Starting Five – Scoring Low: The Least Effective NBA lineups


Photo credit: John Gelibeter-USA Today

Using the criteria of 100 possessions, with >=50 minutes and sorted by descending Net Points, basketball reference broke down the least scoring starting five of the season so far. (H/t to @bbstats). There are 9 lineups for 8 teams, most of them aren’t too surprising, but there’s one that should be.

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Just on the bubble, the Chicago Bulls have -4.7, but are 7-3, third in the East with an overall point differential of +4.3. But that lineup without Derrick Rose has some weak spots in Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to gauge what kind of Rose will come up to each game, if he even comes up at all.

The Pacers are noticeably bereft of point  production from that starting five, bringing up the basement of -36.5. Yowza. The Lakers are a just a little bit better with -23.1, which means it’s mostly Kobe and almost nobody else, which sounds about right. The Thunder are hanging tough at 22 with -6.1 without their best two offensive players and putting the weight of the world of Reggie Jackson and his 21.5 ppg.

And the Clippers. They get two lineups in here, both of whom operate in the negative. Noticing that Matt Barnes won’t get you a ton of points, but heavy of defense, so they put in Jamal Crawford for some of these lineups, but the shot heavy Crawford’s addition makes the Clippers worse at -12.1 to the Barnes lineup’s -9.4. So uh, any ideas Doc?

The 25th spot Nuggets, at -13.5, seemed primed for a mid-season blow up. The lineup isn’t clicking, defending and generally played to a 2-7 record that looks worse than it is. The Charlotte Hornets have a new addition in Lance Stephenson and are down to 27th with -18.2. I’ve gone into this before, but they haven’t had the chance to work out where all the pieces fit on the floor and are suffering for it.

Finally, the Magic lineup at 26th are without Victor Oladipo due to his facial fracture and with Channing Frye in his place. Frye is only averaging 10.2 ppg, whereas Oladipo was knocking down 13.8 ppg. Victor is now scoring at a 15.5 ppg rank, but that’s with two games.

As always, continue to file this under Small Sample Size Theater, but the Bulls lineups need to score more to pull away to the top of the Eastern Conference.

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