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Starting Strong

It's been 15 games since the Sixers changed their starting lineup, moving Brand back to PF and inserting Jrue as the starting point guard. The team is 9-6 over those 15 games, and for the most part, the starting group has done a great job. We'll take a closer look after the jump.

If you're wondering why this lineup is working, the answer is very simple. They're defending.

Jordan has used three variations of the starting lineup, here is how they've performed defensively:

Holiday, Iverson, Iguodala, Brand, Dalembert
  • Minutes: 138
  • Possessions Against: 262
  • Points Allowed: 272
  • Defensive Efficiency Rating:103.8
  • Pace:90.4

Holiday, Green, Iguodala, Brand, Dalembert
  • Minutes: 104
  • Possessions Against: 188
  • Points Allowed:180
  • Defensive Efficiency Rating:95.7
  • Pace: 87.1

Holiday, Williams, Iguodala, Brand, Dalembert
  • Minutes: 14
  • Possessions Against: 30
  • Points Allowed: 22
  • Defensive Efficiency Rating:73.3
  • Pace: 102

All three lineups, combined
  • Minutes: 256
  • Possessions Against: 480
  • Points Allowed: 474
  • Defensive Efficiency Rating: 98.75
  • Pace: 89.7

It's a pretty simple formula, pressure the ball (Jrue), lock down wing scorers (Iguodala), protect the rim (Sammy) and teams are going to have a very hard time scoring points on you. The only problem is Jordan is loathe to go back to his starters, or at least has been over the past 15 games. These three units, the starting units in each game, have combined for only 256 of a possible 725 minutes, or 35% of available minutes. That seems kind of low to me, but I haven't done the research to know what share your average starting five plays on a nightly basis.

Offensively, these lineups have performed almost exactly as well as the roster as a whole. 105.5 offensive rating for these groups, 105.7 for the entire team.

Whoever came up with this idea was right. Now it's just a matter of applying it over a full 48 minutes, rather than only beginning of the first and third quarters. But that's a problem for another coach, in another season (hopefully). Right now, the Sixers simply don't have the bodies to keep the defensive heat on teams for a full 48, and they don't have a coach who's going to commit to it either. In the mean time, I know I'll be looking forward to the beginning of games to see what this group can do.

Preview coming later tonight, tip is at 9:00 p.m.

by Brian on Feb 24 2010
Tags: Basketball | Elton Brand | Jrue Holiday | Sixers |