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On giving minutes to those who earn them

by Kevin Sawyer

Since he has joined Detroit, Flip Saunders has garnered criticism for not playing the young guys, or not playing the right guys, or overplaying the right guys. I decided to peek at the numbers, and see how true this really is by comparing minutes per game with play efficiency ratings. Here is how that breaks down.

Hamilton – (PER 16.9, MPG 34.1)
Billups – (PER 23.0, MPG 33.4)
Prince – (PER 18.7, MPG 34.5)
Rasheed – (PER 19.6, MPG 31.6)
McDyess – (PER 17.7, MPG 29.3)
Maxiell – (PER 18.6, MPG 23.1)
Murray – (PER 15.3, MPG 19.4)
Hayes – (PER 14.9, MPG 19.2)
Mohammed – (PER 13.5, MPG 12.1)
Afflalo – (PER 8.8, MPG 12.3)
Johnson – (PER 16.4, MPG 9.4)

Clearly, whatever deficiencies Flip may have had in this area, he has overcome them. I would argue that we are lucky to have a coach who is willing to throw minutes at the players who have earned them. Let’s look at some examples where this has not been the case.

Nets – Sean Williams

Not sure what the Nets are waiting for here. Williams averages a block every ten minutes and grabbed 22 points in his first shot at starting. The man they presently have starting is LITERALLY THE WORST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE. Jason Collins presently sports a negative PER, and is shooting 10% from the free throw line. That is hard to do.

Knicks - Renaldo Balkman

Made Isiah look smart with a great rookie season. Isiah makes himself look like an idiot by not playing him.

Bobcats – Jared Dudley

The Primoz Brezec experience sounds like a Charlotte cover band, not a viable starting situation. Dudley proved the living crap out of that truism on Sunday, so the Bobcats had better recognize. Can we call him J-Dud?

76ers- Louis Williams

Just ask any Sixers fan. Not sure benching Andre Miller is the answer, but the days of pretending Willie Green can play should draw to a close now that there is a new sheriff in town.

L.A. Lakers – Trevor Ariza

(In the vain of the South Park Mormon episode)

Orlando wasn’t using one of the most talented players on their roster (dum-dum-dum-dum-dummmm).

The Lakers decided to take advantage in an attempt to get some scoring help for Kobe (smart-smart-smart-smart-smarrrrrt).

The Lakers have played Ariza 12 minutes in six games (dum-dum-dum-dum-dummmm).

Timberwolves – Craig Smith

The second best player on the Timberwolves plays 18 minutes per game guys like Antoine Walker can lead the team to a 15 win season. Yesterday, the restaurant downstairs from my work offered free Wolves-Lakers tickets with the purchase of two appetizers. That speaks for itself.

Grizzlies - Hakim Warrick

Imagine being told you can’t get off the pine because your 25 win team acquired Darko Milicic. Now imagine you happen to be a very talented player. At least Darko is too much of a candy ass to play more than 1,500 minutes per year. Still, Memphis is keeping a weird amount of talent on the bench for some reason.