The Hawks bevy of young and emerging talent has made it difficult for Nate McMillan to find the best rotation for any given situation. Atlanta is a 10, 11, and sometimes even 12-men deep roster, so it is understandable McMillan is experimenting with different lineups. For much of last season, with him at the helm, he dealt with lingering injuries up and down the depth chart. With an almost entirely healthy team (De’Andre Hunter, the lone significant injury), the Hawks will have to mix and match until they determine which lineups are best for specific situations.
Some are more offensively adept, some are more defensive, but which are the most and least effective lineups? Using CleaningTheGlass, we see just how well lineups with at least 20 possessions. As of Friday (11/19), the team averages 107.7 points per 100 possessions and 50.8% eFG% offensively while defensively allowing 108.3 points per 100 possessions and 52.1% eFG%.
The Hawks defense has been brutal to begin the season but has improved as it progresses, thanks to Clint Capela slowly working his way into playing shape.
The starters — Young-Bogdanovic-Huerter-Collins-Capela — have seen 146 total possessions, 130.8 points per 100 possessions, and 62.7% eFG% offensively. That same unit is allowing opponents 104.1 points per 100 possessions and 53.8% eFG%. The unit that has seen the second-most possessions (48) — Williams-Huerter-Reddish-Gallinari-Capela — averages 91.7 points per 100 possessions and 40.6% eFG% while allowing the same amount of points defensively and 58.1% eFG%.
There is a significant dip in offensive production with that second lineup, but they are allowing fewer points than the starters, even though they’re giving up better shooting numbers.
With lineups of at least 20 possessions, Young-Huerter-Hill-Collins-Capela is averaging the most points (137 points per 100 possessions); the Young-Bogdanovic-Huerter-Gallinari-Collins lineup is the most efficient (71.9% eFG%); the Wright-Huerter-Reddish-Hill-Dieng lineup is the best defensively (allowing 70 points per 100 possessions and 32.9% eFG%).
It is crazy to see any lineup with Solo in it being the highest scoring, but the most efficient shooting lineup shouldn’t surprise anyone. Arguably, the Hawks’ best five shooters all on the floor at the same time. Any lineup with Cam Reddish and Delon Wright is going to be stout defensively.
Under the same parameters, Wright-Huerter-Reddish-Gallinari-Dieng is the worst scoring lineup (65.2 points per 100 possessions); the Young-Huerter-Reddish-Gallinari-Dieng is the worst shooting lineup (31% eFG%); the Young-Huerter-Hill-Collins-Capela lineup is the worst defensively (allowing 140.7 points per 100 possessions); the Young-Huerter-Reddish-Collins-Capela lineup is giving up the best shooting numbers (65% eFG%).
It is a bit surprising the worst scoring lineup has so many scorers. Gallinari struggling to begin the season has been an anchor in many lineups. Huerter and Reddish have been playing well as of late but started the season similarly to Gallo. Any lineup with Trae Young is going to suffer defensively, so this isn’t too surprising to see the two worst defensive lineups have him in them.
By overall point differential, the best lineup is Wright-Huerter-Reddish-Gallinari-Collins with a +38.1 point differential; the worst is Wright-Huerter-Reddish-Gallinari-Dieng with a -55.8 differential. One player difference and they are that far apart is stunning. There are lineups catered to score points. Some lineups are defensively specialized; it is on Nate McMillan to figure out which are most effective given the situation’s circumstance.