Target Minutes - An argument for trying them. Topic

Using my Hamline team as an example. 
We play zone, and I (almost) always play uptempo (almost more to cover my *** than actually being able to remember the last time I changed that setting). I have played fatigue (everyone on fairly fresh) once this season - this game. The opponent was playing normal (not uptempo, not slowdown) motion/M2M and, with my playing uptempo/motion/zone, my bench is hardly used. Only one player off the bench was over 12 minutes, and the bench minutes were 17-12-11-11-9-2. Plus, that was with my starting center in foul trouble and fouling out in only 21 minutes. Going just by fatigue, his 83 stamina in zone/motion/uptempo gets him 30 minutes, so the bench would see even less play. 
But, you ask, why is that bad? Most people have the better players start, so why not maximize their minutes on the court at fairly fresh or better?
A few reasons:
1) Fatigue. As designed, if everyone on the bench is fully rested and no one is in foul trouble, fairly fresh - the most aggressive sub setting - kicks in at the first dead ball following the drop in fatigue level. So even a team of super stamina guys is going to have some portion of the minutes (what portion varies from game to game) played with guys below "fresh" under fatigue substitutions. If you tweak the target minutes properly, it is possible to have the entire game played by "fresh" players. For a team playing uptempo and pressing, you may not get everyone at "fresh" for the whole game, but you can still get more minutes at better fatigue than relying just on fatigue subs.
2) Promises. People often concede this point, but seem to dismiss it as unimportant. It's not. The promise of a start can make a big difference in recruiting - especially at D3 where you are recruiting with a relatively limited budget. But if you promise a start and use fatigue substitutions, you are also committing to playing the recruit for a substantial portion of time right away. Now, you can limit the damage somewhat by scheduling the first half of OOC play relatively easy, but that has drawbacks of its own. Particularly with guards who haven't played your offense in high school, they can be turnover machines if they see much PT (especially against press, obviously).
So, against crappy teams who don't mind running a low-IQ freshman out there and taking losses, I have some prestige advantage from running a winning program.
Against other good teams who value wins, I still have a recruiting advantage in that I can be more liberal in my use of promises without running the same risk of game losses.
3) Development. Using target minutes for (most of) my games, it is much easier for me to maximize development of my younger players. While there are drawbacks to it (primarily because margin of victory plays a role in rankings and I generally don't blow people out), I judge the other team and will put a combination of players out there that I believe maximizes the play of my developing players without risking (too much) a loss. I can also give (un-promised) starts to players with lower WE but high potential players to get that extra boost without necessarily playing them until they are tired. If you plan on trying to maintain a D3 team long-term (instead of using it to move up to a higher division) that can be useful.
4) Game-Planning. If you're using fatigue subs, the number of wrinkles you can incorporate into your game planning is relatively limited. If the skill sets provide for it, you can maybe switch up a SG/SF or PF/C to exploit a matchup, but that's close to the extent of it. If you have a dominant scorer, for exmaple, you can only do so much to "hide" him from a shut-down defender or two. It becomes something of a guessing game at times, trying to predict what the opposing coach will do. With target minutes though, I can have that scorer move seamlessly between multiple positions, and maximize the number of minutes he plays against opposing backups (over whom he often will enjoy a significant advantage in ATH/SPD or some other facet). It becomes very difficult for opponents to match players up, and when they do so they are generally trying to guess what I am going to do, instead of the other way around.
I think, because there are so many people who are of fatigue-sub-only mindset, this is a big reason why people sometimes think of Hoops Dynasty as Recruiting Dynasty. Get the better players and let then run (often literally, it seems, with the use/abuse of press as a base defense) is a dominant mindset. But that's not the way it has to be.
Overall: Really, it comes down to control. I'm just conceited enough to think that (more often than not) maximizing control over how my players are used will benefit the team in the long run. 
I'm not saying there aren't times/teams where using fatigue subs makes sense. 
I am saying that simply using fatigue subs and never making use of target minutes leaves a lot of control on the table and (overall) isn't the most efficient way to do it either.
4/11/2012 9:09 PM
I use target minutes with two teams, fatigue with one. I am probably not the guy to be defending target minutes, but when I ran it for a three season stretch in Iba (2 at D2, 1 in D3) I went 64-22. Of course, I have never been a very good coach, but this was a good stretch for me.
4/11/2012 9:12 PM
i've frequently used target minutes...usually with teams that are less deep and/or teams where i've dished out promises
4/11/2012 9:26 PM
zbrent, any good zone tips? what's the most effective way to get the best results from the zone d in your opinion? 
4/11/2012 9:57 PM
the common mistake people make is to think the zone is the D to use when they don't want to have guys with D ratings that are as high as man to man or press.

the reality is that while you can hide one bad guy at a time in the zone, at the end of the day you have to recruit for the zone in pretty much a similar way that you would try to recruit in the man.

4/11/2012 10:16 PM
ONly times I have used Target minutes is with rebuild projects where I am not expecting to win and I want to strictly control which players get on the court how long for development purposes.

4/11/2012 10:28 PM
I like target minutes myself. I just started using it recently after making promises but my teams did pretty well so I kept using them. And with zone I guess I mean game planning with it. A lot of coaches believe its the worst D of all and I want to prove them wrong. Only there is so much debate about how it actually works.
4/11/2012 10:40 PM
I don't use it with my current team. . but I have with other teams, and I think zone can be very effective.  It usually doesn't appear to be so because very few people will run zone with superior defenders;  if they get superior defenders, they immediately switch to man or a press and abandon the zone.  For my money zone's biggest asset its its versatility, between the two three and the three two and the plus minus settings there are 22 different defensive settings, and then double teams available.  So you have quite a few options for adjusting for specific situations.  Often with a zone defense, for example, I'll have my "Two three small forward, who more resembles a power forward and my three - two small forward, who more resembles a guard, with the starter different based on which of the two is running.
4/11/2012 10:48 PM
Posted by arssanguinus on 4/11/2012 10:28:00 PM (view original):
ONly times I have used Target minutes is with rebuild projects where I am not expecting to win and I want to strictly control which players get on the court how long for development purposes.

Fatigue works too. Just set to "foul trouble only."
4/12/2012 12:07 AM
Strictly control doesn't always equal" Put in a starting freshman for 40 minutes a game". in this case.
4/12/2012 12:15 AM
I started out using target minutes...forced myself to use fatigue just to "try something different" when I picked up a second team. Now use fatigue for all my squads. To be honest, I saw very little difference. My biggest argument in favor of target minutes is simply that just about everyone else uses fatigue so it puts you on a slightly different substitution pattern than the masses, which can be good in certain situations. 

The biggest danger with using target minutes comes when a player gets in quick foul trouble, say he picks up 2 in 3 minuntes and sits the rest of the half...if he's set to 19-23 minutes, he'll still try to reach his minutes mark by playing darn near the entire second half, even if it runs him into heavy fatigue. I frequently under-allocated my minutes and let the computer distribute the extra ones based on game situations (tight games, they tended to be given to the starters, which is how you'd want it, blowouts they tended to go to the reserves) . 
4/12/2012 12:15 AM
Posted by rednation58 on 4/11/2012 10:40:00 PM (view original):
I like target minutes myself. I just started using it recently after making promises but my teams did pretty well so I kept using them. And with zone I guess I mean game planning with it. A lot of coaches believe its the worst D of all and I want to prove them wrong. Only there is so much debate about how it actually works.
game planning doesn't matter one bit if you don't have the right players on the court.  Most of the ones that believe it's the worst D of all feel that way because they tried to hide too many players that were either unathletic, bad defenders, or both and if or when they ever had enough players for the zone to be successful they immediately switched over to man or press. 

my Iba D2 team has had great success running the zone or an extended period of time.  I stress ath, and defense just like i would in other defenses.  i put a little more weight on rebounding in the zone than i would in other defenses, but that's really it as far as differences.  game planning, IMO, is not all that different in the zone than in the man and i approach my game plans with zone and man teams in almost identical fashion.
4/12/2012 12:29 AM
There are times where target can be useful -- fulfilling a promised start to a frosh without giving too many minutes is a good example. Some of the other arguments -- like getting a few more minutes for a young player to bump him up a couple extra ratings points over the course of the season -- are trading a significant negative for a small positive. Unless your team is weak and the season is lost, it's not remotely worth that sort of trade off.

But I truly believe that unless there are extenuating circumstances like that, all else being equal target is inferior.

That doesn't mean you can't still win playing target. You can. But you are largely winning in spite of using target, not because of it. (People win in spite of strategic blunders every single night in HD, so this hardly makes target mins unique in this respect. Talent very often overcomes less-than-optimal strategy ... and that is coming from a game-planning junkie.)
4/12/2012 12:36 AM
I haven't used target minutes since they rolled out the fatigue option, and I agree 100% with what girt said.  I might have to try it again sometime since so many people say they're using targets, but I thought my teams just played worse with that option.  It could be I wasn't setting things up well.

On points 2 and 3 in the OP, I start FR on all my teams nearly every season.  Sometimes I promise them, sometimes just to help improvement/WE.  I really think it's pretty easy to "hide" a FR in the lineup with a well constructed depth chart, so I don't see the need to try to make him play 5-10 min as a starter.

You make an interesting point in #1, but as someone pointed out, foul trouble can blow that up in a hurry and have guys playing the the red.  I do agree that more control is better, but I've never liked what you get with target minutes.
4/12/2012 9:59 AM
You have to work harder to coach your team with target minutes which I think most coaches who have tried to use targets probably didn't make proper adjustments. I believe target minutes can especially help weaker teams overcome inadequacies against stronger teams who just let the recruits play on fatigue settings. If your team is deep enough and your depth chart filled properly the right guys should come in at the stoppage of play.
4/12/2012 6:39 PM
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