The Extra Pass: Spurs relying on lineups that aren’t working


Of the 35 most-used lineups in the playoffs, just three have negative net ratings and belong to teams that are still playing.

All three belong to the Spurs.

Tony Parker-Danny Green-Kawhi Leonard-Tim Duncan-Tiago Splitter: 70 minutes

  • Offensive rating: 103.5
  • Defensive rating: 108.9
  • Net rating: –5.4

Tony Parker-Manu Ginobili-Danny Green-Kawhi Leonard-Tim Duncan: 36 minutes

    • Offensive rating: 81.2
    • Defensive rating: 101.7
    • Net rating: –20.4

Tony Parker-Danny Green-Kawhi Leonard-Tim Duncan-Matt Bonner: 32 minutes

    • Offensive rating: 113.2
    • Defensive rating: 115.7
    • Net rating: –2.5

An over-reliance on bad lineups is often a sign of poor coaching, but this is Gregg Popovich and the Spurs we’re talking about. It’s not bad coaching, but I can’t figure out what’s going wrong with these lineups – especially the Parker-Green-Leonard-Duncan-Splitter group. That lineup had a +18.1 net rating during the regular season. The other two lineups had negative ratings during the regular season, but San Antonio used them each in 82 games about as much as it has in nine playoff games.

Popovich is obviously doing something right, because the Spurs are 7-2 in the playoffs. But if he suddenly tweaks his rotation, now you’ll know what he’s trying to fix.