Bud Shaw (in a column that references both Funkmaster Flex AND Blades of Glory) has more:
The coach mentions San Antonio's use of Robert Horry and Manu Ginobili as evidence that even the championship-level teams do their share of experimenting. But there's a difference between tweaking and the need to send out a search party to locate missing bench players.
Damon Jones, for instance, is no factor on a team that doesn't shoot the ball well even though he was a consistent contributor earlier in the season. He knocked down three 3-pointers on March 13. What has happened since suggests he needs to change his seat on the bench. He must be sitting in the coach's blind spot.
Donyell Marshall and Jones were in the mix this time last year. Daniel Gibson has filled the shooter's role, but he looks lost since returning from injury. In consecutive games, Eric Snow played nine minutes against Utah, 31 against Charlotte and five against Dallas.
Shaw quotes Snow's minutes, let's look at some of the other players (starting from Newble's Bucks game heroics followed by Ind, Sac, @Mem, Uth, @Cha, Dal, NYK, Den):
Newble: 8, 2, 22, 19, 8, 1, 0, 11 and 11.This doesn't make sense. Brown played 4 minutes in the month of February and then averaged 6 points in 10 minutes a game to begin March and hasn't played since. It'd be nice if these guys could get a nice rotation going (lets not forget that Pavlovic finally came into his own once he got steady minutes every night). Also, I'm sure exactly no one is surprised with this, but I'd prefer that Gibson and Brown get the bulk of the 'off the bench wingman' minutes (though I understand the need to play Snow in certain situations).
Snow: 26, 23, 23, 16, 9, 31, 5, 19 and 17.
Marshall: 21, 11, 9, 26, 15, 11, 15, 18 and 6.
Gibson (starting with Charlotte): 12, 18, 6 and 14
Brown: 9, 13, 10, 15 (@Mem) and hasn't played since.
And then there's the starters. LeBron averages 40+ minutes a night and Hughes has been getting just under 40 while Sasha gets receives just 31 a game. I've accepted the fact that LeBron is never going to average less than 40 minutes a game (though I still don't like it) but there is no good reason why Hughes should be near the 40 minute level.
Hughes often has to guard the quickest guy on the opposition and he really (really, really, really) needs his legs under him for his jumpers (those things are flat)- it makes no sense to play him 40 minutes a night, especially since you have Pavlovic, Brown and Gibson all deserving of minutes (this same argument could also be used to cut LeBron's minutes. But that will never happen. Ever).
Shaw ends his column with a quip about how a winning road trip would be nice, but a set rotation would be better. I agree (and I want both).
Brown is going to have to figure out a set rotation of guys that he can trust come playoff time and it better not include Ira Newble.