- Tom Herzog is gaining weight.
- Derrick Nix needs to lose weight.
- Garrick Sherman is just right.
"Between those three guys," Izzo said of Herzog, Sherman and Nix, "we've got to get 30 minutes (a game)."
The implication of that quote is that Izzo plans to stick with big lineups most of the time. You have to figure that Delvon Roe will be good for 25 minutes per game next season. And Draymond Green should be ready to contribute at least 20 minutes per game. Add those numbers to the 30 Izzo cites for Herzog/Sherman/Nix and you have 75 minutes--just 5 minutes short of the 80 minutes of playing time available per game for the 4 and 5 positions. (Note: Draymond Green may only be 6'6" [if that] but he clearly counts as a big in terms of what he brings to the court.)
Here's how I currently see the overall playing time situation breaking down for next season:
The strength of the team is obviously on the perimeter, with five guys who should be able to contribute starter-level minutes and production a the 1-3 spots. The only real question (other than whether Chris Allen can rediscover his jumpshot during the offseason) is whether Lucious' game will be improved enough to allow for a dual point-guard line up for 10+ minutes per game, ala Frank Williams/Dee Brown. Austin Thornton and Isaiah Dahlman will battle it out to be the sixth perimeter player and see the court when match-ups/injuries require it.
Looking at the front court, this table provides further indication why Izzo will be looking for significant contributions from the trio of Sherman, Herzog, and Nix: All three are legitimate college centers. Draymond Green is obviously a 4-spot guy. He plays good positional defense but can't be expected to guard taller low-post scorers consistently (as noted by a couple commenters recently). Playing a smaller, quicker lineup with Morgan at the 4 would, then, mean Delvon Roe has to be on the floor. And at 6'8", Roe is not an ideal defender against players 6'10" and up (although Roe's improved athleticism as his knees continue to get back to 100% should help).
The math says SherHerzNix needs to contribute at least 15 minutes per game (to cover for Roe). And another 5-15 minutes will likely be needed in most games, depending on match-ups and foul trouble.
Of the three, I'd guess Sherman will be most ready to do multiple things on the court. If Herzog can add enough weight, he should at minimum step into Idong Ibok's designated-defender-of-tall-players role, with the potential to add to that if he can score a couple baskets per game in the post. Nix's playing time (and redshirt status) probably hinge largely on what happens with this weight/conditioning.
With five months to go before the 2009-10 Michigan State basketball season tips off, that's how I see the playing rotation coming together. What have I missed? Who do you see playing more or less than what I've outlined above? Who do you like from the SherHerzNix three-headed monster?