Friday, January 16, 2004

The Last of the Flyin' Illini

What happened to Kendall Gill lately? He's been suspiciously playing sparse minutes the past few games, including last night's loss to Memphis

Gill has averaged 11 minutes in his last three games.

"I don't feel I'm struggling," he said. "I have no idea. Nothing has been said to me."

About the title, Kendall Gill is a cult hero in Illini Basketball lore for being part of the best Illinois team of all time, reaching 1989 final four. And although naturally I'm a big fan, I was a little young to get attached to that team, and in fact are more aware of Frank Williams' and Robert Archibald's pro careers when looking for famous alumni. So I don't pretend to be an expert on Gill's career. So the first thing that came to mind when trying to figure out Gill's slide was that he was playing too many minutes. The Bulls are a bad team, so a player like Gill may be overworked compared to what he's used to. And while his conditioning regimen has reached legendary proportions, he's still getting up there in years. So how many minutes has Gill averaged in his career?

90-91 CHA 82 23.7
 91-92 CHA 79 36.8
 92-93 CHA 69 35.2
 93-94 SEA 79 30.8
 94-95 SEA 73 29.1
 95-96 CHA/NJN 47 35.8
 96-97 NJN 82 39.0
 97-98 NJN 81 33.7
 98-99 NJN 50 32.1
 99-00 NJN 76 31.0
 00-01 NJN 31 28.8
 01-02 MIA 65 21.7
 02-03 MIN 82 25.2
 03-04 CHI 38 27.1
 Career   934 30.9
So it turns out, to my surprise, that Gill hasn't been playing any more minutes than usual. If you want to get picky though, it has been the most minutes since the 00-01 season. And I don't see him being fatigued or anything like that. Now lets look at the monthly splits (i've gone table-crazy):
Oct-Nov 16 26.6 0.457 10.0 4 9 18 26 0.985
Dec 15 29.8 0.372 12.4 4 16 46 58 0.892
Jan 7 22.4 0.339 7.3 0 3 9 10 0.768


I combined October and November since there were only 2 games in October. PSA stands for 'points per shot attempt', a tool developed by John Hollinger. (I'm not even sure I computed it right, but I think so :) ). So while Gill scored more points per game in December, you could see that his overall effectiveness was in fact slipping. Things have gotten noticeably worse in January, and has forced Skiles' hand in taking away his minutes. So when Gill says "I don't feel I'm struggling", the numbers tell a different story.