Hoops Mailbag: Shooting Breakouts, Crootin After Carton, Sellouts?

Hoops Mailbag: Shooting Breakouts, Crootin After Carton, Sellouts?

Submitted by Ace on July 17th, 2018 at 1:50 PM

Can this be fixed? [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

This edition of the hoops mailbag begins with a question that ended up being far tougher to answer than I expected.

What are the biggest 3P% jumps over a career for Beilein at Michigan? Is it reasonable to hope that X and Matthews can get up to that 35 percent head-above-water mark?

While there are several examples of players whose three-point percentage improved at Michigan, the nature of high-level college basketball makes it very tough to draw wide-ranging conclusions. Many of the players in that group—Caris LeVert, DJ Wilson, Moe Wagner, to name just a few—posted tiny samples in their first year.

Even among the Beilein players who have more of a statistical base with which to work, it's tough to pick out his impact without a seriously deep dive. Glenn Robinson III never shot the ball very well from the outside at Michigan but he's grown into a decent NBA marksman; would we have seen that if he stuck around another year or two? The same question applies to Kam Chatman, a 26% 3P shooter in two seasons at Michigan who canned 41% on five attempts per game following his transfer to Detroit. Some of Beilein's skill development work surely played into the improvement of each player, but it's impossible to measure the precise impact.

We're left with cherrypicking examples. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has an encouraging combination; his volume and percentage both went up substantially and he had to rework his mechanics. That last bit of of particular relevance since Zavier Simpson is going back to "ground zero" to fix his shot. MAAR also went from purely a spot-up shooter to a player capable of drilling a solid percentage off the bounce, which is definitely relevant to Charles Matthews, who's likely to take on more pick-and-roll possessions.

We've seen a lot of evidence that Beilein can identify and develop good shooters even if they're not necessarily tearing it up from beyond the arc in high school—MAAR, Wagner, and Wilson went from prospects whose range was questioned to integral pieces of one of the country's most lethal shooting teams in 2016-17. It's tougher to say, on a case-by-case basis, if Beilein can always fully tap that potential in the short window a player is on campus; as Jason Kidd can attest, a reliable outside shot can take a long time to develop. For every MAAR there's a Darius Morris.

This isn't a complete punt on the question. I believe Matthews will end up in the passably decent range this season; his form is solid and he knows that's the main thing between him and an NBA career. I don't have as much confidence in Simpson making that breakthrough in 2018-19; he's overhauling his mechanics and his peripherals aren't encouraging—namely, he's a career 55% free-throw shooter. (This is admittedly a concern for Matthews, as well, but at least his free-throw shooting improved from his woeful Kentucky mark. Simpson went the wrong way last year.)

I should note this isn't a death knell for the offense by any means. Michigan made the title game with both of those players starting, after all, and they each should be more effective in the pick-and-roll (here's more detail on that with a focus on Simpson and Jon Teske).

[Hit THE JUMP for the recruiting focus after DJ Carton and more.]

This Week’s Obsession: Unlocking a Beilein Offense?

This Week’s Obsession: Unlocking a Beilein Offense?

Submitted by Seth on February 14th, 2018 at 8:59 AM


Be the dream live the dream be the dream be the drea ive dre be the am towel. [Marc-Grégor Campredon]

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Is there a way to unlock a Beilein-level offense this year?

BiSB: Play Iowa?

Seth: Make threes...wait for it...in BOTH halves.

Ace: It’d be good to start this discussion by mentioning the main issues holding this offense back. Shooting—both three-point and free-throw—is certainly a problem, but I think the bigger one is the lack of a player other than Wagner who can regularly create off the dribble.

Charles Matthews tries but his ballhandling is not good. He’s got a 90 OTG and 23% TO rate against top-50 teams.

BiSB: And Wagner creating off the dribble, while fun and Nick-Ward-ankle-melting, isn't terribly efficient.

Ace: With that said, I’d like to present this.


(body-bag opponents removed)

Poole is the only other wing who’s shown a willingness and ability to attack the basket, and his shooting ability gives him more openings because teams have to close out on him hard. His handle is significantly better than Matthews’s — Poole’s TO rate against top-50 teams is 10%, and while that’d probably rise with a bigger role, it’s a great place to start.

BiSB: Ace, do you have an opinion on Jordan Poole you'd like to share with the class?

Ace: I’m a fan.

BiSB: But seriously, Poole is shooting 37% from three in conference play, and that is with a shot selection that is... robust. Is "robust" the right word?

Ace: Brian mentioned the direction basketball is rapidly headed in basketbullets and Poole is the guy who best fits that — a guy who can create his own shot from anywhere.

Brian: It's not really a word. It's more like a feeling.


Seth: And that's why 10,000 angry paleontologists just descended on the comments.

Brian: I'd go with "exuberant," if forced to boil Poole down into the ham-fisted thing we call language. But srs his internal monologue is yellin' aussie cowboy if anyone's is.

Seth: Ebullient.

Brian: Reserved for Winovich.



Submitted: Jordan Poole is a liquid.

BiSB: Non-Newtonian.

[After THE JUMP: We have solutions like…um…no we don’t actually.]


WTKA Roundtable 1/4/2018: A Lonely Cook

WTKA Roundtable 1/4/2018: A Lonely Cook

Submitted by Seth on January 5th, 2018 at 7:11 AM

WTKA cover 1-4-18

Ira’s in for Sam today.

Football things discussed:

  • Brian groans
  • Every quarterback regressed this year. Unprecedented under Harbaugh, who’s had QB success since San Diego. Wasn’t just protection.
  • Down three guys on an OL that wasn’t very good to begin with.
  • No valid complaints about the defense, though some people manage to do so anyway. Microcosm of the season: constantly put behind the 8 ball and held the opponent to a beatable score.
  • Mo Hurst was the best defensive lineman in Craig’s 3,000-year lifetime. Cam made Ira laugh.
  • Would Roman come? Would we go to a pistol? Pistol gets you more of a downhill running game out of a read-option shotgun game, changes quarterback footwork.
  • One of the problems with this offense is Harbaugh might have stepped back from running the offense.
  • Go back to his third year of Stanford: things got better from there too.
  • New coaches: likely to have five new guys if Drevno and Pep are gone too, plus there’s a tenth assistant.

Hoops things discussed

  • Hoops! Ira’s not a fan of the gap: the space between the BTT and the tournament could lead to too much rust.
  • Michigan’s the third-best team in a bad league, but it’s a four-bid league. The defense is ranking better than their offense on Ed’s numbers.
  • Livers emerging is a big deal because Robinson should be out there with Teske to hide his perimeter defense, return him to his Microwave job.
  • Z is never going to be Derrick Walton but he’s becoming an excellent version of himself now that he can shoot: never doubt Beilein’s ability to make anyone a 36% 3-point shooter.
  • Donnal is at 6.3% DREB at Clemson, which means everyone on Michigan’s court is outperforming him. Wagner has improved after his draft grade circled that spot, and Teske is a major upgrade.
  • Poole is the Quinn Hughes of the basketball team: once he settles down Michigan really has something
  • When was the low point last year? Maverick Morgan or the Ohio State loss?
  • Root for Texas, UCLA and LSU. Texas might be really good—Bamba getting better could make that a signature victory this year. Central Michigan could help too.
  • Watch Oklahoma’s Trae Young: Ira says he’s Steph Curry II.

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.


It was bad year, and it’s manifesting itself on the radio.