The big line-up with Paul Millsap at the 3 along side Favors and Jefferson reappeared for the Jazz against the Memphis Grizzlies. The line-up outscored the Grizzles 15-11 over the final 6 minutes. This was the 15th game this season when the Jazz have used the “Big Lineup” and in those games the Jazz have had mixed results with the “big line-up”.
In those 15 games they have been on the floor together for 74 minutes. The team’s offensive rating (pts per 100 possessions) with the big three on the floor is an unreal 119.3. The NBA’s best offense is 110. 6 (Oklahoma City). However, on the defensive end the “Big Line-up” has really struggled allowing 115.3 pts per 100 possessions. They are +1 overall in those 74 minutes.
The defensive struggles of the big line-up are in direct contrast to what made the line-up successful a year ago. Last year, the defense was stifling with the Big Three on the floor allowing only 82.3 pts per 100 possessions. The line-up spent 113 minutes on the floor together last season. The offensive rating was impressive as well at 111.9 pts per 100 possessions.
Amazingly, last season the big line-up grabbed 80% of defensive rebounds and 36% of all offensive rebounds. In addition, while they only shot an EFG% of 46.3 (league average is 48.6%)they only turned the ball over 11% of the possessions and were able to maintain a strong offensive game.
So what changed from last year to this year with the big line-up?
Last year 98 of the 113 minutes when Millsap, Favors and Jefferson were on the floor the line-up included Gordon Hayward. In those 98 minutes the defense was 83 pts per 100 possessions and the offense was 112.4.
However, this year the big line-up has played 40 minutes with Foye as the 2 guard and only 25 with Hayward. Neither has been good defensively. With Foye and the big three the Jazz allow 124.5 pts per 100 possession, but what really jumps out is they don’t rebound. With Foye the big three line-up only grabs 46.5% of rebounds and only 62% on the defensive glass.
With Hayward they grab 72% of defensive rebounds and the offense has been an unstoppable 142.4 pts per 100 possessions shooting an outlier EFG% of 68% but the defense has still been poor this season.
Nonetheless, the contrast in how the big line-up works with Hayward instead of Foye is striking. With Foye the efficiency differential (offensive rating –defensive rating) is -23.9 pts per 100 possessions, with Hayward it is +29.
The big three is really the Big 4 and the success is dependent on Gordon Hayward being on the floor with the big three. The notes below show the value of Hayward with the big three over the past two seasons.
Millsap, Favors and Jefferson = +74 in 187 minutes
With Hawyard on the floor = +76 in 123 minutes
Without Hayward on the floor = -2 in 64 minutes
On a side note the line-up of Millsap, Favors and Kanter has played 36 mintues together and the have struggled offensively but they have grabbed an unreal 18 offensive rebounds in 37 chances allowing them to play to a 77-71 advantage in those 36 minutes. And last year in 33 minutes they outscored the opponents 55-51 so over the last two years with Kanter in the big line-up the Jazz have outscored the opponent 132-122