What can depth do for you?
When the playoffs roll around, most of the attention is focused on the stars. It makes sense. Rotations shorten, stars play more minutes, they have the most impact on the results, they drive the most interest in the product, etc.
When a player who is the “best player” in the series finds his team on the losing end and heading home early, a lot of people hold it against them. History, after all, suggests their team should win more often than not. Whether or not a loss should be held against an individual player is not something I’m all that interested in discussing; what I do think is an interesting discussion, though, is how often having the best player, more great players, or better depth leads to series wins.
The team with the “best player” in the series (as measured by RAPTOR, just because it’s easy shorthand, and more difficult to search by team for things like RPM, EPM, LEBRON, and more) is, so far, 91-47 in playoff series since the 2013-14 season. That’s a 0.659 winning percentage. Pretty damn good!
How does that compare to the team with “more depth” in the series (as measured by having more rotation players with a positive RAPTOR) or the team with more “great players” in the series (as measured by having more players with a RAPTOR of +5.0 or better)? We’re glad you asked!