If you speak to executives who use advanced analytics to make player personnel decisions, many of them will tell you a similar story about such stats:
We like to look at the performance of specific units as much as individual players.
Notice something? The top four units — the lineups that have logged double-digit minutes — have each outperformed [ed: or played even with] the competition. The starting lineup with Butler at the small forward has been particularly efficient offensively and has been beastly on the boards.
Collectively, both starting lineups have logged a +28 on the season!
So why have the Clippers dropped four of their first five games?
The more marginal lineups have killed them.
- The unit of Telfair-Gordon-Butler-Smith-Jordan have spent only six minutes on the floor together, but compiled a -8.
- Davis-Butler-Thornton-Camby-Kaman have played together for only four minutes, but went -7.
- Baron Davis-Ricky Davis-Butler-Thornton-Kaman? -6 in only four minutes.
What can we take away from all this? For one, it’s early. The standard error on numbers like these 240 minutes into a season is enormous. But to the extent these stats tell us something, it might be that the Clips will operate best with a consistent rotation.