A few weeks in to the NBA season, we took a look at the top combinations within the Cleveland Cavaliers. In my attempt to do that again, I found out something that may or may not be surprising to you all.
The top three-man combination (using the +/- system) belongs to LeBron James, Mo Williams and Delonte West. Year to date, these three men have been on the floor for a total of 1,626 points, while allowing only 1,359. For 746 minutes, over a 25 game period, these three men have a +/- differential of +267.
For comparison purposes, the second-, third- and fourth-place units fall in at 247, 245 and 240 respectively. Thus, the Cavalier trio have a full 20 points ahead of the next best (belonging to Orlando’s Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard) unit. Breaking down the James/Williams/West unit, it is actually Delonte West that has provided more from a +/- standpoint than his backcourt peer. LeBron James and West have a differential of +363, slotting them in as the top duo in the league. Not far behind is James/Williams with a differential of +329. The next highest two-man combination? Bostons’s Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen with +277 – more than 50 points below LeBron and Mo.
As always with the +/- statistic, it does not always show the “best” players as opposed to those that simply happen to be on the floor while all of this scoring/defense is going on. However, when it comes to the three Cavaliers that lead the pack, there is no denying the level at which they are producing. Delonte West is scoring the highest point total of his career (12.3 ppg) while playing solid defense – just ask O.J. Mayo, Mo Williams has added some much-needed fire power to the offense with his 16 points per game and LeBron James is… well, LeBron James.
Of course, this statistic is nowhere near being a “leading indicator,” so what happens in the future remains to be seen. But what it is showing for right now is that these three men have been the most successful trio in the NBA to this point and are a huge reason why this team has the best record in the league.