2 min read

Visualizing the Raptors starting lineups


The number of starting lineup combinations the Toronto Raptors have used this season gets a lot of attention during game telecasts — the count is now 14 combinations through 44 games because of injuries and resting Kawhi Leonard for the second game of back-to-backs.

How does that compare with recent seasons? Below is the number of combinations used and the number of games for the most-used combination (data from Basketball-Reference.com).

Season Combos Most games
2019* 14 15
2018 12 52
2017 16 30
2016 14 25
2015 15 23
2014 10 50
2013 22 21

Let’s visualize the various combinations with a tile plot, using a colour fill for wins and losses (mobile users may have to turn their device sideways to view the plot):

And let’s see the frequency of the combinations plotted above:

Frequency of Raptors lineup combinations

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 freq
Lowry Green Leonard Siakam Ibaka 15
VanVleet Green Leonard Siakam Ibaka 8
Lowry Green Leonard Siakam Valanciunas 7
Lowry VanVleet Green Siakam Ibaka 4
Lowry Green Anunoby Siakam Ibaka 1
Lowry Green Anunoby Siakam Monroe 1
Lowry Green Anunoby Siakam Valanciunas 1
Lowry Green Powell Anunoby Valanciunas 1
Lowry Green Powell Siakam Ibaka 1
Lowry VanVleet Green Siakam Valanciunas 1
Lowry VanVleet Leonard Siakam Ibaka 1
VanVleet Green Leonard Siakam Monroe 1
VanVleet Wright Leonard Anunoby Siakam 1
Wright Green Miles Leonard Ibaka 1

Coach Nick Nurse has been able to use his preferred starting combo in 15 of 44 games (34.1 per cent). That is still better than the 2013 (25.6 per cent), 2015 (28.0 per cent) and 2016 seasons (30.5 per cent).

Interestingly, the 10 one-off combinations have a 7-3 record, and the Raptors are undefeated in the four games in which Fred VanVleet started in place of Leonard.

Photo: Pixabay via Pexels.com

Code and data on my Github