Jan 16, 2013; Villanova, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers guard James Robinson (0) is defended by Villanova Wildcats guard Ryan Arcidiacono (15) during the second half at the Pavilion. Pitt defeated Villanova 58-43. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt Panthers Basketball: Jamie Dixon needs a shorter rotation in 2014

One of  the strengths of the 2012-13 Pitt Panthers basketball team was the extraordinary depth that Panthers’ head coach Jamie Dixon had at his disposal as Pitt was one of  the rare teams in the country that could run 10 competent bodies out on a nightly basis.

That’s something that will likely change this season.

Gone form that deep 2013 team are five players who were among the top eight Panthers in terms of minutes played.

Mar 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers forward Lamar Patterson (21) controls the ball against the Syracuse Orange during the second half of a quarterfinal game of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Adams is in the NBA. Tray Woodall and Dante Taylor have graduated. And both Trey Ziegler (TCU) and J.J. Moore (Rutgers) have transferred.

Dixon does return three starters in Lamar Patterson, Talib Zanna and James Robinson, but the Panthers are still going to present a very young look in 2013-14.

Last season Dixon preferred to play his starters for less than 30 minutes per game, but that may not be an option this season.

Robinson, Zanna and especially Patterson are players that have to be on the floor a lot for Pitt to have any chance of contending in their first year of ACC play.

Now a sophomore, Robinson is going to be counted on as the team’s primary point guard and realistically should be on the floor over 30 minutes a night.

The same goes for Zanna as his offensive rebounding has been consistently excellent for three seasons. He should be one of the better rebounders in the country and if his shot selection improves, he will be a guy that has to be on the floor as much as possible.

As for Patterson, he is a versatile wing who can really do everything in this Pitt offense. A lot is going to fall on his shoulders this season, so he has to get enough minutes to make a big impact.

There are also a bunch of other guys who can do some good things if given enough playing time.

More production will be counted on from returning players like Durand Johnson and Cameron Wright, as well as newcomers Detrick Mostella, Josh Newkirk, Michael Young and Joseph Uchebo, and others.

However with so many young and new faces, you just don’t know what you are going to get on a nightly basis.

That’s why it makes more sense for Dixon to use a shorter rotation this season and keep his best players on the floor for longer stretches.

The Panthers have talent. They just have to be on the floor enough to produce.

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Tags: James Robinson Jamie Dixon Lamar Patterson Pittsburgh Panthers Basketball Talib Zanna

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