Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rotation Expansion?

It's been a focus of this blog to see the rotation expand to 10-11 players during the regular season - no matter who the players are. Of course, you can't do that in the playoffs, which has always been a point of contention.

Here's some words from the horse's mouth. We'll see whether or not - the words translates into action. As a note, last year - Woodson said he was going to be expanding the roster and playing more players during the season. Time will tell....

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-hawks/woodson-says-additions-have-100666.html?cxtype=rss_sports_82038

Also, a last note - he also notes the fact that other teams besides the big 3 will be targeting the Hawks spot as the 4th seed. Something that we've taken a lot of grief for even suggesting...ironically, there is something that Woodson and I agree on.

42 comments:

thirdfalcon said...

10 or 11 is too many, things just get too complicated, and guys don't know where they stand.

Of the 4 teams that made it to the conference Finals, they all have more than 10 players that averaged over 15 minutes per game. However they also all had significant trades and injuries that inflated the minutes played per game of other players.

With the Hawks, it was obvious form the beginning of the season who the best players were, we didn't have anybody miss more than 21 games, and there were no trades made during the season, so it makes sense our minutes played worked out neatly.

Xavier said...

ATL come on now. The grief you caught wasn't suggesting other teams were gunning for the fourth seed. The grief you caught was suggesting the Hawks were at best an eighth seed or worse.

rbubp said...

Let's be clear: the grief was about suggesting not that the Hawks would be threatened, but that falling significantly is likely.

And as I write this I see that Xavier has shotgunned me on this point, so I willingly back-seat drive.

rbubp said...

"Again, I feel good about our team. And if we can add a couple more veterans to help our cause, I think we’ll be in that same mix we were last year when we had to earn our way to that No. 4 seed."

And further on the Woodson debate, here he is basically settling for the same playoff position as last year, and making it sound as though that will be a significant achievement.

Maybe they'll have to "play harder" to get that tough, tough fourth seed in the tough, tough Eastern Conference.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I think you guys love to leave out the point I made about how my feeling could change with FA signings and that I would revisit it after Aug. 1st.

So again - I stand firm on the point that on that date (that was before anyone had been signed with only Crawford to show for our offseason) I felt that we had fallen back in the pack. But we all value it differently, so let's move on to TF's comments.

So, TF, I think you're again bucking conventional wisdom for teams who are trying to win a title with your statement. There's a difference btw what are your best players and what players can grow into or simply are good enough to give your best players a blow in order to keep them fresh for the postseason OR can step in when players go down or are simply not playing well.

So, you seem to give a pass for something that no one does. Ask around any good team - they all play 10, 11 regularly (I'm not saying every game, but I am saying regularly) and you shorten your roster in the postseason. That's a time worn NBA philosophy, so is your point to give Woodson a pass for running the team into the ground and having them ill-prepared for the prospect that injuries happen?

Those 10th and 11th men for the teams you're describing aren't world beaters. Trevor Ariza didn't get off the bench for the Magic. Shannon Brown didn't play a lick for the Cavs. So, if I buy your argument - are you telling me that if Teague is the 9th man and not ready for the postseason play starting out the gate - he shouldn't be a part of the rotation?

I'm trying to make sure I understand what you're saying - basically, as it stands - if we go into the season with the same team as last year save Teague and Crawford...that basically - we should play 8 players all season. You won't have a problem with Teague not playing if he hasn't shown that he's ready for NBA rotation minutes in training camp b/c I will. I don't want us to have to count on Solomon Jones, but if he's the 10th best player on the roster - if he's the 4th big man on the team, then dammit - play his ass all season - give him 10 minutes every single night, so that Al can give us 35 of his best minutes instead of 45.

Also, as a note - there wasn't a trade of any significance that made the coaches for the Lakers, Nuggets, Magic, or Cavs play more players during the regular season or postseason. When Anthony Carter and Anthony Johnson are getting postseason minutes, it's just the coach's philosophy to play players so that their best can rest or in some cases to get a spark from the bench. Coach Woodson uses neither tactic during the regular season and therefore, when forced - those players look woefully unprepared to play basketball.

That's coaching and has nothing to do with knowing who the best 8 were. In fact, your argument flies in the face of the logic that says since injuries bit us more than a few times last season - we might want to play the other players we have, so that they are ready for the postseason. And it's not even all about injuries - it's also about having players who can provide you a spark when the top 8 aren't getting it done.

Xavier said...

I'm thinking 3rd meant 10 or 11 players avg. 15 minutes per game. I hope.

thirdfalcon said...

I'm saying that they play 8 or 9 guys at any given time. Vlad Radmonovic played major minutes for the Lakers at the beginning of the season, then they decided that they didn't like him and shipped him out while someone else stepped into his role. But he still shows up as playing 16.8 minutes per game for the Lakers.

When Jameer Nelson gets injured and doesn't play until the end of the season, Rafer Alston steps in and takes most of his minutes. They still both have 30 minutes per on the stat sheet but they traded roles.

These kinds of situation increase the number of players they have that play more than 15 minutes a game, but both teams still only played their best 8 or 9 guys at any given time. This is similar to every other team that wants to win in the NBA.

But anyway, if your criteria for being in the rotation is 10 minutes, we did have a 10 man rotation last year. So I don't see what you want to change, other than playing guys that suck now and always will suck more minutes so the Hawks can prove to you that said players suck.

rbubp said...

ATL, part of the reason several of us gave you grief about the falling back prediction was EXACTLY BECAUSE only half the team had been signed.

Yes, we ignored the revisit comments, or at least I did.

Anyway...

Xavier said...

ATL besides JJ who was run into the ground? I think 35 minute range is good for a decent to good NBA player. Only JJ exceeded that on the Hawks.

thirdfalcon said...

"ATL, part of the reason several of us gave you grief about the falling back prediction was EXACTLY BECAUSE only half the team had been signed.

Yes, we ignored the revisit comments, or at least I did.

Anyway..."

This...

I didn't want to dignify the way you are defending that with a response, but he said it pretty well

thirdfalcon said...

"ATL besides JJ who was run into the ground? I think 35 minute range is good for a decent to good NBA player. Only JJ exceeded that on the Hawks."

This^

But never mind the fact that we got Crawford specifically to address this problem.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

This is why our discussions degenerate into just talking at each other vs. having a discussion to understand each other (disagreement or not).

So, I'm going to state my point, then back it up. And you can communicate what assumptions you disagree with and back it up. We'll learn more that way...

My point is that you must play more than 8 players as a part of your rotation for the purpose of developing your bench (for rest, spark, and injury purposes). That is not happening with the Hawks. Woodson doesn't play more than a 8-9 man rotation which I believe causes the lack of bench production.

As an example, the Lakers played 10 players (not including Radmanovic) who play regular minutes (and that doesn't include Shannon Brown who also played vital postseason minutes) a game throughout the season. The Celtics played 11 players (not including KG) who were used to playing by postseason. The Bulls had 10 players (not including those who weren't on the roster or Deng) who were used to playing by postseason. The Cavs had 10 as well. The Nuggets had 10 (Balkman was trimmed from the Nuggets playoff rotation). The Magic had 10 players as well.

Now, the Hawks had 8 players who played all the time. Despite the fact that 3 of those players didn't play 70 games, there was no appreciable use of the remaining players. Yes, Law and Jones avg'd 10 minutes, but they didn't play in 15-30 games, so they got 10 minutes in games they played. The difference for the Hawks and other teams is that they weren't playing just b/c, not b/c they were injured for significant parts (10+ games) of the season.

In 07, the Hawks played 8 players (and that includes Pachulia being in the doghouse for 20+ games), no one else played any minutes to prepare them for the postseason.

In '06, there were 8-9 players with a lot of DNPs for players who might have needed the PT when we weren't going to make the playoffs.

In '05, there were 9 players who got significant minutes.

In '04, it's hard to say b/c there were so many trades that year, but I think the other 4 years are instructive - Coach Woodson just trusts the guys he trusts and that's it. There is no player development in his game plan.

So, I'm not trying to find the minute threshold b/c the chance for a player to contribute can be in 2 3 minute stints a game and I'd be happy, but the point would be that they play every game and know their role. So, I want the backup point guard to play every single game he's healthy. I don't want a 3 man guard rotation all season. I don't want a 3 man big man C/PF rotation all season.

So, that's what I want and think would help the team. And to be clear, the only way the JJ minutes overuse gets fixed is if Teague is a part of the rotation. If he's not (and I'm making the assumption that he won't be based on Woodson's history), then you still have the 3 man guard rotation, which means - JJ will be playing major minutes unless Woodson changes his stripes.

thirdfalcon said...

First of all stop "assuming" that I can only argue assumptions. You are not God and your logic is not infallible.

Second, There are 96 minutes for 2 guard positions available each night. If Crawford plays 30 minutes a game there are 66 minutes left over. if Bibby plays 32 like he did last year, that leaves 34 for Joe. This assumes that Teague and Greasy literally never play.

Adding the small forward position, there are 144 minutes available. if Marvin plays 34 minutes like he did last season, Crawford plays 30, and Mo plays 15. That leaves 33 minutes that Joe would play. Again this assumes that Teague and Greasy don't play at all, and that Mo's minutes go down. So there is definitely room to rest Joe next year even if Teague is not a factor.

As for your "assumption" that we will have a 3 man big rotation, It's looking more and more like we are going to sign a veterans big, so we should have a 4 man big rotation. Which makes us a team that has a 9 man rotation of players.

The Lakers had 7 players that played more than 60 games and more than 15 minutes. The Celtics also had 7. Ditto for the Cavs. The Bulls had 4. The Nuggets had 9. The Rockets had 7. As did the Magic.

Every team wants to settle on a rotation of 8 or 9 players. At the beginning of the season they play more, but once they get into the middle that changes.

All of those are facts, nit assumptions.

rbubp said...

TF, how is that there are 144 minutes for the SF position? By the means you identified the guards--96--wouldn't there only be 48 per game for SF?

Is there an appreciable amount of game time when two SFs are on the floor at the same time?

rbubp said...

Which would suggest that a three-guard lineup is possible and probably more likely than a two- or three-SF line up. Or is a three-guard lineup a time when a guard is simply playing SF?

In either case the only thing I can figure is that more time be allowed for the guards and a lot less for the SFs.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

First, I will just ask that you relax your tone. I provided a suggestion for us to learn more about what you're saying and that was it. I'm very aware of my non-God like status and infallibility.

Now, to your comment, let's start with this - just tell us if you believe that Woodson's player management was good last year and if you think it's gonna be good or better next year?

B/c I think sometimes you just want to dispute and rebut everything I say for sport. Almost everything we debate has been assumptions, so I'm not sure what that comment about assumptions even means.

I don't want to argue with you - I already am pretty clear that we won't agree on what I think you're implying, but I'll let you say what it is before I confirm.

MY point was that Woodson only plays 8-9 guys regularly based on his history. I'm not sure if your point was to say - Woodson doesn't play only 8-9 guys (which I'd completely disagree with and think I can prove) or Woodson hasn't had good enough players to play 8-9 guys (that's debatable and to that I've said - there's a net positive to playing young players like Law and Jones for 5-10 mins each game).

Now, I'm assuming (and you can confirm this point for me) that you believe that Woodson is going to expand his rotation this year. I'm not sure if you are saying he will as long as we sign some more players or if he will no matter what happens the remainder of the season. My point was that his goal should be playing 10-11 people no matter what and I highlighted why I believe that to be true.

I'm not sure if you're saying I'm incorrect in my assessment of his coaching history or if you're saying Woodson is going to change his coaching stripes this season. My responses to you were to rebut your assertions about what other teams do and that 'it made sense that our minutes worked out neatly'. I disagree with that point pretty strongly.

Now, I'm unsure why you'd ask me to stop assuming that you only can only talk about assumptions when you start your conversation out with 2 assumptions. The first is that Crawford is going to play 30 minutes. Isn't that an assumption? You then compound that assumption by saying something that's factually incorrect by quoting per minute numbers for Bibby - he played 35 minutes a game (34.7 to be exact) - not totally off, but I'm not sure why how you got that wrong. Under those conditions (and no other guards playing) - Joe would average 31 minutes a game.

Unfortunately, if I use your breakdown, that presumes two things - 1) that JJ isn't playing any SF minutes, which he does and 2) Woodson will change his coaching patterns. I won't make an assumption to the contrary until I see it, so my assumption is that Woodson will continue to coach the way he always has and JJ will play the minutes he always has. History tells us that a more accurate assumption for the backup guard in Woodson's 3 man rotation would be 25 mins/gm. Even if you add in Teague - I think he'd take Bibby's minutes almost exclusively due to the defensive liability that having Teague with Crawford or Bibby. Which still leaves you at 36 Guard mins for Joe, but when you add in his 4 mins at SF (JJ does play SF for small stints) mins - we're right back where we started.

This is what has led him to his 4 yr average of 40 minutes/game (with his low of 39.5 last season). Anyway, I've said repeatedly that there has ALWAYS been room for JJ to rest if Woodson used a philosophy that said - getting him rest is good for the bench development and for his postseason freshness. History doesn't suggest that Woodson is planning on resting JJ. As I noted, he's said what he's saying now about resting JJ for 3 straight offseasons, which is why I don't believe anything changes - unless we sign another good guard OR he bucks his trend of not playing inexperienced guards - Joe's gonna be playing 40 minutes a game in 2009-2010.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

One last thing...

As for your stats about the other teams, I won't debate them b/c they don't change the point I made about having players who played consistent minutes going into the postseason. I didn't put a threshold on how many games they played and having to play 15 minutes. A lot of factors come into play regarding your 60 game, 15 minute statistic (mostly injuries, trades, and free agent signings), so I stripped away a lot of it and just looked at the rosters and said - who was in the rotation of players who played regularly going into the postseason. So, your numbers could be correct and still not address the point I made.

In my analysis, I didn't even include guys like KG, Jameer Nelson, etc. I just included the guys who played all season when healthy for the team heading into postseason. I was trying to illustrate the point that going into the postseason - the other teams have more postseason-ready players to choose from in the cases of a needed spark or injury. That's what I was trying to illustrate and that philosophy of getting players ready doesn't change based on what players you have at your disposal. So, you could have provided some facts, but I didn't see any that showed that shortening the roster happens in the middle of the season b/c the regular season and postseason box scores and statistics wouldn't support that view.

thirdfalcon said...

I'm saying we had a 8 man rotation last year that consisted of Bibby, Joe, Marvin, Josh, Horford, Flip, Mo, and Zaza.

This year it will be about the same with Crawford subbed in for flip. and probably another big man. That will give us a 9 man rotation. And I'm saying that is ideal. So I'm saying the rotation will expand by one if we get another veteran big.

I'm also saying that every other successful team used a similar 9 man rotation at any given time, and saying otherwise is just ignorant. The injuries and trades account for why those teams had so many guys that have inflated minutes per game averages.

And overall, I'm saying that again you are criticizing the Hawks for not meeting your standards, and praising other teams for doing things exactly the same way. Other teams are not playing 10 or 11 guys in games. And if they are it's because they are blowing out teams and they are sitting all their good players. I proved this with the numbers I gave you on all the teams I thought were relevant.

Saying Crawford will play 30 minutes is an assumption, but I didn't say I wasn't going to argue assumptions, I said I was also going to use facts. You seem to be very prideful that your logic is sound and scientific, but I'm proving that it's not

Rbubp; 144 is the total minutes for the PG, SG, and SF positions combined. I did this to account for the possibility that Joe sees allot of minutes at SF in a three guard lineup.

Basically Crawford has played close to 30 minutes a game his whole career, and I'm sure Woodson knows that there could be a problem with him if his minutes decrease drastically and I believe he wants to avoid that.

rbubp said...

Comments section=why ATL is always right.

I'm not even sure if TF is right about this issue, but there's never any gray area where you're concerned, apparently. Ever.

I'll take my answer off the air, permanently, I think.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@rbubp, it's not going to bother me either way, but I think you're being a little extreme to say that this section is about me being always right.

I think I've said on MULTIPLE occasions that most of this is conjecture and will be proven in some ways next year and in others over the next 2-3 years on the court, so I certainly don't feel as though I'm always right and I certainly don't even WANT to be right about some of the stuff I believe.

But if it helps to permanently leave - no worries. Don't let the fact that I don't agree with your line of thinking or accept your argument on everything keep you from thinking that I'm not humble and forthright enough to admit when I'm PROVEN to be wrong. I have no problem with doing so - it wouldn't be Str8Talk any other way.

Cheers!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, I'll take the literal meaning of ignorant, so that I don't get emotionally attached to a response and then, I'll take the time to say a few things.

Thanks for the clarity on your stance on the rotation. I don't want to try to take you away from your point. I think we've articulated what we think is ideal and we disagree.

That's ok. So, I'll just take the part that I think is false (that all successful teams had 9 players in the rotation) to task.

So, if we agreed that all teams have 9 players, then you'd have a valid, salient point. But I don't agree that that's the case and that's why I'm criticizing the Hawks. I'm saying we had 8 players when other teams have 10-11 players. You have then redefined that for me and made a claim that I completely disagree with to make a point that I'm being inconsistent.

You haven't proved one thing in your analysis. You've provided an opinion that I don't buy. AT ALL. You just guessed at what you think Woodson is going to do that isn't based in anything Woodson has done in his past. So, to me, that's ignorance. And I could accept your ignorance if you didn't feel the need to act as if you know what the hell you're talking about. Half the bloggers read our comments and clown you guys b/c it's apparent you'll just pull anything out to make a point. I don't spend time doing that I just try to understand your point of view.

So, you have tried to say that I said something that I didn't say using a logic that isn't rooted in truth. So, let me blow a hole in your argument that every team uses a 9 man roster. When I'm done with that, maybe you can come back and explain why I'm wrong and you can also explain why you neglected to communicate why Woodson didn't just use one more player the last 3 years to have a real 9 man rotation.

To be continued...

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Here's what players were a part of regular season rotations for top teams last year (I only included players available and playing after the trade/FA deadlines):

Celtics - Pierce, Rondo, Allen, Davis, Perkins, House, Powe, Scalabrine, Marbury, and Moore. Didn't include Garnett or T. Allen

Cavs - James, Williams, West, Ilguaskas, Gibson, Wallace, Varejao, Sczerbiak, Smith, Pavlovic

Nuggets - Anthony, Billups, Nene, Smith, Kleiza, Martin, Andersen, Jones, Carter, Balkman

Rockets - Ming, Artest, Scola, Brooks, Mutumbo, Wafer, Landry, Lowry, Battier, Hayes (didn't include Barry or McGrady)

Lakers - Gasol, Bryant, Bynum, Fisher, Farmer, Ariza, Walton, Vujacic, Powell, Odom (and I didn't include Shannon Brown - who made good contributions in the postseason)

Magic - Turkoglu, Lewis, Gortat, Howard, Alston, Pietrus, Lee, Redick, Johnson, Battie (not even including Nelson)

Blazers - Roy, Aldridge, Pryzbilla, Outlaw, Blake, Fernandez, Oden, Batum, Frye, Rodriguez

Spurs - Parker, Duncan, Mason, Ginobili, Gooden, Finley, Bonner, Hill, Thomas, Bowen, Udoka, Oberto (and admittedly - this is skewed due to the number of injuries, but my point is that they have players who are playing enough to be ready to play come postseason)

Jazz - Williams, Millsap, Okur, Boozer, Brewer, Harpring, Kirilenko, Miles, Korver, Knight (and I won't include Price)

Now, if you disagree with my assessment of the players that are a part of the reg. rotation, then that's fair game. Have at it, but I certainly think you need to again - back off statements like ignorance. I know what I'm saying and why I believe it. I think it's founded and supported by many reasonable NBA authorities.

Based on that, I don't see where the Hawks have a comparable rotation and are 2 people short of what any good coach would employ. So, my position is that it's Woodson's coaching strategy, not the players or some NBA norm that's in the way of expanding the roster. So, as an example - I don't see Solomon Jones as so much worse than Josh Powell. I don't see Acie Law as vastly inferior to George Hill or Ronnie Price. I also would say that you obviously haven't watched many games b/c I have watched us blow teams out more than few times by 20 points and not see JJ and company go to the bench until 2-3 minutes left in the game.

So, I disagree with your logic and your theory, but it's cool. I can take it just as much as I can dish it. You just make sure you convict me of the right charge. I'm holding the Hawks to the same standard I'd hold other top teams to and for you to suggest otherwise - is well ignorant.

I'll just close with saying - I'm glad you have faith that Woodson knows how to handle Crawford. We'll see if your assumption proves true.

thirdfalcon said...

lets start by defining "ignorant".

ignorant; lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: an ignorant man.

now that that's out of the way lets see what all the teams that were better than the Hawks playoff rotations looked like...

Cleavland; 8 players that played over 10 minutes in the post season

Boston; 6 players that played over 10 minutes per game in the postseason

Chicago; 7

Denver; 7

Houston; 8 (7 once Yao went down)

L.A.; 9 but vujicic barley made the cut

Orlando; 12

Portland; 8 but Batum barely made the cut.

S.A.; 8

Utah; 8 but Miles barely made the cut.

So of the 10 teams that were better than the Hawks, two used a rotation greater than 9 in the playoffs. And Orlando that used a whopping 12.

This with my earlier stats proves that teams generally try to identify who their best player are, play them as much as they can, and only play their "scrubs" if they have too, or show significant potential.

So what was that about me being ignorant?

thirdfalcon said...

As for the bloggers that are "clowning" me, well, that's why group thinking can be dangerous, you all agree for long enough and do your best to back up what you already beleive whil ignoring evidence to the contrary, and pretty soon you'll start making dumb statements like "the Hawks should play 11 players next year".

thirdfalcon said...

"I think I've said on MULTIPLE occasions that most of this is conjecture and will be proven in some ways next year and in others over the next 2-3 years on the court, so I certainly don't feel as though I'm always right and I certainly don't even WANT to be right about some of the stuff I believe."

LMAO at this. So not always being right means that what you say won't be proven for 2 to 3 year? I'm so glad we have a genius like you that's willing to be a martyr so we lowly non-bloggers can see the light of your divine words.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I had this long thought, but because I'm trying to stay above the fray on this - I'll just say simply... Third Falcon, your comments aren't welcome here any longer. Not b/c they differ from mine (if that was the case, I'd have stopped talking to you about 3 blogs ago) but b/c you're incapable of keeping this from being personal.

I wouldn't call you or your statements - dumb, ignorant, or any other word that would signal signs of disrespect. You can try to color any other way, but it's worthless to continue the dialogue b/c that's what you continue to inject in this and it causes my ego to want to tell you how I really feel about you and what you have to say. So, rather than do that and waste our time - I'll just say you are welcome to your opinion and I will just leave it at.

I don't value your opinion nor do I think you are very astute as it relates to the NBA or the Hawks, so I'll move away from having further discussion with you.

So, rbubp, Xavier, and the like - if you have anything you want to discuss on the rotation expansion issue - I'm happy to oblige whether you agree with my stance or not.

Best wishes and let's hope that we all have something to celebrate in the Hawks nation soon enough.

thirdfalcon said...

Nice way to avoid admitting that your wrong. I actually admire your sheer will at finding a way to weasle out of the facts so you can continue to fast out whatever BS comes out of your ass. It must be a talent.

Do remember though that ignorant shouldn't be taken as an insult, and that you were the one that brought up other bloggers "clowning" me. But good thing it's not you that made anything personal.

Not that this is personal for me. I'm just calling things like I see it. str8 talk right?

Jesse said...

Once again I'm going to avoid the train wreck that is happening here and simply throw down some numbers and state my opinion on the rotation issue.

I'm not exactly sure what the common-thought cut-off is for deciding whether a player is or isn't a part of the standard rotation for a team, but I'll make one that I think most can agree on. Let's go low and say 15% and above minutes played for the team. I figured if you played 15% of minutes across a full regular season, then you were clearly a stable piece of a rotation, but ymmv. This is across the entire 82-game regular season. Based on this alone, here's what I found (courtesy of 82games.com)

# 15%+(# 10-14%)
ATL: 9(1)
BOS: 10(1)
CLE: 13(2)
ORL: 9(1)
MIA: 11(3)
PHI: 10(0)
CHI: 12(1)
WAS: 10(1)
DET: 10(0)

These numbers reflect all players for each team that played minutes at any point in the season, so this is not filtered on anything. Ex. Morning had 10% of Miami’s minutes, so I’m not sure if one should list him as part of the regular rotation or not.

I'll continue in the next post...

Jesse said...

These variances made me look further into rotations specifically. 82games.com tracks the top 20 rotations used by each team, but for the purpose of this exercise, I’m only going to use the top ten. The reason for this is because, for the most part, once you get outside the top ten, the rotations being used are only accumulating 40-50 minutes on average and that’s really not significant across an entire season. Again, this is simply my opinion and may or may not be in line with common though, so ymmv.

Here are the number of players I found for each team:

ATL: Bibby,JJ,Williams, Smith, Horford,Evans,Flip,Zaza = 8 (In fact, the only other person to show up on the list is Solo, and not until the 20th rotation)
BOS: Rondo,R.Allen,Pierce, Garnett,Perkins,T.Allen,Posey,House,Davis = 9 (3 others in the top 20)
CLE: Gibson,Pavlovic,James,Gooden,Ilgauskas,Hughes,West,D.Brown,Wallace,Newble,Varejao,Da.Jones = 12 (3 others in top 20)
ORL: Nelson,Bogans,Turkoglu,Lewis, Howard,Evans,Arroyo,Dooling,Foyle = 9 (1 other in top 20)
MIA: Williams,Wade,Davis,Haslem,O’Neal,Wright,Marion,Blount,Quinn,Cook,Barron,Hardaway = 12 (5 others in top 20)
PHI: Miller,Green,Iguodala,Evans,Dalembert,Young,Williams,Carney,Korver,Smith = 10 (1 other in top 20)
CHI: Hinrich,Gordon,Deng,Smith,Wallace,Hughes,Gooden,Noah,Nocioni,Thomas,Duhon,Sefolosha = 12 (no others in top 20)
WAS: Daniels,Stevenson,Butler,Jamison,Haywood,Blatche,Mason,Arenas,Songaila,McGuire,Young,Pecherov = 12 (no others in top 20)
DET: Billups,Hamilton,Prince,McDyess,Wallace,Maxiell,Afflalo,Stuckey,Hayes,Johnson = 10 (5 others in top 20)

I noticed while doing this little exercise that while just looking at the top ten rotation worked for teams that were rather stable for the majority of the season, it did not work well for those that made many changes to the lineup throughout the season as it spread the overall minutes around to the point that from the 20th rotation to 11th there might only be about ten to twenty minutes of difference. However, I do feel that from a pure numbers standpoint, the above numbers do seem to support the theory that we use a rather small rotation during the regular season, which I believe is what Larry’s point is. The simple fact that the same eight players are used for our top twenty rotations also suggests the most common theories about Woodson and his neglect at player development and lack of player/game management.

Are there quirks in that data? Sure there are, but what dataset doesn’t have occasional outliers? For instance, while Morning shows up in Miami’s top twenty rotations, Alston doesn’t show up at all in Orlando’s top twenty. This is simply a product of Miami using so many rotations that the minutes are spread evenly whereas Orlando used Alston in some of their least used rotations.

So, in conclusion, I tend to agree that Woodson uses a rather small rotation of players. Some could argue that it is because of the lack of talented depth on the bench, but I would argue that how do we know unless these guys get the minutes to prove it either way? Personally, the fact that we only used nine total players in our twenty most used rotations while most other teams were using 12-15 clearly shows that Woodson does not make great use of his bench. Only Orlando used as few players as the Hawks, but they obviously used those players to a much greater effect as evidenced by their performance throughout the season.

Thoughts?

Jesse said...

Sorry for the horribad formatting job on this last one. I was trying to save space to meet the character limit and in an attempt to post quickly, I forgot to preview. GG me.

Basically, here's a simplified view on the second table.

# in top 10 (# in top 20)
ATL: 8(9)
BOS: 9(12)
CLE: 12(15)
ORL: 9(10)
MIA: 12(17)
PHI: 10(11)
CHI: 12(12)
WAS: 12(12)
DET: 10(15)

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Jesse, your analysis is interesting. The one thing that I wonder is how you find some statistical way to account for the players who wouldn't make that top 10% or the top rotations analysis, but yet contribute regularly toward the end of the reg. season and playoffs (i.e. free agent signings, trades, and rookies/young players who start to play well enough to force a spot in the rotation).

Your analysis leaves out a lot players of those players (Quick Ex: M. Moore & Marbury (BOS), Joe Smith (CLE), Lee & Alston (ORL) - this is not an exhaustative list - just took the top 3 teams you mentioned) etc who were end of season reg. season contributors, and then provided playoff minutes.

Your analysis leaves in players (Ex.: for the Cavs, Hughes, D. Brown, Newble, and Damon Jones) who I don't think were major parts of the rotation at the end of reg. season and certainly weren't in the playoffs.

So, I'm not sure how to come up with the slice of data that really hones in on this point. My cut at it was less scientific than yours, but I think added and cut out the traded/signed players while looking at the last 30 games to show who was truly in the regular rotation and how that number is consistently 10-11 players in the regular season, then that the playoff rotation shrinks from there. Interestingly though, when I did the research from this postseason - most of the playoff rotations didn't shrink as much as they did back in the 80s and 90s.

Back then, teams sometimes went with 7 man playoff rotations, but I think teams are catching on to the value of having larger pools of 'playoff ready' players in the event of injury, foul trouble, or slumps from the team's best players in the rotation. I don't think we can't afford to have players with the deer in headlights look if forced into duty come playoff time again.

Finally, Jesse - save yourself. Agreeing with me in any form may cause you to be labeled as having a God complex about your opinion (or worse yet - having BS diarrhea, your statements called ignorant or dumb, and the like) and who wants that for a silly old basketball discussion :). Save yourself, I implore you...

Jesse said...

You are right that it does include players who are no lonegr a part of those teams and excludes those that are, and that's what I meant by 'quirks in the data'. However, you can't argue regular season rotations and only take into account a portion of the regular season. You have to include the entire 82 games worth of data, and that's exactly what I wanted to provide, the numbers that represent everything.

Also, from what I could tell, who isn't what is being debated here, but rather how much. It doesn't matter if in the first half Orlando used Foyle heavily as Howard's replacement then used Gortat at the end of the season and in the playoffs, because you are simply swapping out one player for the other, and the numbers are still the same. So, to answer you question on how you account for those situations, especially from first half to second half, I respond with you don't have to account for them at all as the numbers are the same. Orlando still only used nine players; whether it was Nelson and Foyle in the first half, or Alston and Gortat in the second, it's still nine players in the rotation.

In fact, I would think that it's reasonable to do the same for most situations, so long as they are somewhat even. If a players gets traded, someone is stepping into their spot in the rotation. That doesn't increase the number of players in the rotation by one, it just changes the name of the player in that spot. This is why I went away from minutes per game and used % of minutes played and top rotations.

And, it supports your original statements that the Hawks do indeed use a smaller rotation throughout the season than what other teams average. That's a win-win in my book.

Haha, I'm not worried about agreeing with you, especially if it can be backed by objective data. TF and I have already had our moments in other places and I think we've both moved on from it. If we have a war of words, I'm sure someone will step up and let us both know we are being blow-hard douche-bags. I always try to be objective as I can when discussing things. Resorting to childish and petty antics doesn't bring anything to the table and surely does not progress thought, so I try to avoid it.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I'm just joking with you about agreeing w/ me - I'm sure you can handle yourself quite well.

There is one part of the discussion that I think takes a different slant for me. My point of contention with regards to the player development is that due to our youth - we need the player development more than others for postseason or even just critical minute in a game readiness.

So, I wouldn't swap out a player if I know that player has proven to a coach that he can provide quality minutes in crucial situations for a team. The thing that I think handcuffs Woodson is that he never gives those young players a consistent chance (that doesn't mean - start Law one game, then if he doesn't set the world on fire - put him back on DNP duty for 8 games like he did earlier this season) to actually play with real bullets. So, if you never play 'em in those situations, not only are you convinced they won't perform, but the team won't know how to play with them and vice versa. It's a self fulfilling prophecy.

So, that's long winded way of saying - I think it's important to note that some players can play very low minutes and be useful in the playoffs, which is why I added some players to the rotation that aren't major cogs in the top 10 rotation machine. Someone like say Lindsay Hunter or Bruce Bowen or those types last year.

My argument is that Law and Jones needed minutes to be useful in pressure situations or the playoffs whereas a Joe Smith type could sit the bench all year and come playoff time - we'd know what we're getting with Joe Smith. So, that's where I'd say you'd need more players in the rotation during the year to ensure that everyone is accustomed to playing when the chips are done and so no excuse making is offered when players get injured.

Jesse said...

I completely agree. You definitely need a solid expanded rotation during the year so that everyone is on the same page come playoff time, so that at the end of the year when you are fighting for a better playoff spot you know who can be depended one and who can not, so that when in crunch time you know that you can give your stars heavier minutes if needed because they will not be worn down from playing 40+ minutes each night throughout the entire season.

Here's to hoping that people really can change.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I'm not holding my breath on that, but I will hold out hope on account of the fact that I'll be back at Philips every game and I need something to keep me coming back outside of this one season ticket holder's lovely face.

I will say that not only for the point of figuring out who you can depend on, but also to hedge your bets in the event that someone shrinks in the playoffs again (ahem, Joe Johnson) - I'd like to think that our coach might try to get a 10 minute or 20 minute spark from a young Teague or put in a Gardner or someone when finding that we need something that a current rotation player (even if he's fresh and not tired or injured) can't give us.

I'd like to see that happen. I noted about 10 games where it was OBVIOUS that our team wasn't bringing it and I was screaming for Woodson to give Law, Jones, West, or even Gardner a shot. I saw it happen 2 times in 82 games. If you're already getting your butt kicked, why not see what happens in those teachable moments? That's where that comfort with time on the court comes in handy.

That's when your Daniel Gibson in the playoffs a few years back or your Aaron Brooks vs. Lakers, etc shows up biggest. I have little confidence right now that that's even possible b/c I don't see Woodson with the trust to allow it to, but hope springs eternal - let's hope he's reading from the 'How To Coach A Titlist'.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Another example of the Hawks Group Think Clique (even though I disagree with him all the time)

http://www.humanhighlightblog.com/2009/07/lose-my-mind.html

There also is an interesting blog on peachtreehoops.com today about Acie Law and Jeff Teague...great reading. Offers hope that Teague won't get the Law treatment, though I just keep going back to - I'll believe Woody is going to treat a non-pure point guard like a guy who needs grooming for the position when I see it.

thirdfalcon said...

Well, if your going to bait me, I'll go ahead and say that the Hawks group think click only exists in your head, which is why it's funny.

However, several of you have similar opinions on several subjects, and you've all spent a decent amount of time trying to prove that. I don't really see any dissenting opinions, and I think in the long run that's bad. You need different views to keep things fresh and your mind moving.

It doesn't make anyone dumb or wrong, it's just human nature. No one can think of every angle. Doesn't mean that I haven't learned allot about the Hawks from reading everyone's blog, or that I think I'm smarter than anyone.

Just wanted to expand on that in case anyone got the wrong idea.

P.S. None of this applies to Hawks Luv, he's a delusional idiot, but as long as he's not thirsty it's cool.

Cheers!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Actually, I thought only Palin could make me laugh and shake my head in sadness at the same exact moment, but alas we have the Third Falcon...

Hawks Group Think comments in one comment, then it's only in my head, then it's back to how several of us think the same. Since I know who I'm dealing with, I know it's not really that plausible for me to believe that you're savvy enough to detect how much we disagree on about the Hawks. Of course, the Blogsphere agreeing on some things and yet adamantly opposed on others would being ..uh, delusional.

Anyway, this is actually funny and it drives up hits to my site, so I don't even mind the name calling and lack of respect. Carry on...

Bueller, Bueller?

thirdfalcon said...

It's a group of people that have something unique in common so there is a dynamic going, yes. But the thought that its a clique is all you, bud. I don't think you enough social experience to understand so just leave it alone.

The situation I'm in is like playing poker with someone that doesn't know the difference between a straight and a flush. I'm just going to do simple things with you. You'll just misunderstand and misinterpret if I do anything complex.

So here goes

I don't really want to post here, but if you are going to take a shot at me then I will to clear things up. That's all.

I know you won't be able to stand not having the last word so I'll give it too you this time. Just remember not to mess with me if you don't want me too post here.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I think it says everything that more than one person said they have had run-ins with you elsewhere.

So, since I didn't really feel the need to prove anything to you and since I only thought we were talking about the Hawks and not what you've so perceptively gleaned about me personally from my comments, I'll reserve the response that you deserve for taking us away from Hawks talk and into something that is less than respectful dialogue.

So, I'll be the socially inept, ignorant, dumb blogger for you, TF. I'm secure enough to not respond to such a lofty level of discourse since it presents a conundrum for us bloggin' fools.

Doesn't that make you feel all victorious and warm and fuzz inside?

Everyone else - don't mind us - we can still talk about the Hawks. I'll have a new thread up later to change the discussion back to the Hawks.

Jesse said...

Well, if they fail to sign Joe Smith then we are looking at one tired frontcourt this season. Woodson will be playing combinations of Horford, Josh, Zaza, then...Hunter? Doubtful.

I'm going to hang on to the theory that Sund is giving Woodson plenty of rope to hang himself. Lots of GM's across all sports like to bring in their guy as coach, so maybe that's Sunds evil diabolical master plan. Followed shortly by taking over the world Pinky!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, I don't think you have to not give him players to set Woodson up for failure, but I guess that's a way to do it.

This Joe Smith thing is still fool's gold. I'd much rather see if we can trade Bibby for Sessions. It's still plausible that they don't want to pay Sessions, so let's just pay him a little more and then give 'em Bibby. That would make the offseason for me. Then, Woodson would be forced to play a young PG (or just show his ass by playing Crawford and Johnson together).