Starting Lineup Comparison Between the Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks | Magic Basketball

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May 10

Starting Lineup Comparison Between the Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Magic‘s utter dominance of the Atlanta Hawks in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals has been well-documented and, to be honest, this write-up does nothing more than to further throw salt in the wound. And Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post did briefly touch on a similar topic last week. However, I wanted to show how wide the disparity has been, statistically, between the starting lineups of the Magic and the Hawks. Granted, there’s always the issue of sample size when dealing with a limited amount of data but these numbers are too great to ignore. Plus, the statistics do reveal — as first-hand observations would suggest — that Atlanta is better off switching up their lineup even if a series defeat is an inevitability.

Via BasketballValue:

players minutes ORtg DRtg Overall
Nelson-Carter-Barnes-Lewis-Howard 50.82 141.94 110.00 31.94
Bibby-Johnson-Williams-Smith-Horford 39.63 86.76 141.18 -54.41

There’s only one word to describe what the stats show — wow.

When starting a five-man unit of Bibby-Johnson-Williams-Smith-Horford, the Hawks have had no chance against the Magic. From a basketball perspective, it makes a lot of sense. Whether it’s been Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, or Vince Carter, they all have had their moments of shine against Atlanta’s lineup. Because the Hawks always switch on defense, when necessary, it’s easy to lose count of all the mismatches the Magic have had to their advantage. How many times have you seen Horford guarding Nelson on the perimeter or Bibby defending Lewis in the post? The answer is plenty. That’s the main reason why Atlanta is in the position that they’re in. Their philosophies on both ends of the court have set them up to fail against Orlando.

The Hawks do have a glimmer of hope, though, and it falls on one person.

Jamal Crawford.

players minutes ORtg DRtg Overall
Crawford-Johnson-Williams-Smith-Horford 20.77 105.13 112.82 -7.69

Even though the Magic still have the advantage against a lineup that replaces Bibby with Crawford at point guard, it’s not as great as before. The reasoning is simple. Bibby is not a good defender. Crawford is no defensive stalwart, either, but he has a better chance of keeping Nelson in front of him as opposed to Bibby. Plus, Crawford has been one of the few players for Atlanta that has given a consistent effort in each game, as well as have some success on offense. Head coach Mike Woodson won’t switch it up in Game 4 with regards to the starting lineup but, in a way, he doesn’t need to. Crawford has gotten the bulk of the minutes at point for the Hawks in the series, anyway, while Bibby has sat on the bench for extended periods of time. For Atlanta to have any chance at winning Game 4, though, Woodson may need to take things to the extreme and limit Bibby’s playing time as much as possible.

The chances of that actually happening, though, are small.

5 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Ben Q. Rock

He should but as @Billy (slickw143) dutifully pointed out, he won't.

@NC Magic Fan

I think he should go, too, but that doesn't make him a bad coach. Woodson, even with his flaws, is a good coach. Problem is, the Hawks -- in their current state -- have hit a ceiling and if the organization hopes to take themselves to the next level, it'll need to be with a different coaching staff.

NC Magic Fan
NC Magic Fan

Ben, you wasted three words. It should read: Woodson has to go.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

Woodson probably won't though. The more his eyebrows grow out, the sillier he becomes, it seems. Like a reverse Samson... but with eyebrows.

Ben Q. Rock
Ben Q. Rock

In the 32.85 mins the teams' starters have matched up, Orlando's scored 83 points on 58 possessions. Atlanta? 57 points on 56 possessions. That's an efficiency differential of 41.32

In the 5.98 mins that Crawford has replaced Bibby in the Hawks' lineup against the Magic's starters, Atlanta's managed 17 points on 13 possessions, while allowing 12 on 11. Efficiency differential: 21.68.

Woodson has to go with Crawford earlier.