Philosopher George Santyana said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Some poor playoff lineup decisions made by the Blazers, Celtics, and Pacerssupport the validity of thus aphorism. All numbers below are per 48 minutes and adjusted for strength of opponent’s players on the court.
- Through the whole season the Blazers were great with Aldridge and Miller and no bigs on the court (15 points per game better than average). With any bigs on the court with Miller and Aldridge Blazers were only +3. Against Mavs Aldridge and Miller with no bigs played at +9 and Aldridge and Miller with Camby played at +3. Less playing time for Camby might have turned at least one close loss into a win.
- The Pacers all season were great (+9) with Dunleavy and Foster on the court. Against Bulls this dynamic duo was +25. Yet the Pacers only put these guys on the court 10 minutes per game. Surely more PT for these guys would have resulted in at least one more win.
- Like everyone else I thought the Celtics should break things up because they can no longer contend for the title. Looking at some data convinced me I was wrong. The Celtics, despite playing with a crippled Rondo, played 10 points better than average in Heat series. If they had brought in Arroyo instead of West as the backup point guard they would have played much better. With West in Celtics were down 40 points and with West out Celtics were +18 points and played 20 ppg better than average. This is consistent with the regular season during which with West on court Celtics played 10 ppg worse than average. During regular season Celtics played at -4 level with Arroyo in, so he might have been a better choice as backup point guard. Also he knew Heat defensive schemes and that might have helped him.
Three other amazing tidbits:
- The Knicks fell on their face with Anthony and Amare in. They played 2 ppg worse than average. Rest of season Knicks played 1 ppg better than average.
- Everyone thinks the Wolves had a horrible season. But if you look at minutes when Webster, Hayward, Koufos, Pekovic, Flynn and Darko were all on the bench Wolves were great: 8 ppg better than average (355 minutes).
- When Nocioni and Turner were both off court 76ers played an amazing 8 ppg better than average in 1800+ minutes. Rest of time 76ers played 4 points worse than average.