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Dumpy's Statistical Analysis - Spurs, Grizzlies, Mavs

Like passing a car wreck on the highway, I just can't look away:

New Jersey at San Antonio, January 10, 2006
Score: San Antonio 96, New Jersey 91

Player Min. Eff. Plus-Minus
Vince Carter 41.4 23 +0
Nenad Krstic 28.5 11 -1
Jason Kidd 40.7 20 -4
Jason Collins 36.6 12 -6
Jacque Vaughn 46.0 16 -7
Marc Jackson 1.8 0 +0
Clifford Robinson 18.3 8 -1
Scott Padgett 10.8 3 -2
Lamond Murray 15.9 4 -4

New Jersey at Memphis, January 13, 2006
Score: Memphis 81, New Jersey 69

Player Min. Eff. Plus-Minus
Jason Collins 28.1 5 -6
Vince Carter 32.1 5 -18
Nenad Krstic 11.4 -2 -18
Jacque Vaughn 22.2 -1 -18
Jason Kidd 31.9 17 -22
Antoine Wright 12.0 1 +7
Jeff McInnis 12.0 5 +7
Zoran Planinic 15.9 2 +6
Clifford Robinson 17.9 4 +5
Marc Jackson 10.9 9 +4
Lamond Murray 17.9 7 +2
Scott Padgett 27.8 8 -9

New Jersey at Dallas, January 14, 2006
Score: Dallas 110, New Jersey 77

Player Min. Eff. Plus-Minus
Jacque Vaughn 41.9 3 -10
Jason Collins 22.3 5 -18
Nenad Krstic 20.3 13 -21
Jason Kidd 28.0 20 -25
Vince Carter 27.6 7 -27
Marc Jackson 28.1 6 -3
Scott Padgett 23.4 9 -7
Antoine Wright 21.1 8 -8
Zoran Planinic 17.5 -3 -8
Jeff McInnis 4.7 -2 -10
Lamond Murray 24.7 6 -13
Clifford Robinson 16.9 3 -20

In our previous blog entry, we examined what combinations the Nets should try in the event that Richard Jefferson misses an extended period of time. Specifically, who should the Nets play alongside Kidd and Carter? Based on limited evidence, we saw that the Kidd-Carter-Murray combo appeared to be effective, particularly when combined with Clifford Robinson. I noted that this combo had been more effective than the Kidd-Carter-Vaughn combo, writing: "[I]t appears that the Kidd-Carter-Murray combination may be a unit that will exhibit success in the future. . . . We'd also be cautious of playing Padgett [with that unit and Robinson]. Although due to limited minutes we didn't feel comfortable making any definitive judgments, I suggested that Coach Frank try this combination again.

Of course, the Nets faced this very dilemma over these past three games, as RJ has sat out due to his injured back. So what happened? Let's take a look.

Kidd and Carter played together for a total of 84 minutes in the three games, "earning" a minus-44 rating. The Nets used 12 combinations of players with Kidd and Carter. Six of those were together for a total of two minutes or less, and so we'll ignore those for the moment:

Kidd, Carter, Plus:
(Sorted by Minutes Played)

Combination Minutes Plus-Minus
Collins/Krstic/Vaughn 50.6 -14
Collins/Robinson/Murray 11.6 -1
Collins/Robinson/Vaughn 7.0 -2
Collins/Padgett/Vaughn 4.1 -1
Collins/Jackson/Wright 3.7 -5
Krstic/Padgett/Vaughn 3.3 -12

It certainly looks like we were right. The Kidd/Carter/Murray/Robinson quartet performed relatively well ("relatively" being, well, relative), with Collins manning the fifth position in the lineup. Again, we'll reiterate our plea to see this combination more frequently.

The other thing we notice is that the two worst combinations on the list both included Krstic. Looking at the numbers in terms of trios:

Kidd, Carter, Plus:
(Sorted by Minutes Played)

Combination Minutes Plus-Minus
Collins 81.0 -27
Vaughn 67.3 -36
Krstic 57.5 -34
Robinson 21.5 -4
Murray 15.8 -2
Padgett 10.4 -13
Wright 4.8 -6

(This chart includes the totals from the lesser-used five-man units.)

A startling difference between Robinson and Murray, and the first three players on the list.

We also think that Collins' plus-minus may be artificially high due to covariance with Krstic:

Kidd, Carter, Collins but not Krstic

Minutes Plus-Minus
28.4 -9

That includes a minus-five in 3.7 minutes in a unit with Jackson and Wright. When Collins played with Robinson, alongside Kidd and Carter, the Nets were minus-3 in 18.6 minutes. They were minus-one in 6.1 minutes when Padgett manned the 4.

No one player should receive the brunt of the blame for this three-game disaster. However, looking at these numbers, we have to be concerned about Krstic's and Vaughn's performances. Also, Scott Padgett has had a number of poor games in a row, which bears continued watching. The only bright spot ("bright" being relative, of course) was the continued performance by Lamond Murray, especially when alongside Kidd and Carter. Perhaps it is time that Murray starts to receive more playing time at the expense of Vaughn and Padgett.