1980-81 Milwaukee Bucks Games Played/Started & Transactions

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1980-81 Milwaukee Bucks Games Played/Started & Transactions

Postby MCT » Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:14 pm

This is the second of a planned series of threads analyzing games played, games started and transactions for the 1980-81 season. Before reading any further, see the introductory thread below:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4961

MILWAUKEE BUCKS – PART I

SEASON OVERVIEW

The Bucks had a 60-22 record. They finished first in the Central Division, and were the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. (The Bucks actually had only the third best record in the conference, behind the Celtics and 76ers, but the two division winners were guaranteed the top two seeds.)

As a #2 seed, the Bucks got a bye for the First Round of the playoffs. In the Conference Semifinals, they lost to the 76ers, 4-3. They therefore played a total of 7 playoff games.

The Bucks used 11 different players for the season. This was the minimum, but one additional player was briefly on the team’s active roster during the regular season but did not appear in any games. The Bucks were one of three NBA teams to use the minimum 11 players this year, but all three teams had at least one additional player on their roster at some point during the regular season.

ROSTER AND TRANSACTIONS

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER

Junior Bridgeman
Quinn Buckner
Harvey Catchings
Pat Cummings
Len Elmore
*Mike Evans
Bob Lanier
Scott Lloyd
Marques Johnson
Mickey Johnson
Sidney Moncrief
Brian Winters

*placed on injured list 10/9/80

IN-SEASON TRANSACTIONS

10/20/80 – Activated Mike Evans from the injured list; waived Scott Lloyd.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

N/A

GAMES STARTED INFO

MEDIA GUIDE

The 2012-13 Bucks Media Guide has regular season games started stats going back to the 1970-71 season. For 1980-81, it shows the following:

Buckner 82
Mi. Johnson 82
Ma. Johnson 75
Lanier 64
Moncrief 57
Winters 25
Catchings 18
Cummings 6
Bridgeman 1

TSN BOX SCORES

All but three of the TSN box scores for the 1980-81 Bucks appear to list the players in “starters first” F-F-C-G-G order. The three exceptions were games on 2/17/81, 2/20/81, and 3/13/81.

--In the 2/17/81 box score, it appears that the names of the two starting guards (Buckner and Moncrief) were erroneously omitted. As a result, the first five players listed in the box score are the starters at F, F and C, followed by the first two reserves off the bench. The Bucks players’ totals in the box score don’t add up to the team totals for the game, and if Buckner and Moncrief didn’t play in this game, their games played and games started totals for the season would all be one game short. Either Dick Pfander or b-r.com must have noticed the above discrepancies and tracked down another box score with the correct information, because b-r.com’s sortable box score appears to have the correct data (though it has the players listed in descending order of points scored, not in the order they should have appeared in the hard copy box). Based on the b-r.com sortable box score, it looks like the TSN box also has some player stats attributed to the wrong players.

--In the 2/20/81 box score, the first five players listed look like the regular starters, but with a couple out of order (Marques Johnson is shown in the C slot, Lanier in an F slot).

--In the 3/13/81 box score, the first five players listed again look like the regular starters, but with a couple out of order (Buckner is shown in the C slot, Lanier in a G slot).

From late November onward, the Bucks consistently used a starting lineup of Bob Lanier at center, Marques Johnson & Mickey Johnson at forward, and Quinn Bucker & Sidney Moncrief at guard. All of those players appeared in all three of the above games. If we assume that they all started those three games, the games started totals for all players are in agreement with those in the Bucks Media Guide.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

N/A

PLAYOFFS

The 2012-13 Bucks Media Guide has playoffs games started stats going back to the 1977-78 season. These appear in the player register section of the Guide (there is no year-by-year listing; you have to look up each player individually). For 1980-81, the Media Guide shows that the same five players who were the usual starters for most of the regular season started all seven playoff games. The TSN box scores show the same.
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Re: 1980-81 Milwaukee Bucks Games Played/Started & Transacti

Postby MCT » Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:29 pm

MILWAUKEE BUCKS – PART II

PLAYER INFORMATION

Players are listed based on a snapshot as of late February, although the Bucks’ roster and regular starting lineup was the same from late November to the end of the season, and this analysis would be more-or-less the same at any point in that timeframe.

MARQUES JOHNSON

History: 1st round pick of Bucks in 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 76 G, 33.4 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 38.0 MPG): The six games in which Johnson did not appear were on 11/12/80, 11/30/80, 12/21/80, 1/16/81, 3/6/81 and 3/9/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 75; Playoffs: 7): The only game Johnson played in but did not start was on 12/2/80 (following the game on 11/30/80 in which he had not played).

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Guard. Primary position is shown as SF for all seasons of career except 1985-86, his last full season in the NBA, which is shown as SG. Was Johnson seeing any time at guard this early in his career, or did that not come until later?

SIDNEY MONCRIEF

History: 1st round pick of Bucks in 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 80 G, 30.2 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 39.6 MPG): The two games in which Moncrief did not appear were two consecutive games on 3/17/81 & 3/18/81. As discussed earlier, Moncrief is also missing from the 2/17/81 TSN box score, but it seems pretty clear that this was done in error, and that he actually played in (and in fact started) that game.

Games Started (Regular Season: 57; Playoffs: 7): Moncrief came off the bench for about the first quarter of the season. He moved into the starting lineup for the 24th game of the season, on 11/28/80, replacing Winters. At that point the Bucks had 59 regular season games remaining, of which Moncrief played in 57, starting all 57. The only games after 11/28/80 which Moncrief did not start were the two in March when he didn’t play.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as SG for all seasons through 1983-84, then switches back and forth between PG and SG. Looking at Moncrief’s stats, it appears to me that he started out as strictly an SG, then evolved into a combo guard who could play either position. At this point in his career, he still looks like he was still pretty much a full-time SG.

QUINN BUCKNER

History: 1st round pick of Bucks in 1976.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 29.1 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 26.1 MPG): Buckner appeared in every game the Bucks played. As discussed earlier, Buckner is missing from the 2/17/81 TSN box score, but it seems pretty clear that this was done in error, and that he actually played in (and in fact started) that game.

Games Started (Regular Season: 82; Playoffs: 7): Buckner started every game the Bucks played.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as PG for all seasons of career except 1982-83, which is shown as SG.

BOB LANIER

History: 1st round pick of Pistons in 1970. Acquired in trade with Pistons, February 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 67 G, 26.2 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 33.7 MPG): Lanier is credited with appearing in 67 regular season games, but I only noted him in 66 TSN box scores. The sixteen box scores from which Lanier is missing are two consecutive games on 10/16/80 & 10/18/80, 11/2/80, 11/30/80, 12/17/80, three consecutive games from 1/10/81 through 1/13/81, 1/21/80, three consecutive games from 2/3/81 through 2/6/81 (the first three games after the All-Star break), 3/9/81, 3/12/81, and two consecutive games on 3/20/81 & 3/22/81. b-r.com’s game log feature also shows Lanier in only 66 box scores. It is possible that Lanier was omitted from one box score in which he did not compile any stats that would have been shown in the box score. Note that for all the games he didn’t play in, Lanier never really missed an extended period, and at no time was he ever on the injured list.

Games Started (Regular Season: 64; Playoffs: 7): The three games in which Lanier played, but did not start, were 10/10/80 (opening night), 11/4/81 (following the game on 11/2/80 in which he had not played), and whichever game he played in but was omitted from the TSN box score (see discussion above).

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Center. Primary position is shown as C for all seasons of career.

MICKEY JOHNSON

History: 4th round pick of Blazers in 1974. Acquired in trade with Pacers, September 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 25.8 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 24.3 MPG): Johnson appeared in every game the Bucks played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 82; Playoffs: 7): Johnson started every game the Bucks played.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward. Primary position is shown as PF for all seasons of career.

JUNIOR BRIDGEMAN

History: 1st round pick of Lakers in 1975. Acquired in trade with Lakers, June 1975.

Games Played (Regular Season 77 G, 28.8 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 26.1 MPG): The five games in which Bridgeman did not appear were on 12/2/80, 12/13/80, two consecutive games on 2/22/81 & 2/25/81, and 3/13/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 1; Playoffs: 0): The one game that Bridgeman started was on 1/16/81, at forward. Regular starter Marques Johnson did not play in this game.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Guard. Primary position is shown as SF for all seasons of career except 1978-79, which is shown as SG. It appears to me that Bridgeman probably saw playing time at both SF and SG this year, but much more heavily at SF.

BRIAN WINTERS

History: 1st round pick of Lakers in 1974. Acquired in trade with Lakers, June 1975.

Games Played (Regular Season 69 G, 25.7 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 25.9 MPG): The thirteen games in which Winters did not appear were seven games in an eight-game stretch from 11/28/80 through 12/11/80 (the only game Winters played in during that stretch was the second game, on 11/29/80), two consecutive games on 12/18/80 & 12/19/80, 1/18/81, 2/6/81, and two consecutive games on 2/14/81 & 2/15/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 25; Playoffs: 0): Winters started the first 23 games of the regular season (through 11/23/80). The final game of that run was the last game before the stretch where he did not appear in seven of eight games. For the remainder of the season Winters generally came off the bench, with Sidney Moncrief having moved into the starting lineup in his place. Winters’ two remaining starts were the two games in March that Moncrief did not play in.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard-Forward. Primary position is shown as SG for all seasons of career. Does anyone have any information about Winters playing forward? Would it have been only earlier in his career?

HARVEY CATCHINGS

History: 3rd round pick of 76ers, 1974. Acquired in trade with Nets, May 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 77 G, 21.2 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 15.6 MPG): The five games in which Catchings did not appear were on 11/29/80, two consecutive games on 12/11/80 & 12/13/80, and two consecutive games on 3/17/81 & 3/18/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 18; Playoffs: 0): Catchings started the 18 games that Lanier did not, at center.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Center-Forward. Primary position is shown as C for most seasons of career, but there are three seasons in the later part of his career which are shown as PF, including 1980-81 (the others are 1981-82 and 1983-84). I am somewhat skeptical of b-r.com’s listing as PF as Catchings’ primary position this year. While he may have seen significant time at both C and PF, I strongly suspect that he played more at C – it looks to me like he was the primary backup at C, a busy role behind the fragile Lanier.

PAT CUMMINGS

History: 3rd round pick of Bucks in 1978, as a junior eligible; returned to college for 1978-79 season, but signed with Bucks in May 1979 rather than re-enter that year’s draft.

Games Played (Regular Season 74 G, 14.6 MPG; Playoffs 5 G, 5.0 MPG): The eight regular season games in which Cummings did not appear were on 10/22/80, 11/11/80, four consecutive games from 11/16/80 through 11/23/80, 1/11/81, and 1/15/81. The two playoff games in which he did not appear were Games 3 and 7 of the Philadelphia series.

Games Started (Regular Season: 6; Playoffs: 0): Cummings started six of the seven games that Marques Johnson did not, at forward. These were on 11/12/80, two consecutive games on 11/30/80 & 12/2/80, 12/21/80, 3/6/80, and 3/9/80. Cummings did not start the game that Johnson missed on 1/16/81, even though Cummings played in that game. Bridgeman started instead.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Center. Primary position switches back and forth between C and PF, with C somewhat predominant in the early part of his career and PF somewhat predominant in the later part. 1980-81 is shown as C.

MIKE EVANS

History: 1st round pick of Nuggets in 1978 (rights traded to Kings shortly after draft). Acquired in trade with Spurs, October 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 71 G, 12.8 MPG; Playoffs 4 G, 9.5 MPG): Evans is credited with appearing in 71 regular season games, but I only noted him in 70 TSN box scores. He was on the injured list from 10/9/80 (the day before the start of the regular season) to 10/20/80 (following the Bucks’ fifth game of the season), so he clearly did not play in the first five games of the season. After that point, he appears in 70 out of 77 TSN boxes. The seven from which he is missing are 10/22/80, 10/28/80, 11/23/80, 1/6/81, 1/15/81, 1/29/81, and 2/5/81. b-r.com’s game log feature also shows Evans in only 70 box scores. It is possible that Evans was omitted from one box score in which he did not compile any stats that would have been shown in the box score.

In the playoffs, Evans appeared in Games 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the Philadelphia series. He did not play in Games 1, 4 and 7.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0; Playoffs: 0): Evans did not start any games.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position switches back and forth between SG and PG. 1980-81 is shown as PG. As a rookie with the Spurs in 1979-80, and later in his career when he was with Denver, Evans was somewhat of a three-point specialist. He didn’t really fill that role in his time with the Bucks, though, even taking into account the low usage of the three-point shot in the early ‘80s. In 1980-81 Evans had just two three-pointers, on fourteen attempts.

LEN ELMORE

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1974. Signed as Veteran Free Agent, June 1980 (compensation owed to Kings).

Games Played (Regular Season 72 G, 12.8 MPG; Playoffs 4 G, 3.0 MPG): The ten regular season games in which Elmore did not appear were on 11/23/80, two consecutive games on 1/24/81 & 1/28/81, 2/11/81, two consecutive games on 2/14/81 & 2/15/81, 2/22/81, 3/3/81, 3/13/81, and 3/29/81 (last game of the regular season).

In the playoffs, Elmore appeared in Games 1, 4, 6 and 7 of the Philadelphia series. He did not play in Games 2, 3 and 5.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0; Playoffs: 0): Elmore did not start any games.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Center-Forward. Primary position is shown as C for most seasons of career, including 1980-81. Two seasons are shown as PF (1975-76 and 1983-84).

NO LONGER WITH TEAM:

SCOTT LLOYD

History: 2nd round pick of Bucks in 1976. Signed as a free agent, June 1980.

Lloyd started the season on the Bucks’ active roster, but was waived on 10/20/80 (following the fifth game of the season) without having appeared in any games. He was waived when Mike Evans, who had started the season on the injured list, was activated. About a week after the Bucks released him, Lloyd was signed by the Mavericks. He would play the rest of the season with them, appearing in 72 games.

Games Played: Lloyd was briefly on the active roster, but did not appear in any games.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Center-Forward. Primary position is shown as C for all seasons of career except 1981-82, which is shown as PF.
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Re: 1980-81 Milwaukee Bucks Games Played/Started & Transacti

Postby MCT » Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:34 pm

MILWAUKEE BUCKS – PART III

PLAYERS BY POSITION

STARTERS

The Bucks had a stable starting lineup throughout most of the season: Lanier at center; Marques Johnson and Mickey Johnson at forward; and Buckner and Moncrief at guard. Moncrief did not move into the starting lineup until about a quarter of the way through the season, with Winters having started up to that point. Catchings also ended up starting a significant number of games at center due to what appear to have been nagging injury issues with Lanier.

b-r.com lists Mickey Johnson as the PF and Marques Johnson as the SF, and in the backcourt, Buckner as the PG and Moncrief as the SG. I agree with those assessments, with the caveat that the Bucks clearly had some players (both in the starting lineup and off the bench) who could play multiple roles. Much like Larry Bird, Marques Johnson was a multi-skilled player who’s hard to pigeonhole; he was second on the team in both rebounds and assists.

The Bucks ran a deep rotation in which the starters didn’t play especially heavy minutes. Only two players averaged 30 mpg, one of them just barely. The team leader, Marques Johnson, averaged just 33.4 mpg.

RESERVES

The Bucks didn’t really have any players who were buried on the far end of the bench, at least during the regular season. Everyone on the roster got playing time on a regular basis, and no one played fewer than 900 minutes for the season. That having been said, there are clearly two or three different layers of reserves.

Bridgeman was at the top of the depth chart. He played nearly 500 more minutes than any other player used mostly as a reserve, and actually played more minutes than two of the Bucks’ regular starters. It’s my understanding that Bridgeman was often thought of as a sixth man and he pretty clearly filled that role this season. Bridgeman probably saw playing time at both SF and SG, but I believe that the vast majority of his minutes were at SF. Looking at the available minutes at forward, Bridgeman likely saw some playing time alongside Marques Johnson, in a pairing where I’d call Johnson the PF.

Next up are Winters and Catchings, who averaged 25.7 and 21.2 mpg, respectively. Winters was an SG but looks like a combo guard who could handle some time at PG as well. Although b-r.com lists Catchings’ primary position as PF, I am somewhat skeptical than he actually played more at PF than C. Either way I guess we can classify him as “first big man off the bench”.

Next down the line are Cummings, Elmore and Evans, all of whom averaged between 12.8 and 14.6 mpg, while all playing in at least 71 games. These guys clearly saw less playing time than the first three, but all played on more-or-less an everyday basis. Cummings and Elmore were both big men who probably saw some time at both C and PF. Evans was a PG who could also play some SG.

In the playoffs, Cummings, Elmore and Evans did fall deeper onto the bench. None appeared in more than 5 of the Bucks’ 7 playoff games, or played more than 38 minutes.

POSITION NOTES

Where did Bridgeman play (more): SF or SG?

I think of Bridgeman as a swingman who could play both SF and SG. Looking at the minutes played by others on the Bucks’ roster, it seems to me that Bridgeman likely got the vast majority of his minutes this year at SF, but also saw some time at SG. If you divide all of the Bucks’ other players into two groups, one group whose main position was in the frontcourt and one group whose main position was in the backcourt, and add up their minutes, 1796 frontcourt minutes are unaccounted for versus 419 backcourt minutes. This is probably a rough approximation of how many minutes Bridgeman played at each position. Performing the same exercise on playoff minutes results in a total for the backcourt players that slightly exceeds the number of backcourt minutes available (by seven minutes), suggesting that Bridgeman didn’t play much guard in the playoffs.

Catchings, Cummings and Elmore: C versus PF

I’m finding that a lot of teams have players listed by b-r.com as playing both center and (power) forward, and it isn’t always obvious who played how many minutes where. The Bucks had three such players: Catchings, Cummings and Elmore. Some thoughts:

--With Lanier playing limited minutes, there were far more minutes available for these three guys at C than at F. Subtracting Lanier’s minutes played from those available at C leaves 2198. Subtracting the rest of the team’s minutes from the rest of the minutes available leaves 1372 at F. In the playoffs, it’s 100 minutes at C and 46 at F.

--Catchings played far more minutes than the other two. In the regular season, his minutes played is only about 375 less than the other two added together. In the playoffs, Catchings played 109 minutes versus 37 combined for the other two.

--Whenever Lanier wasn’t available to start (which was often), Catchings started at center. Whenever one of the forwards wasn’t available to start (which happened less often), Cummings usually started at forward.

--If you look at the position b-r.com shows each playing over the course of their careers, taking into account both what’s in the header and what’s listed as their primary position for each season, I would say that Elmore was the most heavily center-slanted of the three, followed closely by Catchings, with Cummings by far the least center-slanted.

Based on the above, it looks like Catchings was the pretty clearly the backup C, and Cummings probably the backup PF, with Elmore adding extra depth at C to guard against injuries to Lanier. But b-r.com reaches exactly the opposite conclusions for Catchings and Cummings, listing Catchings’ primary position as PF, and Cummings’ as C. Catchings may have acted in kind of a sixth-man-like role, swinging between the two positions, but I’d be a bit surprised if he actually played more at PF than C. He started at center whenever Lanier wasn’t available, and it makes sense that the player who saw the heaviest minutes would have seen most of them at the position where the most minutes were available (which also just happened to have been his primary position for most of his career). All three of these guys probably played some at both positions, though.

Marques Johnson at SG?

b-r.com shows Johnson’s primary position as SF for almost every season of his NBA career, but the header lists his position as “Forward-Guard”, and his primary position is shown as SG for his last full season in the NBA (1985-86). Was Johnson seeing any time at guard this early in his career, or did that not come until later?

Winters at SF?

b-r.com shows Winters’s primary position as SG for every season of his NBA career, but the header lists his position as “Guard-Forward”. Does anyone have any information about Winters playing forward? Would it have been only earlier in his career?

TRIVIA

Oldest Player: Bob Lanier, born 9/10/48 (age 32 throughout the season).

Played in ABA: Len Elmore.

Longest continuous service with team: Brian Winters and Junior Bridgeman. Both were acquired in the same trade in June 1975, and had played for the Bucks since the 1975-76 season.

Highest original draft position*: #1 overall – Bob Lanier.

Lowest original draft position*: In terms of overall pick position, Pat Cummings (3rd round, #59); in terms of round, Mickey Johnson (4th round, #56 overall).

Youngest Player: Sidney Moncrief, born 9/21/57 (age 23 throughout the season). Moncrief was in his second season in the NBA; the Bucks did not have any rookies on their roster. They had traded away their 1st and 2nd round picks in the 1980 draft, and none of the players they selected in the later rounds made the team.

*Which player was chosen with the highest/lowest selection, by round and/or overall pick, with no regard to whether any players may have been drafted under circumstances not reflecting their “true” value (e.g., player was a junior eligible who had not committed to turn pro right away; player was already under contract to ABA, or thought to be likely to sign with ABA).
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Re: 1980-81 Milwaukee Bucks Games Played/Started & Transacti

Postby MCT » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:44 pm

A while back, Mike G. posted some material in the Spurs thread, with position information for 1980-81 sourced from Neft & Cohen’s NBA Encyclopedia. I recently posted about this in the introductory thread to this series, noting that I planned to post and comment on this data on a team-by-team basis. See the eighth post in the introductory thread for more information.

Here’s what Neft & Cohen have for the Bucks:

Mike Goodman wrote:
Code: Select all
tm     player         pos   Min     PO   Min
Mil   Marques Johnson  F   2542      F   266
Mil   Sidney Moncrief  G   2417     Gf   277
Mil   Quinn Buckner    G   2384      G   183
Mil  Junior Bridgeman fg   2215     fg   183
Mil   Mickey Johnson   F   2118      F   170
Mil   Brian Winters    g   1771      g   181
Mil   Bob Lanier       C   1753      C   236
Mil  Harvey Catchings cf   1635     cf   109
Mil   Pat Cummings     f   1084      f    25
Mil   Len Elmore      cf    925      c    12
Mil   Mike Evans       g    911      g    38


MCT wrote:I think of Bridgeman as a swingman who could play both SF and SG. Looking at the minutes played by others on the Bucks’ roster, it seems to me that Bridgeman likely got the vast majority of his minutes this year at SF, but also saw some time at SG. If you divide all of the Bucks’ other players into two groups, one group whose main position was in the frontcourt and one group whose main position was in the backcourt, and add up their minutes, 1796 frontcourt minutes are unaccounted for versus 419 backcourt minutes. This is probably a rough approximation of how many minutes Bridgeman played at each position. Performing the same exercise on playoff minutes results in a total for the backcourt players that slightly exceeds the number of backcourt minutes available (by seven minutes), suggesting that Bridgeman didn’t play much guard in the playoffs.

Neft & Cohen have Bridgeman as “fg” for both the regular season and the playoffs. That agrees with my analysis for the regular season, but how could there have been enough minutes available in the backcourt during the playoffs for Bridgeman to have seen significant time there? Neft & Cohen’s apparent explanation is that Sidney Moncrief, who they have as strictly a guard during the regular season, is shown as “Gf” for the playoffs. Our previous sources have made no suggestion that Moncrief ever played forward.

MCT wrote: I’m finding that a lot of teams have players listed by b-r.com as playing both center and (power) forward, and it isn’t always obvious who played how many minutes where. The Bucks had three such players: Catchings, Cummings and Elmore. Some thoughts:

--With Lanier playing limited minutes, there were far more minutes available for these three guys at C than at F. Subtracting Lanier’s minutes played from those available at C leaves 2198. Subtracting the rest of the team’s minutes from the rest of the minutes available leaves 1372 at F. In the playoffs, it’s 100 minutes at C and 46 at F.

--Catchings played far more minutes than the other two. In the regular season, his minutes played is only about 375 less than the other two added together. In the playoffs, Catchings played 109 minutes versus 37 combined for the other two.

--Whenever Lanier wasn’t available to start (which was often), Catchings started at center. Whenever one of the forwards wasn’t available to start (which happened less often), Cummings usually started at forward.

--If you look at the position b-r.com shows each playing over the course of their careers, taking into account both what’s in the header and what’s listed as their primary position for each season, I would say that Elmore was the most heavily center-slanted of the three, followed closely by Catchings, with Cummings by far the least center-slanted.

Based on the above, it looks like Catchings was the pretty clearly the backup C, and Cummings probably the backup PF, with Elmore adding extra depth at C to guard against injuries to Lanier. But b-r.com reaches exactly the opposite conclusions for Catchings and Cummings, listing Catchings’ primary position as PF, and Cummings’ as C. Catchings may have acted in kind of a sixth-man-like role, swinging between the two positions, but I’d be a bit surprised if he actually played more at PF than C. He started at center whenever Lanier wasn’t available, and it makes sense that the player who saw the heaviest minutes would have seen most of them at the position where the most minutes were available (which also just happened to have been his primary position for most of his career). All three of these guys probably played some at both positions, though.

Neft & Cohen have Catchings as “cf”; Elmore as “cf” during the regular season but just “c” during the playoffs; and Cummings as “f”. That tracks my previous analysis as to each player's primary position, although they reach some different conclusions as to secondary positions. Neft & Cohen feel that Elmore saw significant time at forward as a secondary position during the regular season only (not the playoffs), while they have Cummings as exclusively a forward.

Note that Neft & Cohen’s conclusions contradict b-r.com’s identification of Catchings’ primary position as PF and Cummings’ primary position as C (both of which I had disputed in my previous analysis).

MCT wrote: b-r.com shows [Marques] Johnson’s primary position as SF for almost every season of his NBA career, but the header lists his position as “Forward-Guard”, and his primary position is shown as SG for his last full season in the NBA (1985-86). Was Johnson seeing any time at guard this early in his career, or did that not come until later?....b-r.com shows Winters’s primary position as SG for every season of his NBA career, but the header lists his position as “Guard-Forward”. Does anyone have any information about Winters playing forward? Would it have been only earlier in his career?

Neft & Cohen have Johnson as exclusively a forward, and Winters as exclusively a guard.
MCT
 
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