By: Rahat Huq
After seeing Houston pull away last night to start the fourth, my hypothesis was that the Rockets' offense is at its best with Corey Brewer in the lineup. I set NBA.com's parameters to a minimum of 10 games played together, and found that the top Rockets quintet is Ariza/Harden/Motiejunas/Smith/Terry, with an offensive rating of 143 in 23 minutes together. For lineups that have played at least 35 minutes together, the top quintet is Brewer/Harden/Motiejunas/Smith/Terry with an offensive rating of 127 in 36 minutes. The common theme there is that the team seems to be at its best offensively with Motiejunas/Smith/Terry/Harden and a wing.
Strangely, defensively, for lineups that had played at least 35 minutes together, the stingiest unit was Ariza/Brewer/Jones/Smith/Terry with a defensive rating of 72.9 in 40 minutes of shared court time. For lineups that have played 10 games together, the stingiest unit is Ariza/Brewer/Motiejunas/Smith/Terry with a defensive rating of 74.8 in 37 minutes player together.
Interesting to note above the glaring omissions of Patrick Beverley and Dwight Howard. And in Howard's case, its not that he hasn't played enough to qualify for the parameters - he can be found in some of the later units.
Obviously, small sample size alert. And a lot is lost in the numbers. But some of the combinations seem to meet the eye test. Once a sufficiently sizable sample accumulates, I'm very curious to see how lineups with Terrence Jones fare in general to the other combinations.