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  • An idea for our best lineup strategy this year

    I really, really don't like the way our current bench units are set up to look with Lowry-DD-Miles-Ibaka-JV starting, and came up with an idea that can rectify that with our starting lineup still being strong (better defensively actually and a little worse on offense).

    This is a bit dependent on Siakam's ability actually hit at least corner threes. If so I wouldn't be adverse to the idea of starting him at the 4 with Ibaka at the 5. I just really don't think Serge is actually that good at the 4 spot, and provides way more value as a center who can protect the rim, space the floor, is mobile (he's very mobile for a 5 but not mobile at all for PF) and can defend pick and roll well. The problem with doing this though is that we don't actually have a capable backup power forward, but maybe when Anunoby returns we could do something like this:

    Starters:
    PG: Kyle
    SG: DeMar
    SF: Powell
    PF: Siakam
    C: Ibaka

    Play Ibaka about 22 minutes at center and let JV play the rest of them (so 26mpg for JV), but try to make most of JV's minutes against bench units if possible. Play Siakam about 25mpg at the 4 spot, and give Ibaka about 10mpg there. The rest go to Anunoby.

    So you end up with something like this:

    PG: Lowry (36)/Wright (12)
    SG: DeMar (36)/Wright (12)
    SF: Powell (27)/Miles (21)
    PF: Siakam (21)/Ibaka (12)/Anunoby (15)
    C: Ibaka (22)/Valanciunas (26)

    Ibaka's 12 minutes at 4 would need to be staggered so they are entirely with the DeMar+Bench unit. This gives that unit the spacing that DeMar would need to operate (Wright/DD/Miles/Ibaka/JV).

    I made a screen shot of how this would look using 2K's rotation builder thing (not perfect --- I'm not a coach, but I think it could work):



    With this setup a few key things happen:
    - We play a versatile and dynamic starting lineup that has 3.5 two way players (we'll see about Siakam's offense), and only 1 defensive liability (DeMar). I also think with Powell and Siakam's energy plus DeMar/Kyle being above average rebounders for PG/SG we'll be fine on the glass. Last year we were only slightly worse at rebounding with JV off the floor.

    - The DeMar+Bench lineup has spacing and scoring. Any time DeMar is on the court without Lowry, he has Miles and Ibaka with him. The DeMar+Bench effectively becomes Wright-DeMar-Miles-Ibaka-JV... that looks like a starting lineup instead of the crap it is now (Wright-DeMar-Powell-Siakam-Poeltl). This is also the only time that Ibaka will play power forward. This lineup does not play in the 4th quarter.

    - The Lowry + Bench lineup is typically going to be Lowry-Wright with one of Miles/Powell at the 3 and one of Siakam/Anunoby at the 4 and either Ibaka or JV at the 5. These lineups will get 6 minutes at the start of the 2nd and 4th quarters, when bench players are typically in for opposing teams and get to rip them to shreds.

    - Anunoby only plays when Lowry is on the court. This should be good for the rookie when he comes back, getting to play with our highest impact guy. He'll also be playing power forward exclusively, since I don't expect him to have a very reliable shot. This helps with spacing, and on defense he can play the 3 spot if there's a big matchup there on the bench.

    - Few downsides to this. First one is that I think Wright is playing too many minutes, but this is about what Cojo's workload was. If he shows he isn't ready for it, Powell can eat up some of his 2-guard minutes and start pushing closer to 30+mpg. The second major downside is that JV only plays about half of his minutes with Lowry on the floor (14 out of 26). I think this gets balanced out though by the fact that in those other 12 minutes he'll always have Ibaka with him opening up the floor for pick and rolls with him and DeMar and some post ups. Last couple negatives are that Ibaka will have to play quite a lot of minutes, although I think he was already going to anyway. And Poeltl gets completely phased out of the lineup (although maybe he could take those Anunoby minutes until he gets back).

    What do you guys think?

  • #2
    Nice work man. Well done.

    It's a fun thought experiment for sure. A lot really depends on which young guys step up and how well they play. What concerns me is that Casey doesn't typically make quick rotation adjustments.

    I agree completely that Siakim's outside shooting is a huge X factor this season.
    The other X factor I'm interested in is how does JV and Ibaka perform when on the court together. As you note there's some data in Toronto and Orlando of Ibaka struggling at the 4 and performing better at the 5. The JV-Siakim combo struggled last year so I'm hesitant to proactively match them up together. A lot really depends on his growth/ shooting.
    If JV and Ibaka struggle together as does JV-Siakim the other question is how does a small ball lineup look with JV at the 5 and say Miles at the 4? Does this lineup get killed on the boards? Dunno.
    Will be fun to see it play out.

    Nice work though man.

    Comment


    • #3
      Rudy Bargnani wrote: View Post
      Nice work man. Well done.

      It's a fun thought experiment for sure. A lot really depends on which young guys step up and how well they play. What concerns me is that Casey doesn't typically make quick rotation adjustments.

      I agree completely that Siakim's outside shooting is a huge X factor this season.
      The other X factor I'm interested in is how does JV and Ibaka perform when on the court together. As you note there's some data in Toronto and Orlando of Ibaka struggling at the 4 and performing better at the 5. The JV-Siakim combo struggled last year so I'm hesitant to proactively match them up together. A lot really depends on his growth/ shooting.
      If JV and Ibaka struggle together as does JV-Siakim the other question is how does a small ball lineup look with JV at the 5 and say Miles at the 4? Does this lineup get killed on the boards? Dunno.
      Will be fun to see it play out.

      Nice work though man.
      Yeah one advantage of the lineup I posted is JV and Siakam will not play 1 second together.

      Comment


      • #4
        Shaolin Fantastic wrote: View Post
        Yeah one advantage of the lineup I posted is JV and Siakam will not play 1 second together.
        I like it.

        I'd like to see Lowry play less minutes but I should probably just accept the fact that it will be in the 36-38 min range.

        Comment


        • #5
          Shaolin Fantastic wrote: View Post
          I really, really don't like the way our current bench units are set up to look with Lowry-DD-Miles-Ibaka-JV starting, and came up with an idea that can rectify that with our starting lineup still being strong (better defensively actually and a little worse on offense).

          This is a bit dependent on Siakam's ability actually hit at least corner threes. If so I wouldn't be adverse to the idea of starting him at the 4 with Ibaka at the 5. I just really don't think Serge is actually that good at the 4 spot, and provides way more value as a center who can protect the rim, space the floor, is mobile (he's very mobile for a 5 but not mobile at all for PF) and can defend pick and roll well. The problem with doing this though is that we don't actually have a capable backup power forward, but maybe when Anunoby returns we could do something like this:

          Starters:
          PG: Kyle
          SG: DeMar
          SF: Powell
          PF: Siakam
          C: Ibaka

          Play Ibaka about 22 minutes at center and let JV play the rest of them (so 26mpg for JV), but try to make most of JV's minutes against bench units if possible. Play Siakam about 25mpg at the 4 spot, and give Ibaka about 10mpg there. The rest go to Anunoby.

          So you end up with something like this:

          PG: Lowry (36)/Wright (12)
          SG: DeMar (36)/Wright (12)
          SF: Powell (27)/Miles (21)
          PF: Siakam (21)/Ibaka (12)/Anunoby (15)
          C: Ibaka (22)/Valanciunas (26)

          Ibaka's 12 minutes at 4 would need to be staggered so they are entirely with the DeMar+Bench unit. This gives that unit the spacing that DeMar would need to operate (Wright/DD/Miles/Ibaka/JV).

          I made a screen shot of how this would look using 2K's rotation builder thing (not perfect --- I'm not a coach, but I think it could work):



          With this setup a few key things happen:
          - We play a versatile and dynamic starting lineup that has 3.5 two way players (we'll see about Siakam's offense), and only 1 defensive liability (DeMar). I also think with Powell and Siakam's energy plus DeMar/Kyle being above average rebounders for PG/SG we'll be fine on the glass. Last year we were only slightly worse at rebounding with JV off the floor.

          - The DeMar+Bench lineup has spacing and scoring. Any time DeMar is on the court without Lowry, he has Miles and Ibaka with him. The DeMar+Bench effectively becomes Wright-DeMar-Miles-Ibaka-JV... that looks like a starting lineup instead of the crap it is now (Wright-DeMar-Powell-Siakam-Poeltl). This is also the only time that Ibaka will play power forward. This lineup does not play in the 4th quarter.

          - The Lowry + Bench lineup is typically going to be Lowry-Wright with one of Miles/Powell at the 3 and one of Siakam/Anunoby at the 4 and either Ibaka or JV at the 5. These lineups will get 6 minutes at the start of the 2nd and 4th quarters, when bench players are typically in for opposing teams and get to rip them to shreds.

          - Anunoby only plays when Lowry is on the court. This should be good for the rookie when he comes back, getting to play with our highest impact guy. He'll also be playing power forward exclusively, since I don't expect him to have a very reliable shot. This helps with spacing, and on defense he can play the 3 spot if there's a big matchup there on the bench.

          - Few downsides to this. First one is that I think Wright is playing too many minutes, but this is about what Cojo's workload was. If he shows he isn't ready for it, Powell can eat up some of his 2-guard minutes and start pushing closer to 30+mpg. The second major downside is that JV only plays about half of his minutes with Lowry on the floor (14 out of 26). I think this gets balanced out though by the fact that in those other 12 minutes he'll always have Ibaka with him opening up the floor for pick and rolls with him and DeMar and some post ups. Last couple negatives are that Ibaka will have to play quite a lot of minutes, although I think he was already going to anyway. And Poeltl gets completely phased out of the lineup (although maybe he could take those Anunoby minutes until he gets back).c

          What do you guys think?
          Well thought out!

          You touched on it but that’s lots of minutes for Ibalka

          Believe that Poeltl will see more floor time, possibly more than Siakam, as he will earn it and he is the 9th pick and they are not throwing him to the nether regions of the rotation yet..

          It’s just a feeling but McKinnie gets some floor time in the mix of minutes with Anunoby/Siakam at PF to lessen the minutes on Ibalka IF he hits the three at more than 33%
          Last edited by Demographic Shift; Mon Oct 9th, 2017, 11:03 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice effort, Shaolin. Another issue with the Ibaka-Siakam starting lineup would getting killed on the boards. Ibaka's never been a great rebounder and Siakam was somewhat disappointing as a rebounder for a guy who's biggest asset is his energy. Toss in an undersized Powell at the 3 and I think we're at a disadvantage. Also, our offense has benefited from very good offensive rebounding from JV, Biz and Amir over the years, which allows Kyle and DeMar to be more aggressive on offense, knowing they'll get the ball back after a miss.

            Comment


            • #7
              golden wrote: View Post
              Nice effort, Shaolin. Another issue with the Ibaka-Siakam starting lineup would getting killed on the boards. Ibaka's never been a great rebounder and Siakam was somewhat disappointing as a rebounder for a guy who's biggest asset is his energy. Toss in an undersized Powell at the 3 and I think we're at a disadvantage. Also, our offense has benefited from very good offensive rebounding from JV, Biz and Amir over the years, which allows Kyle and DeMar to be more aggressive on offense, knowing they'll get the ball back after a miss.
              I don't think we'd get killed on the boards.

              We barely dipped in rebound rate with JV off the floor last year (51.2% rebound rate with him on, 50.2% with him off). This is because while JV himself is an elite rebounder, his mediocre defense often leaves the team in positions where we have to go for contested rebounds. JV can win those contested rebound battles, but most of our other players can't so the guys around him don't rebound as well when he's on. However when he's off, even with an abysmal individual rebounder in Bebe on the floor, we are able to maintain an almost identical rebounding rate.

              Comment


              • #8
                Shaolin Fantastic wrote: View Post
                I don't think we'd get killed on the boards.

                We barely dipped in rebound rate with JV off the floor last year (51.2% rebound rate with him on, 50.2% with him off). This is because while JV himself is an elite rebounder, his mediocre defense often leaves the team in positions where we have to go for contested rebounds. JV can win those contested rebound battles, but most of our other players can't so the guys around him don't rebound as well when he's on. However when he's off, even with an abysmal individual rebounder in Bebe on the floor, we are able to maintain an almost identical rebounding rate.
                Yes, but when JV was off the floor, we were playing against bench lineups. You'd be putting Ibaka & Siakam up against better rebounders as starters.

                Comment


                • #9
                  golden wrote: View Post
                  Yes, but when JV was off the floor, we were playing against bench lineups. You'd be putting Ibaka & Siakam up against better rebounders as starters.
                  Siakam was also an elite rebounder in college, and rebounding is one of the skills that most directly translates from college to the NBA. I really don't see how a Lowry/DeRozan/Powell/Siakam/Ibaka lineup would get killed on the glass.

                  Any slight dip in rebounding imo would be outweighed by the boost we get defensively by playing Ibaka in the position where he's actually significantly impactful on that end and having a more mobile defender at the 4, when almost every team in the league plays stretch 4s right now. Ibaka doesn't defend the perimeter well, he does defend the basket and pick and roll well, which is what you want from your center, and he has a quickness/speed advantage against most centers.

                  And whatever impact JV's rebounding has would still be felt in the bench units, probably to a greater degree.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well done OP. Only thing is that if Norm is ready to bust out I wouldn't want to limit him to 27 minutes... I'd want him on the floor for as many minutes as feasible. Wright less so.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hmm. Interesting.

                      I don't like it, myself. We've seen that JV and DD in a bench unit tends to be terrible. We know that Siakam's not really starting quality yet, though hopefully in time. We've seen Ibaka get ravaged by big opposing centres. OG may not be ready to play right away, and in the meantime you are looking at most of your PF minutes being Siakam. Heck, even he's back, you are signing up to a significant majority of the game having one of Siakam or OG on the floor. Both are better suited to limited roles against limited competition, at least until they prove they can handle that.

                      I think swapping your big man rotation around would basically solve all these issues. Start KL-DD-NP-SI-JV, run JV with the Lowry bench instead of with the DD bench, close halves with smaller lineups instead of starting them that way, whether Siakam gets PF minutes there or we actually go small. Let Ibaka's minutes bleed into the bench lineups a bit to make the true DD+bench unit a limited minutes unit (like, 6 per game). Miles comes off the bench as a shooter. OG gets a few minutes in Pascal's place sometimes, or leeches off of Powell's minutes when there is a big 3 matchup. Everything works great.
                      twitter.com/dhackett1565

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I disagree that Ibaka was getting or would get bullied at center. First of all, especially in the east, there basically aren't any of those guys to worry about. The best "big" center among the likely playoff teams is either Gortat or Dwight (who I'm not sure is even that much bigger than Serge).

                        Not much data to go on with Ibaka at 5 from last year, but from what we do have it looks like a very good option. The starting 5 of CoJo-DD-Carroll-Ibaka-JV had just a +2.1 netRTG post all-star break. The same lineup with Lowry instead of Joseph was -25.2.

                        The top 3 most used lineups with Ibaka at center were:

                        CoJo-DeMar-Norm-Tucker-Ibaka: +24.2
                        CoJo-DeMar-Tucker-2Pat-Ibaka: +18.4
                        CoJo-DeMar-Carroll-Tucker-Ibaka: +20.0

                        And that's with Joseph in there instead of Kyle, and even the supposed dud, Carroll, in that 3rd unit.

                        In the playoffs it was more of the same. Starting unit of Kyle-DeMar-Carroll-Ibaka-JV was pretty terrible with a -24.7 net rating. Meanwhile the same lineup with Norm in for JV and Ibaka shifted to center was a +17.4 net rating. The second lineup also rebounded the basketball BETTER than the first with 50.0 REB% compared to 48.1%.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Also if the plan is really to be a more pace and space oriented team, this would be more ideal. This way you basically have 4 guys (again assuming Siakam's ready to start making them in the starting 5 who can reliably shoot the three. In the JV bench units you only have 2 or 3, but you also have our best shooters out there (Lowry, Miles, Ibaka?) to mediate that somewhat.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Shaolin Fantastic wrote: View Post
                            I disagree that Ibaka was getting or would get bullied at center. First of all, especially in the east, there basically aren't any of those guys to worry about. The best "big" center among the likely playoff teams is either Gortat or Dwight (who I'm not sure is even that much bigger than Serge).

                            Not much data to go on with Ibaka at 5 from last year, but from what we do have it looks like a very good option. The starting 5 of CoJo-DD-Carroll-Ibaka-JV had just a +2.1 netRTG post all-star break. The same lineup with Lowry instead of Joseph was -25.2.

                            The top 3 most used lineups with Ibaka at center were:

                            CoJo-DeMar-Norm-Tucker-Ibaka: +24.2
                            CoJo-DeMar-Tucker-2Pat-Ibaka: +18.4
                            CoJo-DeMar-Carroll-Tucker-Ibaka: +20.0

                            And that's with Joseph in there instead of Kyle, and even the supposed dud, Carroll, in that 3rd unit.

                            In the playoffs it was more of the same. Starting unit of Kyle-DeMar-Carroll-Ibaka-JV was pretty terrible with a -24.7 net rating. Meanwhile the same lineup with Norm in for JV and Ibaka shifted to center was a +17.4 net rating. The second lineup also rebounded the basketball BETTER than the first with 50.0 REB% compared to 48.1%.
                            Yes, yes, small samples against small opposition. Guess what happened when they ran out a lineup with JV at C, but with Norm in as the third ball handler (which was the real issue against the Bucks).
                            twitter.com/dhackett1565

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The wonderful thing is that we are likely to get more data as the season progresses. Be interesting to see hwo things stack up at the 41 game mark. Lots of time after that to get ready for the playoffs.

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