We screened for the best lineups (minimum 250 minutes played together) and were surprised at one of the results. When we sorted by net points per minute, most of the usual suspects rose to the top: Miami (two line-ups), Oklahoma City, New York, San Antonio, Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana and… the Raptors.
Toronto’s starting lineup in the last part of the year of Lowry/DeRozan/Gay/ Johnson/Valanciunas was the fifth, yes fifth, best lineup in the league. You can find the complete list here at basketball-reference.com.
And then there is Jesus... er, I mean Jonas:This Raptors’ lineup played 343 minutes together, a reasonable sample size. It was not adjusted for strength of opponent. So while their performance may regress somewhat, this is surely and encouraging sign if they are kept together for an entire season.
One of the thesis for acquiring Gay was to free up DeRozan from double teams (or vice versa). So we reviewed NBAwowy.com and there appears to be some evidence of truth to this: DeRozan had a 44.3 effective field goal percentage (50.1 per cent True Shooting percentage, 1.04 points per possession) when he was not playing with Gay and a 49.6 effective field goal percentage (56.5 per cent TS%, 1.12 points per possession) when playing with Gay. This is a significant difference.
Valanciunas is similar or better than the average of these all-stars, despite being towards the younger end of the group. While he only played about two thirds of the average minutes as players in this sample, it’s still a fine comparison.
http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/n...immer-of-hope/Valanciunas is at the top of the list for true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, offensive rating and win share per 48 minutes. He’s also near the top in block percentage. Given the quality of this list, it bodes well for his future.
Like the Grinch, I think my heart has swelled three sizes today.