing, our existing reinforcements should help stop the bleeding in a few places.

Something like this . . .

Westbrook/Nunn
Bazemore/(Reaves or Bradley or Ellington or more Nunn/THT minutes
LBJ/THT
Ariza/Melo
AD/Dwight

. . . would look much better than our current rotation.
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ThePageDude
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Joined: 25 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2021 6:59 am    Post subject:

SunshineMan89 wrote:
In other words, while we could still certainly stand to improve on the wing, our existing reinforcements should help stop the bleeding in a few places.
<snip>


Great read. From the start I haven't understood this team's construction, 2 too many guards and 2 too few 3&D's at the 3/4 and 4/5 - and most of the guard signings were quite early on, as if they were intended and not reactionary.
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