After last years disappointing loss, the Pistons organization declared three goals for this season: reduce the starter’s minutes, develop its youth, and find a scoring option off the bench. As the starters stayed in games many fans thought they shouldn’t have, it was easy to get the feeling that this was business as usual all over again. Fellow forumite BillLaimbeer compared the minutes per game versus other championship teams so this time we’re going to step back and take a look at the total minutes played and see how we did. Aside from McDyess who went from sub to starter, we’ve got a general reduction in minutes. Rasheed’s minutes are roughly the same but we see roughly 10% reduction in overall minutes for Rip and Tayshaun. Chauncey had the same total minutes but sat out eight more games in ’06-’07. Is this enough? If you even believed the tired legs reasoning for last year’s collapse, Bill’s piece highlighted that we’re in line with other championship teams. So for goal #1, reducing the starters minutes, we’re going to check that off. Rookies Afflalo and Stuckey got significantly more minutes than any other doughnut fetching first year player of the Going to work era…except for Mehmet Okur. Aside from Okur, no rookie got more that 450 minutes - that includes Prince and Delfino. Milicic’s career minutes for the Pistons doesn’t even come close to Afflalo’s first year total. If you add in Amir’s 764 minutes which is comparable to a Delfino and Maxiell’s developing seasons, it’s a wonder they were able to find the time for all three. While you can argue that more time would have been more beneficial, the team is trying to balance winning and development. This year, over all previous years, the staff has managed to do just that. Goal #2. Check. Dumars spent the offseason looking for a scoring punch to come off the bench to keep the team from bogging down while the starters sat. The answer was the affordable Jarvis Hayes. Hayes is your typical Dumars’ diamond in the rough player. He’s got the college/ lottery pedigree. He’s gone through some unfortunate events and hasn’t lived up to his potential and he’s cheap. Sure he can’t shut down Yi Jianlian any better than a sofa recliner but after watching uber athlete Mo Evans spot up for three and Delfino spot up for nothing, you had to figure our expectations were roughly the same. Ok so he’s better than Carlos but so is like 90% of the NBA and probably 75% of the NBDL. I like Hayes but, by the numbers, we’re going to have to say: Goal #3….brrrrt. Well there it is. With Maxiell emerging as a bona fide bench presence, we’re in as good a position as we’ve been in years. Will it be enough to git er done? That’s what the playoffs are all about.