Let's just exclude contenders and include any team that is lottery/around .500/candidate to a playoff run.
It's funny, I just read this awhile ago. I think you'll find it amusing, as I did:
Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
It's amazing how similar it is to the claims about O'Brien not developing young players and using veterans ahead of them and how he says one thing and does the opposite, isn't it?As an organization the Hawks talked all summer about the importance of Jeff Teague becoming a major contributor. Then he got hurt in training camp and fell behind. It seems heís been playing catch-up ever since and hasnít always been afforded the opportunity to work his way through rough stretches or rewarded for his good performances. Certainly Larry Drew has given Teague more opportunities than his predecessor on the bench. But I think a fair interpretation of events is that, despite Drewís stated desire to mold the Hawks into a defensive team and develop his young players, his decisions in this matter reflect a different tact. (Shoot, it makes me wonder how willing heíd be to stick with the promising 'big' lineup if Jason Collins were a young guy. Would it just mean more Etan Thomas?) Since Drew's actions with Teague donít always match his words, I can only conclude that he is reluctant to reduce minutes for his two veteran 'shotmakers' with defensive deficiencies for the sake of finding more playing time for his most physically-gifted perimeter defender.
Anyway, forget Teague. First round pick Jordan Crawford has played 100 minutes this season. They're playing Mo Evans and... Damien Wilkins (!!!) ahead of him. When Joe Johnson was injured, Wilkins actually played big minutes in a couple of games. They actually signed Wilkins for that purpose. And it doesn't get much crappier than Damien Wilkins. THe other rookie, Pape Sy? He's yet to see a single second of NBA action.
New York Knicks
D'Antoni's dislike for young players is well documented. So even though they don't have many veterans, it's no surprise that journeyman Ronny Turiaf has beaten high potential prospects like Mozgov and Randolph for playing time, that Shawne Williams is playing ahead of Bill Walker and that Roger Mason has got more minutes than Andy Rautins.
They don't really have any young players because they just get rid of them in the first place. They cut Tiny Gallon and already during the season waived rookie Darington Hobson to sign.. Brian Skinner. Larry Sanders played 330 minutes so far thanks to the injuries, but he was out of the rotation when the squad was healthy. Expect him to go back to the bench/inactive list once they're in full force again.
2nd overall pick Turner is on the bench. Andres Nocioni plays more than Speights. They're starting Elton Brand and playing him heavy minutes. To open minutes to Nocioni and Tony Battie, they sent Craig Brackins to the D-League.
This one is easy: Reggie Evans - starter; Ed Davis, lottery pick - D-League. They were playing David Andersen over Julian Wright too. Ah, and over Solomon Alabi, D-League for him too.
Larry Brown rarely plays rookies, no surprise we haven't heard much about Sherron Collins - he's playing in the D-League too. Veteran Dominic McGuire got the nod over 2nd year Gerald Henderson.
Monroe was nailed to the bench in favour of Charles Villanueva, Ben Wallace and Jason Maxiell. DaJuan Summers collects DNPs and plays garbage minutes. Tracy McGrady averaged almost 20 mpg in December. Hamilton and Prince keep getting big minutes. 36 years old Ben Wallace has now played the double of the minutes that the 15th overall pick Austin Daye got (729 vs. 336). I watched their last game: even Chris Wilcox played more than Daye or Monroe.
New Jersey Nets
Quinton Ross over Terrence Williams is very explanatory. Kris Humphries starts over Larry Summers. The other rookie, Ben Uzoh, has played 80 minutes. Even Sasha Vujacic, who arrived like one week ago, has already played more.
A team filled with veterans and some well in their 30s - Jamison, Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Anderson Varej„o.
First round pick Christian Eyenga? Hasn't even played a single minute! He's in the D-League. Manny Harris? 105 minutes played, all in garbage time. Samardo Samuels? D-League.
First round pick Kevin Seraphin has played 120 minutes, mostly of garbage time. Fellow rookie Hamady Ndyaye played 4 minutes. Even the relatively young Alonzo Gee was barely used - 127 minutes and then cut. Who's playing more than these guys? Hilton Armstrong. Trevor Booker got some burn early on, but now he's sitting down to open minutes to Josh Howard (a 30 years old in a 1 year contract), Rashard Lewis and Al Thornton.
I'll do the Western Conference later on... but don't expect to see different things.
Actually, I'm pretty sure I did this exercise last season too. Does anyone know if that post can be found? (actually the first time I did it was in another board and was about... Doc Rivers. Most Celtics fans were irked with Doc because he wasn't playing Rondo enough and didn't like rookies, etc).