breaking: Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Stitt is 'cautiously optimistic' the state's hospitalization rate is flatteningdeveloping: Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Midwest City extends ordinance on commercial enterpriseslive: Oklahoma coronavirus confirmed cases: 1,472; 67 dead

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

OKC Thunder: Which lineups have been the best?

The Thunder is 2-4 going into its Tuesday night game against Orlando, but the Thunder is seventh in the NBA in net rating. In other words, the Thunder ranks seventh out of 30 teams  in comparing points scored against points allowed.

That’s what happens this early in the season when you get to play Golden State and win 120-92.

Net rating doesn’t matter much this early in the season. Heck, even won-loss record doesn’t matter much this early in the season. Twenty games is a good benchmark in which to look at the season. That’s a quarter of the season.

But through six games, there are some things you can study, and one thing I always love is lineups. Which lineups are working? Which lineups are not?

I looked at all the lineups that have played at least eight minutes together, plus all the rest that have lopsided results one way or the other. Here’s what I found:

* So far, the Thunder’s best lineup is the new core of Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, teamed with Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel. In 14 minutes, they’ve outscored foes 42-28. It’s a small sample size – 140 minutes is a better gauge – but wow. That’s a lineup to remember. And it wasn’t inflated by the Warrior game. That quintet did not play together against Golden State.

* The usual starting lineup of the new core plus veterans Steven Adams and Terrance Ferguson have played 50 minutes and have outscored opponents 112-111. That’s skewed by the Golden State game. In 37 minutes together outside the Warriors, the starters together have been outscored 89-76 in 37 minutes. That’s atypical of Oklahoma City, which for years has had one of the NBA’s best starting lineups, even when the roster seems a little shaky.

* Everyone loves Noel, and count me in that group, too. But Noel with the regular starters, just replacing Adams, has not been all that productive. That lineup has been outscored 57-49 in 24 minutes.

* Another good lineup has been the three-point guard lineup of Schroder, Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander, Gallinari and Adams. Basically the starters, only Schroder replacing Ferguson. In 16 minutes, that unit has outscored teams 37-27.

* No great surprise on a team lacking depth, but the worst lineups have mostly been the lineups that go into the bench. The worst lineup probably has been Paul, Gallinari and Gilgeous-Alexander matched with Noel and Hamidou Diallo. In eight minutes, that lineup has been outscored 22-14. Another ineffective lineup has been Gilgeous-Alexander and Ferguson, matched with Darius Bazley, Noel and Schroder. That fivesome has been outscored 22-14 in 11 minutes, and discounting Golden State, it has been outscored 13-4 in seven minutes.

* But here’s a lineup that has worked – Paul playing with reserves Schroder, Mike Muscala, Diallo and Bazley. In 10 minutes, it has outscored opponents 24-15, and it wasn’t used in the Warrior game.

Of course, all this lineup stuff is tied into plus/minus. How has your team performed, in relation to the score, while you’re on the court? Here are the plus/minus numbers for the Thunder, ranked by efficiency:

1. Dennis Schroder, +49 in 172 minutes.

2. Danilo Gallinari, +43 in 174 minutes.

3. Chris Paul, +29 in 174 minutes.

4. Steven Adams, +18 in 109 minutes.

5. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, +18 in 210 minutes.

6. Hamidou Diallo, -1 in 121 minutes.

7. Nerlens Noel, -6 in 100 minutes.

8. Darius Bazley, -10 in 104 minutes.

9. Mike Muscala, -7 in 73 minutes.

10. Terrance Ferguson, -13 in 134 minutes.

11. Abdel Nader, -20 in 41 minutes.

12. Deonte Burton, -15 in 21 minutes.

13. Justin Patton, -10 in six minutes.

Related Photos
Dennis Schroder (17) poses for a photo during the Oklahoma City Thunder media day at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019.  [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

Dennis Schroder (17) poses for a photo during the Oklahoma City Thunder media day at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a9d06e51059ae63f9f1550700db06e95.jpg" alt="Photo - Dennis Schroder (17) poses for a photo during the Oklahoma City Thunder media day at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]" title="Dennis Schroder (17) poses for a photo during the Oklahoma City Thunder media day at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Dennis Schroder (17) poses for a photo during the Oklahoma City Thunder media day at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

Comments