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Red's Army

Doc won’t limit starters’ minutes

RedsArmyAdmin October 5, 2009 Uncategorized 10 Comments

Doc and kg

Doc Rivers is an NBA coach… a former coach of the year and an NBA champion.

I'm a slob who sometimes drinks alone, could stand to lose a few pounds, and uses terms like "we" and "us" when referring to his favorite pro teams.

So I get why Doc Rivers doesn't want to listen to someone like me when I offer an opinion about what should happen with the Celtics.  One thing I've been saying is it would be smart to limit the starters minutes to make sure they have enough gas left in the tank at the end of the season.  Keeping them fresher during the season could help prevent some of the wear-and-tear that tends to affect older players.

And Doc thinks I'm full of crap.

“You have to play
your starters for a certain amount of minutes,” Rivers said. “People
think that if you can play them 28 minutes a night that’s good, but
that’s awful. If you look historically, Michael Jordan never played
under 37 minutes a night. There is a reason for that — rhythm. You have
to keep your rhythm during the season. [Playing fewer minutes] sounds
like a great idea, but if you play them 28 minutes to conserve them,
then you throw them out of their rhythm.”

Call me nuts… or drunk… but if you're resting someone 11 minutes a game.  What's an extra 5 minutes on the bench if you spread it out?  If you bring a player back 1:15 later than you originally would have… that's 5 minutes right there.  So if you pull Paul with 3 minutes to go in the quarter.  Why not just wait a minute or two into the second quarter to sub him back in rather than start the second quarter with him? 

Is that really going to take him out of rhythm? 

I'd submit that Paul Pierce, being a Hall of Fame calibur player, won't lose it after a couple extra minutes on the bench.  And you can substitute the names Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in that last sentence.

Look… I'm not saying any one formula will work or won't work.  But an extra minute of rest during every sub-out isn't going to throw someone out of whack.  It's just not.

But Doc's a smart guy.  I know he is.  I know he's going to look down his bench and see very capable guys there when his stars are tired.  And I know he's going to ride the horse if his second unit is extending a lead.  I'm just not so sure he's willing to let that second unit go a little longer beyond his comfort zone for the greater good.  

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  • Jason

    Well if he won’t listen to you, maybe someone who like say Popovich. Can anyone find some quotes from him that might speak to the idea of sacrificing some regular season (when it doesn’t count as much) in order to be as close to 100% for the postseason (when it really counts)?

  • AboveTheRim

    right on red. Is Doc seriously going to drop Michael Jordan’s minutes as a reason to ride this group into the ground? There’s one MJ, doc…geesus.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f5ebb21970c JD

    30-33 Ray and PP apiece
    35-37 for Rondo
    30 KG
    With the depth we have now, that shouldn’t be too difficult for Doc to do. Barring any injuries, I think Doc will end up limiting the starters to those numbers.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6a54c2970c ToTheRuins

    Whine much?
    KG has averaged 32 minutes and under since becoming a celtic, and doc has been strict about it, and he will not go over that this year, you can count on it
    Ray an Paul were at 35 the year we won the title, and went up 1 and 2 minutes last season due to injury, no depth and close game after close game
    too much is made of this

  • thetitleisours

    The problem is that too many minutes is what aging vets tired, and when one is tired that is when injuries can result.
    Vets can continue at a high level, but there is enough historic evidence that the older you get the more rest one needs.
    Even the Chief, one of the best workout guys ever, needed more rest as he went into his late 30’s

  • Bas Rutten Jr.

    ^This.

  • Steve

    I think what Doc was trying to say is that he wants his player use to playing around 30 minutes a game so when playoff come he can make then play more. When you are use to playing 28 minutes a game in the regular season it is harder to up those minutes in the playoffs. I also feel that you don’t try to limit minutes play per game every game, but you want a good amount of blowouts so the starters can rest for most of the second haft. That is were you are going to limit the minutes of players. the main number is not minutes per game but total minutes played total in the season.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f5ebb21970c JD

    Well if every player plays around 75-80 games, minutes per game and total minutes are going to end up having the same significance.

  • antoinew8

    The thing with resting the guys for the postseason will come in the form of maybe one minute or two off their last year numbers, but mostly will come at the end of the season when each guy gets a night off each week after the team’s sewed up the conference number one spot. THet’s how dock will rest the guys.
    And as for a few minutes not ruining a guy’s rhythm, i guess you don’t play basketball regularly. I’m not saying i’m in the same class as these highly athletic freaks,(I’m certainly not) I am saying though that any time durng my men’s league games when you’re stuck on a team with eight or more guys and they all want to play, you can’t get a rhythm when you’re stuck sitting after halftime, then forced to wait for the other two or more guys to get in before your turn comes back up again. I try to stay in the whole game if possible and that keeps my shot steady. I’m sure the pros feel the same way.

  • Steve

    To show what i am talking about i am going to use Paul for example.
    Say he averages 35 min a game and plays 80 games that adds up to 2,800 min for the season. Say you want to cut his min per game to 30 min that will give him 2,400 min for the year. But if we are making Paul play 30 min and during the playoffs we need him to play 38 to 40 min a game he his body will only be conditioned to play 30 min a game so he has to find a way to recondition his body to play 40 min. that is an extra 10 min a game.
    I feel that having blow out will be a better way to limit min played for the whole year. Say the Celtics blow teams out for 20 games and we can cut Paul’s min from 35 to 26 that will bring min played for the year to 2,620.
    As a whole i just feel that limited minutes played per game might not be the best to help game conditioning for players. Instead games off and quarters off will be a better result.