Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rolling Five Deep

The NBA season is now more than two weeks old and some pretty clear trends have developed that pretty much sum up what we've seen so far. With the added importance placed on advanced stats almost anything that happens on the court can now be digested by fans and what they're seeing can be supported by data.

Watching the Cavs this season, a pretty accurate understanding of their strengths and weaknesses jumps out at you without much of a need for a check of their +/- numbers. But seeing those numbers sure are staggering and is a great way to truly put in perspective just how big of a divide this team has between the play of the starters and the bench.

The five-man starting lineup of Irving-Waiters-Gee-Thompson-Varejao has a league-best +/- of +55 this season.


And it's not even close between the Cavs starters and the second place Heat and Lakers starting lineups. Both of those teams are considered to be favorites to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy at the end of the year.

The Cavs are not.

The Heat and Lakers starting five's have a +/- of +33. Miami is off to a 7-3 start and L.A. currently sits at 4-5 after the Mike Brown debacle. The play of their starting five's will carry them deep into the playoffs.

For Cleveland(2-6), the play of its starters will eventually come back towards league average and with no bench help in sight it shows just how hard it is for the Cavs to compete for a playoff spot this year.

Still, those numbers sure are encouraging going forward and as the Irving-Waiters backcourt continues to develop more excitement is to come. Average play from the bench would have added a few more wins already this season but optimism for the future should be sky high.

By the time this team is really ready to compete the Walton's, Sloan's and Casspi's will hopefully be long gone and quality NBA-caliber players will be there to spell the starters when they need a break.

Tonight the Cavs take on the Mavericks at The Q and with Dallas missing its star Dirk Nowitzki Kyrie and Co. will look to build up an early lead that the big, bad bench wont be able to knock down.

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