[From the Fanposts. Really interesting stuff from YaoPau, a lot of which I think reflects what we've observed. Our offseason goal should be perfecting the science required to meld Korver and Brewer into a single entity. -ed.]
GO BULLS!! It's finals week at school, and despite that I can't seem to pull away.
The Bulls been awesome all year, and it's nice to check out basketballvalue's lineup splits and see a bunch of green numbers on the Bulls pages for the first time ever. Anyway, I did this last year and figured I'd check on it again: the Bulls lineup widget. Download it here. Instructions on the excel.
Some interesting stuff from the data (which may or may not mean anything, though it's fun to think about) is below. Keep in mind the Bulls' have a 106.5 ORating and 99.8 DRating (+6.7 net) on the year according to bv's play-by-play data.
(1) Surrounding Rose and Boozer with floor spacers: Given Rose and Boozer on the court, Bulls offensive and defensive ratings depending on how many of Deng, Watson, Korver are also on the court.
Min Orating Drating Net 0or1 895 108.7 103.7 5.0 2or3 326 113.3 104.6 8.6
We know Rose and Boozer are elite offensive players, and when Thibs surrounds them with guys that keep defenses honest with their scoring ability (more specifically, their ability to hit 3s with a decent USG%), we see an improvement in offensive rating. That 113.3 rating with two+ other floor-spacers on the court would rank #1 in the NBA (the 326 minute sample size is kinda small, though not bad). Nevertheless, it provides some evidence that the Bulls can be elite offensively when they want to be, and the very average 108.7 rating without floor spacing validates fundamentallysound's preseason claim that, despite two elite offensive players, the Bulls would struggle to be more than average offensively. Good on ya.
(2) The Bulls' shooting guard. Nobody has qualms about Thibs' handling of the front court, but it seems worth it to look at his backcourt rotation. Given Rose and Deng on the floor together, here's how the Bulls have fared with either Bogans, Brewer, Korver, or Watson in at shooting guard:
Min Orating Drating Net Bogans 973 108.2 103.7 4.5 Brewer 642 106.0 94.0 12.0 Korver 557 113.0 102.0 11.0 Watson 81 112.7 103.5 9.2
Looking at these numbers, it should be surprising that fans were calling for the Bulls to add a shooting guard. While it would've been nice to have solidified the lineup with a long term piece, it's hard to argue with the production of Brewer's and Korver's lineups, especially with how much flexibility those two players give Thibodeau. With Rose/Brewer/Deng, the Bulls' DRating and Net Rating would rank #1 in the NBA. With Rose/Korver/Deng, the Bulls' ORating and Net Rating would rank #1 in the NBA. Pretty amazing, I think.
And it's not like Brewer and Korver are coming out of nowhere here. Brewer was an 18.4 PER, stud defender who started for a Jazz playoff team at age 22. Korver's been a plus-minus star for years. In 2008 Jazz lineups were +10.5 with Korver, +5.5 without. In 2009 +4.3 with Korver, +1.2 without. In 2010 +10.2 with Korver, +3.9 without. This year Bulls are +7.8 with Korver, +5.9 without.
This isn't to say that playing Bogans has been a bad idea. It's tough to argue that the Bulls would be better than 44-18 with a different minutes allocation, and Bogans' eating minutes has kept Brewer's energy up and Korver's soon-to-be 30 year old legs fresh. Come playoff time though, the data suggests Bogans should have his minutes reduced a bit.
(3) Defense, defense, defense. Ronnie Brewer and Omer Asik provide zero floor spacing, but the thought is they make up for it with defense. Bulls lineup data depending how many of Brewer/Asik are on the floor:
Min Orating Drating Net 0 1314 109.6 105.1 4.5 1 1085 104.0 98.9 5.1 2 506 103.8 88.3 15.5
As we'd expect, the ORating plummets when either one touches the court, but holy hell that defense! 506 is a fairly significant sample size (the Bulls' most-used lineup this year has played just 356 minutes), and that 88.3 rating would be the best team DRating in NBA history. Granted, when they're both on the floor together, they're usually playing second stringers. Still, though. 88.3!
Here's more on Asik: I looked through bv's player data, and Asik ranks 3rd in the NBA (500+ minute filter) for Player Net Rating, trailing just Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O'Neal. Pretty remarkable considering four of the top nine players on this list are Celtics, while the next highest Bull is Brewer at 26th. Just an incredible rookie season so far. As for Shaq ranking #2, that could explain why Danny Ainge traded Perkins for two average players. The Celtics' starting lineup with Shaq was +19 net per 100 possessions.