San Antonio Spurs: Finding the analytically perfect rotation

Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images /
1 of 5
Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images /

Juggling players’ minutes can be a hard task for any coach, even for San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. However, analytics can make it easier.

As a head coach in the NBA, one of the more difficult tasks you’re required to perform is deciding who to play, and how much. Making matters more complicated is that players can’t just be evaluated in a vacuum; they must be evaluated in the context of a five-man lineup. Their strengths and weaknesses need to be properly maximized and minimized respectively, and the San Antonio Spurs‘ roster is no exception.

Trying to follow all of these potentially divergent rules could lead to a massive headache for a coach. Unless you’re just going to pull a Dwane Casey and hockey-sub in an all-bench unit in place of your starters, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Luckily, this is the 21st century, and we can use computers to help. Instead of just guessing what lineups might be more successful than other ones, we can actually find out exactly which lineups are the ones that a team should focus on playing. Put all those lineups together, and you have 48 minutes of near-perfection.

Now, the title of the article is slightly misleading. This isn’t necessarily the best rotation timeline possible, because I don’t have access to the raw data required to perform an analysis of that caliber. However, I can do what I’ll call a guess-and-check method to find a good roster for the San Antonio Spurs.