Finding the best strategies to be competitive
As the daily morning open gym run continues through July, the feeling that the season is coming soon abounds. That is mostly due to looking at the varsity team starting lineup and players and spots available combined with the style of the head coach to determine who will take the two available starting jobs, and then what roles and minutes will the others earn coming off the bench. There is intrigue because there are good options. The point guard (1st team all-conference), the off-guard (2nd team all-conference) (who can play 1-4), and the 5 man are locked in. The off-guard is a competition between a 6’1 sophomore lefty driver who’s a streaky shooter but a strong athlete and a 5’11 junior who can shoot, handle some, is capable on defense and played varsity last season. The unknown but promising incoming freshman, all 5’11, 150 lbs. of sinewy strength, inherent basketball I.Q. and impressive skills, is my pick because the team needs a glue guy and he has those intangibles – if he can properly defend his position. The other open starting spot, the 4 man, is a tough one to call because there is but one player in the program with the size to handle that position but I’m not sure about his availability & grit (gets hurt a lot and may be too laissez-faire for this head coach).
What this team could surely use is the Hoopsalytics Team Lineup Stats. Over the course of the pre-league schedule of 12+ games, as the coach has time to tinker with his lineup and rotation, using the lineup stats can show what player combinations are the most effective in terms of the group +/-. Another way the lineup tool can be used is later on in the season in case of injury. For example, the USF Dons made it to their first NCAA Tournament post-season in many years this past season. However, the Dons big man, Massalski, was injured in the game before the first-round game. Based on statistical lineup information gathered on Hoopsalytics, there were two lineups far and above better than the rest: Shabazz, Bouyee, Rishwain, Kunen and Tape were +56 as a unit and Bouyee, Rishwain, Kunen, Tape and Stefanini were +37. The next best 5-man groups without Massalski were around +16. However, USF did not utilize this information. Their best 5-man group only played together for 5:18 of the entire game for a -2 +/-. Their next best group did not play together at all. To really drill down, coaches can use the time bar to see who is his best 5 players in the second half of a game or even last two minutes. It would be very time-consuming and difficult to find the correct lineup strategy over the course of the season – unless you use Hoopsalytics. Being competitive means out-playing and out-preparing your opponent, and Hoopsalytics helps coaches make the right decisions that could be the difference in going home happy or sad after a game.