View Poll Results: How would you like to see Lowry's minutes handled?

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  • Ride him hard, he's our best hope

    3 8.82%
  • Play less 2 PG lines with CoJo and existing rotation more

    12 35.29%
  • Play CoJo with the youngster Wright & Powell more

    19 55.88%
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Thread: Managing Minutes - short term vs long term or short sightedness vs vision?

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Axel's Avatar
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    Default Managing Minutes - short term vs long term or short sightedness vs vision?

    The topic is managing player minutes, specifically Lowry, has come up a fair bit lately and has been met with some strong opposition.

    To summarize the concern, Lowry is currently playing 35.8 MPG. That puts him 11th in MPG in the NBA. Of the top 20 players, Lowry is the 3rd oldest. Considering Lowry played fewer minutes last year and how his production fell off a cliff (in Feb he averaged half as many points as Dec and saw his assists drop from 8.9 to 5.3).

    Now there are some folks who think this is nothing to worry about or that this is just more "Casey hate". Here are some examples of opposing posts from other threads:
    "36 minutes isn't that crazy anyway. In the mid 2000s, top players were playing 40+mpg, looking back at 2005-06, 10 guys were playing more mpg than the league leader (Harden - 39.1) this year. And that was a time when iso-ball was even more utilized, and many of these guys were taking over 20 shots per game to generate offense for their teams (Kobe was all the way up at 27)."

    "No one is in peak form after 82 games. Casey not the only one playing his best player 33+ minutes."

    "All the elite PG in the league are playing around the same amount of minutes than Lowry. Why is Lowry the exception?"

    "Why would I compare it to last year? When Lowry has totally changed his body and is in the best shape of his career?"

    "Alternatively, the"brass" may feel that teaching what they must, getting the rotations sorted out, developing chemistry and piling up wins until March - when they might more confidently rest players - makes sense as well."

    So is this really just Casey hate or is there actually strong evidence in the NBA that supports this concern?

    Well, let's start at the source:
    From Casey - credit to JimiCliff for the good find to share http://www.tsn.ca/off-season-weight-...lowry-1.408023
    "We are trying to limit Kyle’s minutes," Casey said. "It’s very difficult in trying to do what we need to do. It depends on the guys behind him stepping up and doing their job so we don’t wear out DeMar and Kyle and our starting unit."

    If this is Casey trying to limit Lowry's minutes, then I'd hate to see how many minutes Lowry would otherwise play. But this at least demonstrates that Casey has Lowry's minutes on his radar. Great to hear, but with a history of double speak, wont believe it until it's on the court.

    Now, in the not so distant past, star logged heavy minutes (as noted in one of the opposing posts listed above). In fact, the 2005 season mentioned might have been the lynch pin season for the change in that trend. That season, the NBA's CBA changed the size of the roster from 12 players to 15, including 12 active on game day. From 98-2003, the NBA averaged 9.4 players who played 40+ mpg. But 2008/2009, that number dropped to 0.6 players (Mugsey Bogues?). With greater roster options available to coaches, more balanced minutes started to trend.

    Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, "Coaches want to work in that depth to keep their players as fresh as possible for that stretch run."

    Remember just 2 years ago when the Spurs won the title with no player averaging more than 30 MPG. During the Mavs 2011 title run (the reason we got Casey), only 3 players averaged over 30 MPG and none averaged 35 MPG. Good enough for Championship teams, why not us?

    As Spoelstra says, it is about "peaking at the right time before the playoffs."

    When you look at the current league leaders in MPG, Lowry is found between a 24 yr old Brandon Knight and a 22 yr old Anthony Davis. But by scrolling further down the list, you see examples like Al Horford, age 29, at 62nd in the league at 31.9 MPG. Bosh, Ellis, Gay, Howard are all in the 32 MPG range and Mike Conley, another 29 yr old PG that his team needs, is 68th at 31.4 MPG. Considering Horford and Conley don't have Lowry's burn out history, perhaps they could handle more but the teams are looking at the post season. Conley in the West should be more concerned about losing ground than the Raps in the east from sitting.

    There have been opportunities for Lowry to play less. A 19 point win over New Orleans saw Lowry play 34 1/2 min. He shot 4 for 13 that night with just 5 assists. Surely that 19 point lead was safe with CoJo & Powell or CoJo & Wright in the back court for a few of those minutes?

    Lowry played almost 37 mins in the 20 point loss to Miami. Another dud night where Lowry scored 15 points on 16 shots. Surely CoJo could have bumped up from 23 mp? Or Wright could have gotten more than 2 1/2 mins?

    Both of these seem like minor things I'm sure, but over the course of a season, these things add up. Rest and recovery are hard to come by when playing 35+ and travelling. Factor in the age recovery impediment, and you should start to see the concerns piling higher.

    The benefit to the additional rest to stars is two fold, less wear on your stars keeps them fresher longer into the season, but also allows players deeper on the bench to develop, increasing the overall talent of the team.

    "Coaches are smarter to the extent that they're using their entire roster of players, and not only that, developing them," said former Chicago Bulls player and head coach Bill Cartwright. "To me, that's the biggest advantage of any championship team—that your bench is fully developed, your bench is making a contribution."

    After a Thunder win earlier this season, where the bench played a pivotal role in the win, Durant said:

    “You have to let them go through some adversity and let them work through it. That’s what great coaches do. He let them fight through it. It’s easier if you just put your starters back in to try to get the lead back, but that doesn’t help them. He stuck with them and it proved to be right for us. They came out and did a tremendous job for us late in the second quarter and the rest of the game.”

    Getting those players involved early in the season allows them be develop faster but also feel much more a part of the team. When those players are needed in March, would it not be better to know that they have gotten experience in Nov/Dec first?

    There is also the Casey double standard when it comes to minutes. Jonas Valanciunas is currently averaging just 27 MPG. In the 13 full games that JV played before his injury, he played less than 30 mins in 8 of them and topped at just 33 MP. KL has played less than JV's season high 3 times (despite nearly double the games played). DD twice. Carroll 4 times. When JV reaches the 30 mp mark, he is averaging 14.6 PPG and 10.6 RPG on 58% FG% and 64% TS%. Sure a few less Lowry and a little more CoJo/JV wouldn't cost this team it's playoff chances?

    So call me a Casey hater if you must, but when the league trends towards resting stars, some of the best coaches make a point to incorporate it and you have a star with a history of burn out; surely this registers as legitimate concern.
    I'm 100 percent right 9.090909090909090 percent of the time

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  3. #2
    Raptors Republic All-Star special1's Avatar
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    I posted this in another thread but it's probably more relevant for this one...

    I understand that everyone's scared about Lowry based on last year. Just keep in mind that Lowry is not in the same condition as he was last year. In fact, he's in MUCH better condition.

    Also, he's averaging less than 36 minutes per game. If you look at all the best players... They all play within a few minutes or More than Lowry.

    For example... Cleveland is ACTUALLY a legit championship contender and Lebron plays more mins than Lowry does. He's been to the finals what 5 straight years? That's a lot of extra games throughout the years.

    Regardless, Wright is getting his reps in the Dleague and hopefully will be back up here in a month or two and should be able to give Lowry some rest then.

    Also, I would rather get the highest seed possible for the playoffs instead of losing a few more games or more because we're scared Lowry's new body won't hold up.

    Stay positive people. Trust the process. I can tell you that everyone in the Raptors organization will be keeping an eye on Lowry and Demar this time around.


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    Raptors Republic Superstar JWash's Avatar
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    Quote special1 wrote: View Post
    I posted this in another thread but it's probably more relevant for this one...

    I understand that everyone's scared about Lowry based on last year. Just keep in mind that Lowry is not in the same condition as he was last year. In fact, he's in MUCH better condition.

    Also, he's averaging less than 36 minutes per game. If you look at all the best players... They all play within a few minutes or More than Lowry.

    For example... Cleveland is ACTUALLY a legit championship contender and Lebron plays more mins than Lowry does. He's been to the finals what 5 straight years? That's a lot of extra games throughout the years.

    Regardless, Wright is getting his reps in the Dleague and hopefully will be back up here in a month or two and should be able to give Lowry some rest then.

    Also, I would rather get the highest seed possible for the playoffs instead of losing a few more games or more because we're scared Lowry's new body won't hold up.

    Stay positive people. Trust the process. I can tell you that everyone in the Raptors organization will be keeping an eye on Lowry and Demar this time around.


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    Good post, co-sign

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    Super Moderator Axel's Avatar
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    Quote special1 wrote: View Post
    I understand that everyone's scared about Lowry based on last year. Just keep in mind that Lowry is not in the same condition as he was last year. In fact, he's in MUCH better condition.

    For example... Cleveland is ACTUALLY a legit championship contender and Lebron plays more mins than Lowry does. He's been to the finals what 5 straight years? That's a lot of extra games throughout the years.
    Two problems here though:

    1. We have no idea how much of an impact Lowry's offseason body change will actually effect this. Yes, his stamina is likely up, but up enough to carry him an extra 5 months compared to last year? No way to measure and predict this. Also, his slimmed up body is now less built to withstand the bumps and bruises he takes with his style. It might very well catch up to him in another month as he is able to withstand less contact. Don't know, but don't like taking the risk, cause without Lowry, the playoffs will be a repeat of last year no matter who we play.

    2. LeBron is perhaps the most unique physical specimen to ever play. He is much bigger and stronger than Lowry. His playing style doesn't involve nearly as many crashed as Lowry's does. So don't think the two are even remotely comparable.
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    Raptors Republic Superstar MixxAOR's Avatar
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    well hopefully Alex McKechnie is putting in work to help the guys out.
    First round exit until proven otherwise.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Barolt's Avatar
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    Quote special1 wrote: View Post
    I posted this in another thread but it's probably more relevant for this one...

    I understand that everyone's scared about Lowry based on last year. Just keep in mind that Lowry is not in the same condition as he was last year. In fact, he's in MUCH better condition.

    Also, he's averaging less than 36 minutes per game. If you look at all the best players... They all play within a few minutes or More than Lowry.

    For example... Cleveland is ACTUALLY a legit championship contender and Lebron plays more mins than Lowry does. He's been to the finals what 5 straight years? That's a lot of extra games throughout the years.

    Regardless, Wright is getting his reps in the Dleague and hopefully will be back up here in a month or two and should be able to give Lowry some rest then.

    Also, I would rather get the highest seed possible for the playoffs instead of losing a few more games or more because we're scared Lowry's new body won't hold up.

    Stay positive people. Trust the process. I can tell you that everyone in the Raptors organization will be keeping an eye on Lowry and Demar this time around.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    With Cleveland, a big part of the issue is that they're missing their other primary ballhander in Kyrie Irving. Also, LeBron took 20 games off last season to rest himself, and I'd expect him to do the same thing this year once Kyrie is back.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Chr1s1anL's Avatar
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    Lowry played 79 games in 13-14 while playing 36.2 minutes a game.
    @Chr1st1anL

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    Quote Chr1s1anL wrote: View Post
    Lowry played 79 games in 13-14 while playing 36.2 minutes a game.
    It's two years later and Raptors need to do the same crap to win ~49 games. No progress while the roster and depth has gotten better. 5 useless end of bench young guys vs 5 end of bench old guys

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    Raptors Republic Superstar JWash's Avatar
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    The way I see it this idea is kind of a moot point. Like yeah it'd be great to rest Kyle, but last I checked Casey is still head coach. The way we play, I don't really think we can afford for Lowry to only play ~29-30 minutes a game or we're going to lose more. And losing more isn't something we can afford either. East is really tight and homecourt advantage/matchups will matter a lot. I'd much rather play Boston with HC advantage than have to face experienced playoff teams with legitimate stars like Indiana, Miami or Chicago in the first round without the advantage.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Barolt's Avatar
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    Quote Chr1s1anL wrote: View Post
    Lowry played 79 games in 13-14 while playing 36.2 minutes a game.
    He was 2 years younger, and had a 22.9% usage rate, as opposed to a 26.9% this year. And still, in 13-14 his worst months for FG% and Ortg were February and March.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Barolt's Avatar
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    Quote JWash wrote: View Post
    The way I see it this idea is kind of a moot point. Like yeah it'd be great to rest Kyle, but last I checked Casey is still head coach. The way we play, I don't really think we can afford for Lowry to only play ~29-30 minutes a game or we're going to lose more. And losing more isn't something we can afford either. East is really tight and homecourt advantage/matchups will matter a lot. I'd much rather play Boston with HC advantage than have to face experienced playoff teams with legitimate stars like Indiana, Miami or Chicago in the first round without the advantage.
    If the only way to win in the regular season is to run our stars to the point where we can't win in the playoffs, then it's time to blow it up because next year, Lowry's going to be another year older, and the older he gets the harder those minutes will get.

  16. #12
    Raptors Republic Superstar JWash's Avatar
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    I really do think Lowry's burnout last year had more to do with the 22 DeRozan-less games where he had to put up near 30% usage for us to win, than the amount of minutes he was playing. I mean the year before he actually logged 400 more minutes prior to playoffs and was amazing against the Nets.

  17. #13
    Raptors Republic Superstar JWash's Avatar
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    Quote Barolt wrote: View Post
    If the only way to win in the regular season is to run our stars to the point where we can't win in the playoffs, then it's time to blow it up because next year, Lowry's going to be another year older, and the older he gets the harder those minutes will get.
    This is an entirely separate argument. Might even agree with you that maybe we do need to blow it up, but that's not the question being asked. The question being asked is should we rest Lowry more? My answer is that we can't really do that because of the way Casey has this team relying on star production to win games. If we do that, we could hurt our playoff seeding and get a very unfavorable matchup.

  18. #14
    Raptors Republic Superstar JWash's Avatar
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    Quote Barolt wrote: View Post
    With Cleveland, a big part of the issue is that they're missing their other primary ballhander in Kyrie Irving. Also, LeBron took 20 games off last season to rest himself, and I'd expect him to do the same thing this year once Kyrie is back.
    And so DD being gone for 22 games last year would not have had a similar effect?

    EDIT: Also LeBron did not take 20 games off last year. He missed 13 games total last year, and the break he took last year was only 8 games long.
    Last edited by JWash; Sat Dec 12th, 2015 at 09:18 PM.

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    Quote JWash wrote: View Post
    This is an entirely separate argument. Might even agree with you that maybe we do need to blow it up, but that's not the question being asked. The question being asked is should we rest Lowry more? My answer is that we can't really do that because of the way Casey has this team relying on star production to win games. If we do that, we could hurt our playoff seeding and get a very unfavorable matchup.
    At some point in the playoffs, you're going to have to face Cleveland. I'd rather face them in the first round rested and healthy than in the second round exhausted and worn out. That's the ballgame. If we are going to be a team that might compete for a championship with this core, how to you want to face Cleveland and Golden State?

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  22. #16
    Raptors Republic Superstar Barolt's Avatar
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    Quote JWash wrote: View Post
    And so DD being gone for 22 games last year would not have had a similar effect?

    EDIT: Also LeBron did not take 20 games off last year. He missed 13 games total last year, and the break he took last year was only 8 games long.
    Except... LeBron will get those games off if he needs them this year, Lowry didn't get them last year, and we all agree he's not going to get them this year right?

    Edit: You're right about the 13... somehow my brain subtracted 69 from 82 and got 20. My 5 year old had me up at 4:30am so my brain isn't fully there today.

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    Quote JWash wrote: View Post
    I really do think Lowry's burnout last year had more to do with the 22 DeRozan-less games where he had to put up near 30% usage for us to win, than the amount of minutes he was playing. I mean the year before he actually logged 400 more minutes prior to playoffs and was amazing against the Nets.
    Well, that makes me feel great about the 28% usage Lowry has had since JV went down and the 29% usage he's carried since Dec 1st.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar JWash's Avatar
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    Quote Barolt wrote: View Post
    At some point in the playoffs, you're going to have to face Cleveland. I'd rather face them in the first round rested and healthy than in the second round exhausted and worn out. That's the ballgame. If we are going to be a team that might compete for a championship with this core, how to you want to face Cleveland and Golden State?
    Well we differ here cause I really have zero interest in being knocked out in the first round by the Cavs lol.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar JWash's Avatar
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    Quote DanH wrote: View Post
    Well, that makes me feel great about the 28% usage Lowry has had since JV went down and the 29% usage he's carried since Dec 1st.
    Again because we've lost a guy who uses a significant portion of our offense. JV being down is going to have a similar effect to DD being gone last year in that respect.

    It's Lowry who takes on the extra usage because he's the best player on the team. DD's is still about what it's been the past couple years. It sucks that we don't have a better way of distributing offense when a key guy is gone, but that's really on Casey.

  28. #20
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    Quote JWash wrote: View Post
    Well we differ here cause I really have zero interest in being knocked out in the first round by the Cavs lol.
    I have zero interest in being knocked out in the playoffs. I want to win it all, call me greedy. I don't think a tired Lowry gets us there. I honestly believe though with a healthy and rested Lowry, and a healthy Jonas... we aren't that far off from being a contender.

    Maybe trading DeMar gets us there. Maybe getting 'best-case-DeMar', as Dan said in the other thread gets us there. Maybe it's just Ross being more consistent and Carroll finding his comfort zone. I feel like we have a lot of the right pieces, but more importantly if we can't win in the short term, we have some decisions to make. DeMar's athletic game is going to start to slow down as he gets older and Lowry is approaching 30. So if we're in a 5-year plan, I can't see those guys being part of it.

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