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The Bigs Rotation

One game in three days. Quite a luxury this season, so let's use this opportunity to take a step back and look at something that was somewhat of a concern in the preseason, the rotation at the 4 and 5. Also, here's the link to my latest on SB Nation Philly.

It's still really early, so let's not get hung up on the results too much. For the basic results below, "big" lineups have an actual center (Hawes, Vucevic or Battie) and a legit power forward (Brand, or Battie, really). I left out complete garbage time lineups with Brackins, Allen or Nocioni at the four. Small lineups have Thad, Iguodala or Turner at the four:

  • Big lineups: 236 minutes, +39 pts
  • Small lineups: 361 minutes, +157
  • Garbage time: 27 minutes, +4

And here's a look at the same splits from last season:

  • Big lineups: 1,785 minutes, -60 pts
  • Small lineups: 2,059 minutes, +211 pts
  • Garbage time: 170 minutes, -70 pts

OK so last season, the Sixers spent about 54% of their meaningful minutes with a small alignment up front, and saw a great deal more success with it. This year, they're actually spending more time playing small (60.5%), and again enjoying much more success with it. The major difference is they're actually in positive +/- territory with their big lineups this season.

A few more interesting notes:

  • All of last season, the Sixers used Hawes at the five and Thad at the four for 314 minutes (-13). Already this season, they've used that combo for 120 minutes (+59)
  • They've actually used Hawes/Thad for more minutes than Brand/Thad (106 minutes, +49 this season; 991 minutes, +201 last season)
  • And just for kicks, JTI have played a total of 57 minutes together with a +/- of 20. All of last year, they played 293 minutes with a +/- of -29.

If you'd like to take a closer look at the rotations, click here to download the spreadsheet for the first 13 games (you can use the cumulative worksheet to mix and match however you want, or just look at each game individually on its tab).

OK, so early returns, but any thoughts? Let's hear 'em in the comments. And also, I have a feature going up on SB Nation Philly some time today, I'll post the link here when it's live, I think you'll enjoy it (and probably accuse me of being a fan boy if you already lean in that direction).