NBA Hoops

Rockets expect shooting to improve in 2024-25 through maturation

Jalen Green drops 30 points, but Rockets lack support in Phoenix

As directed by head coach Ime Udoka, the Rockets had a clear emphasis on shooting more 3-pointers coming out of the All-Star break. In 28 games, Houston’s average total of 39.6 attempts per game ranked second to only Boston, which owns the league’s best record.

That emphasis on 3-point volume played a role in Houston’s wildly successful March, which featured a 13-2 record and an 11-game winning streak. Third-year guard Jalen Green came very close to earning Western Conference Player of the Month honors.

For the entirety of that stretch after the All-Star break, Houston ranked only No. 21 in 3-point accuracy (35.4%) despite being second in attempts. But in March, that figure jumped to No. 9 (37.5%).

So, when the Rockets were able to combine both 3-point volume and accuracy, the wins came in bunches. The question is whether they can sustain that formula over a longer period, and if additions from outside the organization could further bolster that push.

As general manager Rafael Stone sees it, the Rockets should shoot better during the 2024-25 season without any changes, simply based on young players taking shots of superior quality.

In a new interview with The Athletic’s Kelly Iko, Stone says:

We do expect to shoot better next year with no external changes. One enormously important aspect of shooting is shot selection. You can highlight players with equivalent shots and one guy will shoot 33%, one guy will shoot 43%, because the guy shooting 43% is taking much easier shots than the guy shooting 33%. As our team matures and figures out their spots and makes the right play, shooting percentages will rise.

Similarly, the one constant trend through the history of basketball is that as guys go on in their careers, they become better shooters. So as our young players get a year older, they should all individually improve. Notwithstanding it, of all the skills in the NBA, shooting is probably the one everybody pays a premium for. So we’ll look at that, both in terms of people we bring in as free agents and people we draft.

If the Rockets choose to bring in extra shooting via their No. 3 overall draft pick in the 2024 first round, Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard appears to be an obvious candidate (latest mock drafts).

Iko’s complete interview with Stone can be read here.

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