Does the Starting 5 Really Matter?

I had a conversation about the optimal lineup for the Dukes yesterday on twitter and I was planning on writing something about whether or not who starts matters for anything when I had a little free time. That time is now, and thankfully, it coincides with a recent topic of conversation.  Enjoy some rare original content.

I feel like the most common year round message board chatter revolves around who should start.  Much of the time, what that really means is who should play the most as starters often log the lion's share of the minutes. The 2014-15 Dukes are a bit of a different beast than we're used to in that they have a talented, roster with options at each position. If one starter isn't playing well, the next man will get the chance to pick him up. In the end, Jim Ferry doesn't lose a lot when he has to go to his bench with this team.

That said, who starts really doesn't matter as Ferry also seems quite willing to go with the hot hand whomever that may be on a given day.  Jeremiah Jones started but never distinguished himself against Bluefield St, but Eric James did. As a result, the freshman played twenty - four minutes in his debut compared to seventeen for the junior starter. Against Abilene Christian, those numbers flipped with Jones turning in a strong effort earning eight more minutes than the freshman in spite of his getting into foul trouble. Likewise, Jordan Stevens led the team in scoring and minutes against the Wildcats despite coming off the bench while Ty'sean Powell led the post players in minutes even though he didn't start in both of the first two contests.

We'll still be tempted to set our ideal lineups but in the end, the players will change that game in and game out. True, the starters have the advantage of getting the first crack at heating up. Beyond that, who plays depends on who plays well. Ferry has gone to the bench early and often and he will find the right five to get the team over the hump. Maybe the starters change as the year progresses, but who they are won't matter as much as it may have in the past.