Link: Spurs’ Bench Propelling Hot Start
In today's Hang Time Blog, John Schumann analyses bench production from seven West "contenders". As he says,
Before the season started, six West teams would have been considered as "contenders." Portland has been added to this group, because they're off to such a hot start and also because their bench was their primary issue last season.
Last season, the Blazers' "other lineups" got outscored by 5.2 points per 100 possessions. No team suffered more offensively when a particular player stepped off the floor than Portland did when Damian Lillard sat down. So the bench, along with better defense from their center position, was the focus of their summer moves.
So far, so good, as the Blazers' bench units have basically turned that number around, outscoring their opponents by that same 5.2 points per 100 possessions. They've scored a solid 103.5 points per 100 possessions when Lillard has sat, and he doesn't have to lead the league in minutes this year.
The issue is that those bench units still include a lot of minutes from the starters. Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez account for more than 72 percent of the team's total minutes. It's obviously a younger group, but compare that with the 52 percent the Spurs' starters account for.
So statistically our bench is doing well so far. We do need to develop more of the younger bench talent, though, to ease starter's minutes. This all verifies the eye test - at least to these eyes.
Ed: link fixed at the top -- Ben