Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Let the Kids Play

Good stuff in the Blog-A-Bull diaries from sbulls9030 on the the importance of sitting Duhon and Joe Smith. Read the whole thing, but here's the money quote:

Tyrus, Thabo, and Noah are essentially a second core to that of Hinrich, Gordon, and Deng. They're the key to whether the Bulls go from very good to championship contender. If they develop in the same way that Hinrich, Gordon, and Deng have then it won't really matter if any of that six becomes a superstar. If Skiles uses Duhon and Smith to hold back their development, it will be a huge mistake, both for this season and the long term.

Barring injuries (knocking wood), dishing out minutes should be a serious problem for Skiles. Let's break it down by position:

PG: Kirk-35 min. That leaves 13 min to Thabo or Duhon.

SG Ben--35. He only averaged around 31 or so last year, but I'd like to see him get up to 35 this year. Again, 13 to split between Thabo and, perhaps, Jameson. sbulls makes a good argument that none of these should go to Kirk, much less Duhon.

SF: Deng--He averaged almost 38 last year. I would think you would want to get him even more minutes (right around 40), but let's just say 38. That leaves 10 for Noce.

PF: This is where things get tricky. Ideally, I'd be okay with giving Duhon about 10 min. at the point each game, and giving Thabo right around 15 each game. But a bunch of questions arise here at the 4: 1) Who starts? And 2) How many minutes does the starter get? PJ got 20 min. a game last year. Do we give those to Smith? That leaves 28 for Noce and Ty, which just isn't enough. Ty got 13 last year. It seems to me you'd want to bump Ty up to at least 20, possibly even 25. But either way, that leaves Noce with under 20 a game at both the 3 and the 4. I'd actually be fine with Noce playing 15-20 min. a game IF we weren't paying him around $8 mil. a year. Matt's absolutely right: Noce's contract is ridiculous. The position that most fits him--the 3--is the one where we want our starter to play as much as possible. He's undersized at the four, and yet this is where he's going to get about half of his minutes on this team, and what's worse, those minutes will cut into the playing time of a developing player (Ty) who is unquestionably our power forward of the future. The whole thing is absurd.

C: Wallace--averaged 35 min. last year. It would probably be nice to get those down to 30 or so, so as to rest him for the playoffs. That might also free up about 10 minutes for Smith at the 5, as well as give Noah a chance to play around 10 min.

So let's add these up:

Hinrich: 35
Gordon: 35
Thabo: 15
Duhon: 11
Deng: 38
Noce: 25 (10 at 3, 15 at 4)
Tyrus: 25
J. Smith: 17 (8 at 4, 9 at 5)
Wallace: 30
Noah: 9

I can live with this. Can Skiles?


Blogger mrberg said...

One issue. When you look at mpg, you are looking at total minutes per games played, not not total minutes per 82 games. So Tyrus's 13 minutes are based on his 72 games played. This is why, when you add up the mpg from any given roster, your sum is above 240 (48*5).

Otherwise, I have a good amount of faith in Skiles' handling of the roster. Sure it is frustrating when he tries to make a statement by benching the starters for sloppy play. But he tends to play those who deserve to play.

Wouldn't you rather Noah, Tyrus and Thabo earn there minutes in a crowded lineup than have their minutes handed to them in an empty lineup (think 2002 Bulls)?

This is a problem of surplus. I would much rather have too many players who deserve tick than not enough.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Linus said...

Agree that it's nice to have a problem of surplus, but as I've come to develop attachments to many players on the roster, making playing time trade offs gets more difficult. In particular, it's hard for me to stomach the minutes distribution proposed here because Viktor Khryapa gets none. Particularly in light of his eye-opening performance at EuroBasket this year, I believe that he could be a useful part of this Bulls team. Unfortunately, he would need more than 5 min/gm to really develop. A shame, really.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous sbulls9030 said...

I agree this team is incredibly deep 1-12, but that kind of depth is only really meaningful if there are significant injuries to overcome or lots of players of similar productivity levels. Otherwise it doesn't really matter who the 12th man or the 10th man is because they're not going to play anyway.

Depth becomes a problem when it obscures who should really be receiving the playing time because better players are buried on the bench and never see consistent playing time. Skiles developed a habit of flinging his bench players against the wall and seeing what sticks during his time with the Bulls. That may have worked well in previous seasons when the roster was filled with interchangeable parts of similar ability. Last year was different. Tyrus and Thabo needed consistent minutes. They needed to be part of a consistent rotation. Tossing them onto the floor every so often to see if they could play well was a poor strategy for their development and typically didn't yield positive results. There's clear evidence at least in Thomas's case that he should have played alot more minutes than he did last season, particuarly once Nocioni went down. Only Wallace and Noc were more productive among the team's bigs. The days of slinging mud against the wall shoud be over.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous sbulls9030 said...


I was looking at Khryapa's numbers and I believe that Khryapa would have out played Allen and Seeetney if given consistent minutes last year. He never got them, and there's clearly no room for him to play this year. Not playing him last year was a waste.

11:21 AM  
Blogger BenGo07 said...

I noticed that too about Khryapa when I was writing this, but the guy is just the odd-man out on this team. He can really only play the 3, which is the wrong position to play when you're on a team with Luol Deng. I have no doubt Khryapa can play some--he's really an excellent passer and ballhandler for his size--but give him minutes over Deng (or even Noce)? No frickin' way.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

I disagree, I think Veektor and Noc are both better at the 4. (they're both tweeners, obviously)

I think the real problem Veektor had was that he's not a great shooter, and Skiles likes his bigs to step out and shoot, thus the Malik Allen love.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Sam1617 said...

You could always take the approach that the Spurs take, and just give your top 3 limited minutes, around 30 a game. Of course, the Bulls are trying to develop their players, but to be honest, to win a championship, you don't worry about who has the most potential, or who would benefit the most from more playing time. Just play the guys who help the team more, and in my opinion, that would be Wallace, Nocioni, Deng, Gordon, and Hinrich getting the vast majority of minutes. Also, it would help a lot if you could teach Thomas to play center, but thats not real likely.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Coach Skiles said...

No way Khryapa can play the 4 on D.
Noce can get away with that for short periods of time against most teams, but Veektor, no way.

Why not let Veektor play the three for ten minutes a game behind Deng and save Noce's $8 million for Deng and Ben's extensions?

If Veektor can't cut it, then let Thabo or Griff take those minutes at the 3. This is all a mute point because I'm sure we'll see the three guard lineup for ten minutes a game anyway.

But even if we take some lumps early in the season I think we have to give TyRise, Sefo, and Noah some minutes to grow. We're not gonna win tough playoff series with Noce playing the 4 for extended minutes or with Duhon and Kirk on the floor at the same time.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Big Sweet said...

I wouldn't be surprised to see Joe Smith log more than the 17 that BG allots, which is problematic if you're privy to Noah, Tyrus, or VK.

2:27 PM  
Blogger BenGo07 said...

Well, in defense of the Noce signing, as Matt noted, he's a much better shooter than Khryapa, which is a huge asset in the Skiles offensive system. And I think that even with the Noce signing, the Bulls should still be able to lock up Luol and Ben. (They'd fucking better.)

But $8 mil a year for a backup forward who is too slow for the 3 and too small for the 4 is, as I noted, ridiculous.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Peruvian Idol said...

It would seem to me in looking at last year's rotation that Joe Smith essentially replaces PJ Brown, Noah replaces Malik Allen, and Gray replaces Mike Sweetney. Barrett is probably the odd man out with the addition of Curry. I think the rotation will work itself out.

(You're certainly not going to find anyone who thinks Chris Duhon needs to get MORE minutes though.)

Pax has definitely positioned this team to make a trade by February would likely be at least a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 swap which should allow Skiles to tighten up the rotation more.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Hot Shit College Student said...


+/- says Thomas helped the team more than Nocioni. (who has never been on the plus side, even when healthy.)

Tyrus also gives the Bulls an athletic advantage they've missed since... well, the 90s. He gets to the line too, another thing the Bulls don't do well as a team.

2:50 PM  
Blogger BenGo07 said...

Big Sweets--I wouldn't be surprised either if Smith averages more than 17 a game. That's the problem. Whatever minutes he gets more than that will be cutting into Ty's ideal playing time and, to a less problematic extent, Noah's. Like the song goes, I believe the children are our future, play them a lot and let them lead the way...

2:59 PM  
Anonymous CoachSkiles said...

I think Joe Smith gets more than 15 minutes a game too. I don't think playing Ty and Big Ben together for a lot of minutes make sense for many obvious reason; either the 4 or 5 has to hit 12 footers or TYRise and Big Ben are really going to be clogging up the lane. Maybe Ty is ready to do that after working hard this summer, but I'd much rather see him playing next to Noah or Smith and hanging around the rim for put-backs. I guess whether Noah can hit the 12 footer is a bit of a question as well.

Noah and Tyrise works defensively, but again one of them has to be able to step out to twelve feet on O. So I guess I'm saying Noah and Ty will dictate lineups based on
how much their jumpers have improved.

Or maybe a Noah,Ty,Deng,Gordon,and Kirk lineup will get a lot of easy hoops on the break and negate that problem. As said many times before that going to be a real fun lineup to watch.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous sbulls9030 said...

You would think that playing Wallace and Thomas together would be a problem, but Hinrich, Gordon, Deng, Thomas, And Wallace was their most productive lineup last year (102.7 pts scored; 91.0 pts given up/48 min)

Thomas's lack of a jumpshot is pretty well compensated for by his ability to attack the rim, get fouled, and run the floor. He's wasn't a drag on the offense last year. And not having someone that can make a 12 foot jumper can be a good thing if it means the Bulls don't settle for that shot so much. Wallace and Thomas together on defense also covers up alot of offensive issues.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Who the hell is NOCE ? Why do you think DUHON is a PF....come on dude!!!

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing about "let[ting] the kids play" is that doing so could be detrimental to the team's immediate success. There are always moments in games that are in one way or another crucial to the outcome. That is why someone like Chris Duhon, who may not be a sexy name or a huge part of the future for the Bulls, plays so many minutes. In spite of the talent and potential of the younger guards on the team, Skiles trusts him more. Although it seems like a good idea to develop the young talent, the Bulls aren't trying to make the playoffs, they ARE a playoff team. Their goal is to get further into the postseason and to get further, you have to win. To win, you have to play the guys who know how to. It sounds paradoxical to have to have experience to play, but to get further into the playoffs, you have to win regular season games. It's much tougher through the playoffs as a 6, 7, or 8 seed. The Bulls are in an awkward postion between being a good team and an up-and-coming one.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Charrua said...

Next year rotation is key, because basically, most of the team improvement will probably come from the bench players. Sure, Deng will probably improve some, but Big Ben will decline some too, and frankly, I have trouble seeing big improvements from Gordon, Hinrich and Smith. The big change is in the bench, where Thomas and Thabo should play significatively better and Noah (a relatively mature rookie) can probably give you 15 solid minutes a night. With a healthy Nocioni and Duhon, that could be a very good second unit and make a real difference, if allowed.

5:22 PM  

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