Houston Rockets' Best and Worst Statistical 5-Man Units so Far This Season

Tom Horowitz@Pudge7777Contributor IIIDecember 22, 2012

Dec 19, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) dunks against the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter at the Toyota Center. The Rockets won 125-103. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Halloween night was downright scary for NBA backcourt tandems, as they watched James Harden and Jeremy Lin leading the new-look Houston Rockets.

The highlights reels for Harden and Lin have proven to be must-see TV.  More importantly, the Rockets' evolving chemistry is producing some much-improved statistical data for the entire starting lineup. 

Harden, Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik have been constants in the Rockets starting five.  Marcus Morris has recently stepped in for the injured Patrick Patterson at power forward, and Houston has looked better than they have all season. 

We knew a highlight-laden campaign was in the works during that opening game against the Detroit Pistons on October 31.

Houston's starting five has gone on another rampage recently, and we will check out their up-trending numbers later in this article. 

Right now, we will dissect how and why several other Rockets five-man combos have fared better statistically.

According to 82games.com, the fearsome five-some of Parsons, Morris, Greg Smith, Toney Douglas and Carlos Delfino has been Houston's best offensive unit so far this season.  It's no joke.  This unlikely combination has averaged a staggering 1.67 points per possession.


Rockets' Top Five-Man Floor Units

(minimum: 20 minutes played together through December 17)

                                                                Offense   Defense   Plus/Minus

Parsons/Morris/Smith/Douglas/Delfino      1.67        1.15           +32

Harden/Patterson/Smith/Douglas/Delfino  1.35        0.98           +18

Harden/Parsons/Asik/Douglas/Delfino       1.37        1.08           +14


Surprisingly, Houston's regular starting five ranks the worst in plus/minus ratio.


Rockets' Bottom Five-Man Floor Units

(minimum: 20 minutes played together through December 17)

                                                                Offense   Defense    Plus/Minus

Parsons/Patterson/Asik/Lin/Harden          1.02         1.07          -34

Parsons/Morris/Asik/Dougas/Delfino         1.02        1.02           - 3

Parsons/Morris/Asik/Douglas/Harden        0.88        0.93           - 2


Of course, the level of competition for the Rockets starting five is much tougher than what those other units face.  This is a logical explanation, but Rockets fans expect more.  And this week, they are getting plenty of it.

Against the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers, the Rockets starting five turned a huge corner on both ends of the court.  Morris deserves some credit for that.

At Madison Square Garden, the Rockets starting unit reeled off scoring runs of 22-15 and 19-13 to key a 109-96 victory.  Of course, the game was not as close as the final score indicated.

Lin meshed well with Harden at New York, but he was still at his run-and-gun best when James was taking a breather.

Houston's starting unit was even better against Philadelphia.  Harden, Lin, Asik, Parsons and Morris torched the 76ers with runs of 21-12 and 15-7.  The Rockets won that game going away 125-103.

If the Rockets are going to keep up their winning ways, their starting five needs to stay in positive plus/minus territory.


* statistics in charts were updated by 82games.com through games of December 17