Minutes Distribution: Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3 -- Part 4 -- Part 5 -- Part 6 (current one)
In this post we look at six different methods for dividing up the available playing time for the Utah Jazz. We look at distributions that favor players either in their Peak, Green, or over-all veteran levels. Also there are a three mixed groups as well.
In part one we looked at the different groups of players in terms of where their career was going. We also looked at their ages, and their five year averages for minutes per game. In parts 2, 3, and 4 we focused in on the career trends for the point guards, wings, and bigmen respectively. We also got an estimated baseline for their minutes per game for the next season. In part 5 we looked at a combination of factors, including the difference between their average (for the last 5 seasons) playing time and their playing time from the previous season. Also we factored in their playing group (peak, green, or whatever) and just how feasible it was to expect they'd be okay with that playing time. Moreover, would it even be possible to give them that much time.
Now we look at six different strategies for 'assigning' playing time.
For this exercise we're assuming normal game conditions - a regular 48 minute regular season game where everyone is healthy and available. There are 48 minutes for each position on the floor (PG, SG, SF, PF, and C). Over all there is a total 240 available minutes, with which we have to spread out over 15 players. Some guys are more important than others, so their minutes are locked in first. Who these players are depends on the over all philosophy for that specific example of playing time.
Of course, it is good to remember that over a course of a season there are injuries, line-up changes, and more reasonable playing time rotations (we hope). For the closed system of one game, though, we are going to go with whole numbers and keep things simple. (After all, if you averaged up the MPG for the Jazz last season you'd get a number larger than 240.0)
Let's get at it, shall we?
Attempts 1, 2, and 3:
These three attempts are the most straight forward. They are:
- The estimated baseline values (which we got from Part 5)
- A focused approach for the Peak Players (see Part 1)
- A focused approach for the Green Players (see Part 1)
There are three different attempts here, the first one being quite balanced. The main problem is that in the Estimated baseline values we were trying to get Gordon Hayward 34 mpg, but this was pretty much not going to be possible. He is ONLY playing 31 mpg here. But that's still tied for second most on the team, tied with Derrick Favors. In an attempt to give Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, and Paul Millsap the lion's share of the bigman minutes Enes Kanter hardly plays at all. This actually happened last season as well -- he did average about 16 mpg, but his games where he was bumped up because of injuries actually got him more playing time that boosted up his average. Still, this idea is far from perfect, but it does distribute the playing time for the PG, SG, and SF in pretty reasonable ways.
The second attempt is focused on the peak players. These are the guys who are older than 25 years old (as of Oct 31st) who have five year averages of over 24.0 mpg. Big Al, Mo Williams, Marvin Williams, and Paul Millsap all play 30 or more MPG. Randy Foye plays 28 mpg as well. Our youth takes a hit here, and the minutes don't trickle down towards the bench guys or 3rd stringers. Four of the top six mpg earners in this attempt are in contract years. So that is working out for them.
The third attempt is focused on the green revolution. And frankly, it is equally unlikely as the focus on just the peak players. In the Peak player focus Derrick Favors was playing 24 mpg. In the green player focus Big Al is only playing 28 mpg. Both are not going to happen.The Green attempt seems to focus more on our future at the expense of pissing off some of our veterans in contract years. But to be fair, that's pretty unavoidable. Is it better, then, to piss off the guys we have under contracts instead?
All three of these give little to no playing time to 7 out of the 15 players on our roster. It's not fair, but we are playing this game to win games, right?
Attempts 4, 5 and 6:
These three are a little bit more different. They are:
- "Everyone gets to play"
- A focused approach for veterans, which includes the Yellow and Red zone players (See Part 1)
- a hypothetical situation where either one of Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap was off the team, while the remaining one was still on.
If we DO try to get everyone playing time you get a farce of a roster rotation. This is like the summer league clown carousel that they use. Here 13 players get to play, but none really get to play for a long time.
The Vets = Best lineup makes me die a little on the inside. But you know the WORST thing about it? Replace Marvin w/ Gordon, and replace Gordon with DeMarre . . . and you almost have our actual, real life lineup rotation from last year. (need yo replace Mo with Devin Harris).
The last lineup I'm charting out here is the hypothetical world where there is only one of Pal Jeffersap. We either have Al Jefferson, or Paul Millsap -- but not both. I don't know who we trade them to, what we get back in return, or if they are removed through some other means. That's not my job to make up trades. It's my job to look at the numbers though. Removing one of them opens things up nicely for our remaining bigs, while things are pretty manageable around the perimeter.
Points to consider:
- Randy Foye figures to play a lot in each of these situations. He's not a young guy with high upside now. He's going to be 29 when the season starts. And I expect him to get more playing time than I'd want. That's why he's getting 24-28 mpg in these estimations. It's more than I'd want to play him, but it's probably what he's going to get this year.
Alec Burks seems to be the most affected by the Foye signing, but if you actually DO play Foye at the PG you can still find half a game for Burks easily. (While still giving Gordon and Marvin close to 30 mpg each) I've shown EXACTLY how to do this in 5 of the 6 examples here. So no one can bull crap about "people want him to play more, but no one offered a solution." I've offered 5 here.
- Enes Kanter needs playing time. He was drafted as a teen, a teen who did not play any college, and did high school in the middle of nowhere California. He does not have a lot of basketball experience. You're not going to get him to catch up to where he should be by playing him less. This is the Hank Scorpio Simpsons episode all over again, wherein they put Bart Simpson in a 'catch up' school program where in order to catch up to his grade level he was in a program where he went slower. There's no way Enes is going to catch up by playing less. He does not really have a chance to play more here though. Hopefully this is resolved next season.
- A lot of this season rests on the shoulders of Paul Millsap. An even biggest part of this season rests on what rests on Paul's shoulders -- his head. If he can go to the bench and be happy, if he can play 30 or less mpg and be happy -- then we can be a good team. If he cannot do either then we have problems.
- I don't like how we have four PGs right now -- and the youngest one is going to be 29 years old. I don't like how all four of our PGs are in contract years. And I really don't like how three of the four are legit "2nd string PGs". The only solution does seem to mean playing one or more of them at SG for part of the season. (Yes, I did not even bring this up, but we may see Mo Williams at the 2 this year) Things would be different if our 4th stringer was a young rookie, or if our 4th stringer was not good. Instead of 4th stringer could be a 2nd stringer on another team.