The Utah Jazz have a new, positive direction with General Manager Dennis Lindsey being finally allowed to construct the team he wants. Bereft of albatross contracts; pushy player agents; and coaches who put their own agenda ahead of the team long needs of the franchise, it's no secret why. Rookie NBA head coach Quin Synder has assembled a team to help him develop the high value assets that Lindsey has worked so hard to acquire. Everyone is on the same page right now.
Including the players, as only two guys on the team are in contract years (bench players Evans, and Clark). It's about improving, particularly on defense; and it's about working together as a team. I don't think you're going to hear full-time starters saying "I'm auditioning for 29 other teams" during the middle of the season this year. And yes, money, and time, and opportunities are always going to be a point of contention in any work environment. This season Burks and Kanter may be playing for their future -- but the bigger issue here is that EVERY player here is playing for the future of this team. (And every coach too.)
Anyway, this is my post-preseason attempt at what a normal night should be like for our squad. (Normal = non-blow out, no one injured, no one playing extraordinarily well or poor)
N.B. 2013-2014 MPG is cumulative with regular season and post season, hence any minor differences you may see
Certain players can only get playing time at one of the five normative positions: Trey Burke can only play point guard; Trevor Booker can only play power forward; Rudy Gobert can only play center; and Jeremy Evans can only play power forward. For these guys I built the minutes distribution around these limitations.
For the most part, I tried to give the main players more minutes than the previous season. The exceptions here are Gordon Hayward (who perhaps played too many last year?), Ian Clark (because bench), Trevor Booker (because he got a LOT of minutes last season because of Washington Wizards injuries), and Jeremy Evans (sadly). Furthermore, if you are a deep bench player I'm not counting on you to get burn in this game situation (not a blowout, no injuries).
During a regular season players who aren't playing here will play, obviously. This is because of injuries, hot streaks, and blowouts. So I don't expect guys like Carrick Felix or Toure' Murry to not play at all this year. They will. And they'll do good things on the court. But at the end of the day, with a roster where the average age is 24.12 years old, most of these players need experience in order to improve. Not everyone is going to be able to play 2,000 minutes this year in the NBA. And we have to be okay with that.
I hope that Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, and Dante Exum get close to 2,000 this year; however, it's likely that maybe only four of them surpass that threshold. (Injuries, etc) The other major supposition here is that Rudy Gobert is a bench player for this season, and as a result, I have him capped at 22.00 MPG.
Anyway. This is what I think. Where did I go wrong? Should the starters play more? Should the bench go deeper than five players? How do we accept the fate of Jeremy Evans as a guy who is never going to get a shot to be a rotation player? These are questions we'll wrestle with all season long. But right now, with 82 games ahead of us, this is what I think our rotation should be.