On Friday, I wrote an article breaking down the best lineups in the NBA. In addition to breaking down the traditional five-man units that appear on the court, I looked at the four-, three- and two-man pairings that have led to the most success so far this season.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Pacers had many elite groupings. Then again, this really shouldn’t surprise.
For one, the lists mainly feature lineups from the better teams in the league, and the Pacers have the league’s eight-best record. Secondly, the two starting lineups that Indiana used last season were both elite in terms of the best five-man units. In fact, once George Hill started running the point, it was the best-performing five-man unit in the entire NBA (among lineups that played at least 200 minutes).
But, after running all the numbers, one thing definitely stood out: Lance Stephenson’s name appeared very prominently among the team’s best lineups.
Earlier this year, I broke down how important Lance had been to the team’s good play.
But given that he was considered — by far — the starting unit’s weak link before the year, it is rather impressive just how well all these other Pacers have performed when playing alongside Stephenson.
The team’s three best-performing four-man units this year (in terms of +/-):
- Hill / Stephenson / George / Hibbert
- Hill / Stephenson / George / West
- Hill / Stephenson / West / Hibbert
The team’s six best-performing three-man units this year:
- Hill / Stephenson / George
- Hill / Stephenson / Hibbert
- Hill / Stephenson / West
- Stephenson / George / West
- Stephenson / George / Hibbert
- Stephenson / West / Hibbert
The team’s three best-performing two-man units this year:
- Hill / Stephenson
- Stephenson / George
- Stephenson / Hibbert
That’s a whole lotta Lance Stephenson.
Here are the charts. You can read more of my thoughts on what this might mean for the Pacers, as well as some ideas about what the lineup data might say about other teams, in the full article.
Topics: Player Combinations