Monday, December 10, 2012

Lineup Watch 12/10/12

The Good

Russell Westbrook, Kevin Martin, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, [insert big man here]
To say this four man lineup has been awesome would be an understatement.  We're not even going to talk about the incredible 128.2 points per 100 possessions.  This lineup would obviously seem like an offensive juggernaut, but it's the other things that are so surprising.  Despite its the small nature, this lineup's total rebound rate is well above league average and they aren't fouling either.  They are defending at a high level, especially for a small lineup.  Now all they need is for Scott Brooks to give them more burn.

Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao
Nope, this isn't a mistake.  This lineup is actually supposed to be under the "Best" lineups header.  When not injured, this Cleveland starting five is actually one of the best in the league.  Their 11.6 net rating is 0.2 above the Heat's starting lineups and well above the Thunder's.  They have a healthy 109.3 offensive rating, slightly surprising when you take into account the lack of shooting from either forward (I dare you to look at Gee and Thompson's shooting splits.  It's not pretty).  The good defense is mostly due to Varejao's brilliance and the improvement of Thompson.  The best part of this lineup is the rebounding.  The offensive rebounding to specific.  Varejao and Thompson are ranked 3 and 23 respectively in offensive rebounding rate.  If this lineup was a team it would lead the league by a mile.  Why are the Cavs so horrible then?  Their next three most played lineups have a combined -36.1 in net rating.

The Bad

Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat
They've played the eleventh most minutes in the league.  They have a -17.7 Net Rating.  If they were a team, they would be 0.1 away from having the worst offensive rating in the league and would easily have the worst defensive rating.  Ladies and gentlemen, it's your 2012-13 Phoenix Suns starting lineup.  Goran Dragic and Jared Dudley have never been a creators and to say that about Michael Beasley would be a compliment.  They have no focus on offense to go to.  We haven't even gotten to defense yet.  Scola has never been a great defensive player and what skills he had are declining as he ages.  Marcin Gortat is slow in his rotations and has trouble containing guards on pick and roll plays.  If the perimeter players are being blown by (which they are), there's not much help inside.  Hey, look on the bright side, at least Phoenix's second most used lineup has a 122 defensive rating...wait, what?

Any Celtics Lineup Without Kevin Garnett
To put it simply, the Celtics are absolutely awful when Garnett steps off the court.  Worse than the Wizards kind of awful.  It's not the offense that is the problem (Boston is only 0.1 points per 100 possessions better on offense with Garnett on), it's the defense.  Only six teams in the three point era have won more than 40 games with a defensive rating as bad as the Celtics' without Garnett.  That may seem like a lot, but all those teams had offensive ratings of at least 110.  The Celtics' offensive rating?  102.  Without Garnett the Celtics have nobody to protect the rim, help, and defensive rebound.  Unless Jared Sullinger or Fab Melo suddenly becomes a defensive stalwart, I'm pegging Boston as a non-contender.

All stats courtesy of 

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