Adam Levitan

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Projected Rotations Part 1

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Getting into the heads of NBA coaches is not easy. I mean, Stan Van Gundy goes into his closet and picks out a different mock turtleneck every night. How can we even take a stab at what is going through his mind?

Still, we are less than two weeks away from Opening Night. There are still a ton of questions about rotations that are being sorted out through the preseason, but it's time to make our (educated?) guesses. Imagine how valuable it would have been prior to last season if we knew that Mike D'Antoni was going to give Danilo Gallinari 34 minutes a night. Mixing a player with offensive skills and burn like that is a lock for production. Instead, he lasted until the 13th round of my main league.

So below you will find a guess at Opening Night starters and minutes per game. Some are set in stone, and others are very fluid. We're on the hunt for that enticing combination like Gallinari provided last year.

First up is the Eastern Conference. We'll be back with the West next week.

Editor's Note: For full projections, tiers, rankings and everything else you need, check out the Draft Guide!

* Denotes a player that is starting only because of a relatively short-term injury.
(xx) = projected minutes per game

PG Mike Bibby (24)
SG Joe Johnson (38)
SF Marvin Williams (30)
PF Josh Smith (36)
C Al Horford (35)

Relevant reserves
SG Jamal Crawford (31)
PG Jeff Teague (21)

Notes: Jeff Teague is likely to unseat Bibby as the starter before long. At least an even timeshare should be expected. ... Reigning sixth man of the year Jamal Crawford is much more productive on a per-minute basis than Marvin Williams.

PG Rajon Rondo (37)
SG Ray Allen (33)
SF Paul Pierce (34)
PF Kevin Garnett (32)
C Jermaine O'Neal (27)

Relevant reserves
C Shaquille O'Neal (22)
G Delonte West (suspended first 10 games)
PF Glen Davis (18)

Notes: Shaquille O'Neal will sit out a bunch, but so will Jermaine O'Neal. Both are bigger headaches than they are worth. And Kendrick Perkins (knee) says he'll be back for the final 30 games. ... Kevin Garnett is reportedly extremely healthy, giving him a slight bump in projected minutes over last season. Still a big risk.

PG D.J. Augustin (29)
SG Stephen Jackson (38)
SF Gerald Wallace (40)
PF Boris Diaw (35)
C Nazr Mohammed (21)

Relevant reserves
PF Tyrus Thomas (29)
PG Shaun Livingston (14)

Notes: Tyrus Thomas is a tantalizing talent. At the very least he'll split time with Diaw at power forward and get extra minutes when the Bobcats go small. At best, Diaw will be traded. ... Shaun Livingston's knee is already acting up. Even if D.J. Augustin struggles, which he is prone to doing, this is his job to lose.

PG Derrick Rose (37)
SG Ronnie Brewer (29)
SF Luol Deng (36)
PF Taj Gibson* (30)
C Joakim Noah (30)

Relevant reserves
PF Carlos Boozer (N/A)
SF Kyle Korver (20)

Notes: Carlos Boozer is expected back by the end of November. When that happens, Taj Gibson will go back to playing 15-18 minutes a night. … Don't buy the hype that Keith Bogans can win the starting shooting guard job. When healthy, Ronnie Brewer is a far superior talent on both ends.

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PG Mo Williams (35)
SG Anthony Parker (28)
SF Jamario Moon (27)
PF J.J. Hickson (32)
C Anderson Varejao (33)

Relevant reserves
PF Antawn Jamison (31)
PG Ramon Sessions (19)

Notes: Jamario Moon and Jawad Williams are battling for the starting small forward gig. Those two plus Anthony Parker and Ramon Sessionsare all going to have their upsides capped. ... J.J. Hickson will play some center when Antawn Jamison comes in at power forward. ... Of course, Jamison could end up starting over Hickson. Regardless, it won't make a big difference in minutes for either.

PG Rodney Stuckey (34)
SG Richard Hamilton (33)
SF Tayshaun Prince (32)
PF Austin Daye (29)
C Ben Wallace (25)

Relevant reserves
SG Tracy McGrady (21)
SG Ben Gordon (27)
PF Charlie Villanueva (23)
PF Greg Monroe (20)

Notes: Tracy McGrady is already complaining about his knees and worn down body. There is too much competition here to mess with him. ... It looks like the Pistons are going to go with young sleeper Austin Daye to replace Jonas Jerebko (Achilles) instead of Charlie Villanueva. ... Look for Ben Wallace's role to get smaller as rookie Greg Monroe comes along.

PG Darren Collison (34)
SG Mike Dunleavy (25)
SF Danny Granger (37)
PF Josh McRoberts (31)
C Roy Hibbert (30)

Relevant reserves
SG Brandon Rush (suspended)
PF Tyler Hansbrough (18)
SF Paul George (16)

Notes: Brandon Rush is suspended for the first five games of the season. We doubt Mike Dunleavy will do enough in that time to maintain the job. ... Look for a big leap in minutes and production out of Roy Hibbert. He's reportedly in great shape and having a monster preseason. ... The Pacers are really thin up front. Josh McRoberts is a nice sleeper.

PG Carlos Arroyo (20)
SG Dwyane Wade (39)
SF LeBron James (40)
PF Chris Bosh (38)
C Joel Anthony (15)

Relevant reserves
SG Mike Miller (19)
PF Udonis Haslem (29)
C Zydrunas Ilgauskas (20)

Notes: Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers are still battling for the starting PG gig. But they'll split the job and won't play 48 minutes combined as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James can handle point duties. ... There simply aren't many minutes to go around on the wing with Wade and James dominating the court and the ball.

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Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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