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30Q: Who Should Get Playing Time, and Who Shouldn’t?

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Ladies and gentlemen, introducing The R.E.P.T.I.L.E.

Annual Animal Stocktake At London Zoo Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

Playing time is a hot topic for the Sacramento Kings. It’s hard to know what to expect with Dave Joerger in charge. Rotations were never solidified last year and the veterans ended up spending more time on the floor than most fans wanted.

With another high draft pick on the roster in Marvin Bagley III, and the reins of the team presumably in the hands of second year point guard De’Aaron Fox, many people hope for that to change this season. Talk around the team is that the youth movement is upon us. But we just won’t know until opening night, plain and simple.

So while we can’t say for sure what will happen, maybe we can say what should.

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce the Relative Estimate of Playing Time Importance Level Equation. Or The R.E.P.T.I.L.E. for short.

The R.E.P.T.I.L.E. is an attempt to quantify how much each player should see the court, through the combination of three main factors: potential, performance, and the team’s obligation to each player.


The R.E.P.T.I.L.E. starts by assigning each individual player a score from 0 to 10 in three categories. Unlike formulas that are based on statistics and hard numbers, this equation is completely subjective. Each fan can create their own R.E.P.T.I.L.E. and there is no one right answer. When choosing a score between 0 to 10, you can pick your own criteria, but mostly you just need to trust your gut.


How much better could this player get? Since playing time is so important for developing talent, potential has to be a part of the equation. Even a player drafted 1st overall can’t turn into a star while riding the bench. For me, I chose 10 to represent a player who I feel could grow into an All-NBA level talent, and 0 to represent a player who has no chance to improve whatsoever. And a 5, for me, would be a player who still has room to grow in some areas, but is not going to become an entirely different player. Age should be a significant factor in your scores as well.


How has the player performed? This category is about what a player has proven to be able to provide to an NBA team in the recent past. If a team has any interest in competing, production has to be just as important as potential to improve. I chose a 10 on the production scale to represent an All-NBA level player, and 0 to represent a player who has never played significant minutes in the league. And a 5, for me, would be something like a strong bench player or a low level starter.


What level of playing time should this player expect to receive, based on their contract? Both the length and size of the deal should matter here. If a guy is locked in with the franchise for the next four years, they need to feel like a part of the plan going forward. Even players on an expiring contract should probably see time on the floor if their salary is high enough, even if only as an attempt to showcase their talent and attempt to move them at the trade deadline. I chose a straightforward method here, assigning one point for each $4 million of total salary a player could receive in their current deal.


After scoring each player in the three categories, we then decide on which categories are most important to the specific team in the year we are calculating. You have 10 units of importance to assign however you see fit to the three categories. I chose to give 5 to potential, 4 to performance, and 1 to obligation. Potential seems most important to me as the Sacramento Kings are still rebuilding. Performance is close behind as winning should always matter to some degree. Obligation is not a priority whatsoever for this team, as they have worlds of cap space next year and no players with even $20 million in guaranteed salary remaining on the life of their contracts.


The final equation should look like this:

R.E.P.T.I.L.E. = (Potential Score)*(Potential Multiplier) + (Performance Score)*(Performance Multiplier) + (Obligation Score)*(Obligation Multiplier)

The result will be a value from 0 to 100 for each player. The higher the result, the more important it is that the player gets minutes in the upcoming season.

Here’s how my scores shook out:

The R.E.P.T.I.L.E.

Player Potential Pot. Multiplier Performance Per. Multiplier Obligation Ob. Multiplier R.E.P.T.I.L.E.
Player Potential Pot. Multiplier Performance Per. Multiplier Obligation Ob. Multiplier R.E.P.T.I.L.E.
Buddy Hield 8 5 8 4 2 1 74
Bogdan Bogdanovic 7 5 8 4 5 1 72
De'Aaron Fox 9 5 4 4 4 1 65
Harry Giles 10 5 0 4 2 1 52
Mavin Bagley III 9 5 0 4 6 1 51
Willie Cauley-Stein 5 5 6 4 1 1 50
Justin Jackson 6 5 3 4 3 1 45
Yogi Ferrell 4 5 6 4 1 1 45
Skal Labissiere 6 5 3 4 1 1 43
Nemanja Bjelica 2 5 6 4 5 1 39
Fank Mason III 4 5 4 4 1 1 37
Kosta Koufos 1 5 6 4 2 1 31
Iman Shumpert 2 5 3 4 3 1 25
Deyonta Davis 4 5 1 4 0 1 24
Ben McLemore 3 5 1 4 1 1 20
Zach Randolph 0 5 2 4 3 1 11

By my measurement, the five players I feel should to see the court the most this season are Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox, Harry Giles, and Marvin Bagley. That works for me.

The second unit in this scenario would be Willie Cauley-Stein, Justin Jackson, Yogi Ferrell, Skal Labissiere, and Nemanja Bjelica. Again, I like the sound of that.

And I should like the sound of that, as this equation is based completely around subjective opinion. The R.E.P.T.I.L.E. measures personal preference more than anything else. But it provides me a chance to look at what I want, and why I want it.

Also it gave me a chance to use a super cool picture of that lizard. Pretty awesome lizard, right?

So tell us, Kings fans, what do you want? Who do you think deserves to start on opening night, and who deserves to ride the pine all season? Which King has the biggest R.E.P.T.I.L.E. in your opinion? Let us know what you think.