Hoops Mailbag: The Poolebag

Hoops Mailbag: The Poolebag Comment Count

Ace March 21st, 2018 at 8:04 AM

Yes, this still somehow went in. [JD Scott]

Another tournament week, another multi-part mailbag. This one contains the questions about/inspired by Jordan Poole's buzzer-beater. Yes, I'm as shocked as you are that I sorted them this way. Jump in!

A Free Pass

Hey Ace - Are there any statistics showing whether teams should guard the inbounder in late game situations like against Houston? On the surface, it seems like a huge mistake to let Livers inbound the ball to halfcourt so easily.


While I don't remember seeing such a study and can't find stats on it, I agree that Kelvin Sampson erred in allowing Isaiah Livers to get a clean look on the final play. An opposing staff can only scout so many games, but I'm guessing Houston's coaches didn't get to the Maryland tape.

Even though the outcome of the plays were wildly different, Michigan's game-winners against the Terps and Cougars came on nearly identical setups: Livers hitting Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman with a baseball pass from his own baseline out of a timeout. Neither opponent elected to guard the inbounder even though Livers wasn't allowed to run the baseline.

Maryland's Mark Turgeon explicitly tried to set up his defense to prevent anyone from catching a pass while running towards the Terps basket. Here's how that went:

If you forgot, MAAR nearly got all the way to the hoop, drew a foul, and drained both free throws with the ruthless calm of a serial killer.

Here was Houston's setup:

While the Cougars were more successful in preventing a long pass to a guy on a dead run, they still allowed MAAR to catch the ball a fair distance up the court without any immediate pressure, which let him get upcourt in a hurry even though they had two defenders waiting.

Houston forced a tough shot, but it was still a catch-and-shoot look from a not-entirely-unreasonable distance by a shooter who had the time and space to square up to the basket. That's not a prayer, at least if you're Jordan Poole; ideally, the defense is forcing teams into prayers in that situation.

I don't think having the extra defender back is worth whatever added coverage it provides. Again, Livers can't run the baseline in either of these cases, and he's being asked to throw accurate passes far downcourt. Stick a big man on him and that becomes a great deal more difficult to execute. A tougher pass for Livers means either MAAR has to run farther back to the ball—losing precious time and momentum—or risk never completing the pass at all on a deeper attempt. Beilein's now gushed twice this season about Livers being able to throw pinpoint baseball passes; that's a lot harder to do with a basketball when you're not getting the same amount of space as an actual baseball pitcher.

Recency and confirmation biases may be playing a factor, but I rarely find the fifth defender that stays back even comes into play that often. For the offense, the downside of having the entire court to cover can also be an upside—your players can sprint full-out, which never happens for more than a couple steps in a halfcourt situation. Even with the extra man back, it's hard to keep a team from hitting the player they want—usually after running him through a couple screens—and that can lead, as in Maryland's case, to getting a bunch of players uselessly stuck behind the play while a fast man runs past them.

Houston more productively spent their extra player on MAAR and he still had an easy pass to make because of the amount of space he had on the catch. They did a much better job on the back end than Maryland by preventing MAAR from either driving or pulling up. They still got burned. I thought everyone learned this lesson in 1992: guard the dang inbounder

Or don't, actually. Coaches not doing that is working out pretty nicely for my life.

[Hit THE JUMP for my top-five last-shot-makers of the Beilein era, an evil question that was also the most popular, and MAAR's overlooked move.]


This Week’s Obsession: Beilein-Shakalaka

This Week’s Obsession: Beilein-Shakalaka Comment Count

Seth March 14th, 2018 at 12:46 PM


THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. We’re going to act like kids in this article but first some seriousness: I had a big health scare recently and I’m talking to Nick now because we were not ready for things to go pear-shaped, and also I have two kids and if everything goes just fine I really wasn’t preparing correctly for their futures.

Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know. And when you’re ready to figure out how you’re going to plan your retirement and pay for your kids’ college when you just got done paying for your own, don’t wait to do something about that.

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.


The Question:

An exercise shameless stolen from someone who shamelessly stole it from someone else:

You get to pick three Beilein-era players for your NBA Jam team (two starters, one sub). As a bonus, you get to pick an unlockable player from the pre-Beilein era. For those unfamiliar with NBA Jam, this video should give you an idea of what we’re looking for here—there’s a strong emphasis on athleticism, dunking, outside shooting, blocking, and shoving other players to steal the ball.


Seth: My favorite part about this topic is that there is a non-zero chance one of our readers can actually reprogram an NBA Jam rom for us.

Alex: There are eight stat categories: speed, 3pt, dunk, pass, power, steal, block, clutch.


Ace: I’m taking Caris/Stauskas/McGary/Rice, fwiw.

slackbot: Canada on Apple iOS 11.2Fire on Apple iOS 11.2

[ED: We’ve been programming secret auto-replies into our group IM system. If we trip a keyword, slackbot will interject itself. –seth]

David: Wait...is this a thing? I was at lunch.


David: Let me plug in my Game Genie first.

Brian: This should be a draft.

Seth: Our readers do love it when we draft fantasy teams.

Ace: …he said, after I got halfway through my writeup.

Brian: Ok never mind.

Alex: I think a draft would be sensible as well.

Sorry, sorry I'm tryi--

Brian: Ace can go first because he's upset.

David: How many ppl are involved?

Ace: I’m always the bad guy.

/giphy diva

ty giphy

David: OH MAN

Seth: I'm sure that has nothing to do with how you sit in your lair and giggle all the time.

Ace: I actually am working in the basement right now.

Alex: I don't really know where I would put this in the post, but would like to mention it: Stella's in Grand Rapids—a whiskey bar with probably the best burgers in the city—has an arcade section with the OG NBA Jam game. It's as great as it sounds. Shout-out to Stella's.

@adam Catch me at Stella's sometime to get that work from the Stockton-Malone Jazz.

Seth: Our house rule was you couldn't take the Jazz.

Alex: That was just the first team that came to mind - I was going to be courteous and let him use the Pistons. I guess I'll go with the Hardaway-Mullin Warriors. I DON'T PLAY WITH THE STACKED TEAMS IN 2K I SWEAR!

Seth: Draft order:


Seth: I really didn't want to go first damn my eyes.

RULES: It's a snake draft, 3 rounds of Beilein players only, and a fourth round for a secret unlockable character.

BiSB: Then the 4 unlockable players are all in the 4th round Deal?

Seth: YES

Ace: cool

David: fair

BiSB: Seth, Venric Mark is waiting...




The All-Beilein Teams: Small Ball

The All-Beilein Teams: Small Ball Comment Count

Ace June 21st, 2017 at 11:34 AM

Pick your poison. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Previously: All-BenchBench MobAll-Freshman, All-Senior

John Beilein has spent ten seasons in Ann Arbor. As of the most recent, he's the winningest coach in program history with 215. He snapped Michigan's post-sanction tournament drought in 2009, the first of seven NCAA appearances with the Wolverines, three of which have extended at least into the second weekend.

In recognition of the above, as well as the need for offseason #content, I've put together a series of All-Beilein teams, inspired by this twitter post and the ensuing conversation. My guidelines:

  1. I'm attempting to put together the best possible lineups, which isn't necessarily the same as picking the best individual players at each spot.
  2. I'm choosing individual player vintages (i.e. 2013 Trey Burke). A player can only be chosen once for each category, but different player years (i.e. freshman bench gunner 2014 Zak Irvin and well-rounded senior 2017 Zak Irvin) can be eligible for separate categories.
  3. The same player/year can be chosen for multiple categories—for instance, 2013 Mitch McGary making the All-Bench team doesn't exclude him from making the final All-Beilein team.

Eligibility for certain categories may be slightly fudged because of the limited pool of players.
I'm not putting too many constraints on myself for this exercise since the point is to let our imaginations run wild.

Today's lineup is a fun one. Small ball has taken basketball by storm, and it's a style Beilein teams know quite well. What would the lineup look like if you tried to field a team that could shoot the lights out, switch everything on defense, and provide matchup problems across the board? Here's a squad that would absolutely wreck Purdue.


Burke vs. Switch. Advantage: Burke. [Bryan Fuller]

Well, yeah, the national player of the year is going to make this team. Burke was a killer off the high screen with his combination of vision, decision-making, passing, finishing, and pull-up shooting. While he didn't have the reputation of a defensive specialist, he graded out well on that end of the floor, and his timely steals would lead to some spectacular transition buckets.

I'd tell you that a team that can space the floor and give Burke room to operate would lead to amazing things, but you already know that, because you also watched the 2013 squad.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the post.]


The All-Beilein Teams: All-Freshman

The All-Beilein Teams: All-Freshman Comment Count

Ace May 5th, 2017 at 11:56 AM

Spoiler alert. [Bryan Fuller]

Previously: All-Bench, Bench Mob

John Beilein has spent ten seasons in Ann Arbor. As of the most recent, he's the winningest coach in program history with 215. He snapped Michigan's post-sanction tournament drought in 2009, the first of seven NCAA appearances with the Wolverines, three of which have extended at least into the second weekend.

In recognition of the above, as well as the need for offseason #content, I've put together a series of All-Beilein teams, inspired by this twitter post and the ensuing conversation. My guidelines:

  1. I'm attempting to put together the best possible lineups, which isn't necessarily the same as picking the best individual players at each spot.
  2. I'm choosing individual player vintages (i.e. 2013 Trey Burke). A player can only be chosen once for each category, but different player years (i.e. freshman bench gunner 2014 Zak Irvin and well-rounded senior 2017 Zak Irvin) can be eligible for separate categories.
  3. The same player/year can be chosen for multiple categories—for instance, 2013 Mitch McGary making the All-Bench team doesn't exclude him from making the final All-Beilein team.

Eligibility for certain categories may be slightly fudged because of the limited pool of players.
I'm not putting too many constraints on myself for this exercise since the point is to let our imaginations run wild. Today's list is simple: here are the best freshman seasons from Beilein's players. The starting lineup may be familiar.


M didn't skip a beat with Trey Burke replacing Darius Morris. [Eric Upchurch]

When Darius Morris, who sometimes butted heads with Beilein, departed for the NBA after his breakout sophomore season, it looked like Michigan would face a prolonged transition period at point guard. With no suitable replacement on the current roster, the new PG would be a freshman. Trey Burke wasn't even the highest-ranked guard in Beilein's 2011 recruiting class; that was Southfield slasher Carlton Brundidge, who finished six spots ahead of Burke in the composite rankings (87th to 93rd).

From the very start, Burke was a revelation. He led the team in scoring, assists, and steals, fully embracing the role of lead dog despite his youth. He took control of Beilein's notoriously complicated offense in a way no other Michigan point guard has been able to replicate in their first year. One of his best games of the year was one on of the biggest stages when he dropped 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, drilled a game-tying three from way beyond the arc (foreshadowing, that) down the stretch, assisted on Stu Douglass' eventual game-winner, and played a central role in Michigan's brilliant final defensive possession:

Even when Burke took his game to a new level and won national player of the year honors as a sophomore, his freshman year stood as his most surprising. Needless to say, we've forgiven Beilein for missing on his Brundidge evaluation.

Honorable Mention: 2013-14 Derrick Walton. The cycle continued as Walton stepped into the starting lineup to replace Burke, who'd departed for the NBA long before anyone expected him to when he first got to campus. Walton was in a cushier situation, however, with the Stauskas/LeVert/GRIII troika shouldering much of the offensive load. He played his role well, nailing 41% of his threes, making some impressive transition buckets, and—like Burke—saving one of his best performances for M's biggest rivalry game.



The All-Beilein Teams: Bench Mob

The All-Beilein Teams: Bench Mob Comment Count

Ace April 19th, 2017 at 1:39 PM

In fine form. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Previously: All-Bench

John Beilein has spent ten seasons in Ann Arbor. As of the most recent, he's the winningest coach in program history with 215. He snapped Michigan's post-sanction tournament drought in 2009, the first of seven NCAA appearances with the Wolverines, three of which have extended at least into the second weekend.

In recognition of the above, as well as the need for offseason #content, I've put together a series of All-Beilein teams, inspired by this twitter post and the ensuing conversation. My guidelines:

  1. I'm attempting to put together the best possible lineups, which isn't necessarily the same as picking the best individual players at each spot.
  2. I'm choosing individual player vintages (i.e. 2013 Trey Burke). A player can only be chosen once for each category, but different player years (i.e. freshman bench gunner 2014 Zak Irvin and well-rounded senior 2017 Zak Irvin) can be eligible for separate categories. The same player/year can be chosen for multiple categories—for instance, 2013 Mitch McGary making the All-Bench team doesn't exclude him from making the final All-Beilein team.
  3. Eligibility for certain categories may be slightly fudged because of the limited pool of players.

I'm not putting too many constraints on myself for this exercise since the point is to let our imaginations run wild. Speaking of running wild, this team is a little different than the others: today's group is comprised of the best contributors to the Bench Mob.


The only member of the Bench Mob to merit his own highlight video. Dakich peaked in this role in 2013-14, when he could be the exuberant youngster instead of an assistant coach in the making. He's the ideal captain of a Bench Mob: he'll dance in the pregame huddle, be the first off the bench to greet players after a timeout, make a scene after a big shot, and coach up the point guards on the best way to approach the high ball screen. It won't be easy to fill (and leap out of) his seat.

Honorable Mention: 2012-13 Josh Bartelstein. Another walk-on who became a team leader, Bartelstein isn't your traditional hyper-excited bench fixture. Anyone with ESP, however, deserves serious consideration for the first team.

If we were ranking legendary Bench Mob moments, this would be at the top.



Michigan's NBA Draftees: How Do They Fit?

Michigan's NBA Draftees: How Do They Fit? Comment Count

Ace July 3rd, 2014 at 2:02 PM

I promised I'd write a post this week on how Michigan's latest crop of NBA players fit in with their new teams. When I said this, I forgot a fundamental aspect of the NBA offseason—namely, that the post-draft free agency period is complete and utter chaos, so projecting what teams will look like in October can be rather difficult. Adding to the difficulty: two of the three Michigan draftees went to teams whose front office decisions are often summed up with a hearty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Undeterred, here's my best effort.

Nik Stauskas, Sacramento Kings

In three of the last four years, the Kings have attempted to pick their shooting guard of the future, first with BYU's Jimmer Fredette in 2011, then Kansas' Ben McLemore in 2013, and now with Stauskas. Fredette is now on the Bulls. In related news, the Kings haven't been very good, winning just 34% of their games in each of the last two seasons. They're also a team with a lot up in the air at the moment: they just signed point guard Darren Collison, making it very likely restricted free agent PG Isaiah Thomas will play elsewhere next season. The Kings have rumored interest in Detroit's Josh Smith and several others; after a very disappointing rookie season, McLemore could even be on the table as trade bait.

It seems unlikely, however, that the Kings would give up on the #7 overall selection from last year's draft so quickly, even with the brutal 7.8 PER McLemore posted last year (the NBA average is 15). Sacramento needs both shooting and bench scoring; Stauskas obviously could provide both, and coming off the bench as a rookie in need of some development, especially defensively, may be the best situation for him anyway. That's how SBNation's Sactown Royalty sees Stauskas getting used in year one:

But the "good news" for the Kings is that their needs are many, including production from their starting shooting guard and wing production from the bench. And this is where Stauskas could potentially help the Kings in a big way.

The drafting of Stauskas is not a death knell for Ben McLemore. Based on how McLemore finished the season, I am guessing that he has at least a slight leg up on Stauskas right now. I'm not saying that the starting job has been given to him by any means. I am saying that he is likely ahead of Stauskas in the here and the now. But when it's all said and done, one of these guys could start and one could get some serious burn off the bench, including in three guard sets. The Kings have a definite need at the positions that Stauskas could fill.

The Kings have a lot of holes left to fill, so this outlook could change dramatically even in the coming hours, depending on what they do with Thomas and McLemore. A Microwave-type role seems ideal for a rookie Stauskas, however, and once he gets used to the NBA game there's a good chance he challenges McLemore for the starting spot at the two.

Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City

McGary has the most obvious fit among Michigan's draftees, though it's one that'll likely have him riding pine for much of his rookie year—not necessarily a bad thing for a guy coming off back surgery. Landing on a great team that doesn't need immediate help up front is a great situation for McGary; he'll be able to ease his way into playing time, and down the road there should be opportunity for much more.

Right now, OKC is pretty much set in the frontcourt. Serge Ibaka is a star, coach Scott Brooks has a baffling affinity for the plodding Kendrick Perkins, Steven Adams had a breakout playoff season as an energy/tough guy with a good deal of untapped potential, and Nick Collison is the wily veteran who provides solid rebounding, defense, and a little scoring touch while possessing the versatility to play the four or the five.

Collison's role is the one McGary projects to best, and given Collison's minutes have waned over the last couple seasons, he'll have an opportunity to carve out a small role on a title contender this year—an Adams/McGary pairing off the bench could be a heck of an energy boost. (Also, a potential riot-starter.)

The real opportunity for playing time should come in 2015-16. Collison and Perkins are both entering the final year of their respective contracts; entering this season at 34 years old, it's unlikely Collison will be back. Perkins should be either gone or in a reduced role; even Brooks finally realized last season that he needed to dial back the big man's minutes. A big man rotation of Ibaka-Adams-McGary should be something to build around for the future—you know, alongside those Durant and Westbrook fellows—and that future may not be far off.

Glenn Robinson III, Minnesota Timberwolves

We're well aware that Robinson needs significant development before he's ready to thrive in the NBA. Not only does his defense need work, he's going to have to improve either his jump shot or ballhandling (preferably both) to be a reliable player in halfcourt sets. GRIII's transition game is the one aspect that won't be questioned from the beginning—he can run, fill a lane, and finish with the best of them.

No matter what, Robinson should have a limited role in his rookie season. He's transitioning from playing the four at Michigan to being a small forward in the NBA, which means guarding a wholly different type of player—most rookies struggle with defense as they get used to the higher level of play, and GRIII will be no different. The Wolves don't have a lot of talent on the wing, but they've got enough to allow a second-rounder to ease his way into the rotation.

While the role should be relatively small regardless, it's tough to project anything further with Minnesota considering the current state of the team. Their superstar power forward, Kevin Love, is going to be traded this offseason; he has a player option for 2015-16 that allows him to opt out of his contract and Minnesota has little-to-no chance of re-signing him, so they must act soon or they'll lose one of the league's most valuable players for nothing. They've been in serious trade talks with Golden State; if those fall through, several other teams will line up for a shot at Love, especially once free agent Carmelo Anthony lands on a squad.

Jordan Morgan, Minnesota Timberwolves (Summer League)

J-Mo's situation is pretty simple. He'll play for Minnesota's summer league team, and in doing so he'll hope to earn a training camp invite from any NBA team and/or impress an overseas squad enough to get a shot for a more guaranteed contract. If Morgan is looking for job security, the latter route is the most preferable.

If that doesn't work out, I think Morgan will land on his feet just fine.


NBA Draft Recap: Stauskas #8, Beilein Scoops Everyone

NBA Draft Recap: Stauskas #8, Beilein Scoops Everyone Comment Count

Ace June 27th, 2014 at 2:47 PM

via Michael Shamburger

While Michigan didn't quite end up getting their entire starting five from the 2013 national title game into the first round, last night's NBA Draft proved a major success for the program. Here's an overview of what went down last night; next week, I'll take a closer look at how each U-M draftee fits in with his new team.

Nik Stauskas, #8 Overall, Sacramento Kings

Nik Stauskas went off the board at #8 to Sacramento, becoming the highest Wolverine selection since Dallas picked Robert Traylor (RIP) sixth in 1998 before trading him to Milwaukee. Stauskas, resplendent in a suit that probably cost more than my car, immediately celebrated with a perfectly executed three-goggle handshake with his dad. (His subsequent handshake with John Beilein wasn't quite so flawless.)

Afterward, Stauskas was asked about Michigan by someone who clearly never went to Michigan, because Zingerman's is way too expensive for students and the Art Fair takes place when almost nobody is on campus. He handled it well:

Q.  Nik, Michigan is a very good school academically, great campus like Zingerman's, the art festival in Ann Arbor.  Was it an easy decision?  There must be a tough decision to say, I want to leave early, because it is a great school.  Was there part of you that said, I should get my degree here and then go to the NBA? 
NIK STAUSKAS:  I definitely thought about it, but the biggest thing for me after this season was I felt like I was ready.  I thought I had improved enough throughout the year, and I had made a lot of strides in my game and made the necessary improvements to make that jump to the next level. 
Like I said, this has been a dream of mine my entire life.  The fact that I had the opportunity to do it now, I feel like this is the right time.  I understand that I could always go back and get my education after, which I fully plan on doing. 

It's great to hear that Stauskas plans to finish earning his degree down the road. And yes, Nik, you were ready.

In the end, it turned out Stauskas separated himself quite a bit from the two players believed to be his biggest competition as shooting guards projected to go in the mid-to-late lottery. Kentucky's James Young went to the Celtics at #17, while MSU's Gary Harris surprisingly plunged all the way to #19—he'll end up in Denver after a draft-day trade with Chicago.

Mitch McGary, #21 Overall, Oklahoma City Thunder

One of the most entertaining aspects of draft night is watching Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski announce every pick on Twitter well before the actual picks are announced, sometimes getting so far as three picks ahead of the telecast. Rarely does anyone scoop Wojo; when they do, sometimes it's because they're wrong.

So when John Beilein tweeted this out minutes before Oklahoma City selected Mitch McGary at #21 overall, it'd prove to be the second-greatest thing Beilein did last night (TEASER):

John Beilein is better at your job than you are. There's no shame in this. Just accept it.

Meanwhile, MLive's Brendan Quinn passes along this fantastic quote from OKC GM Sam Presti, generally regarded as one of the best in the business:

"The last thing that is really, really impressive to us, and the reason that we value him even more, is that he's an incredible teammate -- just an incredible teammate," Presti said. "That was on display during the season when he missed a significant amount of time.

"I felt like I was scouting him on the bench while he wasn't playing. The way that he engaged with his teammates, his support was unwavering, his enthusiasm was unwavering. Combine that with his skill-set and and his intangibles, and that's a Thunder player."


If the Thunder don't use a future pick on Andrew Dakich, I'll be sorely disappointed.

Glenn Robinson III, #40 Overall, Minnesota Timberwolves

Wojo cruelly tweeted that Oklahoma City was considering GRIII with their second pick of the first round, which was not to be. In a really deep draft—Wichita State's Cleanthony Early lasted all the way to #34—he dropped to the tenth pick of the second round, but the team that nabbed him valued him much higher than that:

At GRIII's draft party, his mother took a moment to note that this was the plan all along:

When the waiting was finally over, after the Timberwolves had finished the drama, Clay [Robinson's mother], along with Robinson took the podium.

She read a letter he wrote in high school about how he was going to miss school but that he was onto bigger and better things.

That in a couple of years, he would be playing in the NBA.

He called it.

With Robinson's selection, Michigan—as expected—ended with three players taken in the draft, tied with UCLA for the most among any school. However...

Jordan Morgan, Undrafted Free Agent, Minnesota Timberwolves

...that didn't mean Beilein's night was over. The last person remaining in the green room, Michigan's coach waited out every pick in the hope that a team would take a second-round flier on Jordan Morgan:

John Beilein is the best. The absolute best.

Morgan didn't get picked, but he'll get a chance to earn a roster spot alongside GRIII, as he told Quinn today that he's joining the Timberwolves as an undrafted free agent. He'll get his shot on Minnesota's Summer League squad; they start play on July 12th, and you can find the whole schedule here. Even if Morgan doesn't get a spot on the Timberwolves, it's a great opportunity for him to audition for other NBA teams and scouts from other leagues.

How About The Pistons?

While Detroit lost their first-round pick (don't ask, or this vein in my head starts doing funny things), they used their second-rounder on Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie, considered a potential first-round prospect last year before coming back to school and suffering an ACL injury. How would I grade the pick?

via @Jose3030



NBA Draft Primer: Three Michigan First-Rounders?

NBA Draft Primer: Three Michigan First-Rounders? Comment Count

Ace June 25th, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Michigan's trio of early entrants will learn their NBA Draft fates tomorrow night, and it appears there's at least a puncher's chance Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Glenn Robinson III all find their way into the first round. Here are the most recent projections and rumors for the three Wolverines as they await the moment they officially realize their professional dreams.

Nik Stauskas

It doesn't appear Stauskas will fall any further than the #13 pick (Minnesota), and there's a solid chance he cracks the top ten. The Philadelphia 76ers own two lottery picks, at #3 and #10, and Stauskas appears to be an ideal fit for their second selection. CSN Philly states Stauskas would fit the team's needs "perfectly," as they lack shooting, which you may know Stauskas does rather well:

The Sixers are in desperate need of shooters to complement Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and whomever they draft with the third pick. Nobody in this draft shoots the ball better than Stauskas. Defenses always have to account for a shooter like Stauskas when he's on the floor. This would open up driving lanes for Carter-Williams and create more room inside for post players like Noel to operate.

Stauskas and Carter-Williams would form a dynamic backcourt. Both have good size and their skill sets complement one another very well. Stauskas is a solid enough ballhandler and decision-maker to play point guard in a pinch. Brett Brown would also have the option of bringing Stauskas off the bench. He would thrive in that role, providing instant offense the minute he enters the game.

The two other prospects who fit that mold and are expected to go in the same range are MSU's Gary Harris and Kentucky's James Young. After pre-draft workouts, Stauskas and Harris have seemingly separated themselves from Young, and Stauskas is consistently projected to go a spot or two above Harris.

A Sixers squad featuring MCW, Stauskas, Thaddeus Young, Nerlens Noel, and the #3 pick could be a really exciting young team to watch.

Mitch McGary

McGary has taken a cautious approach to the pre-draft process as he recovers from back surgery, as he detailed after working out for the Milwaukee Bucks, per UMHoops:

“It’s a little different, my situation with the surgery and everything else going into (the draft),” McGary said. “I thought this was was the best possible outcome for me — having a couple of limited workouts and getting my body back to where it needs to be and have the best chance in the draft. I talked to the assistant GM and the GM and they’re definitely interested in me.”

The Bucks own the #2 pick (not happening) and the first pick of the second round, but it appears they'll have to move up if they want to snag McGary. According to ESPN's draft insider, Chad Ford, there's good reason why McGary hasn't pushed himself through workout after workout:

That's a little higher than the most recent spate of mock drafts had McGary going, but not by much: he was projected to go anywhere from the Miami Heat's pick at #24 (Ford) to the Dallas Mavericks' selection at #34 (CBS's Gary Parrish, who seems to think the marijuana thing will actually matter to the NBA, so... grain of salt) before Ford unveiled the info above.

While the Hornets don't have the NBA's most talented roster, they have some promise in the backcourt (namely PG Kemba Walker), a consistent 20-10 guy in center Al Jefferson, and a big hole at power forward filled last year by Josh McRoberts (an unrestricted free agent) and Cody Zeller. If McGary landed there, he'd have every chance at playing time once he's 100%, and he'd fit in great as an energy guy alongside the older, more polished Jefferson.

Glenn Robinson III

This is where it gets interesting, as nobody seems to have a great idea where GRIII could end up; he's projected to be picked anywhere from #21 by Oklahoma City (NBADraftNet) to the LA Clippers' second-round selection at #39 (Parrish). Most, however, have him right on the edge of the first round; ESPN's Jeff Goodman has him going to the Clippers at #28 overall, while his colleague Ford has Robinson playing for his father's old team after Milwaukee selects him with the first pick of the second round.

The Clippers seem like an ideal landing spot for GRIII. He wouldn't be asked to do too much right away on such a good team, but there could be opportunity for some early minutes at the three if Danny Granger doesn't re-sign after opting out of the final year of his deal, and at the very least Robinson would provide another high-flying fast break threat for Lob City.

Homerism caveat granted, I believe it'll be difficult for a player with Robinson's athleticism, pedigree, and potential to slip out of the first round, especially since most of the teams picking at the back end of the draft can afford to grab a guy who needs some development before being a major contributor. The development of his midrange game during his sophomore season could prove the key to him being the third Michigan first-rounder in this draft.


Unverified Voracity Checks Verascity

Unverified Voracity Checks Verascity Comment Count

Brian May 28th, 2014 at 4:42 PM

It's cotnagnous. Last week we learned that red squigglies are turned off in Ann Arbor when Mikey Weber posted a photoshop he'd been sent; this week we find out that red squigglies are also off in Columbus.


"DEILVER." Didn't they have a WR named that recently?

And we all had a laugh at this funny old world and moved on. Except perpetually aggrieved DJ Byrnes, who rushed to his damsel's defense, sword in hand, reporting that anything without an Official Urban Meyer signature was fake. Weber, who probably didn't even notice the typos—the mind tends to gloss over such things—responded that an Ohio State coach sent it to him. So of course the thing to do in that situation is double down and call a recruit a liar.

So, there are three scenarios: 1) Stan Drayton is moonlighting as a graphics designer. 2) They're now sending out work lacking all the hallmarks of his other work. 3) Weber is fibbing to save himself some embarrassment.

Buckeye Occam's Razor insists that a Michigan fan posing as a Buckeye coach made this terribly embarrassing photoshop as a false flag operation, and that Weber is in on it. JenniferLawrenceOkay.gif.

Meanwhile in somehow less embarrassing responses to this event, the Free Press claimed Weber was vouching for the "verascity" of the photoshop. Well done, well done.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS. Because Spellgateoff is a national crisis, The D Zone interviewed Weber about it. Weber says that minor typos on fake magazine covers are not going to impact his decision.

“Really my opinion on it is it really isn’t a big deal. I know people make mistakes. It was kind of ironic, but it isn’t something to blow out of proportion,” Weber (5-foot-10, 200-pounds) said today in an interview with The D Zone.

Come out of the bunkers, everyone. It's over. It's finally over.

Hooray, but please still redshirt. Incoming DE Lawrence Marshall is a larger man these days:

Michigan commitment Lawrence Marshall tells me that he's up to 6'4"/250 as of today.

Marshall will enroll at Michigan in a little less than a month and is considered a player who could potentially play early depending on how things shake out at defensive end.

Taco Charlton's move to SDE complicates things but Michigan still has Ojemudia behind Clark and for pants sake just redshirt somebody at some point. With Clark, Ojemudia, and Ryan sliding down for nickel duty Michigan is set at WDE.

Robinson moving up boards. Chad Ford says that Glenn Robinson III is impressing in the bits of NBA draft testing he was always going to, and that this is reviving his flagging stock:

Robinson III was one of the four or five players who helped themselves the most at the draft combine. His elite athletic abilities, a slimmed-down physique and some very solid shooting numbers in the drills all gave him a boost in the eyes of scouts. Not to mention the fact that according to multiple GMs he absolutely nailed the interviews.

So what does Robinson have to do now? Show that he can apply those skills to actual basketball.

Ah, that. Robinson did develop a highly reliable elbow jumper that NBA teams are going to like a lot, and he's been shooting it well in workouts and such. Ford says teams in the mid-first are poking around and that he should go in the 20s.

The big ol' preview. Bill Connolly previews Michigan, and hits upon a salient point:

Michigan faces only three teams projected better than 37th, and they're all on the road. The Wolverines face seven teams projected between 37th and 78th, and five of the seven are at home. And 2014 Appalachian State is in no way 2007 Appalachian State. This is about as low-variance a schedule as you'll ever see. Whether Michigan ranks 20th or 45th, the easiest result to project is about 9-3.

I would have said "about 8-4", but yeah. This is a year where being outside of that 8-4, 9-3 range would be a major shock. Unfortunately, 8-4 and 9-3 are the kind of records that keep Michigan in limbo about Hoke's future. It is what it is.

And then there's the fact that you should probably just predict 9-3 every year for accuracy's sake. Predictions are bad like that.

Latest eyerolling opportunity. Ticket sales are not going well—you can see the relative enthusiasm for Michigan football in graphic version at right, where our HTTV kickstarter is struggling to get over the hump. You know it, I know it, let's not belabor it even further. But I have to highlight this from the inevitable ticket packs (200 bucks for PSU, Miami(not that Miami), and any other game, a… deal?):

Michigan football fans can choose from three ticket-pack options with the 'Go Blue' Pack, the Fan Choice Pack and the Family Pack presented by WWJ Newsradio 950 as well as a new group sales option.

Check "ticket packs" off the list of things that haven't been sponsored yet.

Etc.: Barking Carnival has a boot camp series that will teach you football things. Gap and force responsibilities in this one. Kansas State releases Letitia Romero, so they have nothing to show for this latest PR debacle except terrible PR.


One Frame At A Time: GRIII's Greatest Dunks

One Frame At A Time: GRIII's Greatest Dunks Comment Count

Ace May 7th, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Rudimentary photoshop skills + advanced dunking ability = this

Yesterday's post on Glenn Robinson III actually began as an attempt to compile his greatest GIFs, only to morph into something different when the process of narrowing down my list of favorites proved extremely difficult. If you haven't, read that for an impassioned discussion of GRIII being much more than Just A Dunker.

With that said, the dunks were pretty fun, you guys. I've combed through my hard drive and picked out my 20 favorite GRIII dunk GIFs. These aren't necessarily his 20 best dunks as a Wolverines—I didn't (quite) GIF everything from the last two seasons—but it's a pretty great sampling nonetheless. Throw on the Space Jam soundtrack and let's do this.

Click on the still frames to open each GIF in a lightbox, and don't forget to vote for your favorite at the end of the post.

20. Beilein +2

Not the most elaborate dunk, though the elevation always impresses. This just happened to be the best view of John Beilein's offense at work—watch Caris LeVert make a subtle cut across the lane just as Mitch McGary sets a sneaky pick to give GRIII an uncontested run to the rim. It's a gorgeous play with a pretty nice finish, too.

19. The Genesis

I had to include the first Robinson alley-oop, from the season-opening exhibition against Northern Michigan in 2012. The first, and by no means the last, time that GRIII dunked through significant contact with no call, which will be a running theme throughout this post.

Also, the title of this GIF on my computer is "griiialleyoop.gif" because I lack foresight, apparently.

18. Style Points

Trey Burke's pass may be the prettiest part of this—if it isn't the uniforms—but Robinson makes this look so smooth, especially with the way he spins through the landing.

17. Nope

Another running theme: defenders seeing GRIII tear through the lane and freezing like deer in headlights. Austin Hollins wanted absolutely none of this. The next dunk on the list validates this course of action...

16. Late Contest Blues

Included because (1) dat pass, (2) oh, just casually dunking all over some schlub, and (3) the look of devastation of Sasa Borovnjak's face as he realizes how damn idiotic it was to try and stop this from happening.

[Hit the appropriately named JUMP for the top 15.]