Blazer Fanatic

Jan 03

Blazers, Butter, and the Bench

By Blazer Fanatic Posted in: Blazers, LaMarcusAldridge

Every Blazers fan knows that when the bench comes in the game, the Blazers struggle quite handily. And for all the talk about what Portland should do to get shore up this obvious deficiency, the trade talk all too often starts with trading LaMarcus Aldridge. With the help of John Schuhmann (, Jan 3) who posted a great article about "Difference Makers," I would like to dispense with this kind of misguided talk, and refocus the attention at the real problem:  the Bench.

A single stat alone is most often not enough reason to explain a player’s real contribution. And one of the more difficult stats to draw a definitive inference from are +/- stats, because team match-ups often play a larger role than an individual’s performance with 5 players who all have a significant part to play.  It’s most helpful however in drawing correlations between different line-ups, which work best, and which do not.  Schuhmann looked at the differential between on the court and off the court stat, or offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions).  And the results are quite glaring, lending substantial credence to just how bad our bench is.

1. Damian Lillard, POR

On/off floor



On floor



Off floor





4. LaMarcus Aldridge, POR

On/off floor



On floor



Off floor





And when both LaMarcus and Damian are off the floor, Portland has scored less than 90 points per 100 possessions.  It illustrates very well the problem Stotts has dealt with all year, and how well he’s adjusted his rotations to try and keep at least 3 starters in the game as often as possible.  Schuhmann also notes that of the top 13 usage line-ups, 12 of those have at least 3 starters in the game.  The disparity between the bench and the starters is the highest in the NBA.

Is trading Aldridge really how Portland cuts the butter off the bench and what make the Blazers a contender? 


  1. I'm totally with you about not getting rid of LA, we'd be a very strong team if our bench could score. I mean the starters would always be refreshed and they wouldn't be trying to catch up every time they're on.
    The only thing is how are they gonna get better on the bench unless they trade JJ to get some pieces and use the rest of this year to develop Myers and Joel, and by next year, we might have 2-3 bench players who can play a little.

    -hey Blazer Fanatic - you seem to really know and understand your stats, I think you'd love my blogs (might have to read from the first one to get the whole picture) I'd love if you checked them out.

    by joe.k on 1/4/2013 5:42 AM
  2. The only hope to keep JJ I see, would be if the salary cap gets raised to 64 mil on the first day after the July moritorium.

    And, I'll check it out.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 1/4/2013 3:25 PM
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