Quote ebrian wrote: View Post
Hmm.. I don't agree with that. Your measurement of mpg is misleading because you're missing when they're playing those minutes. Based on average minutes you'll see that Mike Miller was a 9th man, but if you look closely at his games played, he lined up as either the 1st or 2nd guy off the bench when healthy. Here's a log of his top 10 most minute games:

Bulls, April 12, 28:33, 6th in mins played
Houston, April 22, 27:12, 5th in mins played
Cleveland, Feb 17, 26:10, 6th in mins played
Detroit, Jan 25, 25:54, 6th in mins played
Washington, Apr 21, 25:37, 5th in mins played
New Jersey, Apr 16, 25:30, 4th in mins played
Detroit, Apr 8, 24:21, 6th in mins played
Cleveland, Feb 7, 23:55, 6th in mins played
Portland, Mar 1, 23:37, 7th in mins played
Boston, Apr 24, 23:34, 6th in mins played

Since he only appeared in 39 games last year, already you see that 25% of his 2011-2012 season he was Miami's 6th.

I'm not going to list out all the games of the remaining players but here are the results:

Bonner's top 10 games, averaged 4th most minutes.
Gibson's top 10 games, averaged 3rd most minutes. Definitely not a 9th man.
Wilcox's top 10 games, averaged 5th most minutes.
Cook's top 10 games, averaged 4th most minutes.
Murphy's top 10 games, averaged 5th most minutes.

So what you're looking at is even though over the season they had the 9th or 10th most minutes, they were called upon to be their teams' 6th man (or 3rd or 4th in some cases). This means that these good teams are still using a rotation of 6 or 7 guys in the regular season just like playoffs, the difference is that they have a stable of studs from which to choose from.
I didn't pick 9th or 10th most minutes. I said 9th or 10th most minutes played per game. I also looked at the total numbers of games played. With Miami for example, I didn't use Turiaf as an example because (going from memory) I think he only played around 15 games.

Many of those reserves were/are decent players. You are going with top 10 games most games played. Isn't it likely:

1) an injury/foul trouble/ejection could have led to increased minutes in a number of games?

2) those players were "on" or "hot" for a number of games leading the coaches to make decisions to increase their play?

3) there was a situational match up?

4) many of the games were in garbage time of the year with starters sat? Looking at a lot of the dates for Miller, 6 were in April last season.

5) that those teams - especially because they were all division winners - were involved in numerous blowouts one way (losing) or more likely the other (winning)?

I'm sure we could both make pretty solid arguments on the playing time of the 9th or 10th. However, I am going to have to disagree with your regular season conclusion - much like you are going to disagree with my concusions... agree to disagree it is - lol.

Your point to when the minutes played is a good one but they still played the minutes. 82 games is a long grind for just 7 bodies. Again, I can't emphasis enough things definitely change come playoffs and my argument in regular season definitely doesn't apply to playoffs.

The majority of teams - including divisional winners - are 9-10 deep in the regular season, in my opinion. Factors leading to this in the regular season include match ups (Aaron Gray on a big body), injuries (please god nothing long term), foul trouble (Bargnani picked up his 3rd at the start of the 2nd quarter) or nights when a reserve is on (Amir going for 15/11). I think this bodes well for the Raptors this year.