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Explaining the Delfino/Evans rotation

Chris McCosky addresses Carlos Delfino's declining minutes in his Burning Questions feature in today's Detroit News. He goes more in-depth in the actual article, but for the sake of brevity here are the quick answers:

Q . Can you explain Saunders' reluctance to use Carlos Delfino?

A . I don't think it's reluctance on his part. I think he is genuinely uncertain as to how and when to use Delfino.

The way Saunders explains it, he wants to match up Delfino with the bigger swing men (like Al Harrington on Monday night and Dwyane Wade on Wednesday). He wants to use Maurice Evans against smaller swing men.

Is it me, or does it seem odd to label Wade as a "bigger swing man?" The guy is 6-4, 212, which, by NBA standards, is actually a bit short for a shooting guard. (Rip Hamilton, for example, is 6-7, 193.) Maybe Wade is big in terms of strength, but if you put Delfino and Evans next to each other, I'd say Evans looks like the stronger of the two, even if Delfino, at 6-6, 230, has an inch and 10 pounds on his teammate.

And Al Harrington, incidentally, is a 6-9, 245-pound power forward -- I'm not sure just how much time Delfino spent guarding him last night, but they were only on the court at the same time for about three minutes. What's my point? I don't really have one, I guess, except that I'm not sure I really buy this explanation at face value.

Q . Is Delfino getting Darko'd?

A . If getting Darko'd means he is, like Milicic, a young, talented player whose development is being suffocated by a coach's unwillingness to play younger players -- then, no, he's not.

Here's the thing about Evans: Right or wrong, he is Saunders' guy. Saunders brought him into the league. Saunders has helped nurture his career. There is a certain trust and comfort level.

To be honest, I had pretty much forgotten about the previous Saunders-Evans connection, but it's true: Evans' first year in the league was back in 2001-02 with the Timberwolves. Granted, he played just 10 games and averaged only 4.5 minutes, but I guess Saunders could still have lingering loyalties. I'm not just worried about Delfino getting Darko'd, where he's never given a real chance to play -- I'll probably be even more upset if he ends up getting Memo'd, where he proves himself to be a valuable player but still isn't retained.

In any event, this article seemed like an appropriate way to end our poll. We asked, "Who do you want to see in the rotation?" Of the 64 people who voted, 84% indicated Carlos Delfino, while 16% went with Mo Evans. Make of that what you will.

Delfino is a victim of numbers [Detroit News]