One of the essential, constant variables of an NBA season is that your team must distribute 19,680 minutes of basketball [plus 25 minutes per overtime] among its roster.  Above all else - PPG, FG%, Reb, TO and BLK - minutes played is probably the most important stat on the chart.  Why?  Because, fundamentally, if Corey Maggette isn't on the floor, he can't get to the line.  He also can't turn the ball over.  Likewise, Tim Thomas can't drain a 3 from the bench.  And Q Ross can't make a defensive stop.  And Shaun Livingston can't record an assist.

Anyway, you get the picture. 

Minutes Played, 2005-2006

Elton Brand

3,096

39.2 MPG

Cuttino Mobley

2,978

37.7

Sam Cassell

2,654

34.0

Chris Kaman

2,562

32.8

Shaun Livingston

1,524

25.0

Quinton Ross

1,519

22.7

Daniel Ewing

973

14.7

Corey Maggette

946

29.6

Vlad Radmanovic

886

29.5

James Singleton

758

12.8

Chris Wilcox

658

13.7

Zeljko Rebraca

413

14.2

The Rest

851

20.3

It goes without saying that the total minutes played number has to be looked at mindful of injuries/games missed, which is why the MPG number is probably more important. 

One of the nice-problems-to-have on a roster is depth, a surfeit of guys who can "give you good minutes."  It probably isn't a coincidence that the Portland Trailblazers sucked last year and that they handed Viktor Khryapa 1,490 minutes.  In turn, the Dallas Mavericks got to the NBA Finals despite Devon Harris' getting only 1,273 minutes.  Khryapa's MPG was 21.6 and Harris' was 22.7.  Before you even peek at the standings, you know full well that Dallas was the superior team in '05-'06.

Just after the Clips were bounced from the playoffs last season, I asked the clipperblog faithful to sketch out how many shots should be allocated to each player in an 85 shot-attempt game - the premise being that every shot that Naçion fave Jumpin' James gets is a shot Maggette doesn't.

So.  Who should be eating minutes?  We know that Sam will be on the floor less, but we're certain that Shaun will take those minutes and then some.  We all want to see James out there more often, but at the expense of whom? 

Please show your work.