In order to better formulate a PLAN (because apparently no one has made a plan that satisfies certain members of the Utah Jazz community) I've decided to do a lot of HOMEWORK while making my minutes plan. And you know what else? I'm actually going to be SHOWING my work too. You get transparency here at SLC Dunk. It hurts some peoples' feelings though, but hey, reality isn't an Ivory Tower. The first part of the plan is to look at our players on the roster, and try to figure out where they are coming from. What really determines the type of role a player is willing to expect and accept really SHOULD be where their career is going. Part of that is where they've come from. Another part of that is in what period of their career they are in right now.
Younger guys may feel it necessary to shut their mouths in order to pay their dues. Older guys may similarly be happy to contribute when called upon. People in contract years want the time on the floor to get their next contract. And players in their peak (not too old, but with god experience) really want to maximize where they are right now. All in all, juggling minutes is never easy. But when have I ever taken the easy route in term of internet sports pissing contests?
Part 2 - Focusing on Point Guards
The Point guard problem:
Last season there was a team that, on paper, had four legit PGs - and in order to get everyone playing time two of them played way more SG than they probably would have wanted to play coming into the league. This team made the playoffs last season. That team was the Los Angeles Clippers. We picked up two of those players this off-season and now we have four legit PGs on paper. We have the same problem they had. So what do you think our solution to this problem is going to be?
The Point guards:
Mo Williams (29.87 years old when season starts, 5 yr avg of 33.3 mpg) -- Mo flat out said he wants to finish his career here. He started it here, after all. He's a legit point guard and a favorite of mine since his days helping my fantasy teams as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. He's older, and still holding onto his peak status (which we went over in Part 1).
Randy Foye (29.11 years old when the season starts, 5 yr avg of 28.2 mpg) -- Randy, would you believe, is almost as old as Mo Williams? I think it's false to think that Foye has a lot of upside left. He is an interesting character and like Mo, he has legit three point ability. Foye is going to play PG and SG this season. We can kind of only hope that it's more PG than SG, but hey, I'm not the coach.
Earl Watson (33.39 years old when the season starts, 5 yr avg of 25.3 mpg) -- Earl was here the longest, being part of that great S.W.A.R.M. bench unit. He's a defense first guy who is now on the down side of his career. Still, he has averaged over 24.0 mpg over the last five seasons. He's not going to go to the bench quietly to pick up 6-10 mpg. He's a bulldog and will fight on the court, and we can assume in practice as well.
- Jamaal Tinsley (34.68 years old when the season starts, 5 yr avg of 25.2 mpg) -- Jamaal is the elder statesman of this unit, but none of these guys are young. Seriously, the youngest is still 29.11 years old. Jamaal did all that was asked of him and he behaved very professionally all season long. He didn't gripe about minutes, and he was ahead on the depth chart over Blake Ahearn. Right now he's looking at the #4 PG spot. Unless, of course, Randy starts at the SG spot, then he's only #3
One more interesting fact about our PGs . . . they are ALL in contract seasons. So, yay, fun!
Their 5 season trends:
Mo has gone down every year, but now back in the starters spot I kinda think he wants to play at least 30 mpg again. Randy has been up and down, but no matter what team he was on (this same is for MIN, WAS, and LAC), or which spot (PG or SG) he always played at least half the game. He'd love to see that pretty much continue as well. Earl went from being a starter to a bench leader. He did not play over 30 mpg ever, but by the same token, did not really dip below 20. Even last season with all the ups and downs he still played 20.7 mpg. Jamaal has already accepted his fate. Wonder if Earl will pick up the hint this year?
My interpretation of where their MPG baselines have to start:
- Mo probably needs to start at 30 mpg. He'd probably like to play a few more minutes, but I have to do all the other guys' minutes too. As long as he's starting and finishing games, I think he'll be happy getting 30 mpg.
- Randy will want to play at least 24 mpg. Last year he played 26 mpg off the bench, and he probably assumes he'll be playing a very similar role here in Utah. We can try to make Randy play some sort of nearly equal distribution of his minutes at PG and SG to alleviate the PG minutes problem (you know, because I've resigned myself to seeing a problem at the SG spot already)
- Earl, man, love his heart. but He's not going to get 20 mpg this season for the Jazz.
- Jamaal, I guess he's only going to be getting major burn when other guys ahead of him are injured. So I hope he'll get his normative above one quarter of playing time -- but not a lot of games played.