Predicting the Hornet’s Rotation

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Published: September 8, 2009

Every season I do a post that tries to project the wins the team will earn over the course of the upcoming season, using the production from the players the season before and the Wages of Wins “WP48” stat.   Two seasons ago my projection was fairly close.  Last season, it was really wrong, as I expected Chandler to give the Hornets 73 games and something like the production he’d given them the previous two years.  Instead, Chandler didn’t do jack, Peja broke down, Julian regressed, Butler gave less than Peterson the year before,  Brown replaced Pargo and somehow was worse, and Hilton Armstrong  . . . well, I’ve said enough about him.

Byron Scott Crystal Ball

Anyways, that’s enough excuses.  The problem with the projection I gave last year wasn’t really the metric, the main culprit was my faulty projection of the minutes we could expect from the players.  So this season I decided to try two new things:

  1. Using a Crystal Ball to see the Future.
  2. Running my minutes by all of you to get feedback before I ran the numbers.

I’m sure that’ll work out great and produce an infallible result.  So here is my minutes chart,  followed by my reasoning.  Feel free to rip into it.

The Rotation

Player Games Played Minutes Per Game Total Minutes
Chris Paul 78 38 2964
David West 75 38 2850
Emeka Okafor 78 35 2730
Julian Wright 72 28 2016
James Posey 72 28 2016
Peja Stojakovic 62 33 2046
Ike Diogu 61 15 915
Sean Marks 61 15 915
Hilton Armstrong 42 12 504
Morris Peterson 41 21 861
Darren Collison 58 16 928
Antonio Daniels 24 10 240
Marcus Thornton 30 15 450
Devin Brown 20 12 240

And here’s my reasoning, which our medium assures me was ripped directly from the mind of Byron Scott:  (See what this blog is willing to do for our readers?  How many blogs do you know of that has a medium on staff?)

West and Paul are easy, though I am hoping their minutes go back to only 38.  Right. Back to 38.  Sigh.   Anyways,  Paul typically plays a little short of 80 games a season, and West, though he had two early injury seasons,  has been consistently available for around 75.

At center, Okafor has been a rock the past two years, but it seems foolish to assume he won’t need at least a game or four off.  I’m going to give him 35 minutes a game, which is equal to the most he’s ever done, but Byron likes to ride his workhorses, so I think we should expect these kind of minutes.

For the 7872 minutes available at the wing, I think it’s pretty obvious that Posey and Peja will get a significant chunk.  I kept the minutes from last year and penciled Peja in for 62 games with the balky back, while giving Posey 72, about average for his last five years.   Lastly, with George Shinn mandating the development of youngsters, I put Julian on the hook for 28 minutes a game over 72 games.   That should give Byron plenty of room for the inevitable benchings and message DNP-CD’s that will come with Julian’s growing pains.

Those six players account for 74% of the Hornet’s 19,680 available minutes.  However, from here on out my reasoning gets more dicey.  Still, I kept a few things in mind: 

  • Most of these players are fairly interchangeable.
  •  Byron Scott almost always gives everyone on the roster at least a couple 8 to 10-game auditions to contribute to the team.
  • The rookies will probably take their lumps in the rotation. 

So here goes:

Armstrong, Diogu, and Marks will rotate through the minutes behind West and Okafor.  Last year, Marks gained more trust from Byron than Armstrong, playing in more games over the course of the season despite being injured for most of the first month.  Diogu is also an actual power forward, so I expect him to get some serious minutes behind West.  Therefore, I gave Marks and Diogu 61 games with 15 mpg, and Armstrong 42 games with 12 mpg.

At the wing,  Scott should give Morris Peterson and his three-point shooting a pretty long rope.  Thornton I expect will see a few lengthy auditions, and Devin Brown will get his two auditions and then never re-appear.(Please, Byron)  So Peterson gets 41 games at 21 minutes per game, Thornton 30 games at 15 minutes a game, and Devin Brown 20 games at 12.

Lastly, behind Paul, I expect to see Daniels around until the trade deadline, and until then he’ll probably split time with Darren Collison.  After that, I see Collison taking over at the point, and probably getting some stretches running with Paul.  I gave Daniels 24 games at 10 minutes a game, and Collison 58 with 15 minutes a game.

So – what do you think?

(Oh – and I should probably admit now that we don’t actually have a medium on staff.  I’m sure you’re shocked.)

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