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Trend Following Thinking with Houston Rockets Data

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Happy holidays!

The Houston Rockets are attempting a historical amount of 3-point attempts this season. On December 17th the Rockets broke an NBA record attempting 61 3-pointers. They broke their own record of 50 3-point attempts set on Nov 25. In four of their last five games the Rockets have attempted 40+ 3-pointers.

I attached a shot chart from the 61 3-point attempt game. The chart clearly distinguishes the Rockets from their opponent. It is apparent the Rockets strategy is to attempt a high percentage short range shot or a lower percentage but higher value 3-pointer. The mid-range shot clearly has a lower expected outcome when factoring the lower percentage and 2 point value. It appears the Rockets are operating near an “efficient frontier.”

I believe you would like this article from 2014 describing the Rockets GM using his NBA D-League to test common assumptions and biases.

Scroll down on this article to see the Rio Grande (D-League team) shot chart and compare how similar it is to the Rockets.

I thought you’d find this as interesting as myself. Observing my beloved Chicago Bulls go the opposite direction is almost as maddening as their lack of intellectual curiosity.

Trying to stay warm,

Thanks! More on Thinking for a living here.

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