Jaynes: Should Blazers Coach Terry Stotts Play Luke Babbitt With The Starters More Often?

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

A columnist wonders whether the Portland Trail Blazers should rely more heavily on seldom-used line-up combinations.

Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW.com takes a look at some Portland Trail Blazers line-up data and wonders whether success in small samples should make coach Terry Stotts consider turning to a certain five-man groups more often.

But the most successful five-man group the Trail Blazers have used -- albeit for just 40.1 minutes -- is those same four starters with Luke Babbitt instead of Hickson. In 40.1 minutes, that group has outscored opponents by 45 points!

Yes, I know. Small sample size. Not a lot of minutes. But I know what I see, too, aside from the stats. And I know when Babbitt plays with the starters, good things have happen -- and not necessarily because Babbitt has made shots. The thing about Babbitt is that he's earned enough respect as a shooter that teams are now extending their defense as far out as he lines up to shoot. And sometimes that's very far out. Thus, he opens the floor for other players.

I guess the point of all this is that it will be interesting to see, later in the year, if Leonard and/or Babbitt get more opportunity to play with the other four, what will happen. And it may not be as bleak as you think.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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