Lining up the Bucks: The best and worst Bucks lineups this season

Top Five+/-Offensive RatingDefensive RatingMinutes
Dooling-CDR-Maggette-Ilyasova-Bogut23104.7391.1290
Jennings-Salmons-Mbah a Moute-Ilyasova-Bogut20115.6693.8341
Dooling-Salmons-Maggette-Ilyasova-Sanders16113.5174.2919
Jennings-Salmons-Mbah a Moute-Ilyasova-Gooden15120.0086.0524
Dooling-Salmons-Maggette-Mbah a Moute-Ilyasova14114.2974.2920
Bottom Five
Dooling-Salmons-Mbah a Moute-Ilyasova-Bogut-4286.63112.3596
Dooling-Salmons-Maggette-Mbah a Moute-Bogut-1980.00138.7126
Jennings-Salmons-Mbah a Moute-Brockman-Gooden-1672.97116.2220
Jennings-Salmons-Mbah a Moute-Gooden-Bogut-9104.20107.53132
Jennings-Salmons-Mbah a Moute-Sanders-Bogut-788.7894.0053

Now we see the numbers.  So what do these lineups tell us?  We’ll start with the good ones.

  • Scott Skiles might have an idea of what he’s doing.  Milwaukee’s most productive lineup this season has been the one he’s used to start from Milwaukee’s January 19th victory at Washington until Saturday’s victory at home against New Jersey when Chris Douglas-Roberts was unavailable.  This has been Milwaukee’s most productive group as a unit by the numbers, so it makes sense to have them out there early.  It’s worth noting that in Los Angeles, when Milwaukee got off to another slow start, CD-R was on the sideline while Carlos Delfino started at the two.
  • Ersan Ilyasova is more important that it seems. He’s not always accurate with his jumper. He hasn’t shot threes very well this year. But when he’s in, Milwaukee’s probably better off. For the season, Ilyasova is second on the Bucks with a +64 plus/minus and it’s clear why. He’s apart of just one of the Bucks five worst lineups and all five of the Bucks five best lineups.
  • Milwaukee’s second best lineup this season consists of five players from last year’s team.  Luc Mbah a Moute is a bit miscast at the three offensively, but next to four offensive threats that have good chemistry, that becomes less of an issue.  Coach Skiles said recently the team has to live with him being out of position on occasion offensively because of his defensive abilities. “If we’re having trouble dealing with a guy … we didn’t wait long in the Atlanta game,” Skiles said.  “Crawford came in and kind of made a play and a half, he made one good play and one where he burned us a bit where he didn’t make the shot.  We put Luc on him and that solved it for a while.”
  • Last season, Brandon Jennings and Delfino were a +124 when the two of them were on the court together.  This season?  They’ve barely been able to play together and the results haven’t been so positive when they have.  Now that both are nearing full strength, their impact could quickly alter which lineups work best for Milwaukee.

As for the bad lineups?

  • It shouldn’t shock anyone to see that a lineup featuring the fearsome frontcourt of Jon Brockman and Drew Gooden has an offensive rating of 72.97.  This group, as stunning as this sounds, started two games for the Bucks this year!  With Bogut out, these five started against Cleveland and Detroit, Milwaukee’s two worst early season losses.  They’ve yet to play together again.
  • It’s interesting that Milwaukee’s second best lineup turns into its very worst when Jennings is replaced with Keyon Dooling. That goes to show how important Jennings is to that particular group.  His shot creation is a much better fit than Dooling’s more perimeter oriented game with those players.
  • A group with Bogut, Mbah a Moute and Salmons all in together seems like it will always defend well, but that hasn’t been the case.  The group that’s played the most minutes, those three with Jennings and Gooden, has a very high 107.53 defensive rating.  They took their lumps in early season games against the Lakers and Hornets, leaving them looking a lot worse defensively than they probably were.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com.  Follow him on Twitter.  Then become a fan on Facebook (in the sidebar).

    I watch the Milwaukee Bucks often and write about what I see…

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