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NBA Stats breakdown: Are the Chicago Bulls starters scoring enough? Are the Utah Jazz starters shooting too much?

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A took a look at all 30 teams in the NBA and found out that not all starting line-ups have equal responsibilities on offense.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday I wrote about the Utah Jazz, and broke down how they scored. I focused on their starting line-up and tried to determine if that were shooting too much, or were too big a part of their offense. I found out that the starters have so far accounted for 75% of all the points the Utah Jazz have scored this season, and 75% of all the shots attempted. Is this a product of a good starting lineup, or a weak bench?

To find out more I had to look at the rest of the league.

First off, yes, not all starting units have been as healthy as the Jazz starters have been. There are some clear situations where the data is not reflective of what we expect (Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder fans know what's up). Also, there are some situation that conform to our biases. (Stephen Curry knows how to score points. Rajon Rondo? Not so much.) Anyway, some light results for starters:

  • The starting lineups have accounted for 21,808 out of a grand total 33,653 points this year.
  • That's 64.80% of all the points so far scored being from the five players for each team I listed as a starter
  • Obviously, as the season goes on I'm not going to continue counting L.Thomas as a starter in OKC, over Kevin Durant . . . but this is the info from the games we have so far
  • The starting lineups have accounted for 17,775 of a grand total 27,692 FGA this year
  • . . . which is 64.19% . . .
  • . . . so that's pretty fun. A near 1:1 ratio between PTS and FGA
  • The starters accrue 1.23 Points per shot (PPS)
  • And the entire NBA gets 1.22 PPS right now.

With those frames of reference in mind, here are the breakdowns by group:

Starters account for x% of a team's points:

Starters account for x% of a team's FGA:

  • 75% and up: None
  • 70-74%: Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics
  • 65-69%: Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers
  • 60-64%: Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Hornets
  • 55-59%: Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • 54% and lower: Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks

And when you chart it, and include things like W/L record you get this:

Starters Scoring FULL NBA SMALL TABLE

Yes. So you can be a low seed team that is starters heavy on offense, and be a high seed team that does the same. I guess it depends on the quality of your starters (or bench) that helps determine wins and losses. But there seems to be no overt negative to starting your five best scorers. If you do, instead, decide to sort this data by the team's win% (highest to lowest) you get a Top 10 (MEM, TOR, GSW, DAL, HOU, POR, CHI, WAS, SAS, and NOP) where the starters account for 66.38% of all the team's points, and take 65.12% of the FGA.

So, slightly higher than normal. But not at all significantly so.

All the data is from Basketball-Reference.com; and if you are TRULY crazy, and want to see an even larger table, well, here's one that includes the player's scoring by position as well. And thank you to Mark P for the idea for this post. We now have a 2014-2015 frame of reference to better judge where our team is compared to their peers. And yes, it seems like our starters really *are* shooting/scoring more than the rest of the NBA starters. But time will fix that, I am sure, time or Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey and head coach Quin Synder.

Utah's 75%/75% is a bit high. I'd be fine if there was adequate bench scoring to drop that down to 70%. But I think that with this team there's no way that these five starters (Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, and Derrick Favors) could be much lower than that.