There is a paradigm shift in the NBA with teams using smaller lineups more frequently. Playing “small ball” allows a team to take advantage of particular mismatches, trumping size with speed. Although playing an exclusively small lineup is a recipe for disaster, having the small ball lineup available allows teams to match up with their opponents suitably for stretches of a game.
Having a smaller team on the floor allows for several things to happen. Teams usually have better transition offense and defense, as well as better spacing in the half court. Interior defense is usually the main victim of small ball, but having more athleticism on the court is sometimes a price teams are willing to pay.
In the 2012-13 season, the small ball lineup helped the Miami Heat win the NBA title over the San Antonio Spurs. Teams like Golden State also used small ball effectively in the playoffs by having quick, athletic players take advantage of mismatches. Going into the 2013-14 season, here are the ten teams best suited to play small ball.