Game 9: Common Sense vs Morey


Morey waiving  James Anderson is a mistake.  I see Anderson as a a 5-tools player who possess James Worthy’s stealth attack ability and James Harden’s shooting and on ball abilities except Anderson does not hog the ball like Harden does.  Bottom line, Anderson is a much better back court partner with Jeremy than Harden was during the past season.

Subplot 1: Jeremy has two straight 30+ point games:


Great job Jeremy!  OK, now that is done with.

Subplot 2: James Anderson versus Jeremy Lin

During last night’s game between the Rockets and Sixers, Anderson won the battle of the shooting guards (humor me).  Raw stats indicate Anderson delivered more volume with higher efficiency in every category except assists.


Advanced stats indicate James had a larger positive impact contributing to team win than Jeremy did:


Now, perhaps this evaluation is unfair to Jeremy.  Individual performance is not mutually exclusive of team performance as well as coaching.  And, James Anderson has benefited more on both these counts.  This explains Lin’s negative net rating despite fantastic individual achievement.  For example, Rockets launched a total of 41 3FGAs, but, not including Lin’s percentage, their 3FG% is only 23% (6 for 26).

Subplot 3: James Anderson can Ball

One of my highlights last year was watching Jeremy Lin play with James Anderson.  The two acted like a pair of paddles in a pinball machine.  I only got to see them play together three times last year, but the impression made on me was lasting.  I anticipated seeing them playing more games together this season, but Morey waived Anderson during the past off season and was picked up off waivers immediately after.

Plot: Common Sense versus Morey

Let’s look at some 2012-2013 stats:


(Top portion is team stats when Anderson is playing with Lin.  Middle portion Harden playing with Lin.  Bottom portion is variance of the two team stats.)

When Lin is partnering with Harden, the team has a slight improvement on defense, but, when partnering with Anderson, the team has huge improvements on offense.  In the variance section, it shows the Rocket’s PPP improved 12%, eFG% improved 15%, TS% improved 10% and FG% improved 15%.

Had the Rockets prioritized Lin’s role on the team, they would have paired him up with the more compatible shooting guard.  Instead, the Rockets prioritized Harden and tries to pair him up with Beverley for “fit” reasons.

So, Morey made the costly blunder of propping up his shooting guard, Harden, at the cost of team wins.  If Lin and Anderson were featured as back court partners more often than featuring Lin with Harden, I believe Houston could have made at least the 6th seed position and at least making it the second round in the playoffs instead of being in the cellar position and losing to OKC in the first round.  This season would not be a series of comedies with the rotating point guards and Twin Tower experiments either.

  • JK


    from Morey’s perspective, it’s purely down to that one concept – maximize Harden, period.

    • etane

      Well, give him credit as it’s working so far for Morey/Harden but with expected results to team.