The NBA draft and all the trades surrounding it got me thinking about some "what-if" questions. If Beilein could draft a starting five to play in his system, who would be pick? I was trying to figure out which Michigan players he would take from the last ten years, which all-time Michigan players he would take, and which players he would take given his choice of any player ever.
Over the last ten years, I was thinking DeShawn Sims, LaVell Blanchard, Manny Harris, Daniel Horton, and Dion Harris. That team might be a bit small, but it can shoot. I had trouble thinking of a big man from recent Michigan history who could shoot at all. I am not in love with these picks, but it hasn't been a spectacular last ten years, either. I feel like we should be able to find a better shooting point guard, but none came to mind. I feel like Beilein would love someone versatile like Bernard Robinson, Jr., too, but I think LaVell was a better outside shooter and I didn't want to bump a guard for him because you need some ball-handling.
Picking the all-time, all-Beilein Michigan squad was fairly tough. I came up with Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Glen Rice, Louis Bullock, and Rumeal Robinson. I figure Beilein would love the versatility of Webber and Rose. Rice seemed like a no-brainer. I had trouble picking the guards, to be honest, and had to go back to some stats on Bullock and Robinson. Any thoughts/upgrades here would be appreciated, particularly given my dearth of knowledge about some of the older players. I thought about Cazzie Russell, but have never seen footage of him actually playing and don't really know his style. He played before they implemented the 3 point line, too, so that makes things tough to project just from the numbers. I had trouble coming up with the best Michigan big man, too. I think Rudy Tomjanovich warrants a mention, but I don't know if he was really a shooter. Juwan Howard's ability to play multiple positions might pique the Coach's interest, but I don't know if he is a good enough shooter to crack the top five.
The all-time squad is what really intrigued me. I certainly have a bias towards more recent players, but there are a lot of stellar options here. I was thinking Steve Nash at the point, Kobe at the 2, Bird at the 3, and Nowitzki at the 4. I think there are plenty of sweet-shooting options at the point, but Nash has to be amongst the best. I am a Bulls fan and love MJ, but I think Kobe might be a little better shooter. You can certainly make a case for Reggie Miller or Ray Allen as pure shooters, too, but I think Kobe gives you a better defender. Bird and Nowitzki seem like perfect players for a Beilein system. The center was a tough call. I think you could definitely move Nowitzki to the 5 and add Jordan, Ray Allen, or Reggie Miller to the mix. Of course Magic Johnson has famously filled in at center before, but I don't know if he is the pure outside shooter you want. When thinking about the best all-time shooting big men, Arvydas Sabonis came to mind. You obviously couldn't go wrong with an all-time great here like Wilt, Russell, Hakeem, Kareem, or Shaq, but I am hard-pressed to come up with a better outside shooter at the 5 than Sabonis.