If I told you the Charlotte Bobcats had one of the 10 lineups in the league, what would you say? Probably something along the lines of “Stop playing NBA 2k9 and get back to reality” or “Yeah, top 10 worst – am I right? High five”. But you would be destined to receive a self high-five, because this is no joke: The Bobcats current starting 5 has one of the best net efficiencies in the league. Let it sink in – mass hysteria, I know.
The quintet of Emeka Okafor, Boris Diaw, Gerald Wallace, Raja Bell, and Raymond Felton does not seem overwhelming, but the numbers (thus far) paint a different picture – one of not just competence but competition (for a winning record…and more?). The table below shows the top 12 lineups in the NBA by Net Efficiency (with a minimum of 200 possessions played together).
I have to admit that I was just as surprised when I noticed this as you probably are now. I did not go looking for it, I just happened to be looking at the Bobcats stats under the Stats Page and noticed that the Bobcats most used lineup happened to have a dominant net efficiency. Considering how I just did the post about the team going into 2009, this adds even more reason for optimism.
There is a big difference between this finding and “An Early Evaluation of the 2009 Bobcats”; in the post, I felt compelled to note how weak the Bobcats' recent competition had been. When I went looking for similar numbers for the Bobcats fearsome fivesome, the results were not expected. Unlike the Bobcats as a whole since the trade, who have a faced a cumulative opponent with net efficiency of -3.6 (equivalent to the Bulls), the starters have a faced a net opponent of +1.4 (Approximately the Suns). That is not light weight competition, and the Bobcats are destroying against it. For comparison sake, the Dallas' lineup above has faced a -0.8, Cleveland a -5.6, Portland a +6.0 (Side note: Do not sleep on Portland, even with the loss to the Lakers last night).
The Bobcats second most used lineup since the trade, Boris, D.J., Emeka, Gerald, and Raymond has actually been even more effective, at +19.9. They have achieved that number in only 42+ minutes, though, so were not considered for the above. It is worth noting though, and further cause for optimism in Charlotte. Now, if only the Bobcats could manage to only use 6 players for the game without diminishing results, we would really be getting somewhere. Depth is an issue for another day, though, so focus on the Bobcats having the 7th best heavily used lineup in the NBA. Feels good, doesn't it?