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Syracuse Basketball: Should We Be Worried About Gbinije's & Cooney's Minutes?

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Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije are playing over 37 minutes a game. Will this come back to haunt Boeheim at the end of the season?

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of people have been worried about the stress that Syracuse Orange coach Jim Boeheim is putting on Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije by playing them almost 38 minutes a game. I took a closer look at the effect that playing this many minutes a game has on the players. Since the 2009-10 season, these are the third and fourth times that Boeheim has played one of his players over 37 minutes a game. The other two instances are C.J. Fair in the 2013-14 season and Trevor Cooney last year.

Here are Cooney’s and Gbinije’s stats so far through 26 games.

Trevor Cooney 2015-16

First 26 Games:

MPG PPG FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P%
37.3 13.3 4.1 11.8 34.5% 2.6 7.3 35.6%

Michael Gbinije 2015-16

First 26 Games:

MPG PPG FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P%
37.9 17.4 5.8 12.5 46.9% 2.6 6.5 39.6%

I broke up the stats of the players I used as examples into their first 26 games and the last x number of games they played. I then showed the percent decrease of production for each key category.

Fair’s and Cooney’s Stats:

CJ Fair 2013-14 Senior

MPG PPG FGM FGA FG% REB
First 26 Games 37.7 16.6 6.3 14.7 43.2% 6.2
Last 8 Games 37.9 16.1 6.5 15.4 41.2% 7.9
Percent Change +.5% -3% +3.2% +4.8% -1%

+27.4%

For the most part, Fair’s stats stayed the same, with the exception of bringing down almost two more rebound per game. He scored around the same per game, shooting the same percentage for the rest of the season.

Trevor Cooney 2014-15 Junior

MPG PPG FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P%
First 26 Games 37.9 17.4 4.1 11.8 34.5% 2.6 7.3 35.6%
Last 5 Games 34.8 9.2 3.6 10.8 33.3% 1 6.4 15.6%
Percent Change -7.9% -35.2% -20% 12.9% -3% -60.6% -15.8% -17%

This is obviously more concerning considering that this is Cooney’s stat line from last year. The one saving grace is that its only 5 games, and a really poor performance against Pitt skews this data slightly. But the over all trend does not sit well with Orange fans.

ACC SENIORS

Since there are only two Syracuse players since 2009-10 that have played over 37 minutes a game, I needed a bigger sample size to try to get a better idea of the general trend. So next I look to ACC seniors that have played over 37 minutes a game since 2009-10. Since the 2009-10 season, there have been four other ACC seniors that have played over 37 minutes a game.

Here are the players and their stats, broken up into the first 26 games, and the last x number of games:

Eric Atkins 2013-14 Notre Dame Senior


MPG PPG AST FGM FGA FG%
First 26 Games 38.1 14.1 4.8 5.1 11.9 43.1%
Last 6 Games 36.8 12.8 5 4.5 11.2 40.2%
Percent Change -3.4% -9.2% +4.2% -11.8% -5.9% -2.9%

Atkins saw a decrease in points and field goal percentages, and not much anything else.

Jerian Grant 2014-15 Notre Dame Senior


MPG PPG AST FGM FGA FG%
First 26 Games 36.1 17 6.2 5.8 11.6 50%
Last 12 Games 39.2 15.4 7.6 4.4 10.4 42.3%
Percent Change +8.6% -9.4% +22.6% -24.1% -10.3% -7.7%

Grant looks to be the norm with a decrease in points per game and field goal percentage, but an increase an a different category, in this case assists. When their normal game isn't working, good players find other ways to impact the game.

Malcolm Delaney 2010-11 VA Tech Senior

MPG PPG FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P%
First 26 Games 38.2 19.1 5.6 13 42.9% 2.6 6 42.7%
Last 8 Games 38.5 17.5 5.1 13.1 38.9% 2.1 6.1 34.3%
Percent Change +.79% -8.4% -8.9% +.77% -4% -19.2% +1.7% -8.4%

Delaney followed the same general trend with a decrease of points and field goal and 3 point percentage.

In total, after the 26th game, points per game decreases an average of 9.3%, and field goal percentage drops 3.2%. But, if you want to apply those numbers to Cooney and Gbinije, these are the stats you'll get:

PPG 3P%
Cooney 12.1 31.3%
Gbinije 15.8 43.7%


Overall, there seems to be a slight decrease in production and efficiency after the 26-game mark. Field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage are down across the board and points per game goes down for everyone besides Dalton Pepper.

So what does this mean? It means we will probably see a slight decrease in production and efficiency from Cooney and Gbinije, which means we will need to rely on Tyler Lydon, Tyler Roberson, and Frank Howard. Only time will tell how exactly the large minutes will effect them, but Orange fans hope that they can keep their production up.