Max Lederman is the Associate Producer and analytics guru for Celtics programming on CSN. Look for more great stats like this by following @CelticsCSN.
Sunday’s loss to the Suns felt like a swift blow to the nether region, but Brad Stevens may be able to take something positive away from an otherwise forgettable game. The Celtics starting lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson once again proved to be a sneaky good five-man unit for the C’s.
For the game, “The Lineup to be Named Later” played a team-high 15 minutes with an impressive 132.6 Offensive Rating, 31.2 Net Rating and a surprising 56.3 Rebound%.
That lineup has now played a total of 40 minutes together this season over five games. It boasts a +40.1 Net Rating, which, if qualified for the NBA leaderboard (they’re 12 minutes short of the cutoff), would be the best in the entire league. That’s right, better than any Golden State lineup, nuclear or otherwise.
As you can see, this lineup needs a name. Of the 13 five-man units that have played 40-plus minutes for the Celtics this season, they have the best Offensive Rating, Net Rating, Defensive Rebound%, Rebound%, True Shooting% and Assist/Turnover rate.
This unit works because it surrounds Isaiah with length and shooting, providing him with the space he needs to drive to the hoop while not sacrificing on the defensive end. This lineup has also taken care of the ball, averaging just 6.2 turnovers per 100 possessions -- which is second best on the team.
So does this mean Brad Stevens should stick to this starting lineup when Avery Bradley and Al Horford are both healthy? No, it does not. Forty minutes over five games is too small a sample to justify benching two of your best players. What it does mean; however, is that Stevens has a super effective lineup he can turn to if the need arises over the remaining 19 games of the regular season, and maybe even in the playoffs.