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Return My Calls, Eric Musselman!

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Apparently, I wasn't convincing enough in my letter to Eric Musselman yesterday. Here's another round of "Please Start Brad Miller!" screams.

Let's look at some player pair numbers from the 2005-06 campaign, courtesy of 82games.com.

Mike Bibby played 3,164 minutes last year, and racked up raw plus-minus of +132. This is to say, when Mike Bibby was in the game, the Kings were +132 better than their opponents. Adjusting it to a "per-48 minutes" level, this comes out to about +2 points per game.

Brad Miller was alongside Bibby for 2,549 of those minutes (roughly 80 percent). In those minutes - when Miller was also on the floor - was +214, for a per-48 average of +4. This is to say the Kings were 2 points per game better than their opponents when Bibby was in the game, and 4 points better than their opponents when Bibby and Miller were both in the game.

It's not just plus-minus, either. In total, Bibby had shot 43.2% last season. When Miller was also on the floor, Bibby shot 44.1%. The team scored 100.6 points per 100 possessions when Bibby was on the floor. When Bibby and Miller were together, the team scored 102.5 points per 100 possessions.

Common sense, at this point, tells you that Mike Bibby is historically a better player when Brad Miller is with him on the court.

You want more? Kevin Martin - part-time starter a year ago. Played 1,912 minutes in total, with 1,398 of those (73 percent) coming with Miller also on the floor. Martin's raw plus-minus was +36, or +0.9 per-48 minutes. With Miller, Martin's raw plus-minus was +82, or +2.8 per-48. Martin shot 47.9% last season. In shots when Miller was also on the floor, Martin shot 48.8%.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Raw plus-minus of +169 in 1,961 minutes, or +4.1 per 48 minutes. With Miller, +215 in 1,248 minutes, or +8.3 per 48. He shot 52.8% on the season, but 53.7% with Miller on the floor.

Kenny Thomas? Raw plus-minus of -37 in 2,291 minutes, or -0.8 per 48. With Miller, +43 in 1,560 minutes, or +1.3 per 48. Thomas shot 50.5% on the season, but 53.1% when Miller was also on the floor.

Francisco Garcia. Raw plus-minus of -28 in 1,298 minutes, or -1 per 48. With Miller, +32 in 807 minutes, or +1.9 per 48. Garcia shot 40% on the season, but 41.1% when on the floor with Miller.

Even Ron Artest fared better with Miller on the floor. A raw plus-minus of +217 in 1,602 minutes on the season, for +6.5 per 48. With Miller, +207 in 1,220 minutes, or +8.1 per 48. He shot 38.3% on the season, but 40.9% when Miller was on the floor.

There was only one King from 2005-06 who was better when Brad Miller was not on the floor with him: Jason Hart. And I don't think any of us are going to plead Jason Hart's case for the starting lineup.

Why is any of this important? Look at these first quarters for the Kings:


GAME      SCORE     DEFICIT    FG%   B4BRAD
@PHX      41-29         -12    43%      -10
vORL      21-21          +0    37%       -3
@SAS      26-26          +0    57%        0
@DAL      38-19         -19    40%      -10

San Antonio aside, the Kings were already in the hole before Miller got into the game. (The 'B4BRAD' is the Kings' deficit when Miller first entered the game.) And aside from San Antonio, the Kings were terrible in the first quarter.

I don't think this is Foucault's Last Conundrum. Brad Miller needs to be in the game with the starters to start the game.

Let's repeat it, for good measure:

Brad Miller needs to be in the game with the starters to start the game.
Brad Miller needs to be in the game with the starters to start the game.
Brad Miller needs to be in the game with the starters to start the game.
Brad Miller needs to be in the game with the starters to start the game.
Brad Miller needs to be in the game with the starters to start the game.

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