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The Albatross.

Now that Elton Brand is back on the floor, I feel we're running out of time to state our case against Willie Green staying in the starting lineup when EB is ready to go 30 minutes per.

This post will be short on words, heavy on stats. After the jump you'll find what I believe is an extremely compelling argument for burying Green on the end of the bench and running with a starting lineup of Sam, EB, Thad, Iggy and Miller.

First, the facts. When EB is ready to go 30 minutes, he'll be back in the starting lineup. At that point, Coach DiLeo will have three options for his starting lineup:

  1. Dalembert, Brand, Young, Iguoala, Miller
  2. Dalembert, Brand, Iguodala, Green, Miller
  3. Brand, Young, Iguodala, Green, Miller
So the choice really comes down to who do you bench, Dalembert, Young or Green? We've already gone over Sammy's value to this team in depth. Here's a quick graphic to illustrate how this team performs with both Iguodala and Thad on the court, at the same time (numbers based on games through Jan. 23, stats from Basketball Value):

Those numbers normalize to:
  • Per 48 minutes when Iggy and Thad are on the floor together, the Sixers outscore their opponents by 6.31 points.
  • Per 48 minutes when Iggy and Thad are not on the floor together, their opponents outscore them by 17.56 points.
That's my rudimentary argument for keeping Thad in the lineup.

Now, here are two supporting the benching of Willie Green (stats compiled from Basketball-Reference.com).

First a statistical look at the starting shooting guard for each team (I chose the player who started the most games at SG, except for Jason Terry in Dallas. He's their sixth man, but plays a vast majority of the two-guard minutes).

All of the stats above are normalized to 36 minutes. The final three columns are eFG, points per shot, and wins produced per 48 minutes. I have one comment on the chart above. Willie Green should thank God every night that DeShawn Stevenson is in this league. If not for Stevenson, Garbage Time would easily be the worst starting shooting guard in the league. I'm not sure Stevenson should be starting at the collegiate level with the way he's playing, let alone in the NBA.

Here's an easier-to-swallow look at how Willie ranks among starting SGs.

So let's simplify this choice. You can either bench an average, to slightly-above average center, a small forward who, when playing with Iggy is a dominant force, or you can bench the second-worst starting shooting guard in the league. I hope the choice is as clear to the powers that be as it is to me.