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The Sports Daily > Analyzing The League
Rockets’ 1/2 High Dribble Hand Off for Gordon

When it comes to taking and making 3-pointers, the Houston Rockets are number one in the league in both categories, as they’re attempting 38.9 per game and making 14.9 of those shots a night. 80.3% of the Rockets’ points through 28 games are coming from the 3-point line and paint areas. The Rockets have eight core players who attempt over 1.0 threes per game, and of those eight players, six of them shoot above league average from three (James Harden, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverley and Sam Dekker).

Zooming in on Gordon, 63.5% of his points are coming from beyond the arc, as he’s attempting 8.4 triples a night (second most on the team) and making 3.7 of them each game (most on the team). He’s also the Rockets’ deadliest shooter from beyond the arc, as he’s drilling 44.1% of his 3s each night.

As you can see from his shot chart from three below, Gordon is lethal from anywhere beyond the arc except the right corner through 28 games this season. He’s almost 10% better than the league average in any of the other four areas where threes are recorded on the floor.

gordon-3s-through-28-games

In 30.7 minutes, Gordon is averaging 17.5 points per game mainly off the bench, and he’s Houston’s second leading scorer. Gordon has come off the bench in 20 games for the Rockets this season. If he continues to come off the bench for the majority of the rest of the season and continues to avoid the injury bug, he has a legitimate chance to win the sixth man of the year award, as he’s having his best season since 2011, when he averaged 22.3 points per game.

110 of Gordon’s made baskets this season have been assisted on by teammates. In spacing out as a shooter on pick-and-roll sets and getting open in transition, Harden has assisted the most to Gordon, with 44 assists coming from Harden to Gordon on Gordon’s made baskets. The next teammate who is finding Gordon the most is Beverley, as Beverley, in just 17 games, has already connected with Gordon on 24 assists.

One way Beverley is getting Gordon solid open looks is through the use of the 1/2 High Dribble Hand Off action, as illustrated below.

Play Diagram by @PaulGarciaNBA
Play Diagram by @PaulGarciaNBA

As you’ll see in the video below, Beverley is very good at seeing Gordon in the corner when he’s bringing the ball up, so as soon as he hands the ball off to Gordon, Beverley immediately sets the screen for Gordon. Most defenders get caught by the screen because Beverley does set a good foundational screen to free Gordon of his defender. Now, it’s Beverley’s defender who is making the mistake of not stepping out on Gordon. Most guards would use Beverley’s and 5s screen to drive into the paint, so defenders naturally want to prepare to take away the driving lane. However, since Gordon is a shooter who is comfortable shooting two to three feet behind the line if he’s open, he will take it, and as the video shows, make it a good number of attempts this season.

Through 28 games, the Rockets are already on pace for a 62-win season. The system of Mike D’Antoni with Harden as the point guard is already paying off, but two key free agent signings (Anderson for four years, $80 million and Gordon for four years, $52.9 million) have also been key reasons why the Rockets have taken off and are playing like an elite team early.

For Gordon, his name very well could be included in the sixth man of the year nominees by seasons end if he continues to be a dangerous weapon coming off the bench and if he’s able to continue to stave off the injury bug that has bothered him for the majority of his career.