Apr 6, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) dunks the ball during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at the American Airlines Arena. Miami won 106-87. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

How Good Are The Second Best Lineups?

According to Bovada, the four teams with the highest odds to win the NBA championship are the Miami Heat (10-13 odds), Oklahoma City Thunder (9-2 odds), San Antonio Spurs (7-1 odds), and the New York Knicks (15-1 odds).  What 10-13 odds mean is that to win $10 you have to risk $13.

A crucial element to a successful title run is an effective secondary lineup.  I look at the second most-utilized lineups for each of these four teams.

Here are some quick observations:

  • Most of the lineups are basically slight offshoots of the top lineup.  Take Miami’s lineup — they basically swap Haslem for Battier or OKC’s lineup where they change Sefolosha for Martin.
  • The New York Knicks lineup is surprisingly bad, relative to the other second lineups.  Part of their struggles are because of their terrible defending — they give up 108.3 points per 100 possessions which is roughly what the Sacramento Kings have given up all season.
  • Will San Antonio’s versatility be a strength or a weakness come playoff time?  The Spurs have four lineups that have played at least 100 minutes.

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Tags: Miami Heat New York Knicks Oklahoma City Thunder San Antonio Spurs

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