This is the first in a series of posts where I'll be taking quick looks at various issues for the Raptors and using stats (and just stats) to try to figure a solution, or an answer to why something is happening.
First up: who starts in place of DeMar DeRozan while he is hurt?
I'll do this very simply by answering a second question: which substitute has played best with the remaining starters?
Let's take a look at the net ratings for various subs when they've played with Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, and Kyle Lowry.
We'll start with this year.
This year, the foursome of Lowry, Ross, JV and Amir have played almost exclusively with DD. Lou Williams has played one minute with them. Greivis Vasquez has played 16 minutes, all in the game against the Lakers (they broke even in his time on the court). No one else has played with that foursome. So we have no data on who fits.
Well then, let's look back at last year.
Last year, there was only one sub who played more than five minutes total with that lineup (who is still on the team today), and that's Vasquez. The team posted a +21 net rating with him on the court. But even that was only over 12 games for an average of 5.0 minutes per game.
So, the entire lineup isn't giving us much. If we focus on players when paired with Lowry, the engine that makes this team go, and the guy who defenses will focus on with DeRozan out, we can gain some more information.
|Substitute||Net Rating (2013-14)||Net Rating (2014-15)|
So it seems there are lots of options, all of them good. We tried Vasquez and it looked pretty bad, but it is only one game. If Casey wants to keep the bench unit playing together, Fields seems like a reasonable option. Or if he prefers to shorten the bench, either of Lou Williams or James Johnson would be candidates to move up. With the bench performing very well when JJ was hurt, he might be another prime candidate to move up.
What do you think?