It is very early, but I thought it might be fun to take a stab at predicting Iowa's basketball rotation for next season. Fran is looking at 200 minutes a game to divy up among thirteen players. How will he do it? How should he do it?
First off, the no-brainers:
30 minutes per game: Devyn Marble, Aaron White
That's approximately what these two averaged this past year, and I doubt that number will change much. It won't go down, because these two are Iowa's two most important players, and it won't go up, because Fran seems committed to running a deep bench and needs those extra minutes for other players. So: 60 minutes used up, 140 to go.
25 minutes per game: Mike Gesell
Gesell averaged 25 minutes this season and I don't see that number going up dramatically. Fran asks a lot of his guards on defense and will want to get Anthony Clemmons in there to relieve Gesell and keep up the defensive intensity.
Now we're down to 115 minutes.
20 minutes per game: Adam Woodbury, Melsahn Basabe, Jarrod Uthoff
Woodbury could potentially jump up to the 25 minute range, but I'm leaving him at 20 because I think Gabe Olaseni will prove too good a defensive presence to keep on the bench. As for Basabe, he averaged 18.5 minutes per game this season, and that seemed just about perfect.
Uthoff's minutes will be the biggest mystery heading into the season. If he's really good, he could play more, but I doubt he hits 30 minutes a game – Iowa is just too deep to be the kind of team that has three players averaging 30 minutes a game right now. And if he's disappointing, his minutes could go down to 10-15 a game game. I feel like 20 is a safe middle ground.
Oof, that was a lot of minutes to give away. We've only got
65 55 minutes left. [Sorry - just noticed this subtraction error]
15 minutes per game: Anthony Clemmons, Zach McCabe, Gabe Olaseni
This is pretty close to what Clemmons and McCabe averaged this past year, and Olaseni's average would probably be in this range if we looked at just the last month of the season. Depending on the way rotations shake out, these three could be playing a lot together, which would be ... a little frightening. If Clemmons improves as a one-on-one offensive player, it could work out, otherwise, the second unit could be a very offensively-challenged group.
Now we're down to
20 10 minutes.
5 minutes per game: Josh Oglesby, Peter Jok
This will be a very interesting battle for minutes at the back-up two spot. If Jok comes in and wows everyone right away and Oglesby continues to struggle as a shooter, the balance could tip towards the freshman. But I'm going to be conservative and assume that the freshman will play like a freshman, and that Oglesby's shooting will regress back to its natural mean (which I assume is higher than 27% from three).
0 minutes per game:
That leaves Kyle Meyer and Pat Ingram out in the cold. That could change, I suppose, if Ingram improves drastically over the summer. Iowa could certainly use someone to guard athletic twos and threes now that Eric May is gone. If Oglesby and Jok are both disappointing next year, Ingram could steal some of those minutes. As for Meyer, I just don't see where the minutes would come from.
How would that translate into actual lineups? Here's my best guess:
The only real question mark here is who gets the other starting forward spot along with White. Basabe has seniority and played very well this year, but the White/Basabe/Woodbury front line lacks shooting and didn't exactly set the world on fire this year. My guess is that Uthoff will start, just for fit purposes, but that Basabe will still play the same number of minutes.
That's who probably will start and get the bulk of the minutes, but are there any other alternative rotations that might work better? Here are a few ideas – and some of these may happen, depending on when various players come in and out.
The Chaos Lineup
This lineup would be built for speed, pressure and the fast break. With two guards to push the ball, decent spot-up shooters at four positions and two guys who can fill the lane on the break, this would be a fun lineup. It would be undersized against some teams, but would rely on the perimeter players to provide pressure and White and Olaseni to come up with blocks from the weak side. This would be a fun lineup.
The Jumbo Package
This would essentially be Iowa's starting lineup from this past year, only with Jok in for Gesell. No one on this lineup would be shorter than 6'5", and the average height would be around 6'8". This might prove useful against teams with a lot of size, but might suffer some of the problems this lineup had this past year with offensive movement.
For much of the 2011-12 season, Iowa was forced to play something close to this lineup, with McCabe at the five and White at the four. The lineup had problems defensively, but also unlocked some exciting offensive possibilities for the team. With shooting at all five positions, it forced bigger opponents to come out on the perimeter and guard White and McCabe, who thrived by running some pick and pop action. I doubt Iowa will go with this lineup very much, but it's a reminder of how much freer an offense can be when every player is a potential threat.
So those are my best guesses. What do people think? Are there any other alternatives you would like to see?