Crunching Cole Aldrich’s Minutes
For the Monday paper, I wrote about the importance of summer league for guys like Thunder center Cole Aldrich.
In that piece, I included some startling stats pertaining to Aldrich’s playing time.
The 11th overall pick in 2010 has played just 315 minutes in his first two NBA seasons. That’s the eighth lowest amount of any of the 57 first-round picks from the past two seasons who have started their NBA careers.
While Aldrich has been stuck behind Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed, a staggering 23 of the 27 2011 first-round picks that played in the NBA last season managed to log more minutes as rookies than Aldrich has in two seasons.
Aldrich is sandwiched between Jimmy Butler and JaJuan Johnson, both late first-round picks in 2011, on the minutes played list for first-round picks in 2010 and 2011. Only three players from Aldrich’s draft class have played fewer minutes: Daniel Orton (187), Elliot Williams (149) and Craig Brackins (121).
Bismack Biyombo, as a rookie last year, played nearly five times as many minutes as Aldrich has in the NBA. Biyombo, of course, is on an historically bad Charlotte team while Aldrich competes for a NBA Finalists. But the discrepancy is so drastic that it’s downright disturbing, especially when you consider Aldrich’s additional year of service.
“Everyone has different opportunities. Everyone has different circumstances,” Aldrich said. “You take a grip of your opportunity and your situation, and you just work hard. You know those times are going to come, and when they do you have to take full advantage of them.”
Aldrich’s time has come. He’s now the primary backup behind Perk.
With today’s start to the Thunder’s five-game summer league schedule, we’ll soon find out whether coach Scott Brooks handled Aldrich’s playing time appropriately. These five days will only be a small step for Aldrich. When training camp and the preseason rolls around, that’s when we’ll learn whether Aldrich is ahead of schedule despite what his minutes total may suggest, or if he’ll still have that deer-in-the-headlights look, effectively making the past two years a waste.
For now, Aldrich has some catching up to do.
The ranking of the 2010 and 2011 first-round picks’ minutes after the jump.
PLAYER DRAFT YEAR DRAFT POSITION MINUTES PLAYED
John Wall 2010 1st 4,992
Greg Monroe 2010 7th 4,304
DeMarcus Cousins 2010 5th 4,259
Wesley Johnson 2010 4th 3,538
Evan Turner 2010 2nd 3,510
Gordon Hayward 2010 9th 3,233
Paul George 2010 10th 3,233
Ed Davis 2010 13th 3,136
Al-Farouq Aminu 2010 8th 2,929
Derrick Favors 2010 3rd 2,911
Jordan Crawford 2010 27th 2,780
Greivis Vasquez 2010 28th 2,566
Patrick Patterson 2010 14th 2,351
Trevor Booker 2010 23rd 2,324
Ekpe Udoh 2010 6th 2,320
Eric Bledsoe 2010 18th 2,305
Brandon Knight 2011 8th 2,129
Kevin Seraphin 2010 17th 1,811
Kemba Walker 2011 9th 1,792
Quincy Pondexter 2010 26th 1,736
Iman Shumpert 2011 17th 1,705
MarShon Brooks 2011 25th 1,648
Klay Thompson 2011 11th 1,608
Kyrie Irving 2011 1st 1,558
Kawhi Leonard 2011 15th 1,534
Avery Bradley 2010 19th 1,530
Larry Sanders 2010 15th 1,515
Bismack Biyombo 2011 7th 1,455
Chris Singleton 2011 18th 1,431
Tristan Thompson 2011 4th 1,424
Derrick Williams 2011 2nd 1,418
Xavier Henry 2010 12th 1,286
Norris Cole 2011 28th 1,260
Markieff Morris 2011 13th 1,227
Jimmer Fredette 2011 10th 1,135
Jan Vesely 2011 6th 1,078
Kenneth Faried 2011 22nd 1,037
Alec Burks 2011 12th 939
James Anderson 2010 20th 889
Enes Kanter 2011 3rd 874
Nikola Vucevic 2011 16th 812
Luke Babbitt 2010 16th 674
Damion James 2010 24th 573
Lazar Hayward 2010 30th 560
Nolan Smith 2011 21st 541
Reggie Jackson 2011 24th 501
Tobias Harris 2011 19th 479
Dominique Jones 2010 25th 403
Jimmy Butler 2011 30th 359
Cole Aldrich 2010 11th 315
JaJuan Johnson 2011 27th 298
Cory Joseph 2011 29th 266
Jordan Hamilton 2011 26th 258
Daniel Orton 2010 29th 187
Elliot Williams 2010 22nd 149
Marcus Morris 2011 14th 126
Craig Brackins 2010 21st 121
Jonas Valanciunas 2011 5th N/A
Donatas Montejunas 2011 20th N/A
Nikola Mirotic 2011 23rd N/A
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