Some would say yes, and some would say no. Personally, I am not interested in whether they mean anything in terms of win/loss percentages, but rather what they mean in terms of player usage. For a team that uses so little of its major talent during the pre-season, getting an accurate or even somewhat telling of how players will be used during the regular season is tough. Further, it doesn’t help that one of the key additions of the off-season is injured and can’t suit up, but there is data to be mined nonetheless.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, Blair and Duncan have started the last two games at the front court positions and Parker and Ginobili at the guards. Given that RJ is the obvious starter at small forward I think that we have a really good indication of who will be on the floor versus Indiana for the opening tip. In my opinion, it is pretty clear that Pop intends to go with a starting line-up of Tony, Manu, RJ, Beast, and Timmy, which I gotta say is one of the better starting line-ups the Spurs have fielded in recent years.
Obviously, the Splitter injury has thrown a bit of a wrench into Pop’s elevaluation process, but I think it is safe to say that Tiago wasn’t going to be in the first five to start the year anyway. I personally think we will be by the end of the year, but until his wacky injury heals and he gets some NBA reps it is too soon to tell when that switch can and will happen.
So if we have a set first five, what does the rest of the rotation look like? Beyond George Hill as the likely Sixth Man of the Year [ED.- Really Brad? You’re making that call now?] I think it is too early to tell. The final roster isn’t even set yet, so who comes in 7th, 8th, or 9th off the bench is impossible to say. I’m pretty sure that after Hill, we will see McDyess/Bonner (to start the season, Tiago after he’s healthy), but after that it is anybody’s guess. But back to Hill for a minute, I see him coming in with around 4-5 minutes left in the First quarter to spell Manu, and then starting the Second quarter at point, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the lesser role players coming in right at the end of the half to extend the rest for Parker.