Adam Levitan

Rotating Rotations

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Dunleavy Dancing

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Position: Shooting guard
It’s a waste of breath to talk about Orlando’s rotation with so much up in the air ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. What we can prepare for is the possibility that the swingmen are going to get shaken up in one form or another. Either the Magic are going to deal Howard and likely send Hedo Turkoglu with him, or they’ll move assets such as Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick to acquire another front-line player.

All we can do is stash talent and wait. In this case, Redick and Jason Richardson stand to benefit the most if Turkoglu and Howard move on. For more stash candidates, check out my trade deadline preview here.

Position: Shooting guard/Small forward
Brook Lopez played in five games this year. In those games, MarShon Brooks logged 33.3 minutes, but got just 8.8 shots up per night. In his 19 other starts, Brooks is averaging 13.4 field-goal attempts per game. With Lopez (ankle) week-to-week and possibly done for the year, Brooks is back as a strong hold.

Meanwhile, D-League callup Gerald Green is making some serious noise. It’s worth noting that even though Green was a first-round pick way back in 2005, he’s still only 26 years old. Over the last seven games, he’s averaging 21.2 minutes while fellow bench scorer Anthony Morrow is at 21.4.

But before we go overboard on Green’s last two games (18.5 points, 26.8 minutes), realize that Deron Williams (calf) played in neither. That made usual third guard Jordan Farmar the starting point guard, thus opening up room for Green. Barring further injuries, Green is unlikely to garner more than 18-22 minutes going forward.

Position: Point guard
Darren Collison is a mediocre NBA point guard, so there’s always going to be chatter that his starting gig is in jeopardy. Don’t buy it.

Coach Frank Vogel is on the record saying he prefers George Hill (shoulder, day-to-day) at shooting guard anyway. The Pacers are 23-16 with Collison starting every single game and playing 33.1 minutes per night. Yes, they’ve lost four straight games -- but three of those came at Chicago, at Miami and at Orlando. The roles here are clear -- Collison is the starter and will hover around 31-34 minutes, Paul George is the beastly shooting guard with unlimited potential and Hill is the perfect fit as the combo guard off the bench.

Position: Power forward
Now that Andrea Bargnani (calf) is finally back, this rotation has settled down. Bargnani is going to ramp up to 31-34 minutes nightly, Jerryd Bayless will beast whenever Jose Calderon (ankle, day-to-day) is injured/traded and the ugly three-headed monster at center can be ignored.

James Johnson has started 27 straight games and his recent dip in production can be written off as a blip. As mentioned two weeks ago, Dwane Casey needs Johnson’s defensive-minded skills out there.

Position: Shooting guard
I talked about Turner in last Friday’s Dose and Matt Stroup hit on him in Roundball Stew. He’s a controversial player because he does everything at a plus-level except shoot the ball. I’m not sold on his offensive abilities after three explosive games.

We won’t debate that point in this space though. We’re here to talk about minutes, and you can be sure Turner is going to get plenty of them the rest of the way.

Why did Jodie Meeks start the first 38 games of the season at shooting guard? Because the Sixers began the season 20-9 and Doug Collins wasn’t about to mess with that. He says it’s truly that simple and I believe him. Now that Collins has made the move to Turner, committed to him for the rest of the year and has seen him go off for 17.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in four starts, there’s no turning back. Think 32-36 minutes the rest of the way, even after the jumper goes back in the tank.

Those deep-leaguers holding onto Jodie Meeks can probably do better. In his four games off the bench, Meeks is getting just 13.6 minutes per game. He doesn’t fit as a scorer on the second unit because that’s the role of Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young.

Position: Power forward
Interim coach Randy Wittman is wisely making Andray Blatche earn his minutes. So far, Blatche hasn’t been able to do that.

In five games since returning from his calf injury, Blatche has started zero times and is averaging a mere 15.2 minutes per night. He’s been booed mercilessly by his home fans and has admitted that has affected him on the court. Meanwhile, Trevor Booker has held steady at 31.7 minutes over the last five.

Perhaps Blatche is still feeling the calf, perhaps he’s not in game shape and perhaps those boos are too much to overcome. But we haven’t seen a shell of the guy that averaged 16.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals as a starter last year. Or the guy that posted 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 36 2009-10 starts. And there’s no sign that we will see that guy anytime soon, making Booker safe and Blatche waiver-wire fodder.

* The Pistons and Heat are not listed as they are the only Eastern Conference teams without any true question marks in their rotations.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth 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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