In the NBA playoffs, every possession matters as teams fight for their postseason lives and the right to advance one step closer to hoisting up the Larry O'Brien Trophy. For that reason, coaches are more focused than ever on playing the right lineups.
The best statistical lineups aren't always the ones that you'd expect. They aren't necessarily the most valuable ones, either, because there's usually a tradeoff between efficiency and volume. A lot of the most valuable lineups fell just short of a featured spot here but have spent far more time on the court.
The ones you'll see have the highest net ratings (NetRtg) for their respective teams, meaning that they outscored their opponents by the most points per 100 possessions.
Due to the relative lack of data, we're going to be working with three-man lineups here, not five-man ones.
As I'll be discussing both regular-season and postseason lineups, the five-man ones haven't played enough minutes to avoid the conundrums of small sample sizes. Sample size still plays a major role here, but by limiting qualified combos to those that have played either 200 minutes in the regular season or 40 in the postseason, I'm taking some of the true outliers out of the equation.
Before you go on, I'd encourage you to try guessing which three-man lineup has served your favorite team best. See if you can get it right, although I bet you'll be surprised when you see the answer.
Note: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, are current through Wednesday, May 1 and come from the statistical databases of NBA.com. If you're looking for more information on the advanced stats used, check out these primers: comprehensive stats, offensive stats and defensive stats.