The Houston Rockets’ uptempo, three-heavy offense has looked magnificent through the preseason. Over their last two games against the New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans, Houston has knocked down 36-out-of-79 threes, and Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon have been just as big as James Harden.
When the Rockets signed both Gordon and Anderson, it was a calculated risk. Both guys will thrive in this system, but both also have battled injuries throughout their careers. Last year with the Pelicans, Anderson played in 66 games, and Gordon played in just 45. But between them, they were good for almost five threes per night at roughly 37 percent.
For their careers, Anderson and Gordon each shoot 38 percent from downtown, and that’s dangerous for defenses going up against Houston. It’s already evident. On Sunday morning against New Orleans in China, the Anderson/Gordon duo knocked down nine of Houston’s 16 threes, and it took them just 17 attempts. Against the Knicks, they went eight-of-16, but Anderson was feeling it and bucketed seven by himself.
Their effectiveness is only enhanced now that they have a ball handler who draws so much attention from defenses. James Harden is going to put up ridiculous numbers this year while being the Rockets point guard, and he’s already doing it in the preseason.
Harden’s all-around, prolific scoring ability requires the defense to pay him unbridled attention.
Through three dress rehearsals, the Beard has three games with at least ten assists, including 15 against the Pelicans. He is noticeably more passive, but he’s able to do that and score in bunches at the same time. It’s remarkable. He’s coming off games with 28 and 26 points, and Gordan and Anderson play a part in that.
Harden gets them warmed up by diverting to them early in games, so that way he can go to work in isolation or out of the pick-and-roll and have the space to get to the basket. Moreover, he’s such a fantastic passer that he can find them through the tiniest windows.
One thing Houston is going to have to be wary of is Harden’s turnovers, and the four-time All-Star has already racked up 14 in three games. However, if he continues to dish out dimes at this rate, high turnover games will be able to be overlooked to some degree.
With all the weapons at their disposal, the Houston Rockets have a legitimate chance to be the NBA’s most high-powered offense. If Anderson and Gordon stay healthy and continue to shoot the lights-out, Houston can ride their hot hands into the playoffs.
The real test, though, will come defensively. When Houston has nights where the shots aren’t falling, will they be able to keep teams off the scoreboard? It’s possible, but it’ll take a real effort from the team to make that happen.
Data courtesy of RealGM
Follow me on Twitter