Thursday, October 16, 2014

Too Many Players Spoils the Rotation (Again)

It's October, so 'tis the season for Bill and Jalen's NBA Preview on Grantland.  Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose's 2015 Bucks preview was released today (along with the Celtics'), and they have the Bucks ranked 28th in the League.  The number is low, but when you finish dead last in 2014, that's what you get for 2015.

The #BucksForest 2015 NBA Preview is forthcoming, so the author will hold off his more expansive thoughts until then, but the Bill & Jalen preview was especially notable in one way: Bill Simmons bringing up that the Bucks have too many players who believe they are rotation guys.

It has been a hallmark of the John Hammond era to have too many guys who need minutes.  It happened the summer after the Fear the Deer season of 2010 when John Salmons was re-signed after Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts were brought in.  It happened in summer of 2012 when Drew Gooden was left without minutes in a crowded frontcourt.  It happened last summer when OJ Mayo and Gary Neal became disenchanted at the glut of wing players.

This year's glut is at multiple positions.  At point guard who sits: Nasty Nate or Kendall Marshall?  On the wing, two players out of the Bayless/Dudley/Mayo crew could be stuck to the bench.  And someone, be it Big Ers, Henson, Zaza or The Colonel, is going to be an unhappy, benched big man.

At this point nothing is going to be done about this overpopulation.  The team would be better with three or four more rookies or near-retirees who won't demand minutes.  But what is the front office going to do?  Only Brandon Knight, Giannis and Jabari Parker have tradable contracts, and none of them are likely to move.  For anyone else to move, they'd have to be cut.  The new owners are all about cost cutting at this point, so it's hard to imagine them paying a released player's salary just to make the team better.

The next few preseason games should provide some clarity as to who Jason Kidd wants in his rotation.  Most of the possible rotation players have sat out at least one game as the coaching staff tinkers with lineups.  Hopefully when a decision on a rotation is made, the staff can keep the more talented benchwarmers from spoiling the team's overall attitude.

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