So What’s The Best Five? « Queen City Hoops

So What’s The Best Five?

The Bobcats are 5-4 – surprise! So how did the team get here? Or, to put it another way, which lineups have gotten the team off to the start no one envisioned? Let’s take a look with the Play Index + Lineup Finder. 

Every NBA team (usually) likes to start their best lineup. It could be argued the Thunder did not follow conventional wisdom the past few seasons in bringing James Harden off the bench, and everyone is familiar with the role Manu Ginobili has played for the Spurs. You could possibly argue the same for this current Bobcats starting lineup, as I myself was critical of Taylor getting the starting nod after Henderson went down. He did not look comfortable in his first appearance in the starting lineup and I was convinced it would be his last. However, Coach Dunlap has stuck with the rookie in the first five and it has paid dividends to date.

As you can see below, the current starting lineup has a Net Differential of 12.2 points (per 100 possessions). The insertion of Taylor for the injured Gerald Henderson has even increased the efficiency of the first five by 1.1 points, lending credence to the argument of some who would like to see Henderson come off the bench when he rejoins the team. 

The lineup that has seen the second most minutes on the floor? It’s the five Coach Dunlap has elected to log the majority of minutes down the stretch the past few games, with Sessions sliding in at SG for the rookie Taylor. This lineup has netted the Bobcats 1.7 points per 100 possessions over nearly 32 minutes of play. 

The two lineups that have been more successful than the starting five to date? I say give it some time (though I hope it continues). These two lineups have only seen 10 and 17 minutes on the floor together, respectively – so I think we need a few more games of data to make any real conclusions. One conclusion we can make? Coach Dunlap plays the lineups that work. The bottom three in productivity have all logged less than 14 minutes on the court, with all the other combinations sans the current “best” lineup (I’m calling it an outlier given the inclusion of Biyombo) getting more run. It may seem like an easy thing to do as Coach – play your most successful lineups more often. But run the tool on a handful of other teams and see if it pans out that way. 

8 comments to So What’s The Best Five?

  • charlottean

    i don’t know that the biyombo inclusion makes it an outlier. The fact that he’s in the bottom 3 IMO has way more to do with gordon than it does biyombo. the guy is rebounding the ball better than last year. and blocking shots at roughly the same rate. you KNOW he will at least gain haywood effectiveness offensively with 3 or so more years in the league and at that point…..he’ll be a solid starting center with that lineup.

    i think with time the numbers suggesting what others have complained about (gordon’s inability to play defense) will be further exposed. I sure hope that draft pick turns out to be a stud because the more and more we improve and the worse gordon looks, the less valuable that pick looks for the 13 million we have to pay him next year to get it.

    the best thing about the lineups that ARE working is that they heavily include our young’ns and guys like mullens and walker are shooting OK at best. They are nowhere near their ceiling in offensive efficiency. MKG and taylor too. that’s insanely exciting.

  • tommy corchiani

    with all do respect, who wants to see Hendo come off the bench instead of Jeff? I don’t think those numbers are able to be compared considering Hendo has only played 2 games.

  • Mathew Lewis

    Yes, it is a small smaple size for sure. The data will undoubtedly become more valuable as the season progresses. However, simply pointing out for the fans who would like to see Taylor remain in the starting 5 with Henderson coming off the bench.


    I think Taylor is a better defender than Henderson and that Henderson should be a bench player he would add a very good rotational player on the bench. I like the starting lineup and we’ve won games WHY FIX SOMETHING THAT ISN’T BROKEN.

  • Samuel

    Dunlap is a genius!

  • Spencer/SDS

    Charloteen, u are focusing too much on Biyombo in those bottom 3, in 2 of those, Tyrus Thomas is with him…focus on him more than anything,

    i can se why u don’t like gordon, but i dont dislike him on thi team nearly as much as you do…guy is the only consistant 3 pt shooter on this team, Williams might threaten that “throne” but he neve gets playing time

  • 4aseer

    the only reason I would leave him in the starting rotation at this point is because of the chemistry that the team has been building on the floor but i think it takes more than five guys to win in the NBA so i would leave him in.

  • charlottean

    there’s a certain energy he brings to the table. as a rookie he’ll have a harder time bringing that off the bench than henderson would. not to mention it will make our 2nd unit stronger with henderson in there instead of gordon.

    there’s no doubt to me that henderson is better overall at least right now but probably permanently. but there’s something about the way this team has looked with taylor in the lineup and something about promoting the youth movement that makes this awesome. if we can build up the walker/taylor/mkg/mullens part of the lineup enough to start playing biz more with them, it will make the 2nd team even stronger with haywood in there. probably more likely to be next year, but it’s exciting to think of a 2nd unit next year being sessions/henderson/______/thomas/haywood.