Monday, October 22, 2007

Who isn't going to get playing time?

For my Sixers' prediction, I thought I'd take WP48 numbers for the Sixers' players and then apply them based on my predictions of playing times for the various players on the roster to get at a total Wins Produced prediction.*

In trying to predict playing times, I realized that the numbers just don't add up. Someone who's expecting to get at least a decent chunk of time is probably going to spend most of the season sitting on the bench.

In particular, looking at the wing players (shooting guards and small forwards) on the Sixers' roster, I don't see how everyone is going to get playing time. The articles I've been reading talk about Andre Igoudala, Kyle Korver, Rodney Carney, Willie Green, and Thaddeus Young getting time on the wings, not to mention a few articles that talk about Louis Williams getting some playing time at the shooting guard position.

That's five players (excluding Williams) competing for 96 minutes of playing time each game (48 at each position). You can pencil Igoudala in for 35+ minutes a game (he was actually at 40/game last year), and Korver will almost certainly get 30 min/gm again as the sixth man. Once those two players are accounted for, we're really talking about 30 minutes of playing time (at most) being divided among three players.

Divide the time evenly and each player is looking at only 10 mins/gm. Well, Willie Green played 23 minutes a game last year and Carney played around 14 mins/gm. Just between the two of them, all the remaining available minutes are used up, leaving Young, our "prized" rookie, with no playing time.

As discussed yesterday, the Sixers' use of a small line-up means that more time will be available for these players (as evidenced by Green and Carney combining to play more than the remaining available small forward/shooting guard minutes last season). But the small line-up doesn't help the Sixers win games, so I don't think using it just to give players playing time is a very good idea (i.e. it's a very bad idea).

All of which circles us back around to the original point-- the numbers don't add up, and someone who is expected to see time this year is going to find themselves buried on the bench. Who's it going to be? I don't know, but my guess is that Carney will eventually find himself as the odd man out. The Sixers' coaches and management have an inexplicable love affair with Willie Green, so I imagine he'll get at least 23 mins/gm again. The battle for the remaining 10 mins/gm will then come down to Young and Carney, and I don't think Carney has shown enough to keep the Sixers' coaches from wanting to try out their shiny new toy (that would be the rookie, in case my metaphor wasn't clear).

Of course, since I don't think Green or Carney are good, and I don't expect much out of Young as a 19-year old rookie, I'm not sure it matters who the coaches end up playing for these minutes. But it does make for interesting speculation.

*(The reason WoW has given for not making specific predictions for each team is that it's too hard to guess how coaches will divide playing time for each team, but I figured it wouldn't be too hard to do for just one team. Having tried to get inside a coaches' head for one team, I can certainly understand why they didn't want to do it for 30 teams.)

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