I've computed what I'm calling "average starter minutes". Essentially, it's a weighted average of the number of opposing starters on the court when a player is in the game. If two teams played without substitutions, all 5 players on each squad would have an average of "5 starters faced". If a reserve only comes in when the opposition has cleared their bench, he'd have "zero starters faced". While some teams have better reserves than others, I think it gives a rough guide to the quality of players on the other team when a player is in the game.
|NAME||Opp. Starters on Court Average
When Maggette came back from his injury and started coming off the bench, he started playing better. It hasn't just been a little bit better either. Since returning he's now scoring about 21 points a game in just a bit over 31 minutes of court time on ~52% shooting from the floor. His rebound rate is up a touch too. Not too long after he returned when it was clear that he was a different player from the 41% shooting bloated contract who opened the season, I remember someone saying that he was doing better because, as a 6th man, he was going up against reserves rather than starters. This didn't sit right with me since I don't see wholesale substitutions in games such that Maggs would only be playing against second stringers. I figured it was more likely that he was a) healthy and b) more used to his teammates and c) the team in general had stopped waiting for Baron's ghost to make the offense into what it was last year.
For what it's worth, since he returned, Maggs has been seeing an average of 3.1 opposing starters per minute he's on the court, down a touch from the 3.7 he'd seen in games before when he was almost exclusively a starter. I suspect that this is almost entirely a result of not being on the floor at the opening tipoff when, by defintion, everyone is facing 5 opposing starters and that will bump up the average.
It's also interesting that Biedrins has the highest average on the team. Turiaf seems to be just under one opp. starter fewer. It does seem like it's possible that Turiaf goes in when the opposing starting center goes out.