Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weakened Pondering: When Przybilla gets his 30...

Back in January I had an entry detailing some of Greg Oden's statistics when he gets at least thirty minutes of playing time. The man has averaged 14 points and 12 rebounds in those games. More importantly, the Blazers won 67% of those games as opposed to 61% when Oden had played less than thirty minutes up until that point.

Oden is now coming back from his latest injury. Just prior to his return Przybilla happened to be playing what could be considered the best stretch of basketball of his career. Being that Przybilla's burn inevitably will be reduced with the return of Oden, it seems an interesting time to check out what kind of impact Joel has on games when he plays thirty minutes or more.

The numbers are impressive: the Vanilla Gorilla averages 8 points and 12 rebounds in these games. Even better, the Blazers have won 75% (12 out of 16) of these contests.

This season the team has performed better in games where either Joel or Greg has played at least 30 minutes,  though they have won at a somewhat higher clip when that distinction goes to Przybilla.

For all the talk of Joel and Greg being some sort of two-headed monster (shout out to Mike Rice!), I'm not convinced that the team has figured out how to play both players substantial minutes and be as effective as they are otherwise. Actually, Portland is just 6-5 when Oden and Przybilla both play 20 minutes or more. This could just be an issue the team will figure out as they gain experience, or nothing more than statistical nonsense from a small sample size. 

If the trend continues this season and into next, it could also mean that one of these deserving players, probably Przybilla, will have to take a more limited role. That can be a hard thing for a player to accept, especially after knowing what it's like to be a major contributor. Situations like these have the potential to create all sorts of problems. This is one more thing that is worth watching as the team continues to develop.