On Sunday afternoon, Patrick Beverly posted a video on Instagram. In it, he is holding a basketball in his right hand, the same hand he fractured on December 21, going through his shooting motion. After doing this four times, he looks down at his taped hand and nods his head, giving the impression that he is on schedule with his rehab, which is good news, because the Rockets miss him, they miss him bad.
Beverly has missed the last seven games, with the Rockets winning four of those contests. That record isn’t awful, but it isn’t good either, and aside from the Christmas Day win in San Antonio they haven’t played a game that had you impressed when it was over, but that’s what happens when you don’t have your starting point guard.
It is easy to overlook Beverly on a team that has Dwight Howard and James Harden. He isn’t even the most well-known point guard on his own team, but you can’t overlook the results with him out of the lineup.
All of these numbers are per the NBA’s excellent stats page.
Over the last seven games the Rockets are scoring more than they were in the 24 games since Beverly returned from an opening night rib injury, about two and half points per 100 possessions, and they’re turning the ball over less, 1.2 fewer times per 100 possessions, but there are categories where they’ve worsened, and worsened a lot.
First of all, over the last seven games the Rockets are assisting on just 49.6 percent of their made baskets. There is only one team (Sacramento) that is worse, They were only assisting on 55.7 percent of made baskets the 24 games prior, which is still a bottom 10 number, so this isn’t a major concern, the Rockets have had bigger issues without Beverly.
In the 24 games that Beverly played in after the rib injury he suffered opening night against Charlotte, the Rockets allowed 101 points per 100 possessions ninth best in the league, and just 100.3 when he was actually on the floor. Over the last seven games, that number has jumped to 109.6, the fourth worst defense in that span, and their steals have gone from 8.2 a game to only five. They are missing that pesky on-ball defender, and not just because he is able to take teams out of their offense, but because he is able to speed the pace of the game.
Only three teams (Philadelphia, Minnesota and Oklahoma City) were playing at a faster pace than the Rockets in the 24 games they played before Beverly fractured his hand (98.83 possessions per 48 minutes). Since, only seven teams are playing slower (94.15 possessions per 48 minutes). The Rockets are getting close to five fewer possessions a game without Beverly, and when you have the offensive weapons that they have, you want as many chances to score as possible.
Let’s not forget the damage Beverly’s absence has caused the Rockets rotations. In 245 minutes, the lineup of Beverly, Harden, Howard, Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones is outscoring teams by close to 13 points per 100 possessions. When you swap Beverly for Lin, the margin drops to one point in the 167 minutes that five-man unit has played together. Not only has the starting lineup taken a hit, but the bench has as well. Kevin McHale has tinkered with starters minutes to try and get the right mix of guys on the floor, but he hasn’t been able to find something that will consistently work.
It has been a little more than two weeks since Beverly suffered the injury that is supposed to keep him four to six weeks. He says he won’t need as long as six weeks to get back on the floor, which is good news. The sooner they can get him back in the lineup, the better off the Rockets will be.Follow @AdamSpolane
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