Brock Motum's burden: Big man logging unusually heavy minutes

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

WSU's all-everything center is an anomaly when it comes to how much he's on the court.

As I was researching yesterday's post on Brock Motum and Mike Ladd, I stumbled across something interesting -- something that I don't think gets near enough attention.

Motum has played in nearly 85 percent of the Cougars' total minutes this year, tops on the team. That might not seem like a huge deal to you, given that he's the team's best player, and you'd certainly want your team's best player on the floor as much as possible.

However, Motum also is 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds. KenPom.com lists the top 100 players in the country in percentage of minutes played. No. 100 on the list has played 85.9 percent of his team's minutes, so you know that Motum is just on the outside of that top 100. You know how many guys there are in the top 100 who are 6-10 or taller?

Zero.

And if you go back a couple of more years, you'll find just one player in 2012 6-10 or taller who cracked that top 100, and two in 2011. Looking just at the Pac-12, Motum ranks eighth; you've got to go all the way to No. 26 to find another center (Aziz N'Diaye). Typically, only the guards and wings -- who generally only have to run three-point line to three-point line, rather than basket to basket -- play those kinds of minutes.

In fact, in the last three years, only one Pac-12 player really compares to Motum: USC's Nikola Vucevic (a personal favorite of mine who I thought was vastly under appreciated at the time), at 6-10 and 240, actually led the Pac-10 in percentage of minutes played in 2011 thanks to Kevin O'Neill's borderline insane strategy of having three players in the top six in the conference.

But even that wasn't quite the same: Vucevic only used 25.1 percent of the Trojans' possessions that year -- Motum uses 29.5 for the Cougars. He's the clear focal point, and as we talked about on Tuesday, that means he's receiving an undue amount of attention from defenses that are making him work extra hard to even catch the ball.

The reality is that while we all long for the Motum of last year to magically reappear, I think we'd be wise not to let this become another Klay Thompson situation, where greatness is right in front of our eyes and all we allow ourselves to see is the flaws. Most big guys simply cannot lug themselves up and down the court the way Motum does, never mind the fact that he has to work harder on offense than your typical big man. That he continues to log these kinds of minutes and still is the team's best scorer who continues to work hard at the end of games is a fairly remarkable feat.

However, if you're looking for a reason why this team fades down the stretch, this might be a good place to look. It's a heavy, heavy burden being placed on a guy with a body type that typically doesn't respond well to this kind of workload.

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