Line Up Awards and Continuity

Published: May 4, 2017

Continuity. Three years ago that was the buzzword, right?  Bring back the same team and if you have less injuries, you get more continuity, and presto, more wins!  Sadly, it didn’t really work out that way, and last off-season continuity was shown the door along with Eric Gordon.

The concept, however, still holds weight.  Players have to spend time on the floor together to get familiar with each other and the system.  We saw that play out before our eyes as Cousins and Davis slowly picked up cues and had a few new plays each game where they worked off of one another – rather than just occupying the same court.

Coming into the season the front office’s hope was the team would bring in a new defensive crew, let them play together, build some continuity and have a baseline for next off-season to build on.  Then they had a chance to get Cousins, and they waved bye bye continuity.

The end result is that the Pelicans most used line-up played 189 minutes together.  The second only 120.  Every team but two(PHI, SAC) had line-ups that played more minutes than that.  Twenty-two of them had 2 or more line-ups that played more often together than the Pelicans top line-up.(DET had 4!)  Part of that is the Cousins trade, part of that is Evans and Holiday missing some time, some of that is the revolving door of D-league dudes.  The 6th most used line-up for the Pelicans had Hollis Thompson in it.   In the end, the team only played 11 line-ups together for 48 minutes+.  Eleven groups of guys with a full game together under their belt.

This makes it really hard to carry any continuity forward to next year – especially with Jrue and Cunningham entering free agency.  If you take that list of 11 line-ups and eliminate the ones that have Jrue Holiday (FA), Cunningham (FA), Omer Asik (Mummified), Buddy Hield (Traded) and Hollis Thompson(Thank merciful god), then you’ve killed the entire list, leaving zero line-ups that played a full game together on the team for next year.

If Jrue walks, bringing in Cousins truly was a reset button in a lot of respects.

Line-up Awards

Now that I spent so much time pointing out that our team has the potential to re-set their institutional knowledge back to zero if Jrue and Cunningham walk, it’s time to give out awards to the line-ups we did see this season!

The Blitz (Davis, Cunningham, Hill, Moore, Frazier)

In 56 minutes, this crew not only posted the best net rating of any line-up the Pelicans ran, but it was also the line-up with the most frenetic pace all season.  They played fast (102.6 possessions per game) and shot extremely well.

OLE! (Motiejunas, T. Jones, Moore, Evans, Galloway)

In 23 minutes together, this crew allowed opponents to post an EFG% of 71.3%  AND a sky high FT Rate of .273.  Defensive wasn’t just optional to this crew, but actively abhorred.

Sticky Fingers (Davis, Cunningham, Hill, Crawford, Holiday)

Together for 36 minutes this season, this crew only turned the ball over on 1.6% of possessions.  It might be because Crawford received the ball on the wing and the ball was immediately in the air, but still, that turnover rate is crazy low.

Your Turn, My Turn(Cousins, Cunningham, Crawford, Frazier, Moore)

In 57 minutes this line-up shot the lights out, posting a 64.9% eFG percentage.  And then they let the other team get a 63.2% themselves.

MINE! (Cousins, Davis, Hill, Moore, Holiday)

There are a lot of standout statistical markers(good and bad) for this line-up, but this crew forced turnovers on 17.2% of opponent possessions, snagged offensive rebounds 33% of the time, and overall posted a 54% rebound rate.  Those are easily the highest marks among the most used Pelican Lineups.

Offensive Rebounding (Ajinca, Diallo, Hill, Crawford, Cook)

No, it’s not that they got lots of offensive rebounds.  Their rebounding was plain offensive.  This crew, in 13 minutes, gave up an offensive rebound rate of 50%.  Half their opponents missed shots were rebounded.  Wow.

The McNamara (Davis-Moore-Galloway-Frazier-Holiday)

Mac is always harping about how the team needs more free throws.  Well this line-up spent 11 minutes on the court, posted an eFG% of 30%, and at the same time drew .941 free throws per possession, about 4 times the team average.  Mac, eat your heart out. (By the way, this group was usually on the floor at the end of games when the team was being fouled and FTs were paramount)

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