Which Lineups Were the Most Used Among Playoff Teams?
The NBA Playoffs start today, which means rotations get shorter, stars see more of a workload and coaches utilize their top five-moan combinations more heavily.
With that in mind, let's take a quick look at some of the most-used lineups from this year's postseason teams.
We'll be looking at the five most-used five-man lineups from the regular season among rive-man groups which have logged at least 500 minutes together -- only factoring those teams whom are still alive. According to NBA.com, only nine lineups have logged at least 500 minutes together, and of those, six are in the playoffs.
Here's a look, and the lineups are ranking by effectiveness in terms of overall net rating.
No surprise here.
The Golden State Warriors' starting lineup has outscored opponents by 23.1 points per 100 possessions (532 minutes), good for tops in the league (minimum 500 minutes). They boast a lineup with two former MVPs (Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant) and the potential defensive player of the league (Draymond Green). Oh, and some guy named Klay Thompson, who scored 60 points in a game earlier this season.
Look for this to be the most effective lineup for any team in these playoffs.
2. Paul/Redick/Mbah a Moute/Griffin/Jordan
There may not be a more talented lineup from top to bottom in all of basketball than that of the Los Angeles Clippers, other than the one we just mentioned. Led by the exquisite yet pestering Chris Paul, this group outscores opponents by 15.8 points per 100 possessions with a true shooting percentage of 60.6%.
When Paul is masterfully weaving in-and-out of defenders, hitting pull-up jumpers or dishing to Redick (42.9% from three on 6.0 attempts per game) on the wing, with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan acting as hellacious rim runners, they are at their very best.
The sharpshooting Houston Rockets' starters are outscoring opponents by 15.4 points per 100 possessions.
Ryan Anderson (40.4% from deep on 7.0 attempts) and Eric Gordon (37.2% on 8.8 three-point attempts) spread the court, providing a lethal shooting duo for MVP candidate James Harden to pass to as well providing Harden space to operate.
When they are knocking down jumpers, with Patrick Beverley hounding opposing point guards and Clint Capela acting as a pick-and-roll monster with Harden, they can outscore any other five in the league.
4. Wall/Beal/Porter Jr./Morris/Gortat
According to NBA.com, the Washington Wizards' starters have played the most minutes of any five-man lineup in the entire league at 1,347. Doubling the Warriors' and Rockets' lineups, their efficiency as group will be obviously lower because of more time played together.
Nonetheless, this group is outscoring foes by 8.1 points per 100 possessions. John Wall's Player Efficiency Rating of 23.9 is a career high. Bradley Beal's refreshingly healthy season and Otto Porter's surprisingly-efficient three-point shooting (43..4%) anchored a solid year for the Wizards, who recovered after starting the season 2-8.
No list is complete without the fiery, historic Russell Westbrook being somewhere on it.
Though Victor Oladipo was in and out of the lineup down the stretch, this group still managed to log 631 minutes together. They outscored opponents by 3.5 points per 100 possessions. Their 53.4% true shooting percentage is the lowest on this list, exemplifying the issues with this team in general -- OKC lives and dies with the great Russell Westbrook, but their lack of shooting clogs the lanes, making Russ' job that much harder (and what's he's done even more impressive).
The Rockets and Clippers offer up some of the most interesting questions of these groups. Is this the year the heavily-relied on Clippers' starting lineup gets them passed the second round? Can Houston's shooting keep them alive against elite teams in a seven-game series? It'll be fun to find out.