Without Stephen Curry and Isaiah Thomas in the Xmas day game between the Cavs and Warriors, it’s hard to draw any conclusions about a potential Finals rematch. So here we’ll focus on the continuing development of one rookie, Jordan Bell.
Jordan Bell got thrown into the starting lineup on Xmas vs the Cavs in the biggest game of the year, so far. Then to everyone’s surprise, Steve Kerr threw him into the crunch time closing lineup. He made rookie errors and spectacular plays too, and has a very promising future.
The closing lineup was the Death Lineup / Hamptons 5 with Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, and instead of Stephen Curry, Jordan Bell. This is actually the fourth game for this lineup, racking up a mere 18 minutes ever. It also has a stupendous +59.7 net rating (essentially point differential per 100 possessions) in the small sample.
They played like an unsure lineup, and the spacing was deadly and not in a good way. Basically, the Cavs did not guard Iguodala or Bell outside of the paint, which made the lane a crowded no-fly zone for the Warriors. The Cavs also were not worried about Green’s shooting, though they did mark him to contest the 3 and disrupt his passing.
Here’s the video breakdown.
The Question of Andre
It seems like every week fans wonder if Iguodala’s decline is finally here for good, and every week he pulls out a burst of new energy and some ferocious dunk to quiet the talk. His defensive savvy is still outstanding, but his lack of confidence in his 3-point shot is becoming a liability, as seen in the video.
This year, it’s been hurting the Hamptons 5 lineup. This lineup crushed the league last year with a Net Rating of +23.9 (16-17), and the two years before in the classic Harrison Barnes formula, it had Net Ratings of +47.0 (15-16) and +21.8 (14-15).
This year it’s 108.1 / 116.7 for a hugely negative -8.6 NRTG.
According to basketball-reference, the Warriors this year with Andre in the lineup are a solid 110.7 ORTG / 105 DRTG for an excellent net rating of +5.7. But without Andre, it’s 118.4/103.8 for +14.6. Both the offense and the defense got better without Andre.
It’s still early, so Andre may regain his 3-point stroke, but if he doesn’t, it will be a challenge for Iguodala, Green and Bell to play crunch time minutes together.