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Backcourt Minutes

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The purported hardest thing to do in projecting player performance is projecting how many minutes everyone on a team will play. We'll do this step by step, starting with the guards and small fowards.

Why guards and small forwards? Do you see any of the Kings' power forwards stepping down a weight class? Perhaps Jason Thompson gets a spare moment with two 7-footers on the court, but I doubt it. No Shelden Williams on the wing, please.

POINT GUARD

Beno Udrih: 35 minutes per game. As a starter under Reggie Theus in 2007-08, Udrih averaged 35.2 minutes. In March, with Mike Bibby exiled, Udrih averaged 35.7 minutes. In November and December, with Bibby injured, Udrih averaged 35 minutes. With a decent back-up in place, I imagine Udrih will stay at this level of playing time.

Bobby Jackson: 10 minutes. Anthony Johnson averaged about 9.5 minutes per game as a back-up last season in Sacramento. Let's assume even less Quincy Douby at the point, which is to say no Quincy Douby at the point.

Bobby Brown: 2 minutes. I'm not expecting much from Theus here. I'd love to proven wrong, though.

Francisco Garcia/John Salmons: 1 minute. Last season, the top PGless lineup received 83 minutes on the season. We build this up to be much more than it is: Theus rarely goes without an orthodox point guard.

SHOOTING GUARD/SMALL FORWARD

(I'm not even going to try to parse Salmons or Garcia by position.)

Kevin Martin: 37 minutes. Martin played only 36 minutes a night on average last season. But in November, he played 40 minutes. After the injury, Theus kept him at about 34 minutes ... until March, when he played 37.5 minutes. The Kings won't be as short-handed as they were in early November 2007, so the 37-38 min plateau looks about right.

John Salmons: 35 minutes. Salmons averaged 38 minutes as a starter. I don't see it lasting in 08-09, despite Johnny's status as capo defender. I'll guess Salmons is the first cat to rest.

Francisco Garcia: 22 minutes. This is the biggest backcourt guess -- it could be anywhere from 21 to 30 minutes. It will probably fluctuate from, like, 17 to 40 on a night-to-night basis.

Quincy Douby/Donté Greene: 2 minutes. Thirty-point explosions against the Lakers aside, Theus doesn't seem too enamored of QD. Douby played 18 minutes a night in April, but that isn't the coda. Douby/Garcia pairings still make me sweat, but with an actual PG (Jackson) added, some of the luster disappears. GUNS BLAZING.

Greene needs some injuries or the makings of a 32-win team to get playing time. In all earnestness, we should see Greene get a five-minute spell every single night. But that's obviously not going to happen. More often than not, Greene will just rack up the DNP-CD ... if he doesn't land in Reno early.