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Crunching Cole Aldrich’s Minutes

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm •  Published: July 9, 2012

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.

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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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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