The Fifth Lineup, or why Anthony Bennett should come off the bench.

The addition of Earl Clark really made this team come alive for me. I can finally think of some lineups I want to see.

There are eight rotations that most teams use- one for the first half of each quarter and one for the second half. These rotations usually repeat each half of the game, so there are a total of four lineups and eight rotations. They are never exactly the same, and they don't all come in and out at the same time, but it's still a useful exercise.

Let me start with the two oddball lineups:

The small lineup:

PG- Jarrett Jack

SG- Dion Waiters

SF- CJ Miles (eventually Sergey Karasev)

PF- Anthony Bennett

C- Tristan Thompson

Speed, speed, speed. Full court press, and fast breaks galore. This lineup is designed to start the 2nd and 4th quarters and run the other team into submission, so Kyrie and Varejao can finish the game up. While this may be one of our worst lineups in terms of set defenses, their pressure, speed, athleticism, and long arms should cause plenty of

turnovers, and their offenive strength should overwhelm any defensive weaknesses. Would

this be improved by having Kyrie in it? Sure, but you don't want your closer running windsprints. The whole point is to tire out the opposing team, that doesn't work if you tire out your own team as well.

The tank lineup:

PG- Kyrie Irving

SG- CJ Miles (eventually Sergey Karasev)

SF- Earl Clark

PF- Anthony Bennett

C- Tyler Zeller

The other lineup was all about speed- this one is all about shooting (I'm assuming that Zeller gets his college shooting form back, or he's going to be playing in the D-League). While our best help defenders aren't on the floor, the assumption is that Miles and Clark can handle their own, and Bennett and Zeller will be fine as along as they don't also have to help defend. Big, solid, and somewhat boring, this lineup would end the first and third quarters.

That leaves the main lineups:

PG- Kyrie Irving

SG- Dion Waiters

SF- Earl Clark/Anthony Bennett

PF- Tristan Thompson

C- Anderson Varejao

There's four places for these lineups to play- the start of the first and third quarters, and the end of the second and fourth quarters. In general, you want the start of the first quarter and the start of the third quarter to be the same people. Coaches like to have set plays to start each half- it allows them to get a good feel of how their players are doing and what their opponents are up to. By having the same lineups, they only need one set of plays.

However, the lineup to end the game is special. About half the time, the "fifth lineup" is used- we're blowing out the other team, the other team is blowing us out, or there's some strange matchup we want to take advantage of or avoid.

By having Earl Clark start the 1st and 3rd quarters, and Bennett end the 2nd quarter, we can protect Bennett from overuse. Half the time, we won't need Bennett to finish the game. When we need him, and he's tired, we can use Clark instead, as Clark's only played four of the first seven rotations (sitting out the two small small rotations and the Irving/Waiters/Bennett/Thompson/Varejao rotation).

Note that it doesn't matter whether Clark or Bennett is better next year. By having Bennett and not Clark as part of the small lineup, it turns out that having Bennett come off the bench works out much better. And note that even though Bennett would be coming off the bench, he could actually lead the team in minutes, although I seriously doubt that he'll do so.

One last note- you may have noticed that a certain starter from last year hasn't been mentioned yet. I give Alonzo Gee a 50% chance of even being on the opening day roster. It's very useful for a coach to have 'his guy' in practice and on the court, to give 100% and understand what the coach is doing and help the other players understand. For Byron Scott, that was Alonzo Gee. For Mike Brown, that's Earl Clark. The only thing Gee can do better than Clark is guard small small forwards, and Miles can beat out Gee there. With the additions of Bennett, Karasev, and possibly Felix, I don't expect Gee to get much floor time even if he's on the roster.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at FearTheSword

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