It seems we have accepted the probability of newly-acquired floor general Greivis Vasquez receiving the start at point guard from day 1. If this is the case, what is to become of our incumbent leader?
I'm sure I am not alone when I mention having significant appreciation and a fan's adoration for our 5-9 Hustlin' Huskie. Yet even after all he has done in providing leadership and production ever since the day that circumstance dubbed him Mr. Irrelevant, Isaiah Thomas appears to be headed to the bench. After leaving his heart on the floor every night for two seasons, after earning the starting job, after fighting off challenger Aaron Brooks, and maybe even having his production force the front office to consider shuffling Tyreke and Thornton's minutes and positions, would a demotion to the bench be an insult?
Were we still under the rule of King George (Maloof) and Duke Smart, I would say yes. Under such circumstances a player seemed to never know their roles and minutes, and would probably find it much harder to maintain a team-first mindset rather than claw for floor time to keep their own careers going.
But King George is no more, and Smart with him. I fully expect Mike Malone to have regular rotations, and so the role players 6th, 7th, and 8th in the rotation probably don't need to worry about how much burn they would get from game to game. So how will Malone find a way to ensure enough floor time for all his backcourt players worthy of it (Vasquez, Thomas, Thornton, McLemore, maybe even some time for Jimmer and McCallum)?
Take a look at these minutes leaders among non-starting (less than 25 games) point guards in the league last season:
Jarrett Jack (GS): 29.7
Andre Miller (DEN): 26.2
Nate Robinson (CHI): 25.4
J.J. Barea (MIN): 23.1
Jerryd Bayless (MEM): 22.1
Eric Bledsoe (LAC): 20.4
Norris Cole (MIA): 19.9
C.J. Watson (BKN): 19.0
Now many of those backups were behind high quality starters, such as Jack/Curry, Miller/Lawson, Robinson/Heinrich, Bayless/Conley, Bledsoe/Paul, Watson/Williams. Obviously CP3 played more than 27.6 MPG (27.6 + 20.4 = 48), Curry played more than 18.3, and Lawson played more than 21.8, which means they played in the backcourt together rather frequently.
So let's look back to our roster and Isaiah's minutes. Vasquez averaged 34.4 MPG for NO last season, which would leave 13.6 PG minutes for Isaiah if they never played together. Suppose it goes to 32/16 for Vasquez/Isaiah. Is 16 minutes enough to not be an insult as unjust payment for Isaiah's efforts, much less be enough to cash in on the production he gives the team? Will General Greivis and the Hustlin' Huskie play together so Thomas gets more than that? Probably. But how often? Will Malone try some 3-guard lineups (not including lineups with Salmons at 3)?
I'm curious what everyone's opinion is. Should Isaiah play at least 20 per game? 25 per game? Is one fan's love for Isaiah (my favorite King since Bibby) overrating his value and production? Should we forget our emotional attachments to certain players and accept whatever it takes to win?