Clippers Lineup Data: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Through the opening weeks, we’re going to be doing a lot of pseudo-breakdowns looking at different items that reflect how the Los Angeles Clippers have played. At 3-1, one area we felt deserved some spotlight is lineup numbers, hence the good, bad, and ugly title.

In the future, we’ll do a better job at highlighting more good than bad (it’s much more fun for all parties), but with such a small sample size, we have to deal with what’s available. With that said, here are three lineups, one good, one bad, and one ugly, that the Clippers have leaned one to kick off the season.

The Good

Chris PaulJamal CrawfordMatt BarnesBlake GriffinDeAndre Jordan
Minutes Played: 19
Offensive Rating: 123.9
Defensive Rating: 95.9
Net Rating: 28.0

Small sample size be damned, this lineup is kicking ass and taking names.

The 123.9 offensive rating isn’t really a surprise — pairing Paul with a scorer/secondary ball-handler in Crawford to go alongside the new-and-improved Blake Griffin is an offensive recipe of brilliance.

The real surprise comes on defense where they’ve allowed 95.9 points per 100 possessions. Some reasons why this number is so low? The level of competition could be one — the Lakers, Jazz, and Thunder aren’t teams that’ll do a lot of damage offensively. Another theory is that this team, usually the late-game lineup keys in when things get close. Whatever the reasoning is, the Clippers would be best off if this group continued this output. Is it likely? Maybe; last season, this same lineup posted a defensive rating of 97.1 in 271 minutes, a much larger sample size than the 19 minutes we’re currently dealing with.

Oh yeah. only five lineups with 19 or more minutes of playing times have a higher net rating than this Clippers group.

The Bad

Chris PaulJ.J. RedickMatt Barnes – Blake Griffin – Spencer Hawes
Minutes Played: 10
Offensive Rating: 107.2
Defensive Rating: 108.1
Net Rating: -.9

Don’t look at “the bad” as bad bad. This is more-so a sector where either the production is a bit underwhelming in comparison to expectations coming into the season or the expectations, meh ones, have been met. With this group, meh expectations have been met.

In terms of throttling teams in offense, it was a no-brainer that pairing Blake Griffin with Spencer Hawes would do the trick — the Clippers lacked a frontcourt alternative to pull this off last season. But the defense … the defense is BAD. Giving up 108.1 points per 100 possessions is Los Angeles Laker-ish. Okay not really, but I couldn’t think of a better example to put the Clippers defensive failures with this lineup into perspective.

Will this change? Unlikely, and that’s the sad part — such a talented group will be FORCED to gun it when on the floor. I guess that means a lot of fun, eh?

The Ugly

Chris Paul – J.J. Redick – Matt Barnes – Blake Griffin – DeAndre Jordan
Minutes Played: 74
Offensive Rating: 93.3
Defensive Rating: 99.8
Net Rating: -6.5

And now for the ugly.

Somehow a lineup that features Paul, the best point guard in the NBA, Blake Griffin, arguably the best power forward in the NBA, and J.J. Redick, one of the best role-playing shooters the NBA has to offer has been piss poor on offense. And by piss poor I mean one of the worst starting units in the NBA through the first week and a half.

Per NBA Stats’ lineup data, this five-man unit’s 93.3 offensive rating (for those unfamiliar with offensive rating, this means the Clippers score 93.3 points per 100 possessions when this group is on the floor), is the 11th worst offensive output by a lineup that has logged 25 or more minutes on the season.

The issue? Matt Barnes and J.J. Redick aren’t hitting shots. Redick is shooting 21 percent (a career-low) from three. Barnes is shooting 29 percent from three, somehow NOT a career low. And the opportunities are there — Redick is averaging 9.1 three-point attempts per-36 minutes; Barnes is averaging 5.6 three-point attempts per-36 minutes.

They. Just. Can’t. Hit. Them. And. This. Is. A. Huge. Problem. Especially. Coming. Out. Of. The. Half.

Will they improve? Mathematics tell us they will, but if you want to pinpoint the biggest reason behind the Clippers struggles, here it is.

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