Rockets’ new offense proves ‘exhausting’
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets have developed into one of the most enjoyable teams to watch. They push the ball, spread the floor, drive to the basket, take threes and generate points.
And it’s working. The Rockets are 31-27 and in eighth place in the Western Conference with one of the youngest teams in the league.
Houston leads the league in pace at 98.72 possessions per 48 minutes and are fifth in points per 100 possessions (106.8), according to NBA.com/stats. But Rockets coach Kevin McHale admits running that kind of high-speed, point-generating offense is not easy, for a reason that is counter-intuitive. Already a good quote, McHale explained why.
“They all say they want to run until they run, and running’s hard,” McHale said. “Do you run to get the mail? Do you run to throw your toast in the toaster? No one likes running. It’s hard to do. They just don’t want to run. All players say they want to run. When you really start running, there are few players who really want to run.”
This is a snapshot of Houston’s offense: Get the ball and go. Two players run deep to the corners. Two players run wide on the wings. Space the floor and let James Harden or Jeremy Lin handle the ball and go from there with drives to the basket, ball movement and pick-and-rolls in order to get open shots inside or out while the defense scrambles.
“To move and play our offense, you have to get the court spread,” McHale said. “You use the depth of the court, so you have to get all the way down to the corners. You have to use the width, which means you have to get out wide which means you have to run every single time.
“The offense only works if one or two guys are outrunning their guy. If you can get one wing outrunning his man and one big outrunning his man on every possession — it doesn’t have to be the same guy every possessions. But if you can get one of your one, twos or threes out ahead or one of … [For more on Rockets' new offense proves 'exhausting' for players, click here.]