The small lineup: Even worse than you thought

It's no secret that we here at Bullets Forever loathe Jarvis Hayes and Eddie Jordan's small lineup.  Without looking at any numbers, we've surmized that playing the lineup of Arenas-Stevenson-Butler-Hayes-Jamison in the fourth quarter has really hurt the team, and has turned potential blowouts into close wins and close wins into losses.  Last night was yet another example; with Zaza Pachulia killing the Wizards inside, Eddie decided to go small, thereby ensuring that Pachulia would CONTINUE to dominate inside.  The Hawks built an 11 point lead, and the Wizards had no time to catch up.

So I decided to do a little research, and check 82games (an indespensible site) to see just how bad it is.  What I found was even more staggering than I assumed.

First, let's start with Jarvis Hayes.  It's very strange that you don't see much of Hayes until the game is on the line, and I never feel like he adds much to the lineup.  Add that to the fact that he's been playing bad all season, and there's no way he should play late in the game.  

Here are the player pair stats from 82 games.  Basically, this tells you how many points better or worse a pair of players make per 48 minutes.  Anytime the player in the horizontal or vertical line match up, it tells you how much better or worse that individual player makes the team per 48 minutes.

There are a couple things that jump out here.  First, Arenas makes everyone better when he's on the court.  This shouldn't be a surprise, but even when he's struggling, he still has to be in the game.  Another thing is that, with the exception of Jarvis Hayes, Etan Thomas' presence makes everyone better.  That's kind of surprisng.

But the one thing that really jumps out is Jarvis Hayes.  Look across Hayes' line horizontally.  He does not make one single player better when he's on the court!  No matter who the Wizards place alongside Hayes, they are worse.  The only player who placing Hayes alongside won't make a difference is Arenas, and considering Arenas has a positive differential with every other player, it might as well be a negative.  

The worst player pair on the Wizards is DeShawn Stevenson-Jarvis Hayes.  When both of them are on the court at the same time, the Wizards are an absurd -19 per 48 minutes.  Yet they have finished each of the last two games together, and they finish games quite often.  At what point will Eddie realize that it doesn't work.

There are a lot of ways we can say Jarvis sucks, but this seems to be the most damming evidence yet.

Here's a closer look at what happens when Hayes is on the floor.

Again, not too much we didn't cover earlier, but it's interesting to see that the team's offensive efficency for any pair involving Hayes is worse than average, and with the exception of the Hayes-Haywood pair, the defensive efficiency is either worse or not significantly better than average.  Also, look at those won/loss records.  That's awful.

But this entry isn't only about Jarvis Hayes.  It's Hayes' fault that he stinks, but it's Eddie's fault for continually playing him and the small lineup down the stretch.  

For the most part, the NBA is a players' league, so rarely does a coach truly cost his team games.  But with Eddie and the small lineup, it's certainly happened.  Take a look at this data.  

The key thing to look at here is the last column.  If the Wizards played the entire game with their starting lineup (assuming they never get tired, which we can't account for), they would be significantly over .500.  If the Wizards played the entire game with their small lineup, they would be significantly under .500.  Yet very rarely do we see the Wizards' starting lineup actually finish games.  Instead, it's the small lineup.  

And you wonder why the Wizards keep letting bad teams hang around.  Eddie gets too cute with his lineup, in an attempt to create "mismatches," but it never works.  If Eddie would just play the starters at the end of games, the Wizards would be the type of elite team in the East that they haven't really been, despite their record.  

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