I know it's a little weird to be writing a basketball fanpost in the aftermath of MSU's first Rose Bowl appearance/win since I was a little kid. But I couldn't resist sharing some minutes-adjusted stats with you. There wasn't much work involved in getting these numbers - just pasting the team's stats into a spreadsheet that converts various stats into averages per 30 minutes (showing roughly what each player might produce per game with starter's minutes). So, let's get right to the data dump:
At this point in the season, a lot of the initial questions have been resolved (for better and for worse). Izzo now seems to be favoring an 8 man rotation with 4 backcourt and 4 front court players:
The backcourt is experienced and effective, with Appling, Harris, Trice, and Valentine being the obvious 4. The way Harris is producing, even with a nagging ankle injury and mostly without his typical 3 point accuracy, it's easy to see why he's viewed as a potential top 10 draft pick. Appling's advances over last season (especially in distributing the ball) are also well-documented - a critical key to MSU's success and potential this season. Trice has been a capable backup at the point and leads the team in steal rate. Valentine is not the most effective scorer, but he's racking up his share of rebounds and assists, and his turnover rate is now reasonable.
The frontcourt has seen a lot of tinkering, but for now the rotation seems to be Payne, Dawson, Costello, and Kaminski. Payne's scoring might be higher still if not for the well-deserved attention he has received from opponents' defenses (allowing the perimeter game to thrive). Dawson may never be a jump shooter, but he's a nice pairing with Payne (whose outside shot compensates for Dawson's lack thereof). He's doing exactly what the team needs him to - leap for rebounds and drop in putbacks and alley-oops, while playing tough defense. Costello's overall numbers are probably dampened by his mono. His sky-high block rate catches your eye and you might think it was a fluke, except that he put up similar numbers last year - he's just that good at blocking shots.
Kaminski appears to be a new addition to the rotation, after spending much of the non-conference season in Izzo's doghouse. Surprisingly, Kaminski is scoring at a rate similar to the "big 3" scorers in the starting lineup. This may partly be a case of small sample size and minutes from garbage time against cupcakes, but he does seem like a much better offensive player than any other frontcourt reserve. Hopefully he can increase his rebounding rate going forward.
Right now on the outside of the primary rotation looking in are Schilling, Gauna, Byrd, and Ellis. Schilling is perhaps the most likely to claw back into the mix, at least against larger opponents. If he can cut down on the fouls, his rebounding ability gives the team important depth. Gauna's minutes have quickly evaporated, in part because of his rebounding difficulties. Although Byrd's defense and passing seem improved this year, he still seems to have a mental block about shooting in front of a crowd. Ellis has played decently for a freshman, but going forward his minutes may hinge on another guard being injured or in foul trouble.
What do you think of these numbers? If you'd like me to post them again some time - be sure to let me know in the comments!