In taking a look at this upcoming season and attempting to project the Grizzlies' rotations, there is one major component that keeps niggling at the back of my brain. That niggling sensation is the minutes crunch (niggle is a real word and not offensive - go look it up, I'll wait). Given that, on most nights, there are 240 total minutes to be doled out (48 x 5 positions) we have a minute surplus. I'm going to break it up into 3 groups: Bigs (96 minutes between the 2 positions), Swingmen (96 minutes between the 2 positions), and Point Guards (48 minutes).
Bigs - MPG last season:
So, as you can see, at every position but PG we have a minutes crunch. There are 21 too few minutes for the swingmen and 20 too few for the bigs. I know that Bayless can play point also, but Calathes seems at present to be the backup solution at point with Bayless playing primarily the 2 - which is when he was at his best last year. We know that Coach Joerger intends to go a little faster and play each guy fewer minutes. But how many fewer?
I think two guys whose minutes won't drop much are Conley and Gasol. Quincy has proven in the playoffs and this preseason that he should get more minutes. Calathes will be getting new minutes, probably the largest chunk of whenever Mike's out of the game. Jamaal Franklin will likely get a few spot minutes. Everyone else on our roster is going to have to take a cut in minutes for the numbers to work. Here's a projection of what I think it could look like:
Bigs - Projection:
That projection does raise some questions:
- The staff has talked about Mike Miller being much more than a bench shooter, so are they expecting more than 15 MPG from him?
- Ed Davis plays significantly better statistically when playing 20 MPG or more, so is the front office going to get him those minutes? If so, whose minutes does he take? Z-Bo and Koufos are already playing less as it is and Leuer's minutes are virtually non-existent.
- Jon Leuer has looked like a potentially solid role player this preseason and seems to fit better with Koufos and Randolph than Davis, but where are those minutes going to come from?
- How would Tayshaun respond to playing 1/3 of the minutes he's accustomed to? Can you get any trade value for a guy making $7.5M if he's playing less than 15 MPG?
This is not to say my projections are at all accurate or that they are set in stone night in and night out. Of course there will be injuries, rest, and personal matters to attend to. There may well be trades made that free up the log jam a bit. Depth is never a negative and I'm glad for it. The main question I have is: when everyone's healthy and active, how do you handle the minutes crunch? It will be interesting to watch Coach Joerger's strategies.