1980-81 Phoenix Suns Games Played/Started & Transactions

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1980-81 Phoenix Suns Games Played/Started & Transactions

Postby MCT » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:32 pm

This is the twelfth 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

PHOENIX SUNS – PART I

SEASON OVERVIEW

The Suns had a 57-25 record. They finished first in the Pacific Division, and were the #1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

As a #1 seed, the Suns got a bye for the First Round of the playoffs. In the Conference Semifinals, they lost to the Kings, 4-3. They therefore played a total of 7 playoff games.

The Suns used 11 different players for the season. This was the minimum, but one additional player was on the team’s roster during the regular season but did not appear in any games. That player was only ever on the injured list, however, not the active roster. The same 11 players were on the active roster all season long. The Suns were one of three NBA teams to use the minimum 11 players this year. All three teams had at least one additional player on their roster at some point during the regular season, but of the three, the Suns were the only one to have the same 11 players on their active roster all season long.

ROSTER AND TRANSACTIONS

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER

Alvin Adams
*Don Buse
Jeff Cook
Walter Davis
Johnny High
Dennis Johnson
Rich Kelley
Joel Kramer
Kyle Macy
Mike Niles
Len “Truck” Robinson
Alvin Scott

*placed on injured list 10/8/80

Notable unsigned Veteran Free Agent: Garfield Heard.

IN-SEASON TRANSACTIONS

In the list below, anything which is underlined is the subject of discrepancies or guesswork, or is the result of further research beyond my usual sources.

10/14/80 – Garfield Heard, who had been an unsigned Veteran Free Agent, signed with the Clippers; compensation for Heard was not immediately settled.

11/25/80 – Traded Don Buse to the Pacers for two 2nd round picks (1981 and 1982) and other considerations.

2/3/81 – Received two picks from the Clippers (a 1981 3rd round pick, and a conditional future 2nd or 3rd round pick) as compensation for the Clippers’ earlier signing of Garfield Heard as a Veteran Free Agent.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

For a detailed discussion of the terms of the Buse trade, see the article on the 1980-81 Pacers. As best I can tell, the Suns received a 1981 2nd round pick, a 1982 2nd round pick (originally Milwaukee’s), the right to swap 1st round picks in 1983 (Top-12 protected), and cash.

The transaction column in the 2/4/81 Globe has a detailed description of the picks the Suns were to receive from the Clippers in the compensation package for Heard. The Google News Archive also has a detailed AP wire service story covering the transaction in the 2/4/81 Reading (Pa.) Eagle and Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. The 1981 3rd round pick was to be the lower of the two 3rd round picks the Clippers had that year (their own and Chicago’s). The round and year of the second pick depended on whether Heard was still in the NBA during the 1981-82 season. If Heard was on any team’s roster in 1981-82 (it didn’t have to be with the Clippers), it was to be a 2nd round pick; if not, it was to be a 3rd round pick. If it was a 2nd round pick, it would be in 1987; if it was a 3rd round pick, it would be in 1983. Because 1980-81 turned out to be Heard’s last season in the NBA, the Suns ultimately received a 1983 3rd round pick.

The difference in which year the Suns would get the pick, depending on which round it was in, is probably due to the Clippers having already traded their 2nd round picks in 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1985. The Clippers were presumably trying to avoid getting into a situation where they had traded their 2nd round pick every year (or almost every year) for several years into the future. Their next available 2nd round pick was in 1984, but sending that pick to the Suns would leave them with no 2nd round picks for the next five years. Their next available pick after ’84 was in 1986, but sending that one to the Suns would have left them with one 2nd round pick in the next six years. Putting up the 1987 pick gave them a bit more breathing room.

GAMES STARTED INFO

MEDIA GUIDE

The 2014-15 Suns Media Guide has regular season games started stats going back to the 1974-75 season (it also has them for the Suns’ first two seasons, 1968-69 and 1969-70, but not the seasons in between). For 1980-81, it shows the following:

Robinson 82
Cook 77
Davis 77
Johnson 77
Adams 69
Kelley 13
High 10
Scott 5

TSN BOX SCORES

Every TSN box score for the 1980-81 Suns appears to list the players in “starters first” F-F-C-G-G order. This is the first team we’ve encountered where this has been the case.

The games started totals for all players are in agreement with those in the Suns Media Guide.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

N/A

PLAYOFFS

As far as I can see, the Suns Media Guide does not have games started stats for the playoffs.

The TSN box scores show the same five players who normally started during the regular season starting every game in the playoffs. While we don’t have any info from the Media Guide to double-check it against, I am assuming this is accurate, as there seems no reason to think it isn’t.
Last edited by MCT on Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 1980-81 Phoenix Suns Games Played/Started & Transactions

Postby MCT » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:35 pm

PHOENIX SUNS – PART II

PLAYER INFORMATION

Players are listed based on a snapshot as of late February, although the Suns’ roster and regular starting lineup was more-or-less the same all season.

LEN “TRUCK” ROBINSON

History: 2nd round pick of Bullets in 1974. Acquired in trade with Jazz, January 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 37.7 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 33.0 MPG): Robinson appeared in every game the Suns played.

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

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

DENNIS JOHNSON

History: 2nd round pick of Sonics in 1976. Acquired in trade with Sonics, June 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 79 G, 33.1 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 38.1 MPG): The three games in which Johnson did not appear were on 10/25/80, and two consecutive games on 11/12/80 & 11/15/80.

Games Started (Regular Season: 77; Playoffs: 7): The two games Johnson played in but did not start were on 11/16/80 (immediately following two games in which he had not played) and 2/4/81 (first game after the All-Star break).

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, with SG somewhat predominant in the early part of his career and PG somewhat predominant in the later part. 1980-81 is shown as PG, the earliest season in Johnson’s career for which that is the case.

WALTER DAVIS

History: 1st round pick of Suns in 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 78 G, 28.0 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 28.4 MPG): The four games in which Davis did not appear were on 10/21/80, and three consecutive games from 12/19/80 through 12/22/80.

Games Started (Regular Season: 77; Playoffs: 7): The only game Davis played in but did not start was on 12/23/80 (immediately following three games in which he had not played).

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard-Forward. Primary position switches back and forth between SF and SG, with SF somewhat predominant in the early part of his career and SG somewhat predominant in the later part. 1980-81 is shown as SG, the earliest season in Davis’ career for which that is the case. I can’t speak for how Davis was used in other seasons, but I agree with b-r.com’s assessment that his primary position in 1980-81 was SG.

ALVAN ADAMS

History: 1st round pick of Suns in 1975.

Games Played (Regular Season 75 G, 27.4 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 31.1 MPG): The seven games in which Adams did not appear were three consecutive games from 12/7/80 through 12/10/80, two consecutive games on 1/16/81 & 1/18/81, and two consecutive games on 1/28/81 & 1/29/81 (the last two games before the All-Star break).

Games Started (Regular Season: 69; Playoffs: 7): The six games Adams played in but did not start were on 12/14/80 (immediately following two games in which he had not played), and five consecutive games from 1/20/81 through 1/26/81 (the games in between the two groups of games in January in which he did not play; between games he didn’t play in and games he played in but didn’t start, Adams was absent from the starting lineup for nine consecutive games from 1/16 to 1/29).

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, including 1980-81, except for one (1984-85, which is shown as PF).

JEFF COOK

History: 3rd round pick of Kings in 1978. Signed as a free agent, May 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 79 G, 27.7 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 29.4 MPG): The three games in which Cook did not appear were three consecutive games from 12/22/80 through 12/25/80.

Games Started (Regular Season: 77; Playoffs: 7): The two games Cook played in but did not start were two consecutive games on 12/27/80 & 12/30/80 (immediately following the three games in which he had not played).

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Center. Primary position is shown as PF for most seasons of career, but there are two exceptions, including 1980-81, which is shown as SF (the other exception is 1983-84, which is shown as C).

JOHNNY HIGH

History: 2nd round pick of Suns in 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 81 G, 21.6 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 16.7 MPG): The only game in which High did not appear was on 10/17/80.

Games Started (Regular Season: 10; Playoffs: 0): The ten games High started were the five games each that regular starters Dennis Johnson and Walter Davis did not start. These were on 10/21/80, 10/25/80, three consecutive games from 11/12/80 through 11/16/80, four consecutive games from 12/19/80 through 12/23/80, and a single game on 2/4/81.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as PG for three of his four NBA seasons, including 1980-81; the remaining season, 1982-83, is shown as SG.

RICH KELLEY

History: 1st round pick of Jazz in 1975. Acquired in trade with Nets, February 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 81 G, 20.8 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 16.1 MPG): The only game in which Kelley did not appear was on 12/30/80.

Games Started (Regular Season: 13; Playoffs: 0): The thirteen games Kelly started were the thirteen games that regular starting center Alvan Adams did not start. These were four consecutive games from 12/7/80 through 12/14/80, and nine consecutive games from 1/16/81 through 1/29/81.

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.

KYLE MACY

History: 1st round pick of Suns in 1979, as a junior eligible; returned to college for 1979-80 season, but signed with Suns in May 1980 rather than re-enter that year’s draft.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 17.9 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 14.6 MPG): Macy appeared in every game the Suns played.

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

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.

ALVIN SCOTT

History: 7th round pick of Suns in 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 17.4 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 17.1 MPG): Scott appeared in every game the Suns played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 5; Playoffs: 0): The five games Scott started were the five games that regular starter Jeff Cook did not start. These were five consecutive games from 12/22/80 through 12/30/80.

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.

JOEL KRAMER

History: 3rd round pick of Suns in 1978.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 13.0 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 14.4 MPG): Kramer is credited with appearing in all 82 regular season games, and all seven of the Suns’ playoff games. Kramer only appears in six of the playoff box scores, however. He is absent from the TSN box score for the game on 4/12/81 (Game 4 of the series against Kansas City). It is possible that Kramer played in that game but was omitted because he did not compile any stats that would have been shown in the box score. b-r.com’s game log feature actually lists Kramer as appearing in that game. I’m not sure if Dick Pfander or b-r.com noticed the discrepancy and was able to verify elsewhere that Kramer really did appear in this game, or if they just made an assumption that he must have played in this game if his official games played total for the playoffs is accurate. (If Kramer really did play in all seven playoff games, the latter obviously must be true; he has to have played in this game.)

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

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Center. Primary position is shown as PF for three of Kramer’s five NBA seasons, including 1980-81; the other two are shown as C. I can’t speak for how Kramer was used in other seasons, but I think b-r.com’s assessment that his primary position this year was PF is correct.

MIKE NILES

History: 4th round pick of 76ers in 1979. Signed as a free agent, June 1980. (Note: Niles did not make the 76ers’ roster in 1979, so even though he had come out of college a year earlier, he had no regular-season NBA experience prior to this season.)

Games Played (Regular Season 44 G, 5.3 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 2.0 MPG): I’m not going to list out exactly which games Niles appeared in and which he didn’t, but his appearances in the TSN box scores do add up to his official games played total. There isn’t much of a pattern to Niles’ appearances throughout the season. He played in more games during the first half of the regular season than the second half (26 versus 18), and the two longest streaks of consecutive games from which Niles was absent were both in the second half (seven games in January, just before the All-Star break, and five games in late February and early March). In the first half, by contrast, he was never absent from more than three games in a row. Niles’ longest streak of consecutive games played was seven, in late October and early November.

The two playoff games in which Niles appeared were Games 1 and 5 of the Suns’ series against Kansas City. Niles saw only four minutes of court time across those two games.

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

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward. Primary position is shown as SF; this is the only season that Niles played in the NBA.

NO LONGER WITH TEAM:

DON BUSE

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1972. Acquired in trade with Pacers, September 1977.

Buse was placed on the injured list on 10/8/80 as the Suns cut their active roster down to the minimum 11 players in preparation for the start of the season. He was traded to the Pacers on 11/25/80 without having been activated from the IL or appearing in any games.

Games Played: Buse was on the injured list for the entire portion of the season he was on the Suns’ roster, and did not appear in any games.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as PG for most seasons of career, but is SG for two seasons, including 1980-81 (the other is 1973-74).
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Re: 1980-81 Phoenix Suns Games Played/Started & Transactions

Postby MCT » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:37 pm

PHOENIX SUNS – PART III

PLAYERS BY POSITION

STARTERS

The Suns had a stable starting lineup throughout the season: Adams at center; Robinson and Cook at forward; and Johnson and Davis at guard. All games not started by these players were probably injury-related, with all except Adams starting at least 77 games.

How the forwards and guards break down in terms of PF/SF and PG/SG is in interesting matter. At forward, b-r.com shows Robinson as the PF and Cook as the SF. It seems to me that Robinson and Cook were both really PFs. Cook stood 6’10” and is shown as either a PF or C every other season of his career. Robinson was smaller in terms of height (6’7”), but just seems like a textbook example of a PF from this era. He is shown as a PF every season of his career, and he led the team in rebounds by a large margin.

Stepping back from the PF/SF discussion for a minute, I’m intrigued that Cook was starting for this team at all. Coming out of college in 1978, he was a 3rd round pick, and failed to make the roster of the team that drafted him. In 1979-80, he managed to make the Suns’ roster, and seems to have established himself as a decent but unspectacular reserve (66 games, 13.7 mpg, 5.5 ppg). Then, in 1980-81, he found himself as a starter. Easily the most obscure of the Suns’ starting five, he seems like a bit of a forerunner to Kurt Rambis with the Lakers and Marc Iavaroni with the 76ers a few years later, in the sense of being an obscure power forward used as a starter by a good team in a lineup that otherwise consisted of much better-known players. Rambis and Iavaroni were there to add some “power” to the forward positions on teams that didn’t otherwise have anyone to do that, though; Cook wasn’t really serving that purpose with the Suns, as they had Robinson. Cook also seems to have played a somewhat larger role on the 1980-81 Suns than Rambis and Iavaroni typically did, averaging 27.7 mpg and 8.5 ppg.

Similar to what was done with Rambis and Iavaroni, I am guessing that the Suns felt that with relative stars at the other four positions, Cook could be a player who would fill in the spaces and do the little things, and wouldn’t need a lot of touches. From that point of view, one could argue that Robinson has to be assigned to his natural position (PF), and that Cook has to be slotted into whatever position happens to be left available (SF). That’s exactly how b-r.com has them classified, so I won’t quibble with b-r.com’s conclusion. I am curious about how these two actually functioned on the court, though. Presumably their respective games were such that they could stay out of each other’s way, with one or both having the ability to competently serve an SF role when needed (e.g., covering smaller players on defense). The Suns may have also used them in a way that minimized the amount of time they spent on the court together, but there has to have been a significant amount of overlap, especially with the heavy minutes that Robinson played.

In the backcourt, b-r.com has Johnson as the PG and Davis as the SG. That makes sense in that Davis looks to have been more of wing player (an SF-SG) and Johnson more of a combo guard (an SG-PG). Neither is a pure PG, but between the two, Johnson seems like more the PG. So here again, I won’t quibble with b-r.com’s conclusion. Based on their stats for the season, however, neither one really looks like a textbook PG, and it’s not clear that Johnson is even really the better candidate. For the season, Johnson had only 291 assists (3.7 apg); Davis actually had slightly more (302 total, 3.9 per game). Starting center Alvan Adams led the Suns in assists, while backup center Rich Kelley had just nine fewer assists for the season than Johnson did. I take it this was an offense that didn’t necessarily run through the point guard. I guess if Johnson was the player who typically brought the ball up the court – which I’m guessing was the case – then he was the PG.

Robinson led the team in mpg with 37.7, followed by Johnson at 33.1. The other three starters averaged between 27 and 28 minutes a game.

RESERVES

The Suns’ reserve rotation included five players, one for each position, who were almost literally everyday players – three played in all 82 games, the other two in 81. Each of these players was also credited with appearing in every game during the playoffs. The most heavily used reserves were High (guard) and Kelley (center), who averaged 21.6 and 20.8 mpg, respectively. Next come Macy (guard) and Scott (small forward), at 17.9 and 17.3 mpg. The last player in the rotation was Kramer (power forward) at 13.0 mpg. Kramer could also play center and probably picked up a few minutes there as well. b-r.com shows both High and Macy as PGs, but like the starters, neither one really put up a lot of assists. Looking at the rest of their careers, Macy is consistently shown as a PG, while High is shown as a PG for three seasons and an SG for one. b-r.com does not list any backup as an SG; if we had to label someone as the backup SG, High would probably be the best candidate.

The last player on the bench was clearly Mike Niles, who is shown as an SF. During the regular season, Niles appeared in just 44 games, averaging 5.3 minutes per game. In the playoffs, he saw just four minutes of action across two games.

POSITION NOTES

Center-Forwards

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 Suns had five such players. Adams and Kelley are listed as C-F; Kramer, Cook and Robinson are listed as F-C.

I doubt that Adams and Kelley played much at forward, if at all. Kelly’s primary position is shown at C for every season of his career, and Adams’ is shown as C for every season but one, which is 1984-85. The two added together played 211 fewer minutes than were available at center, so I can’t see why the Suns would have a pressing need to use them much at forward. (The playoffs were similar, with a 5-minute deficit at center, over seven games.) To the extent that these two played significant minutes at forward, it was likely later in their careers.

On the other hand, given that 211-minute deficit, players whose primary position was forward were likely covering some minutes at center. Not a whole lot, but some; 211 minutes works out to about two and a half minutes per game. My guess is that most of those minutes were being played by Kramer, as he had other seasons around this time where b-r.com lists his primary position as C (1979-80 and 1982-83). Given that Adams and Kelley were playing more than 94% of the available minutes at center, Kramer’s primary position must have been PF by a wide margin, but he was probably picking up a small but not insignificant number of minutes at center. 211 minutes would be about 20% of Kramer’s total minutes played.

I think Cook and Robinson likely played exclusively at forward, or nearly so, and I would be surprised if either played many minutes at center, especially the 6’7” Robinson. They would have been occupied at forward – where each was starting – and with the other personnel the Suns had, I don’t see why there would have been much of a need to use them at center.

Forward-Guards

Davis’ primary position is shown as SF for the first three seasons of his NBA career, but it changes to SG this year. It would remain SG for most of the rest of his career, but there are a few seasons where it switches back to SF (1981-82, 1987-88, and 1991-92). From the TSN box scores, it seems pretty clear that Davis was starting at guard, but was he still seeing any playing time at forward?

If you add up the minutes played by every player on the Suns whose primary position was in the frontcourt, and you add up the minutes played for every player on the Suns whose primary position was in the backcourt, there is a shortage of 114 minutes in the frontcourt, and an overage of 114 minutes in the backcourt. This works out to less than a minute and a half per game. (The playoffs were similar, with an overage of 13 minutes in the backcourt, over seven games.) Based on that, while Davis may have occasionally swung to SF for a few minutes, he likely wasn’t seeing much playing time there. 114 minutes would be about 5% of Davis’ total minutes played.

Alvin Scott is listed as an F-G. Since the backcourt has an overage and the frontcourt a shortage, I don’t see why the Suns would have a need to use Scott significantly at guard.

As always, I would be interested in any information anyone has about how these players were used, this season or elsewhere in their careers.

TRIVIA

Oldest Player: Truck Robinson, born 10/4/51 (age 29 throughout the season).

Played in ABA: The only player who was with the Suns this year who played in the ABA was Don Buse. Buse was with the team for about the first six weeks of the season, but was on the IL the whole time and did not appear in any games. No one who actually appeared in a game for the Suns this year played in the ABA.

Longest continuous service with team: Alvan Adams, with the team since the 1975-76 season.

Highest original draft position*: #4 overall – Alvan Adams.

Lowest original draft position*: 7th round, #136 overall – Alvin Scott.

Youngest Player: Johnny High, born 4/25/57 (age 23 throughout the season). Kyle Macy was 16 days older than High. The Suns did not have any members of the 1980 draft class on their roster (Macy was in his first year out of college, but had been drafted as a junior eligible in 1979). They had traded away their 1st round pick 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 Phoenix Suns Games Played/Started & Transactions

Postby MCT » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:41 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 Suns:

Mike Goodman wrote:
Code: Select all
tm     player         pos   Min     PO   Min
Phx   Truck Robinson   F   3088      F   233
Phx   Dennis Johnson   G   2615      G   267
Phx   Jeff Cook       Fc   2192      F   206
Phx   Walter Davis    Gf   2182      G   199
Phx   Alvan Adams      C   2054      C   218
Phx   Johnny High      g   1750      g   117
Phx   Rich Kelley      c   1686      c   113
Phx   Kyle Macy        g   1469      g   102
Phx   Alvin Scott      f   1423      f   120
Phx   Joel Kramer      f   1065      f   101
Phx   Mike Niles       f    231         


MCT wrote: 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 Suns had five such players. Adams and Kelley are listed as C-F; Kramer, Cook and Robinson are listed as F-C.

I doubt that Adams and Kelley played much at forward, if at all. Kelly’s primary position is shown at C for every season of his career, and Adams’ is shown as C for every season but one, which is 1984-85. The two added together played 211 fewer minutes than were available at center, so I can’t see why the Suns would have a pressing need to use them much at forward. (The playoffs were similar, with a 5-minute deficit at center, over seven games.) To the extent that these two played significant minutes at forward, it was likely later in their careers.

Neft & Cohen have both Adams and Kelley as exclusively centers.

MCT wrote:On the other hand, given that 211-minute deficit, players whose primary position was forward were likely covering some minutes at center. Not a whole lot, but some; 211 minutes works out to about two and a half minutes per game. My guess is that most of those minutes were being played by Kramer, as he had other seasons around this time where b-r.com lists his primary position as C (1979-80 and 1982-83). Given that Adams and Kelley were playing more than 94% of the available minutes at center, Kramer’s primary position must have been PF by a wide margin, but he was probably picking up a small but not insignificant number of minutes at center. 211 minutes would be about 20% of Kramer’s total minutes played.

I think Cook and Robinson likely played exclusively at forward, or nearly so, and I would be surprised if either played many minutes at center, especially the 6’7” Robinson. They would have been occupied at forward – where each was starting – and with the other personnel the Suns had, I don’t see why there would have been much of a need to use them at center.

Neft & Cohen disagree me on which forward was covering those minutes at center. They think it was Cook, who they have as “Fc” during the regular season, though just “F” for the playoffs. Neft & Cohen have Kramer as exclusively a forward. They also have Robinson as exclusively a forward.

MCT wrote: Davis’ primary position is shown as SF for the first three seasons of his NBA career, but it changes to SG this year. It would remain SG for most of the rest of his career, but there are a few seasons where it switches back to SF (1981-82, 1987-88, and 1991-92). From the TSN box scores, it seems pretty clear that Davis was starting at guard, but was he still seeing any playing time at forward?

If you add up the minutes played by every player on the Suns whose primary position was in the frontcourt, and you add up the minutes played for every player on the Suns whose primary position was in the backcourt, there is a shortage of 114 minutes in the frontcourt, and an overage of 114 minutes in the backcourt. This works out to less than a minute and a half per game. (The playoffs were similar, with an overage of 13 minutes in the backcourt, over seven games.) Based on that, while Davis may have occasionally swung to SF for a few minutes, he likely wasn’t seeing much playing time there. 114 minutes would be about 5% of Davis’ total minutes played.

Neft & Cohen agree that Davis’ primary position was now guard, but they think he was still playing enough minutes at forward to mention, at least during the regular season; they have him as “Gf”. For the playoffs, they have Davis as just “G”.

MCT wrote:Alvin Scott is listed as an F-G. Since the backcourt has an overage and the frontcourt a shortage, I don’t see why the Suns would have a need to use Scott significantly at guard.

Neft & Cohen have Scott as exclusively a forward.
MCT
 
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