Blog Entry

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

Posted on: September 16, 2010 3:30 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 3:50 pm
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Returning All-Star center will be limited to 24 minutes per game, but how does that affect the rest of the team?
Posted by Matt Moore


As we told you in The Shootaround this morning, the Rockets have come out and told the world not to be expecting 100% Yao this year. He's going to be ready to go, he's going to go, he's going to be Yao. But he'll only be doing that for 24 minutes per game . That's it. And when they say "that's it," they mean "that's it ." From the Houston Chronicle :

"Yao’s playing time will not average 24 minutes; it will end there. If he plays 22 minutes in one game, he will not play 26 the next. For that matter, if he plays two minutes one game, he will not play 26 the next. When Yao reaches his 24 minutes, he will be through for that game."

The Rockets assistant trainer explained that the decision wasn't arbitrary. The Rockets, one of the most empirically influenced teams in the league, looked at an unspecified set of data and determined that with the nature of Yao's injury, he simply can't go the full game, not even for only a few nights:

“We have evidence that when he played 35 to 40 minutes he averaged two years ago there was a buildup of stress on his foot that led to it being injured in the playoffs. On some level, we have at least one indication 35 to 40 minutes might be too much. That would lead you to choose to look at having a limit.”

It makes sense, right? Yao's injury is physical-stress-related. So let's limit the amount of stress he puts on it a night. Granted, with his frame, there's going to be that problem no matter what he does. Walking's going to put stress on it. Any weight on it, that's stress. But that's a bit different from jumping up and down constantly battling Andrew Bynum for rebounds, landing awkwardly repeatedly. He's had a full year off, he's got a plan. The question's not if this is the right move for Yao and the Rockets it is. Mentioned several times in the article is the discussion of how the blowup in Chicago between Vinny Del Negro and Paxson erupted over Joakim Noah's minutes. Everyone's on the same page. There's a plan, there are rules, they should work for Yao, and if they don't, there's probably nothing they could do otherwise.

But will that plan work for the Rockets?

We're entering into a particularly tricky area, one that's best labeled "sub-chemistry." There's the overall chemistry of the Rockets, which is good. Most of the guys seem to get along with Yao, and each other. There's a lot of the same pieces from the 2008 22-game winning streak, and that was all about chemistry. The new pieces are all high quality character guys with marginal egos (Kevin Martin the only question mark, and it's a widdle bitty one at that). But personal chemistry is different that playing chemistry. That takes time, and patience and most importantly, rhythm. Yao's only on the floor for 24 minutes per game, that's fine. But in that 24 minutes per game, they've got to get Yao involved. Then, they're going to have to shift to how they played without him on the floor. The two aren't necessarily inseparable. But they are different, and the transition might be difficult on a night in and night out basis. Usually players who only play 24 minutes per night are not of Yao's caliber, aren't the kinds of guys you want to get touches, and lots of them. The roles will remain the same, but the flows do change.

This will be a challenge for head coach Rick Adelman to manage, even as it's a blessing to get Yao back on the floor. Yao Ming has the potential to help the Rockets back into the playoffs along with a versatile and talented roster. But how that roster evolves in transitioning to and from those crucial 24 minutes per game is going to be a bit like Jenga. One slight miscalculation, and the structure could tumble.
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Comments

Since: Feb 19, 2009
Posted on: September 17, 2010 9:11 pm
 

The Duma Strategy

Skelly, I think you have hit it squarely on the head.  Back in the sixties and even into the seventies, most big men were following the Duma Strategy, but, as I recall, it fell out of favor as Wilt Chamberlain burst onto the scene and forced coaches to take a look at the center as the offensive focus of the team.  Prior to Wilt, the bodies of centers were preserved by limiting the trips up and down the court, as prescribed by Dr. Donald Duma of the Cleveland Monarchs of the old ABA.  Under the Duma strategy, teams actually employed a person whose job was simply to count the number of times each player crossed he center court stripe-- this person was affectionately known as the "Dumeter."  I think it would be wise if the league, and particularly the Rockets, brought back the role of the Dumeter.  Yao would certainly get more protection and production out of the Duma Strategy than simply limiting his time to 24 minutes.
50 trips up and down would be a good number to start with.
I am surprised we don't hear more about the Duma Strategy these days.



Since: Sep 3, 2010
Posted on: September 17, 2010 1:09 pm
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

I couldn't agree with you more on that. Although I believe the Rockets for the time are just trying to play it safe with Yao, due to the fact that they understand that Yao truly is reaching the end of his career. With the great supporting cast Morey provided Yao I believe that many of us will be shocked with how well Yao will be able to mesh with this talented young group. Brad Miller has proven over his long career that he is more than capable to fill in and play the role he will need to when Yao is out. The biggest challenge for Adelmen will be to spread this supposed "24 minutes" evenly throughout the course of a game. With minutes at the start of the game and breathers in between will allow Yao time to finish out games even in the most crucial of times; down to the wire scenarious and overtime specifically. Hopefully the staff will have all this figured out by the start of the season and we can finally win the division and compete for a shot at a title. A healthy Yao and a group of young rising studs may really shock and surprise everyone this year, call me crazy but I really have a good feeling about the upcoming season!
GO ROCKETS!!!!!!!!!    



Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: September 17, 2010 11:18 am
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

Then he just needs to be cut from the rockets. It will not make a difference how many minutes he is getting he will still be hurt if the stress like that is being put on his knees and feet every night. If the rockets want to win they have to give Yao more minutes or cut him and find somebody else to fill the spot.



Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: September 17, 2010 11:07 am
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

[quote]He should have his mins cut for maybe a month or two to get him back into game shape but I agree a whole season?[/quote]

You want him to get injured again?

Do you guys realize that even when 100% fully completely healed, he's still putting ridiculous amounts of stress on his knees and feet making re-injury highly likely if he's giving you 35 min/game or w/e you think he should get.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: September 17, 2010 10:00 am
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

Dude, do you have enough gramMatical errors and spelling mistakes in this article? Seriously you should run spell CHECK, re-read your work, then run spell check, THEN re-read it again.
It's pretty shoddy that a professional writer cannot write at the level of a 5th grader.



It's pretty ridiculous that a poster can criticize someone else's mistakes, yet fills his own post with mistakes.



Since: Jul 8, 2010
Posted on: September 17, 2010 7:23 am
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

Dude, do you have enough gramatical errors and spelling mistakes in this article? Seriously you should run spell re-read your work, then run spell check, THEN re-read it again.
It's pretty shoddy that a professional writer cannot write at the level of a 5th grader.



Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: September 17, 2010 2:07 am
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

Another thing I want to add is getting rid of Landry was a huge mistake. The man brought so much energy off the bench so why get rid of him for Kevin Martin? They will miss him this year as the 6th man.



Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: September 17, 2010 2:04 am
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

Rockets trainers are the worst in the league in my opinion. He should have his mins cut for maybe a month or two to get him back into game shape but I agree a whole season? WTF is going on in Houston they seem to have no desire to win. 24 mins isn't enough come playoff time if they even make it there. Yao will have to play more than this if they want to have a shot at making it, he is suppose to be the star of the team.



Since: Jan 12, 2009
Posted on: September 16, 2010 10:44 pm
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

Wow, I cant believe Yao would agree to this! His doctor has declared his foot completely healed. I understand wanting to be careful and easing him back into competition, but capping his minutes for an entire season is crazy. Perhaps the rockets should implement the Duma stategy, where instead of minutes, the Rockets will count "court trips", the number of times Ming has to run the length of the floor. Duma theorized that its better to play 35 minutes of smart, controlled basketball then 24 minutes of running up and down. This meant that centers would sometimes stay at the defensive end for a whole possession and other times they would basket hang, forcing the opposing team to leave a man behind to defend.




Since: Dec 4, 2009
Posted on: September 16, 2010 10:41 pm
 

The impact of Yao's minute limitations

They are finally doing what they should have been doing years ago since the bog man got hurt. His minutes should have been limited from the get go. We have enough role players on this team to win as they showed last year. Playing Yao just to keep in basketball shape until the playoffs is an great idea. This will make for a good year of basketball for us with Brad Miller, Jordan Hill, and Chuck Hayes coming off the bench to help the big man out.


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