How many factors go into creating a rotation? Loads. Who should play with whom? How long can that group go before needing an energy infusion? How deep into the bench do you go? Can you keep your rotation fresh and effective? Are you getting a good combination of skills on the floor at one time? Do the players know their roles when they’re on the floor? How long can they be on the bench before they get cold? There’s bound to be more than that, but those are some of the questions that occurred to me while I was putting this rotation chart together.
My goal was to see exactly how hard this kind of thing is. Sure, it’s easy to second guess Nate on how he plays the guys, but until you walk the mile in his Nike’s, you just don’t know. You think you know, but you don’t know. You know? What did I find out? This is tougher than I thought. I ran into some of the same problems that Nate did.
First, I want to have Roy on the floor all the time. Whether playing the 1 or 2, he’s got the IQ to make everyone else better, and the opposition focuses on him allowing the others open looks. I made a deliberate effort to limit his MPG to 35. We’ll need him fresh in the playoffs.
Second, limiting the rotation to 8 players, with a couple spot minute opportunities for another two guys seems to give the best flow and option mix. Oden and Joel will be our Centers, while the forward and guard spots are three player rotations. LMA & Webster will be exclusively PF and SF, respectively, while Travis plays back-up for both positions. Something similar happens for the guard spots. Rudy and Blake will be exclusively SG & PG, respectively, while Roy splits time between the two. Jones and Jack see about 7 minutes each in spot coverage. There are numerous line-ups that occur during the game, each having their own special attributes, and yet the players are rotated in and out on a regular basis, keeping them fresh. There are obviously several areas that could be tweaked, giving one player a few more minutes at the expense of another, but like any substitution pattern; it’s open to interpretation.
Third, KP will be making some noise come draft day. Frye, Jack, Sergio, and Jones are all going to see their minutes diminish, and with it their trade value. Letting their contracts expire is an option, but it could create issues in the locker room if those young players are left to rot on the vine. I expect to see several guys moved for reasonable veteran role-players that can play spot minutes or while a player is rehabbing an injury. I expect most, if not all, of our draft picks will be included as chips to make those trades happen.
Finally, with my faux-rotation in place, I can extend the speculation one step further and forecast the production of the team. There’s nothing like building a forecast on a solid foundation of pure speculation. I’m expecting a reality factor of at least .02%. But that’s another story.
How would you change things? What other important factor(s) should be considered when planning the rotation? Is there a particular line-up you're looking forward to seeing(3-guard, up-tempo, all Spanish, bigs)?
*The top of the spreadsheet breaks down the rotation by position. The bottom section shows when the player is on the floor, and which position they're playing.
** The numbers in the boxes are the player's cumulative minutes of playing time.