Second-guessing is a very popular sub-sport behind every sport but my intentions in this post are quite different from what you may think: I simply would to like know reasons behind those decisions so if you know them, please let me know. In short the premise in all cases is simple: why player X played more than player Y?
I feel obligated to mention that’s it’s NOT nitpicking after the fact because I had those situations on my radar in early stages of the season.
Let’s start with two honorable mentions…
Marcin Gortat vs Robin Lopez [for a sizable chunk of the season] in Phoenix.
Am I a homer on this one or have Gortat played better immediately after the trade and he should have been starter for Suns for 35+ minutes from day 1? Or was it simply a case of not trusting new player on the team?
Tony Allen vs Xavier Henry and Sam Young in Memphis.
Why was Tony Allen benched in the first half of the season?
Second half and playoffs should us how huge mistake that was… and could have cost Grizzlies home-court in 2nd round. Fortunately and to his credit John Hollinger bang this drum a lot.
OK, now four cases which were puzzling me since at least December 2010 and they are still puzzling me [so if you know the justification, please let me know… Thanks!]:
4) Marcus Thornton vs Willie Green in New Orleans.
It would be more glaring without a trade with Kings but still IMHO it’s worth exploring.
- Marcus is younger and played better in previous seasons,
- Thanks to basketball-reference.com we can compare WS/48 0.057 vs 0.052 and PER 14 vs 10,8
- Thanks to Hoopdata we know Willie shot better but I have reasons to think Hornets misused Thornton.
- Thanks to 82games we can compare this: On +1.7 Off +0.7 vs On -1.9 Off +2.9
- Thanks to basketballvalue.com we can compare 1 Year Adj. +/-: -2.63 vs -1.72 but with a bigger SE.
- Thanks to Wages of Wins we know their WP/48 was 0.115 vs 0.010 respectivly
I remember reports about Thornton’s lack of defense and/or attitude but
at what point those are simply an excuses for a safe move?
Or was it a case of coach afraid to play younger player even though he was better?
3) Julian Wright vs Sonny Weems in Toronto.
Let’s start with some facts:
- both guys have an expiring contract,
- Julian is one year younger,
- Julian was drafted 13th in 2007 while Sonny 39th in 2008,
- Thanks to basketball-reference.com we can compare WS/48 0.039 vs -0.011, PER 12 vs 10,2
- Thanks to Hoopdata we know that Sonny did provide better spacing but his eFG% was terrible,
- Thanks to 82games we can compare this: On -1,6 Off -7,4 vs On -11,5 Off -3,3
- Thanks to basketballvalue.com we can compare 1 Year Adj. +/- : 8.12 vs -5.48
- Thanks to Wages of Wins we know their WP/48 was 0.115 vs -0.022
Raptors were going nowhere, so it would make sense to give both chances but…
why Sonny Weems played twice as many minutes as Julian Wright?
2) Marreese Speights vs Spencer Hawes in Philadelphia.
Sixers were a playoff caliber team so they should have played the best rotation possible, right?
- Thanks to basketball-reference.com we can compare WS/48 0,110 vs 0,066, PER 15,4 vs 12,8
- Marreese did have high foul rate [5,9 per 36 minutes] but he played only 11 minutes per game!
- Thanks to Hoopdata we know that Speights shot better at the rim AND on long twos.
- Thanks to 82games we can compare this: On +3,7 Off +1 vs On -1,5 Off +3,7
- Thanks to basketballvalue.com we can compare 1 Year Adj. +/-:+2,2 vs -4,92
- Thanks to Wages of Wins we know they were equal in terms of WP/48.
In terms of contracts
Spencer has expiring one while Marreese will stay in Philly in 2011-12 so he should be in their plans, no?
So why Spencer Hawes played twice as many minutes as Marreese Speights?
Did fit trumped every other argument here?
1) Ryan Anderson vs Brandon Bass in Orlando.
For me it was the most puzzling rotation decision in 2010/11 because…
- Thanks to basketball-reference.com we can compare WS/48 0.217 vs 0.154, PER 19 vs 15,9
- Thanks to Hoopdata we know that Ryan was SPECTACULAR behind three-point line, which should fit well into Dwight-centered offense. Brandon shot a lot of long twos [although with good percentage for this spot].
- Thanks to 82games we can compare this: On +9.3 Off +3.2 vs On +3.8 Off +7.0
- Defense improved with Ryan on the court even though he played behind Dwight Howard!
- Thanks to basketballvalue.com we can compare 1 Year Adj. +/-: 8.29 vs 3.54
- Thanks to Wages of Wins we know their WP/48 was 0.201 vs 0.101
So why Ryan Anderson didn’t play more minutes than Brandon Bass?
I know that Ryan was injured in the first half of the season but even if we include only second half numbers, Brandon still averaged more minutes per game. What happened there? Magic’s coach staff didn’t believe in Ryan’s shooting touch and treated it as a fluke?