Houston Rockets: Team’s effective and true shooting is the best in 15 years

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 16: James Harden
PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 16: James Harden /

The Houston Rockets heroics this season can certainly be attributed to their insurmountable knack to shoot the ball well but from a historical standpoint, this is their best season shooting as a team in 15 years.

Houston Rockets fans — what am I talking about?  Unless you’ve been under a rock as of late, this team is flirting with records left and right with the re-tooled but mostly the same team we’ve brought back from last season.  It’s purely remarkable the heights that this team been able to soar to as a result and it truly is the epitome of a championship-caliber team.

Tonight’s 120-99 win over the Utah Jazz was a special one — this team was down by as much as eight points at the start of the 4th quarter.  Then ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE when the Houston Rockets offense kicked into a gear that I didn’t think was possible to reach to go on a 41-15 run to close out the game.  To put this in perspective, the Houston Rockets only scored 51 points in the first half but they nearly match that total in the course of about 10 minutes in the 4th quarter.

The barrage of threes from Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza as well as James Harden helped this team keep their win streak alive by pushing the magic number to 14 games in a row.  But with all this success this team is having, I began to wonder that this team might be on pace to be the best effective Houston Rockets shooters in quite some time.

The Houston Rockets currently possess an effective field goal percentage of 56.4 and a true shooting percentage of 61.9, all highs over the past 16 years, which is likely the length of how long this relatively new stat has been tracked.  They’re currently ranked 2nd in both categories behind — wouldn’t you know — the Golden State Warriors.

Let’s take a look at how they stack up over the years since 2002:

Year                             EFG%                         TS%

2002-03                    47.4                           52.2

2003-04                    48.4                           52.8

2004-05                    48.6                           53.5

2005-06                    47.1                           51.9

2006-07                    49.9                           54.0

2007-08                    49.2                           52.8

2008-09                    50.1                           54.8

2009-10                    49.4                           53.7

2010-11                    50.3                           55.0

2011-12                    49.2                           52.9

2012-13                    52.5                           56.4

2013-14                    53.1                           57.1

2014-15                    51.2                           54.8

2015-16                    51.6                           55.3

2016-17                    54.5                           58.3

2017-18                    56.4                           61.9  

This team is so efficient at shooting the ball well, it doesn’t matter if one gets cold.  We have so many shooters to surround, it forces opponents to try to keep up with the Houston Rockets torrid pace. But the competitive advantage is that they cannot because they don’t have the guns like the

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Houston Rockets do.

Time and again last season, we’d have moments where we’d go cold — especially Harden — and it would be hard to recover from such a mantra that this team holds near and dear.  But this season is different — obviously they’ve simulated this scenario — by ingratiating themselves with plenty of shooters to minimize the effects of cold streaks.

One can also attribute the recent league-wide rule changes that shy away from the physicality of yesteryear, allowing for these opportunities for shooters to get open.  It’s how the Warriors have become successful; but in contrast, the Houston Rockets’ revised formula is giving them — and the rest of the league — a dose of their own medicine.

In addition, Harden’s presence has made a world of difference with the team not falling below 50 percent in both categories since 2012-13, his first season with the team.

Next: How the Rockets have morphed into elite defenders

It’s flabbergasting for me to even write these facts but it goes to show how much this team has changed yet has remained mostly the same from one season to the next.  I’m positive that there will be more records that will be shattered, possibly the most wins in season which currently stands at 58, a mark set by the 1993-94 championship team.  I think this team will make SERIOUS strides at such a feat.

I couldn’t be prouder of my team that I am now and I’m positive there’s more great moments for us to witness like the one we had tonight.  UNBELIEVABLE.

Go Rockets.