Hard Rotation Decisions Need To Come Soon

  • This may be the most talented team that has set foot in AFH, from top to bottom. If coach Self departs from his prior formula for dishing out minutes and tries to keep everyone happy, this could threaten this team’s ability to reach its peak. Self needs to decide on his rotation, stick with it, and make changes only when a piece appears broken. Reaching its peak means everyone doesn’t play. That decision time is fast approaching given our schedule.

    What we’ve seen so far is a potluck. We’ve seen the “Sure 6” – Tharpe, Ellis, Wiggins, Embiid, Mason, and Selden – get consistent rotation minutes. But that’s it.

    The rest, including starter Tarik Black, have scrapped for the rest of the playing time. Self has been very unpredictable so far regarding minutes. Against Iona, six guys played significantly, and only two others had 10 minutes. That was Iona. Look at Duke – only 7 guys with double digit minutes. White hardly played at all - 4 minutes. Greene got 8 minutes. Self played Frankamp 0 minutes vs. Duke, 10 minutes vs. Iona and 12 minutes vs. Towson. Traylor has basically been played only when needed – 13, 10, and 12 minutes the last three games. Black’s role is fewer minutes due to fouls and Embiid emerging. Lucas isn’t a factor.

    Coming in, most thought Self’s rotation will likely be a bit wider. I had predicted and 8+ rotation – 8 guys, with a 9th getting 10-13 minutes. I had suggested the “+” guy would be Mason. That’s more than the last two seasons. Right now, the rotation has been tighter than that. The “Sure 6”, and then from game-to-game, the balance of the minutes have been spread out. And those minutes have barely been rotation level minutes (10-15 based on your preference – I like 13).

    Self said going into the season opener that he wouldn’t be as generous with the minutes, and he hasn’t. But he has spread it around. Landen Lucas is really the only guy that hasn’t been a part of that. He got some well deserved scraps in blowout time vs. Towson, but that’s really it.

    Harnessing all of this talent is coach Self’s job. But management might be the tougher job. It may seem easier to coach with tons of talent, but I actually think it might be easier with the lines of talent more clearly drawn. Here, literally, you would have a good argument for nearly every scholarship player being in the primary rotation. Thus coach Self’s challenge.

    How does he keep everyone happy? How does he take 12 personalities that want to play, that really deserve to play, and get some to the accept the reality that the sheer numbers will eventually create? That’s the management thing I was referring to. But he must do a couple of things, regardless of feelings and possible discontent.

    First and foremost, he can’t fight reality. And he can’t fight what he knows to be true. He has to choose. He has to make choices, and stick with those choices, to permit this team to reach its peak. The more the same guys play together, and know their roles, the better we’ll be. We have a young team. The longer he delays, the more he jeopardizes the assent of this team.

    Second, he cannot let his concerns about possible transfers, keeping players happy, and trying to be fair, distract from that purpose. Again, because to do so will compromise the ultimate level that this team can ascend to this season. This is a possible national title season. It’s right there. We are clearly a title favorite, together with a handful of other teams. As Rocky said vs. Clubber Lang, “go for it.”

    So what should Self do?

    1. Start Embiid now. No doubt, he needs to simply put this young man out on the floor to start the game, and play him the maximum minutes he can considering conditioning, fouls, and situation.

    2. Make Black the first player off the bench, but let it be a battle between he and Traylor. Black does seem to have a pretty good motor, and may do better coming off the bench. But I have seen nothing to show me that Black is better than Traylor, or the other way around.

    3. Choose between White and Greene. One of these guys will be an invaluable member this team going forward. Just make the choice. They are not exactly the same player, but they have much the same skill set. As close as any two players on the team. Two cannot play rotation minutes with Wiggins here. This is a tough choice. The one that you don’t choose might transfer. The choice between the two could be delayed a bit. When Greene 8 minutes to White’s 4 vs. Duke, I thought, uh oh. White’s in trouble. Then Green apparently got in trouble. What we saw from White vs. Iona is exactly what you should expect from White. What we saw of Greene vs. Duke is exactly what we should expect from Greene. Hard choice. But there is not room for two in the rotation. And the chosen one needs to play. Notice how I did not make a choice.

    4. Put Frankamp on the bench. Just do it. He’s there for emergencies. He’s there if someone gets hurt. He’s there for that road game at College Station when Self gets ticked off at a rotation guy. But it is obvious that the total package he brings does not exceed any other perimeter player.

    5. Do not close your mind to starting Mason. I know, I’m a Tharpe guy. I’ve been referred to as being “in love with Tharpe.” I am a Tharpe guy. But I am also now a Mason guy. If coach Self thinks this team is better with Mason, which he has hinted at, then do not shy away from the choice. Self has mentioned how we play faster with Mason. That is obvious. Self may view the tandem as just that, and no reason to favor Mason over Tharpe. But if that’s his gut, then he should do it and do it as soon as possible.

    As we’ve discussed for many years, it is survival of the fittest. I love seeing everyone play. I enjoy seeing each guy get their time. But the only thing that matters this season is a National Championship. Every move, every thought, every decision, should be done with that in mind. That will not make everyone on the roster happy. But it’s what has to happen.

  • For once, I actually got to see the game less than 12 hours after it was played.

    HEM, worthy “thread starter” post in every way: thoughtful and thought-provoking.

    I am in line with the choices you either make or say need to be made, but I am not sure everything is so urgent. Coach Self has been in similar situations in his first years here, and he has played more people early in the season than late. The players will feel better about not playing if they have been given a little chance and if the rotation guys show they’re better. Choosing too early could be plausibly considered “unfair”.

    What’s wrong with waiting until after Finals? That’s when Self really puts together the squad he wants to go to war with.

    What he could do is clearly announce what decisions he’s going to make, so the players can feel like they got a last chance to state their case.

    P.S. One thing I do think is urgent is to play Embiid as much as possible. Who is this guy??? He doesn’t have to start. The coaches just need to keep encouraging Black to play aggressively no matter how many fouls he has and Jojo will get all the minutes he could want 🙂

  • HEM, great analysis, as usual. One question on No 5. If both Tharpe and Mason are part of the ‘Sure Six’, then what does it matter who starts? And does it have to 50/50 or could it vary over time as needed? Inquiring minds want to know, at least mine does.

  • I like Mason’s upside and I like Tharpe’s newfound ball control. Last year I was calling for Tharpe to play over EJ at the one. Am I just the typical fan making the backup quarterback the most popular guy in town?

  • Hem,

    Nice write up but I disagree with you on number 2. I believe that Traylor has a better motor than Black and a much higher upside as well. We have seen pretty much what Black can do, and I for one am not impressed; we have seen glimpses of Traylor and with more playing time I see him as a solid contributor. Traylor allows the team to play at faster pace, Black slows down the tempo.

    Frankamp’s defense was a nice surprise, I see him as Tyrel Reed type of contributor with a solid 4 year career ahead.

    Coach Self has always said that by the end of the season he likes to play 7 to 8 players on a regular basis; however, this year he has indicated that he might play up to 10 players, partly because of the available talent and partly because the new rule will result in more players in foul trouble. When we go to war against OSU and ISU, I see many players from both teams fouling out and a strong, experienced bench may be the difference.

  • @HighEliteMajor – great timing on this thread. Here are my predictions.

    #####White over Greene##### I think we should go with White over Greene. White has paid his dues, and Greene can do so as well. Next year we’ll need both heavily if both stick around, assuming Selden and Wiggins leave and we don’t recruit another wing after Oubre. Rewarding White is the right thing to do, not only for his great attitude and obvious work ethic, but in terms of what message this conveys to the rest of the team. He also looks like he’s settling into the role, and capable of drilling contested threes, and getting out on the break effectively with the rest of the guys.

    #####JoJo over Black##### Agree with HEM that JoJo needs to start now. He needs as much experience as he can get this year as a super-athletic super-raw big, and with the level of production we’re already getting out of him, there is no downside. While starting JoJo may disappoint Black, this is not nearly the same thing as rewarding Greene the rotation spot over White, because JoJo and Black were both recruited to play here for one year (assuming JoJo goes league) and neither have paid their dues in our system. I see it as a fair position battle that has already clearly been won by JoJo.

    #####Naadir over Mason##### As for Naadir and Mason… I think as the refs adjust to ignoring the new foul rules throughout the season, Mason’s advantage driving the ball will be somewhat negated. He most definitely pushed transition better than Naadir in the Duke game, but I see Naadir improving in that regard. I think he was holding back a bit that game. Naadir obviously has put in his time, and would be a no brainer if we didn’t have a team full of kids acting like relaxed veterans. At that point, Naadir might be looked to more for leadership. But we aren’t in that position. Naadir appears to be the better shooter over Mason and his ability to can the open three when needed helps his case. I think Naadir will be given every opportunity to keep his starting job, provided he continues to speed up his ability to get the ball downcourt on the break. If he can’t or won’t do this, he’ll get the hook.

    #####Frankamp vs Greene##### Assuming White’s won the battle for first 2/3 off the bench, I think you’re alluding to the fact that Greene gives us what Conner gives us, plus a few inches, HEM, when you say Self should put Conner on the bench. I’ve said the same, and I would continue to agree, except that Conner seems to be getting more comfortable letting it fly pure, while Greene has some indeterminate doghouse issues. I’m still waiting to see what the ceiling for drilling a 3 off the bench in spot minutes is for these 2 guys. Was either expecting something more? Either may plateau or regress, or either may improve beyond the other. I agree with @Parishawk on this position battle, that there is no rush.

  • We all know self likes his upperclassmen so my guess is tharpe will continue to start and mason will come off the bench. Self does seem to like going small and playing both together. I love mason and how he gets in the lane and he creates better than tharpe. Watch for tharpe to play less during crunch time.

  • Maybe Self has Embiid come off the bench so he can have a low post option at all times. Ellis paired with Black, Embiid paired with Traylor.

  • I had a long response typed up, but then I somehow lost it.

    So I will just make my predictions that:

    White will end up being the 8th guy most of the time.

    Greene will transfer (maybe at semester?)

  • I really hope Greene sticks it out. He’s clearly a great shooter and can even drive to the basket. He’s made some freshmen mistakes, but also been an asset. He’s smart… and yes, maybe fiery… but so were Rex Walters and Hasse.

    With White, Greene and Frankamp coming off the bench, Self has three marksmen – any of which can come in fresh and drill the other team.

    This is a huge advantage later in the season. For now, Self needs to keep rotating them to see how they do in different situations. Yes, there may be default order that puts White first, and the other two next. We may find that Frankamp is better late in the quarter because he’s a better FT shooter. Maybe Greene matches up better on the perimeter sometimes.

    There is little downside that I can see so far to rotating 9-10 – depending on the situation.

    The depth on the team is pretty special. If Self can figure out how to turn that to an advantage, it could be a differentiator.

  • I like things the way that they are, totally unpredictable. Coach Self has created an atmosphere that will result in highly competitive practices, and maximum effort in games. I love it. Bring it everyday, or sit. Sometimes players will sit because it just wasn’t in the cards for that particular game. Accomplishments in High School mean absolutely nothing. The chemistry will come. What is great about it is opponents can’t really game plan against KU. There is no defensive strategy against a squad this deep. I don’t see Greene transferring, he has gotten National Exposure on a top 5 team, why leave? He is a Freshman, his time will come. I am sure Greene and Frankamp have never sat in their lives, but this is an elite team, and I am sure they are thrilled to be a part of it. When they are given the opportunity to excel, they must do just that. So far this year we have seen KU put up 50 in a half without Andrew Wiggins scoring, top 50 players get limited minutes, and a team so talented, that Coach Self, yes Coach Bill Self, could not bring himself (no pun intended), to redshirt anyone. I look forward to watching this team mature, learn, and grow while continuing to play unselfishly for and with each other.

  • I’m in KansasComet’s camp.

  • I see HEM’s point and I think it is a valid one. It’s just rare to have so much talent on one team and therefore make’s it hard to compare to any other team. I do see 2 distinct advantages to having a large revolving rotation (at least for now).

    1. Playing against teams with out a deep bench allows us to keep fresh bodies on the floor and gas an opponent out.

    2. Flexibility. Putting different combinations on the floor allows for more specific match ups.

    3 Conference Scouting. With this revolving line up it’s been difficult to see exactly who this team really is. This has to make it a little harder for Big12 teams to scout us beyond just the player level.

  • Though a deeper rotation is not Bill’s cup of java, the rule changes on fouling will necessitate this “evil,” Personally I’m with you HEM, I like seeing all these guys get their due, but prefer the skillset of the 6-8 guys that click the best. But like Izzo said after the OU game last night, coaches who want to win will just tell their best driver to head in the paint & let the officials bail us out. And more teams will continue the upswing in playing zone to slow down the game. The 2 1/2 hour game is becoming common place & will be like comparing a horse race last year, to a chess match this year. Some people will still like it though, maybe those who like being a spectator at a golf match, or perhaps (LOL) one who wagers on say, two raindrops running down the window. JMO but I always dig the race track-went there every weekend from about 8-13 years old & had our owns cars years later. I’m not what you’d call an adrenaline junkie, but more like a hound! Izzo nails it in this article from about an hour ago.


  • And the nut’s not far from the tree either. I’ve a 9 year old nephew that’s racing go carts competitively now & been on 4 wheelers & dirt bikes since old enough to steer one. Maybe the need for speed is genetic?

  • For now, I don’t think Mason should start over Tharpe. One good thing would come from that and that would be to challenge him. If he starts Mason then Tharpe will have to earn the starting spot back. Embiid should start, I think Self should take out Selden from starting and put on White.

  • On some of the items raised above, all excellent points:

    -Timing: I understand that perhaps Self could wait a bit on his rotation decisions – Christmas break, Jan. 15, or Feb. 1. Maybe he’s already made decisions. We don’t know. But a big reason I think it should be apparent on the court, sooner than later, is based on our schedule. We don’t have just one or two games where we might need to focus on our top guys, but we have a slew of them – the tournament this week, then Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and Georgetown. That’s why I see it to be important. I don’t view conference play as being more important than those games. The tournament, and those four games, may dictate our “shot” at a national title.

    -#1 Seed: The “shot” at a national title is largely increased by getting a #1 seed. I’ve posted this in the past … 18 of the last 25 tourney winners have been #1 seeds. That’s an amazing stat. The out of conference games seem to factor into seeding quite a bit. If we can run it, going 7-0 in the tournament, then the 4 big games, our shot at a #1 seed goes way up. Winning now gives us some breathing room for a few inexplicable conference losses that seem likely with a young team.

    -Youth/Chemistry/Confidence: While many other teams are young, too, we are one of the few teams where our talent is incredibly focused on our freshmen. Right now, our best starting lineup could contain 4 freshmen. Maybe. But it’s clear that our best rotation contains at least 4, and maybe 5 (if Greene is superior to White). Developing chemistry and familiarity with all components of Self’s system can only be an advantage going forward. I’m not saying we can’t do that with 11 guys getting time, but it certainly decreases “touches” and reps in game situation. And say we lose a few conference games in a stretch … say 3 of 5 … looking back on our run of 7-0 in the early part of the season might be a nice confidence card Self could play. It couldn’t hurt.

    -Competition: Setting the rotation doesn’t necessarily kill competition. Say Greene is out now. Self could easily tell the guys that game rotations will be tight, but it’s still an open competition and he’ll be reassessing as the season progresses. That’s probably how it really is anyway. But setting the rotation means that Self has made his choice, the presumption is in favor of his choice, but other events could change it.

    -Frankamp/Three Point Assassin Off The Bench: I’m not down on Frankamp at all. I value this guy as an important four year player. I have no doubt he could contribute positively this season. But when I compare him to Greene, it doesn’t seem close. Not only is Greene taller by half a foot, but Greene seems like he has an excellent mid-range game. Greene seems to have the ability to drive the basketball a bit too. Frankamp seems mostly a three point threat, and Greene appears to be his equal there. Frankamp can be physically overwhelmed. If we are casting them in the role of emergency, break glass in case of fire, three point assassin off the bench, with White in the rotation, why not pick one of them so that the chosen one gets more reps, and is more comfortable? Perhaps 7 or so minutes a game, and more if needed? Otherwise, Self will just be playing hunches in selecting one from game to game. We saw pulling White off the bench last season, dead cold, sitting for multiple games in row, doesn’t usually work. If this is a “role”, there needs to be regular minutes – not rotation minutes, just regular playing time. If we are to have an “on call” three point guy, I think choosing just one for that role is the best option.

    -Mason: When I mentioned Mason in my post, I wasn’t necessarily advocating that he start. I was saying that if Self thinks he makes us better, then Self should pull the trigger now on Mason as the starter. We can play them as a tandem, sure. That works too. I think that works fine. But if Self believes “Hey, Mason just has us playing faster, more aggressive, and overall we are a better team with him on the court”, then I think Self should not hesitate to start him, and play him more. Tharpe is a huge part of this team either way. The nice thing is, it appears that we have two excellent options.

    -Rotation: Ok, then – Tharpe, Selden, Wiggins, Ellis, and Embiid as starters. Black or Traylor, Mason, and White off the bench. Greene or Frankamp as 3 point assassin when needed (maybe 7 or so minutes per game, every game to keep them in the flow). The loser of the Black/Traylor battle becomes the 10th guy, with minutes only if there is significant foul trouble. We have lots of talented guys, that is an 8+ rotation. Seems to fit this team. As an aside, I go back and forth between Black and Traylor. But @JayHawkFanToo is pretty convincing. Traylor, though, flat disappeared last game. It’s a tough call, particularly when Black transferred here for his senior season and seems like a great leader. Talk about tough choices – Self telling a senior transfer he’s the 4th post guy. Yikes. But the hard choices have to be made.

    Just my opinions obviously. And from a guy that planned his day around watching the KU/ISU football game last night, I’m sure glad I can talk about hoops with all of the knowledgeable posters here.

  • While Embiid isn’t starting, he’s still getting pretty good minutes. Maybe this helps take the pressure off the big guy. Pyschologically I imagine it’s very different to start then to come off the bench. Maybe it’s part of the grooming process for a few more games. I bet Tarik starts for the upcoming away games and Embiid starts once we get back to Allen Fieldhouse in December.

    I really hope Frankamp comes back next year with 20+ lbs of muscle, something like and Andrew White build! He looks so stickly out there compared to the other athletes. Greene does look more athletic out there. It’ll be interesting to see who gets more minutes because both have diff. strengths/weaknesses.

    I think Perry Ellis is our go to man in halfcourt offense, but when our offense is running the court on transition his offensive load diminished a little bit, which is all good in Lobrence, KS.

    Not enough games being played, I hate waiting more than 3 days for the next game! Just subscribed to Kenpom.com and he’s predicting the Jayhawks go 24-5 and OK state to beat us out by 1 game. This matchup is going to be amazing.

  • I’m with you. Play hard, play fresh. Beat the heck out of other teams.

  • HEM, I like how you laid out what you thought should be the decision points without necessarily saying who the winners would be. One thing that could tighten the rotation is if Self continues to play Mason and Tharpe at the same time like we’ve seen lately. With significantly more time than 40 minutes between the 2 of them, White (or Greene’s) minutes will go down. After your sure 6, I think we will see White and then some combination of Black / Traylor. That makes 9 with 1 or more of those not getting a whole lot of minutes. As you have said, this is consistent with Self’s MO in the past.

  • HEM… I want some of that coffee you’ve been drinking. You’ve got the texting energy of an 11 yr old boy with a new girlfriend. Holy smoly! BTW: perfect write-up to get the ball rolling on rotation!

    I think this year is such an odd year for CS. First off, he clearly has more depth than he’s ever had. Second… every year moving forward players seem to almost demand PT ASAP. It wasn’t that long ago when most players would come in and knew they had to earn their wings before expecting court time. Not anymore. It’s the personality of young people today… they need immediate gratification!

    Third… these friggin’ rules interpretation changes. I think CS is keeping as many guys in the fray as possible (for the time being) until he sees if this team can learn to come close to locking down on defense without fouling. There is no way we will see real lock down defense. Those days are over. But CS is going to push the envelope on these guys to close the gap without fouling. The perimeter players can back off at anytime and let their guy blow by, especially if Embiid keeps improving his shot blocking ability. But for the meantime… CS wants to play the majority of minutes with a handful of guys, then throw in many guys on the extra minutes.

    Mason is built for the new rule interpretations. You’ve heard of a dog catcher? Mason is a foul catcher! And I’m certain we will see more situations where both Mason and Tharpe are on the floor, not only because it “speeds up” the team… but because we have two guys that shouldn’t foul out (because of their quick feet) and should draw fouls. Remember what I said since before the Duke game… a big part of winning this year is about winning the foul contest.

    I’ve been shouting for Embiid to start since the beginning… but maybe it works best to have him come off the bench. As long as he gets plenty of minutes, I’m fine with the way things are. Black seems to be a kind of spiritual leader of the team. We see what happens when he comes out fired up… the entire team follows his energy. And it isn’t a bad thing if other teams have to scout both Black and Embiid. It will help them both because they have different games and can both be effective in their style.

    It has been a nice surprise to see Wiggins playing good defense. He’s going to be the closest thing we have to a lock down player this year, because he actually has the speed and athleticism to close the gap without fouling.

    In my books… our difference makers this year are Mason and Embiid. If those two guys bring game from here on out no one can stop us… not even Kentucky! Mason is too quick and can draw fouls on the tall perimeter players at Kentucky, and Embiid can slow down Randle and guard the rim against Young and the rest. Meanwhile… Ellis (the machine) will punch in points like a robot!

  • I hate to say it but Why are we not talking LUCAS??? I remember when Wesley and Young were fighting for minutes I used to scream at the TV when Self would put in Wesley over Young. Lucas is an inch taller than Black and 2" taller than Traylor and has better production than both of them. He just needs to get comfortable on the court. He averages more points and rebounds than Traylor only averaging 1/4 the minutes and trailing Black by a point. Self needs to put him in for some significant minutes to see what happens. He was the #1 basketball recruit out of Oregon or something like that? I think Self would benefit more from developing Lucas than the other 2.

  • Good post HEM. Thought provoking.
    Mine are thus, we all know Coach is very loyal to his upperclassmen, Tharpe is gonna be his guy all season. Its his team. I do agree with you on Mason being good enough to start, I just don’t think it will happen. Tarik on the other hand, I could go either way. I liked what I saw from him the last game. Maybe he is breaking it open a bit and maybe Coach will want his lone Senior rotation guy to start for some team chemistry thing. Joel clearly has a better game so far but Coach has never started a freshmen over a Senior if said Senior was important to team chemistry. Jo-el might be superman like by season’s end and I honestly hope he comes back next year but we shouldn’t hold our breath.
    If I were Coach, Id pick White b4 Greene just based on the above. Maybe what we have been seeing is Coach’s attempt to keep everyone happy. But you are right, for this team to make that 6 game run in March/April, Coach has to start solidifying the rotation minutes.

  • Oh ya, I cant wait to see the Okie state and ISU games. They are going to be Brutal! I don’t think we will see any dirty plays from our guys but most definitely hard nosed defense and in your face high octane offense. Wigs is gonna go right at Smart, who has already called him out. Not a good idea btw. Well, its good for us! 🙂

  • I watched part of the UNC Louisville game and I was surprised how easily UNC won. All this time I was thinking that Louisville, the defending champion with the bulk of players returning should be number one; this weekend they looked very average and beatable.

    Also, Oklahoma gave MSU all it could handle and finally ran out of gas a the end of the game and the score is no indication of how close the game was.

  • @Lulufulu85, I agree that’s it’s not generally (or ever) a good idea to call out an opposing player, but if anybody can back it up it’s Marcus Smart. I hope our whole team comes out in “beast” mode when we play them because I know Smart’s not backing down from any one.

  • I fully agree that Embiid should be in the starting lineup. I am sure that the pressure of being a starter will wear on him for a few games but it is the best thing for us in the long run. Traylor and Black will simply get the other minutes and that is fine as they are similar players in a lot of ways.

    For the 2/3 minutes behind Wiggins and Selden I am totally convinced that AW3 is going to get that slot. He is a year older, a year wiser and lets be honest a bigger and stronger guy at this point. If Greene can’t wait his turn like AW3 has I will be disappointed but would also have to question his reasons for leaving. So many great players before him have had to wait their turn and it has worked out well for them…Releford, T Rob, Brady, etc. The list is obviously quite long.

    I also agree that CF / Greene are the guys who should come in and get emergency minutes. My hypothesis is that they trade off on who is in that spot for the rest of the year and that there will not be a clear cut player who is benched for the season. They are both too good and I think Self will go with who has been better at practice that week or is in his better graces.

  • HEM very nice. When we play hard 5 on 5 must be fun to watch practice. Enjoy the ride.

  • My gut feeling on the rotation is that we will get a solid 7 very soon, with two others that will play quite a bit.

    That seventh spot is up for grabs between Traylor and Black.

    Spot number 8 (designated shooter) is a two and a half man race between Greene and White, with Frankamp having an outside shot.

    Ninth spot goes to the loser of the race for 7. Everybody else gets mop up and spot minutes.

    Honestly, I think Black has at least through the Atlantis tournament in the starting lineup. All of these small ball teams haven’t given him the chance to show his best skills (tough interior D, rebounding, power offense). I think those things will be valuable later on, which is why I think he ultimately gets the 7th spot, even though he will be starting.

    Embiid will play “starter minutes” but he will come off the bench for now. Mason will also play quite a bit (near starter minutes), especially since he and Tharpe have demonstrated that they can play together and not get compromised defensively. We may have to revisit this when we see a big backcourt, but for now, that combo has held up nicely.

    I think White will ultimately be the designated shooter. Defensively, he is further along than Greene. Greene and Frankamp will both have their moments to contribute. I wouldn’t be surprised if both cracked double figures on a couple of occasions going forward, but they will probably have more games where they don’t even see double figure minutes than anything else. Traylor is the “emergency big.” He will get the minutes if there is foul trouble/injury/ineffectiveness up front. His energy makes him great for that spot.

  • @justanotherfan - HEY, is that a “pun intended” ?

    " with Frankamp having an outside shot. " lol

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