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The "Culture Change" and Defense

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Post#46 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:23 pm by Shorty

nate33 wrote:
Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:What would have made a ton of sense and been proactive, IMO, is for the Wizards to arrange a good trade of Trevor Booker. They could have kept James Singleton because he has an outside shot and he can play SF. I would have been happy to see Trevor not have his minutes pinched, because I think he's a good basketball player. The deal has clouded his future--unless he puts an ineffective Okafor on the bench, or he can play SF and put Ariza on the bench some.

Exactly. Trading Booker for a SF version of Booker would have been real nice. The only trouble is, it's pretty hard to find a guy roughly as good (quality backup, borderline starter, good attitude, future improvement possible) who also has at least 2 years on his rookie deal.



nate33: You've written several times that Booker is your favorite player on the roster, so I know you that you value him and wouldn't trade him lightly.

I just want to say that, from limited information, I have the strong impression that he's the heart and soul of the team, a key part of the culture change we're discussing in this thread. I mostly formed this impression from the positive body language that I saw last year on the court, especially between him and Wall, but I also noticed that Beal cited him (Wizards.com interview) for contacting him immediately after he was drafted. He improved his shot markedly last year, and Nivek has described how much work this entails; I wouldn't put it past him to develop three point range. It reflects well on his character that he played for an Israeli team during the lockout, being willing to broaden his horizons, etc., although maybe he just wanted a paycheck.

I don't regard him as untouchable either; I just think the G.A.M has earned his spot, and that his value to the team goes beyond the minutes he plays. The roster can be balanced later, when the front office has more information about how it all fits together.
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Post#47 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:56 pm by Chocolate City Jordanaire

Shorty wrote:In the NBA, I claim that it's easier to find a defense-oriented player who can hit open shots, available relatively cheap, say, DeShawn Stevenson, than it is to find a player with more skills on offense who is undervalued. But if you can get someone to trade you, say, a young Richard Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse, and then get him to play good defense in your scheme, then by all means do it.

The encouraging thing about the Wizards is that Wall has shown the ability and the inclination to get his teammates open shots even without a good shot of his own. The bigs are willing passers too. So, along with a stifling defense, I'm optimistic that the offense could become good enough to contend.


Shorty, I really appreciate your insights. Great input, always.

I think another reason for optimism would be if the Wizards are able to turn Okafor or Ariza into Stackhouse-like trades for another team's Rip Hamilton. I think modest improvement, and definitely the Wizards making the playoffs, can go a long ways to increasing the value of these two players. Next season, if they're not only expiring contracts but also players who are perceived to be trending upward in productivity that could REALLY be a good thing for the Wizards.

So, despite my ripping EG/Ted, there are still possibilities for redemption and success, ultimately.
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Post#48 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:02 pm by Chocolate City Jordanaire

Shorty wrote:
nate33 wrote:
Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:What would have made a ton of sense and been proactive, IMO, is for the Wizards to arrange a good trade of Trevor Booker. They could have kept James Singleton because he has an outside shot and he can play SF. I would have been happy to see Trevor not have his minutes pinched, because I think he's a good basketball player. The deal has clouded his future--unless he puts an ineffective Okafor on the bench, or he can play SF and put Ariza on the bench some.

Exactly. Trading Booker for a SF version of Booker would have been real nice. The only trouble is, it's pretty hard to find a guy roughly as good (quality backup, borderline starter, good attitude, future improvement possible) who also has at least 2 years on his rookie deal.



nate33: You've written several times that Booker is your favorite player on the roster, so I know you that you value him and wouldn't trade him lightly.

I just want to say that, from limited information, I have the strong impression that he's the heart and soul of the team, a key part of the culture change we're discussing in this thread. I mostly formed this impression from the positive body language that I saw last year on the court, especially between him and Wall, but I also noticed that Beal cited him (Wizards.com interview) for contacting him immediately after he was drafted. He improved his shot markedly last year, and Nivek has described how much work this entails; I wouldn't put it past him to develop three point range. It reflects well on his character that he played for an Israeli team during the lockout, being willing to broaden his horizons, etc., although maybe he just wanted a paycheck.

I don't regard him as untouchable either; I just think the G.A.M has earned his spot, and that his value to the team goes beyond the minutes he plays. The roster can be balanced later, when the front office has more information about how it all fits together.


I wouldn't put that past Booker, provided he gets the minutes, Shorty. Booker with the three point shot respected by opponents could then use a ball fake or a shot fake when they start playing him close. Trevor has the speed and athleticism off of two or three dribbles to be one of the sickest dunkers in the NBA. Yes, I can see him playing SF and being good at it, too, Shorty.

Unfortunately, the roster being what it is now, I think Booker might not ever get the minutes or the comfort level necessary to show some explosive moves, take risks, and make mistakes growing into the position of SF. Trevor will probably get so few minutes that he'll just defend, rebound, and try to play mistake free would be my guess.

I would have preferred to see the Wizards NOT acquire Ariza or Okafor and rather, make sure sufficient minutes were there for Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, along with Jan Vesely. If those guys were to cede minutes, I would have rather they be given up to more talented, young players like Anderson, Ilyasova, or Batum (at a reasonable price, not the deal he got) instead of to Ariza/Okafor.
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Post#49 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:10 pm by DCZards

Shorty wrote:I don't regard him as untouchable either; I just think the G.A.M has earned his spot, and that his value to the team goes beyond the minutes he plays. The roster can be balanced later, when the front office has more information about how it all fits together.


That's the approach I prefer in regards to Trevor. Instead of trading Booker because we think he won't get minutes at PF due to the presence of Okafor/Seraphin/Nene, let's first see where he fits in...or not. I like what Trevor brings to the table both in terms of play and leadership, and I'd hate to lose that without first finding out what role, if any, he can play on this year's team.
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Post#50 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:13 pm by Chocolate City Jordanaire

Shorty wrote:
DCZards wrote:Yes, with coaching and the right defensive schemes most guys can play good D. But if there's one aspect of the game where effort and intensity trump coaching and strategy it's defense, imo. Playing defense is hard work and it won't get you a highlight on ESPN. The best defenders make a physical and emotional commitment to playing great D, which is a commitment that the average player simply doesn't make. Even with the physical tools and coaching, those players never become anything more than decent defenders.


Excellent point. The culture change that Fishercob cites Leonsis as wanting would create a synergy for that kind of effort. A great sign for the future is that Wall, Nene, Seraphin, and probably others stood up for Wittman; they will be motivated to back it up.


Even though I have wanted Dave Joerger for head coach for what seems like forever and a day, I support the decision to stick with Randy Wittman. I think he did a GREAT job coaching this team.

I think he's had no talent to work with at other stops. With talent, Randy is IMO at least competent, and perhaps even a good head coach. He has good, common sense. He doesn't mince words. He has spine with credibility. he doesn't seem to play favorites (but Crawford might be a guy he looks the other way too much with). I trust Randy Wittman. I think he's the type of tough-love, good-dad type coach. I am not sure what type of strategist he is as far as Xs and Os go, but I do think he's a great coach for a team full of young players. I like Randy Wittman a whole lot. I don't say that about many coaches. I hardly ever like a coach that much, but I do like Wittman.

I am most confident Randy Wittman has the respect of the players, at least coming in to the season. The challenge for him is going to be massaging the egos of the players who don't play. He's going to be feeling a LOT of heat if this team doesn't win, because no matter what, guys who played a lot of minutes last year will play LESS. It is easy to like the coach when he's giving you minutes. Let us see how Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely, Jordan Crawford, and Shelvin Mack feel next season. Also, if the Wizards do not win, will Wall be able to rationalize it in a way that does not reflect on the coach? He could point to Javale's immaturity or the lack of seriousness from Nick Young before. Now? There are no more excuses. Randy Wittman is the man who has respect coming in to the season. Will he by midseason still be respected?

This is really make or break on the coach. How he utilizes Okafor and Ariza and how he manages minutes will prove whether Randy Wittman is a good coach.
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Post#51 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:23 pm by fishercob

Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:
Shorty wrote:
DCZards wrote:Yes, with coaching and the right defensive schemes most guys can play good D. But if there's one aspect of the game where effort and intensity trump coaching and strategy it's defense, imo. Playing defense is hard work and it won't get you a highlight on ESPN. The best defenders make a physical and emotional commitment to playing great D, which is a commitment that the average player simply doesn't make. Even with the physical tools and coaching, those players never become anything more than decent defenders.


Excellent point. The culture change that Fishercob cites Leonsis as wanting would create a synergy for that kind of effort. A great sign for the future is that Wall, Nene, Seraphin, and probably others stood up for Wittman; they will be motivated to back it up.


Even though I have wanted Dave Joerger for head coach for what seems like forever and a day, I support the decision to stick with Randy Wittman. I think he did a GREAT job coaching this team.

I think he's had no talent to work with at other stops. With talent, Randy is IMO at least competent, and perhaps even a good head coach. He has good, common sense. He doesn't mince words. He has spine with credibility. he doesn't seem to play favorites (but Crawford might be a guy he looks the other way too much with). I trust Randy Wittman. I think he's the type of tough-love, good-dad type coach. I am not sure what type of strategist he is as far as Xs and Os go, but I do think he's a great coach for a team full of young players. I like Randy Wittman a whole lot. I don't say that about many coaches. I hardly ever like a coach that much, but I do like Wittman.


Yes. I dig that Wittman is known as either a "fiery competitor" or an "as$hole" around the league, per Nivek's source. We're going to get up into teams. We will not back down from anyone. We will be unpleasant to play against. Fans will embrace that culture quickly. Think of how beloved the Bad Boy Pistons were, and how guys like Oakley, Artest, PJ Brown, Reggie Evans, and Tony Allen have been embraced by their respective fanbases. It's the same reason nate loves Booker. Fans want guys who will fight for them.
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Post#52 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:45 pm by nate33

Shorty wrote:
nate33 wrote:
Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:What would have made a ton of sense and been proactive, IMO, is for the Wizards to arrange a good trade of Trevor Booker. They could have kept James Singleton because he has an outside shot and he can play SF. I would have been happy to see Trevor not have his minutes pinched, because I think he's a good basketball player. The deal has clouded his future--unless he puts an ineffective Okafor on the bench, or he can play SF and put Ariza on the bench some.

Exactly. Trading Booker for a SF version of Booker would have been real nice. The only trouble is, it's pretty hard to find a guy roughly as good (quality backup, borderline starter, good attitude, future improvement possible) who also has at least 2 years on his rookie deal.



nate33: You've written several times that Booker is your favorite player on the roster, so I know you that you value him and wouldn't trade him lightly.

I just want to say that, from limited information, I have the strong impression that he's the heart and soul of the team, a key part of the culture change we're discussing in this thread. I mostly formed this impression from the positive body language that I saw last year on the court, especially between him and Wall, but I also noticed that Beal cited him (Wizards.com interview) for contacting him immediately after he was drafted. He improved his shot markedly last year, and Nivek has described how much work this entails; I wouldn't put it past him to develop three point range. It reflects well on his character that he played for an Israeli team during the lockout, being willing to broaden his horizons, etc., although maybe he just wanted a paycheck.

I don't regard him as untouchable either; I just think the G.A.M has earned his spot, and that his value to the team goes beyond the minutes he plays. The roster can be balanced later, when the front office has more information about how it all fits together.

Nice post, shorty. Booker is indeed my favorite player on the team and I wouldn't consider trading him unless we got a real good return. My guess is that we wouldn't be offered enough value for me to agree with parting with Booker, so it's probably a moot issue.

And it may well be that Booker is the heart of the team. If so, that should also be factored.
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Post#53 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:54 pm by Chocolate City Jordanaire

DCZards wrote:
Shorty wrote:I don't regard him as untouchable either; I just think the G.A.M has earned his spot, and that his value to the team goes beyond the minutes he plays. The roster can be balanced later, when the front office has more information about how it all fits together.


That's the approach I prefer in regards to Trevor. Instead of trading Booker because we think he won't get minutes at PF due to the presence of Okafor/Seraphin/Nene, let's first see where he fits in...or not. I like what Trevor brings to the table both in terms of play and leadership, and I'd hate to lose that without first finding out what role, if any, he can play on this year's team.


The reasons I disagree are: 1. Wait and see produces diminishing returns. The only thing that is going to happen is you will find out that sparse minutes will be given Booker. Unless Vesely doesn't play or Seraphin doesn't play, Booker cannot do any better than play backup minutes that will be sparse. When you wait to trade him, his numbers will go down and so will his trade value. 2. Waiting is not proactive, it is reactive. When you get finished waiting, you will find the Wizards lack scorers and guys who can create shots. They lack three point shooting. If you say you'd rather wait to move Booker, you're just delaying discovery of why you need to move him. By then, you'll be rather desperate from losses and it will necessitate a trade made with less leverage, and also reactionary. I understand not trading Booker just for the sake of trading him. However, I also know the guys who are paid the most and the rookies/youngest are who will get the minutes. Booker will play LESS minutes. A lot less. Trying to trade Vesely and Chris Singleton, the latter I don't think anybody will give anything of value for, won't be very fruitful. Reacting at the last minute and trading Trevor later will get less than moving early. It also could preclude the team lacking shooting or some other deficiency from roster construction that you don't even need to wait to see develop. 3. Dissension will set in from guys sitting on the bench when they were playing last season the longer you wait. Guys who have played 25-30 minutes will be lucky to play 10-15 minutes a night. Waiting guarantees this.

I totally disagree with wait and see.
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Post#54 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:18 pm by DCZards

^^^^ ccj, the reason you disagree with "wait and see" is because you've obviously already decided what's going to happen with Bookers' minutes, etc. I don't have that crystal ball. So I'll have to stick with the wait and see approach.
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Post#55 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:35 pm by Chocolate City Jordanaire

I don't have a crystal ball but I told you what I didn't like about Flip one month after he became coach. I told you about Faried about a year and a half before the draft. I did say Wall would struggle and Cousins was going to be a stud.

I don't know what is going to happen with Booker's minutes, but I can do math pretty well. Between PF and C in a 48 minute game, there are only 96 minutes. If you expand and include the SF position, there are 144 available minutes. Starters generally play between 28 and 35 minutes. If I generalize at 30 minutes for those three positions, that's 90 minutes. I don't know Booker will not start, but I would bet my car that he won't. I would bet a lot of money that he won't be a part of those 90 minutes. DCZ, I know for certain that 144-90=54. Fifty-four minutes to be split between the SF, PF, and C backups.

Beyond those numbers, the number of backups at SF, PF, and C is at least 4. Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin, and Trevor Booker are the four players I have in mind. Forget small ball with Beal at the SF position. Forget Cartier Martin playing any SF, his best position. Because that would make the number larger. Stick with 4 backups at those positions. If you divide the backup minutes among those four, you get 13.5 minutes. Trevor Booker, could conceivably get a double portion of those minutes if Singleton or Vesely or Seraphin play that much less. That is what I do not know. Will Trevor Booker play more than 12-15 minutes? Perhaps he can become a great 20-25 minute sub with others on the bench.

The other things: An injury to Hilario or Okafor opens minutes. Booker could simply outplay Okafor and Wittman would start him in time. Seraphin could possibly slump, but IMO that is HIGHLY unlikely. If anything, Seraphin is going to improve the most. Also, I think Vesely is going to become more useful in time because he has a great court sense and both Nene and Kevin play well off him. Ariza is going to find Vesely with the ball is my prediction. Booker's the odd man out, DCZ. That is how I see it now.

We shall see, DCZ. I don't have a crystal ball but I have had some success predicting outcomes with various personnel.
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Post#56 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:45 pm by Nivek

Edit because while I was typing my response, CCJ posted pretty much what I was posting.

So, +1 CCJ. :)
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Post#57 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:00 pm by Ruzious

Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:
DCZards wrote:
Shorty wrote:I don't regard him as untouchable either; I just think the G.A.M has earned his spot, and that his value to the team goes beyond the minutes he plays. The roster can be balanced later, when the front office has more information about how it all fits together.


That's the approach I prefer in regards to Trevor. Instead of trading Booker because we think he won't get minutes at PF due to the presence of Okafor/Seraphin/Nene, let's first see where he fits in...or not. I like what Trevor brings to the table both in terms of play and leadership, and I'd hate to lose that without first finding out what role, if any, he can play on this year's team.


The reasons I disagree are: 1. Wait and see produces diminishing returns. The only thing that is going to happen is you will find out that sparse minutes will be given Booker. Unless Vesely doesn't play or Seraphin doesn't play, Booker cannot do any better than play backup minutes that will be sparse. When you wait to trade him, his numbers will go down and so will his trade value. 2. Waiting is not proactive, it is reactive. When you get finished waiting, you will find the Wizards lack scorers and guys who can create shots. They lack three point shooting. If you say you'd rather wait to move Booker, you're just delaying discovery of why you need to move him. By then, you'll be rather desperate from losses and it will necessitate a trade made with less leverage, and also reactionary. I understand not trading Booker just for the sake of trading him. However, I also know the guys who are paid the most and the rookies/youngest are who will get the minutes. Booker will play LESS minutes. A lot less. Trying to trade Vesely and Chris Singleton, the latter I don't think anybody will give anything of value for, won't be very fruitful. Reacting at the last minute and trading Trevor later will get less than moving early. It also could preclude the team lacking shooting or some other deficiency from roster construction that you don't even need to wait to see develop. 3. Dissension will set in from guys sitting on the bench when they were playing last season the longer you wait. Guys who have played 25-30 minutes will be lucky to play 10-15 minutes a night. Waiting guarantees this.

I totally disagree with wait and see.

Good post. You can't play wait and see as a GM. You have to make projections - just like you have to in any business. The wait and see approach is what EG used as his plan to do... nothing... in the big 3 years. For a couple a years, he would say his mantra - well, lets wait till everyone's healthy for the whole year before making any significant changes. Let's wait and see what happens.
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Post#58 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:23 pm by nate33

I would prefer to trade Okafor rather than Booker.
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Post#59 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:24 pm by DCZards

Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:I don't have a crystal ball but I told you what I didn't like about Flip one month after he became coach. I told you about Faried about a year and a half before the draft. I did say Wall would struggle and Cousins was going to be a stud.


My bad, CCJ. How could I forget how often you've been right in the past, especially when you remind us of that at least 3-4 times a week.
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Post#60 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:36 pm by Zonkerbl

nate33 wrote:I would prefer to trade Okafor rather than Booker.


Hm, yeah. He's a much more valuable asset, although overprices. Maybe if you package him with Booker you can get a solid starter and backup in return. Just switch same quality PFs for similar quality SFs or SF/backup PG.
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Post#61 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:36 pm by Zonkerbl

nate33 wrote:I would prefer to trade Okafor rather than Booker.


Hm, yeah. He's a much more valuable asset, although overprices. Maybe if you package him with Booker you can get a solid starter and backup in return. Just switch same quality PFs for similar quality SFs or SF/backup PG.
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Post#62 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:48 pm by dobrojim

Pondering the too much depth to get useful production out of our likely
bench players argument and wondering if there are any recent examples
of teams that had starters and bench players playing a more equal # of
minutes. If the delta btw the starter and bench guy isn't that great, it
would seem to me that a team doing this would have an advantage in
the intensity of effort that players would be giving while they are on
the court. The conventional thinking downside to this is the argument
that players need some minimal threshold of minutes in order to
'get into the flow' or whatever euphemism one want to use for this.
I'm not sure I buy this except for maybe players whose main role will
be shooting.

Bottom line - how much chance is there that we'll actually see minutes
for our 4/5 players, Nene, KS, Oka, Book and Ves spread around enough
for all to get 15-20 minutes on average? Then there is always the injury
issue that could make all this a moot point.

ps - thanks to Fish for the shout out on my observation of
Ves = Human Monkey Wrench on D
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Post#63 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:07 pm by verbal8

dobrojim wrote:Bottom line - how much chance is there that we'll actually see minutes
for our 4/5 players, Nene, KS, Oka, Book and Ves spread around enough
for all to get 15-20 minutes on average? Then there is always the injury
issue that could make all this a moot point.

ps - thanks to Fish for the shout out on my observation of
Ves = Human Monkey Wrench on D

The Sixers minutes were 29/28/25/15/15 for Brand/Thad Young/Hawes/Vucevic/Allen. The minutes don't add up because there were games missed(especially Hawes). I could see a similar distribution for the Wizards bigs.
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Post#64 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:32 pm by nate33

dobrojim wrote:Pondering the too much depth to get useful production out of our likely
bench players argument and wondering if there are any recent examples
of teams that had starters and bench players playing a more equal # of
minutes. If the delta btw the starter and bench guy isn't that great, it
would seem to me that a team doing this would have an advantage in
the intensity of effort that players would be giving while they are on
the court. The conventional thinking downside to this is the argument
that players need some minimal threshold of minutes in order to
'get into the flow' or whatever euphemism one want to use for this.
I'm not sure I buy this except for maybe players whose main role will
be shooting.

Bottom line - how much chance is there that we'll actually see minutes
for our 4/5 players, Nene, KS, Oka, Book and Ves spread around enough
for all to get 15-20 minutes on average? Then there is always the injury
issue that could make all this a moot point.

ps - thanks to Fish for the shout out on my observation of
Ves = Human Monkey Wrench on D

It's rare to see starters and bench players go with a 24/24 split. In general the teams that utilize their bench the most do it with a 10-man rotation, but the second unit still only plays 16-18 minutes.

I also think there are diminishing returns with spreading around the minutes. Sure, a player that plays 30 minutes can give you a more sustained effort per minute than a guy playing 38 minutes, but I'm not sure if that logic can be extrapolated to lower minute players. A 14 mpg player doesn't player harder per minute than a 22 mpg player. Fatigue isn't really a factor for either guy. Indeed, I suspect that the 22 minute player would fare better on a per minute basis because he has more time to find his rhythm.
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Post#65 Re: The "Culture Change" and Defens
Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:07 pm by Shorty

dobrojim wrote:Pondering the too much depth to get useful production out of our likely
bench players argument and wondering if there are any recent examples
of teams that had starters and bench players playing a more equal # of
minutes. If the delta btw the starter and bench guy isn't that great, it
would seem to me that a team doing this would have an advantage in
the intensity of effort that players would be giving while they are on
the court.
...


Taking it a step further outside the box, I wonder whether such a team could benefit from hockey-style shifts, just a couple of minutes at a time, with the goal/expectation of playing to exhaustion.

Even if Vesely and Booker don't both average 15 minutes, it could be useful to have both available on the bench, depending on the defensive matchup. In particular, Booker probably has the better chance to contend with powerful players like Lebron, while Vesely would fare relatively better against long players like Dirk.

Moreover, if all five bigs play well enough to be in the rotation, the coach will have more lineup flexibility in general, not just for defensive matchups, but also for chemistry on offense, not to mention, as others here have observed, for dealing with injuries or foul trouble.
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