Phoenix Suns: Projecting Each Player's Minutes Per Game in 2012-13
Alvin Gentry has the tough task this offseason of figuring out how to distribute minutes to a completely rebuilt Phoenix Suns roster.
The two captains from last year, Steve Nash and Grant Hill, are gone. And now Channing Frye looks to be out for the year.
Phoenix is going to have a very different team on the floor this season, and it is my job to break down how I think the minutes will be divided. Also, please note that the minutes will not add up to a perfect 240.
Not every player will play every game. However, even when they play a small number of minutes it will still elevate the total.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 33.2
The newly acquired point guard will get some good action every night, but rookie Kendall Marshall will lower the average. As Marshall learns the game, he will get more and more action, which will decrease Gragic's time.
With that said, Dragic is still the man in Phoenix and is expected to have a career year with the Suns. Expect a slower pace than Nash's, which will also keep Dragic more energized.
I will also add that he has never had injury problems, another factor that would normally have to be accounted for.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 27.1
This number is pretty low for a starter, but Brown has tons of competition behind him.
Jared Dudley should be fine in the Sixth Man spot, but he is a better defender and shooter than Brown, which could mean more playing time in the fourth quarter.
Wesley Johnson is also looking to shake the bust label in Phoenix and is already a better defender than Brown. However, neither Dudley or Johnson have the athletic ability of Brown, which fits in perfectly in Phoenix.
His athleticism, combined with a decent shot, elevates him to the starting spot, albeit without the big minutes.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 33.1
Beasley is another new addition and my personal pick to be the team's scoring leader. Beasley already showed his scoring abilities in 2011, when he averaged 19.2 points a game.
In Phoenix, with consistent minutes and a lot of touches, I see that number going above 20. The Suns currently don't have a go-to scorer and that is exactly the role Beasley will step into.
The competition at the small forward spot is also not as tense as it is for the shooting guards, with Dudley being the only backup to see any big minutes.
Injuries have never been a major issue for him, either. He has had just a few minor problems here and there.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 30.6
The power forward position does not exactly have a lot of competition, but if Markieff Morris makes the improvement he is expected to, he will take a good chunk of minutes away from Scola.
Scola was a great pickup by the Suns, and gives Phoenix a strong weapon to line up next to Gortat. Scola is a finesse player who beats opponents with great footwork and technique.
Gortat is a more physical player, and these clashing styles should mesh well on the court. Scola's jump shot is also an asset, allowing him to bring opposing big men out of the paint to clear space.
Expect very efficient numbers from Scola this season.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 33.4
Gortat's play will be very important to the Suns this year, which is why I have him averaging the most minutes on the team. Gortat is one of the top centers in the league and impacts every single aspect of the game.
He can score, grab boards on both ends and play exceptional defense. He really only has one true backup, and Jermaine O'Neal does not provide much help on the offensive end of the floor.
I also suspect that Gortat will be the main beneficiary of Scola's arrival, giving him more space in the paint as well as fewer double teams.
If people outside of Phoenix haven't heard about Gortat yet, expect to hear a lot about him this year.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 26.7
Dudley will be backing up both the shooting guard position and the small forward spot for the Suns. His hustle on both ends, defensive play and shooting ability make him very valuable for Phoenix.
He is also the longest tenured Sun on the team, making him a leadership figure—something he will also back up with his play.
I predict a career-best showing from Dudley.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 15.2
That's not the number Marshall will start the season with, but by the end, it should even out to a very nice amount of playing time.
Marshall has been compared by many to Jason Kidd, a comparison I definitely agree with. His basketball IQ and floor vision are both amazing for a rookie, and his defense is solid as well.
There is one serious weak spot, and that is Marshall's lack of scoring ability. I would bet anything on Marshall averaging more assists than points, but he will get better.
He has a promising jumper to go with above average ball-handling, and those skills will eventually combine to make him a decent scorer.
Every game will be a marked improvement for Marshall.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 15.1
He is not the best scorer in the world, but you can never question his ability to defend the rim. That is exactly what is going to earn him those minutes every night.
O'Neal is a physical presence on both ends, and while he won't be getting many touches on the offensive side, he will take up a very nice amount of space down low.
While O'Neal's signing went over a lot of people's heads in Phoenix, he will play a big role in the Suns' success.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 19.8
I am a big fan of Morris and think he has a ton of potential, but I have said over and over again that his problem is consistency.
Last season, it would seem that a different player was on the floor every game. Whether he seemed slow or was simply not able to contribute, things seemed to change every game.
If he finds a way to give 100-percent effort every night, he will easily get more than 20 minutes a night from Gentry. Last season, Gentry showed trust in the rookie, and I don't see that going away.
He sees exactly what we all see—talent. Morris has a ton of talent, he just needs to make sure to bring it to every game.
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 19.4
Those minutes might seem steep to some, considering that Johnson is a career 40-percent shooter from the floor and has averaged an anemic 7.7 points per game.
Regardless of his offensive contributions, his defensive abilities are needed on the Suns. Johnson knows how to use his athletic ability to lock guys down, and the Suns are short on good defenders.
Shannon Brown is average at best. Jared Dudley is a good defender, but does not have the same athletic gifts that Johnson has.
If he shows improvement on the offensive end of the floor, don't be surprised to see those minutes climb even more.
The Other Guys
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 5.3
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 3.4
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 11.3
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 7.1
Minutes Per Game (MPG): 11.4
These are the guys who are likely not going to play every game and won't see a lot of time when they do.
Telfair showed flashes of good play, but Kendall Marshall will take all of his minutes and then some. Tucker hasn't played in the NBA since 2007 and won't play much this year, maybe even spending some time in the D-League.
Diogu could actually see good time on many nights, but it won't be consistent. Jones is in the same boat: Their play will be need-based. If someone is injured, they could be called upon to fill in.
Jeffers will be a D-League player with a few chances to play during the year.
Overall, don't expect to see too much of these guys during the year.
Thank you for reading and please leave a comment with your thoughts!
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