Aaron Gordon’s February
While I’ve spoken on Gordon’s recent run, I’d be remiss if i didn’t highlight it once more as the month comes to a close.
In 12 games in February, Gordon posted 18.6pts/8.9rbds/5.7asts on 47.9fg%/39.6 3p%/69%ft. What I think is most intriguing about Gordon’s run is the change in his game that I think has greatly benefited his play. Steve Clifford has entrusted Gordon to run the offense at a much higher clip which has unlocked some of the better aspects of his game.
Putting the ball in his hands has gotten him to the line more (about 2 more free throws per game) as he’s capitalizing off drives to the rim.
Gordon’s ability as a passer has been startling. I’ve seen him make good reads and decent passes since he came into the league, but for Gordon to jump in both usage rate and assist percentage without increasing his turnovers is remarkable. Normally when you put the ball in someone’s hands more, you can expect it to end up in the other team’s hands more often as well. But, Gordon’s assist to turnover ratio has improved running a greater share of the offense.
Across the first 42 games, he posted a 2.9:1.6 A/TO ratio, but in the 12 games since, he’s put up a 5.7:1.7 ratio. That mark is 37th in the league over that stretch among players who play over 15mpg, which is notable considering that Gordon isn’t a guard or traditional wing. He ranks higher than Ricky Rubio, Mike Conley, and Jrue Holiday over that span.
He just turned 24 this season, it takes a while for some players to figure out their game’s offensively. It’s safe to say that Gordon has a lot more in his bag. I’m pumped to continue witnessing his growth as he matures on both ends. Also watching more of these.
The Rockets’ Defense Post-Capela
First of all, we need to chill on saying small ball. The Rockets have been everything short of small, playing arguably the most physical brand of defense I’ve witnessed this year.
This whole team seems to have gone into survival mode; buying into the front office’s all-in move and gritting out some insanely tough defensive possessions.
This isn’t even one of their better sets (arguably this is a bad one with a lucky ending), but it showcases the newfound tenacity of their defense as well as their speed. The Jazz moved the ball incredibly well on this position, but Houston was able to recover multiple times and force a stop. This does not happen with Capela on the floor.
The Rockets front opposing big men in the post, making it incredibly tough to get the ball inside the paint. If the ball does get threaded inside, they immediately send a double and try to junk up possessions.
Since January 29th, the Capelaless Rockets have posted a 109.9 Defensive Rating, 11th best in that stretch, and have averaged nearly 16 stocks (Steals and blocks combined) first in the league over that span.
This team is playing the best defense they’ve played in over two years and I’m about it. If you don’t think this team is fun to watch, I sincerely doubt you’re even watching.
Trevor Ariza, Bad Look
I cannot stand this. So many people see this as a flex or some sort of showing of strength. It’s frankly embarrassing. If you don’t want someone to dribble through your legs, I don’t know, maybe get a fucking stop?
There are less egregious ways to prevent yourself getting nutmegged.
Trae Young isn’t being disrespectful, he’s showing his skill. You’re not a tough guy for hip checking someone that shook you into a different zip code. Bad look.