The Houston Rockets offense could be described by one word last season: Fast. They were 5th in the league with 106.7 points per 100 possessions last season, but they were first in pace with over 98 possessions per game. They weren’t so good on defense, but their game was to outscore you. They got over 17% of their offense through pick and rolls last season according to Synergy.
A lot was made about how Dwight Howard didn’t want to play in a fast paced offense that featured pick and rolls, and cited Mike D’Antoni as a main reason for his departure. I hate to break it to Dwight, but he is better on pick and rolls, and all Houston does is fast paced. So his preference in the post means Houston will change their offense right? Kevin McHale says maybe:
“I think we’re going to play basically the same style. We have to get better defensively, and with Dwight we have to have more of an emphasis on trying to get the ball in the post. Through Dwight running and Dwight doing different things, I think we can do that without really having to change our identity. We still want to get the ball up and down the floor. We still want to be aggressive and run and attack offensively. I think we have two of the top rim protectors in Dwight and Omer, so we have to use those guys. I’d like to use them together. It gives us a chance to have a defensive presence and run off our defense a little more. Our style will change a little bit because our personnel changes, but it won’t change dramatically. At least I hope it doesn’t.”
If Dwight was angry about how bad the defense was in LA, he isn’t getting an improvement in Houston. Also, it will play to their strengths if they stick to the same offense they had last season. With Nash and Howard last season, that brought potential for a deadly pick and roll attack. He was so obsessed with being in the post, that it only added to the mess. I think Houston will be improved this season, but I don’t put them above the Clippers or Thunder. They will have to iron out a lot of details, but there will certainly be a lot of eyes on the Rockets this season. Also, for what it’s worth, playing Omer Asik and Dwight Howard together would be a nightmare.