Unverified Voracity Drops Outta Nowhere Comment Count

Brian April 13th, 2015 at 12:18 PM

Mmmm, sacrilicious. Notre Dame youtube music, you say? I've got my schaden-stick at the ready.

This is way less bad than Freekbass, at least?

Also in Notre Dame. Goodbye, Lou Holtz.

SI.com learned over the weekend that ESPN has parted ways with Lou Holtz, who had been a college football studio analyst with the network since 2004 and worked most notably with host Rece Davis and analyst Mark May on ESPN’s Saturday College Football Final pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage. Holtz was also a regular contributor to SportsCenter and ESPN Radio. The decision, according to sources, was closer to a mutual agreement between the parties than Holtz getting forced out.

Holtz wasn't exactly good. Once you accepted the fact that he was not there to provide serious analysis but rather to do magic tricks and babble incoherently, though, he was reliably entertaining. That's something you can't say for a lot of television "personalities." He was kind of like Dan LeBatard's dad for college football. I'm not going to actually miss him but since ESPN is 50/50 to replace the Rece Davis/Holtz/Mark May combo with three clones of Craig James I have real trepidation here.

Um, okay? Bizarre sequence of events in basketball recruiting: Shaka Smart takes the Texas job, so top-100 combo guard recruit Kenny Williams asks out of his letter of intent. In the immediate aftermath seven Crystal Ball predictions come in, six of them for Michigan. (The other: Georgetown.) Actual recruiting expert Jerry Meyer is amongst them, and both Rivals and Scout follow up with reporting on it that suggests it is not a fever dream. Georgetown's 247 guy thinks it's M and their Duke guys are somehow insistent on it.

One problem, of course: Michigan has a full roster unless Hatch goes on medical or Caris LeVert decides on the NBA draft, something that doesn't seem to be likely at the moment. And they're already really deep at guard. And they were not involved with the kid before his VCU commitment. And everybody says he committed to the Rams because he wanted to stay close to home in Virginia, which is why he doesn't seem interested in following Smart to Texas. Michigan isn't close to Virginia. And Williams does not currently have a scholarship offer. This is really several problems.

But apparently it might happen? Williams, depending on who you ask and when you asked him, is a 6'2" to 6'4" shooting guard with one of the best strokes in the country. Beilein was just down to watch him play at a tournament, so there's a concrete indicator the interest there is mutual.

A way in which it might make a little more sense. Derryck Thornton's dad has told a few people that Spike Albrecht might end up redshirting after his hip surgeries this offseason. Albrecht has one complete and one to go; the recovery timetable of 4-5 months seemed to give him a month or two to get back in the swing of things before the season.

I have a solution for your problem. NBA owner Mark Cuban bitching about college basketball:

The "horrible" state of college basketball is hurting the NBA, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said.

Cuban said he doesn't enjoy watching the college game, but his bigger concern is that the physical, slow-down style that has become common in the NCAA results in prospects who are poorly prepared to jump to the NBA.

"If they want to keep kids in school and keep them from being pro players, they're doing it the exact right way by having the 35-second shot clock and having the game look and officiated the way it is," Cuban said Wednesday night. "Just because kids don't know how to play a full game of basketball.

"You've got three kids passing on the perimeter. With 10 seconds on the shot clock, they try to make something happen and two other kids stand around. They don't look for anything and then run back on defense, so there's no transition game because two out of five or three out of five or in some cases four out of five kids aren't involved in the play.

"It's uglier than ugly, and it's evidenced by the scoring going down. When the NBA went through that, we changed things."

If college basketball is hurting the NBA so badly, it's the NBA's fault for instituting one-and-done. And that characterization of college offense coming from the land of hero-ball and isolations is even more nuts.

Yes, teams emphasize getting back in transition. I'd like someone try to find a rule change for that.

Again, there is no scoring crisis, very little has changed in the last decade of college basketball, people are


yelling pointlessly about a fractional dip in pace caused by fewer turnovers and more transition D that has actually seen offensive efficiency increase slightly over the past thirteen years. If you want to chop the shot clock to 30, fine. That will magically fix all of our problems, because there aren't any.

We just had five excellent offensive performances and Michigan State in the Final Four. Kentucky acquired 1.1 points per possession and lost by seven. And the bitching will continue because… Penn State, I guess?

A bit more on Alabama's pursuit and dismissal of Difficulties Guy. Holly Anderson writes about it, and hits the nail on the head:

Did Alabama consider the risks of bringing Jonathan Taylor to Tuscaloosa, and decide they merited his inclusion on the team? Or did Alabama never need to care about the risks at all?

Right now, it’s the only explanation that makes sense. What risk was there, really, to the program? This sport shifts glacially, and won’t change in time to adversely affect the careers of anyone who had a hand in this decision, or others like it. Neither the Crimson Tide’s recruiting nor their 2015 win-loss record will suffer. It seems most likely that they didn’t properly consider the admission decision, because they had no real need to. Because this little media conflagration that has unfolded over the past couple of days is Alabama’s worst-case scenario for a repeat assault allegation against Taylor: to be yelled at for a little bit.

Real consequences don't exist. The fanbase isn't going to deliver them (and I doubt many, if any, would). The SEC isn't. The NCAA isn't. Recruits and their parents aren't—recruits and their parents have been signing their kids up for Alabama's annual oversigning happily. The media will rattle a saber for a bit and rival fans get a bit of ammunition, and that's it. The end.

Etc.: Now that it's official I plan some passing game UFRs for Rudock; for now here's his game against Wisconsin, which was terrific. (He had some not very terrific games.) Wisconsin set to leave Adidas for UA. Urban Meyer has not pleased Jamal Dean's high school coach after declaring Dean not medically cleared.


Fuzzy Dunlop

April 13th, 2015 at 12:32 PM ^

Derryck Thornton's dad has told a few people that Spike Albrecht might end up redshirting after his hip surgeries this offseason. 


Spike redshirting might alleviate a potential problem re a lot of good players without enough minutes to go around (a good problem to have -- I'm not complaining), but even if he redshirts that wouldn't open up a scholarship, would it?  How would we ever have room for Williams absent a Hatch medical scholarship, and wouldn't that mean that Jaylen Brown is officially out of the picture?


April 13th, 2015 at 1:04 PM ^

If he stays - great. No room at the Inn and so on.  But if he doesn't Michigan should be prepared, and in pursuing Williams and Brown they are following the right path. We'll now within a couple weeks.  It would be silly of Michigan to not pursue their options, just as it would be silly of Caris to not inquire into his.



April 13th, 2015 at 12:35 PM ^

...And that characterization of college offense coming from the land of hero-ball and isolations is even more nuts.


Another person who hasn't watched any NBA basketball since 2005.

To put it in words you can understand. What you said is the college football equivalent of railing against those newfangled spread offenses.


April 13th, 2015 at 12:40 PM ^

I keep hearing the argument that the NBA is some amazing place of offensive and defensive efficiency, and yet if you watch games between teams that aren't the Spurs, Hawks, or the Warriors it can be pretty rough. The last couple minutes of a game is a parade of foul shots and hero ball for the vast majority of teams. Yes, the NBA had improved its quality of play, but the idea that it had excised all of its demons is just as incorrect and selective as the complaints by Cuban, a guy I'm guessing watches about 4 college games a year.


April 13th, 2015 at 12:46 PM ^

Then I don't know what you're watching, but it's not NBA basketball.

Take the Pistons. As bad as they are, they still play like the Spurs for the most part. When they're at their best it is 4 shooters and Andre Drummond. Either Jennings or Jackson running a PnR with Drummond diving hard to the rim, which collapses the defense and leaves someone open for a shot, or if they stick to all of the shooters, then Drummond usually gets an easy look, or Jennings/Jackson gets an easy look.

That's pretty much how every single team in the NBA plays ball. 

Analytics have revealed that the least efficient plays are ISO post ups and striaght ISO plays. 

The NBA plays team ball.

Cuban's own team runs an incredibly complex offense based off of these principles. He knows what he's talking about.


April 13th, 2015 at 12:53 PM ^

All this is exactly right on. The Piston's are letting Monroe walk because it no longer makes sense to construct a team with two big guys on the floor because it kills spacing. As I say below, the only decent teams that have isos as a core part of their offense are OKC (out of necessity), and Cleveland and Houston because of the particular players they have. 

Almost every other team is trying to score by getting into their offenses early enough to be able to run multiple sets and forcing the defense to constantly shift and move to defend the space created as players shift around the perimeter.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:47 PM ^

They should let Monroe walk because he is a defensive liability; offensively it could work and would be a nice wrinkle compared to lots of other teams.  I agree that forcing teams to shift is essential to a good offense, but exploiting matchup differences in the form of two big men in a world where we are seeing way more stretch 5s and 4s is also a viable option.  


April 13th, 2015 at 12:59 PM ^

The Spurs/Hawks/Warriors are innovators and the lead of the pack (and, uh, the standings) and a lot of teams aren't as pass-friendly as they are.  But, clearly to anybody watching, the league has evolved dramatically.  Miami had a ton of stars but they were very innovative, especially on defense, and played a small-ball style that Beilein would/did envy.

Most teams that lag behind in style of play are also struggling in the standings.  The best argument for 90s/00s ball are probably the Pacers, Clippers, maybe Bulls.  Even they do some cool things that blow away most any college team's sophistication, but they play with a traditional big physical defense-oriented front-line.

The hero-ball thing still has it's place (i.e., if you have Russell Westbrook or Lebron James that's your best bet) but, it's true in college too, even at a place like Michigan that has perhaps the best X&Os guy in the NCAA.  INSERT TREY BURKE VS KANSAS GIF.  INSERT STAUSKAS VS WISC GIF.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:07 PM ^

The Cavs/LeBron don't play hero ball.

OKC definitely does to an extent with Westbrook, but they are much maligned in the NBA community for having some of the worst coaching in the league. They've also been decimated by injuries to the point where Westbrook has to carry the team. I also would put Westbrook in the "thoroughly fun to watch" category as well. So it's not like he's Steve Francis circa 2005.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:26 PM ^

The entire league has become Beileinified.  My point was that the hero ball stuff does still exist at times for the truely great one-on-one players, which includes Lebron, Harden and others.  The thing is all those guys also pass very well because the PNR and spacing is mandatory these days.  The oft-isolating high volume/low assist scorer (e.g., Carmelo Anthony) is increasingly rare.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:50 PM ^

The Cavs took about half the year (until they got rid of Waiters, honestly) before they truly became the great offense they have now.  JR Smith coming in and not being a headcase helped as well, as did having one of the best passing forwards men in the history of the game.  I mean, Kyrie Irving had a game this year where he played 44 minutes and had 0 assists.  And I'd imagine if LeBron went down it would devolve more quickly back to the crap they had for the past 3 years.

I agree OKC is an exception in that their offense relies mostly on two elite players and is hamstrung by terrible coaching.  

*shudder* Steve Francis in the mid-00s.  


April 13th, 2015 at 1:44 PM ^

I agree teams want to play that type of system, but most teams can't do it nearly as efficiently as the couple of league leaders.  Most college teams try to play ball-movement offense on the perimeter because there are few great post players, but the talent differences between teams makes it so that ugly games occur between less talented squads more often.  That's what drives me crazy about the NBA-centric argument; it ignores the fact that you have 32 teams versus over 100 college teams when pointing out the flaws of the college game, then counter that any points about how not all NBA teams play good basketball (or have good systems to do so) are just pointing at the exceptions rather than the rules.  

Yes, the Pistons love the idea of ball movement and finding open shooters with pick-and-rolls, motion offense, etc., but then they flounder with Jennings (before he was hurt) bouncing the air out of the ball while the clock winds down because Monroe and Drummond aren't elite offensive players and can't set the pick correctly, or fail to flow to the basket, or can't find open shooters because nobody other than KCP or Meeks have a consistent outside shot, and the game flounders.  I mean, the Knicks and Magic just scored a combined 15 points in a quarter.  And wait until the playoffs for some of these teams; games inevitably slow down and the fouling/heroball goes up.  

College basketball is like college football in that it is played by less-talented players and with a far vaster array of systems compared to the pro games.  Sometimes it creates crap, but other times it fosters the mobile QB and spread-passing evolutions we've seen recently.  Similarly, college basketball has a number of failings, but I've seen just as much a push to open-court, corner-three mentality as in the pro game, only that it is most prominent when the teams have an elite level of talent (witness Michigan, Florida, ND this year, etc.).


April 13th, 2015 at 2:06 PM ^

In football it is bottom up, in basketball it is top down.  There is no equivalent to the spread offense in college ball.  The closest in somewhat recent history was Pitino's press, which didn't work at all in the NBA. The main 'system' innovation stuff has come from Dantoni (who the Spurs basically ripped off) and Thibadeu and then the evolution of the game due to analytics, plus rule changes.

The Pistons are a team in transition and not really indicitive of anything necessarily, but they got a lot better as soon as they dropped Josh Smith, a poor shooter and passer. A lot of their problems come from the fact that Monroe and Drummond don't work together offensively.  The Pistons had a pretty awesome run there when Jennings was healthy and Smith was gone and they could put at least 3, if not 4 shooters on the floor at the same time.  Their problem now is that Jackson isn't a good outside shooter and they are probably better off with Tolliver than Monroe, even though Monroe is a far better overall basketball player.


April 13th, 2015 at 3:05 PM ^

The Pistons had a very nice run with Smith gone, but that was also helped a bit by the schedule; their 11 game losing streak a couple of weeks ago feels like a bit of a market correction.  That's why I'm fine with them letting Monroe go, though, because his offensive game doesn't offset enough for the spacing and defensive issues he introduces.  

Pitino's press wasn't really new; team's had run it before in spurts, including Arkansas's 94 feet of death, though UK was the first team that probably had the athletes to make it work for longer periods.  

As someone noted elsewhere, Calipari introduced the current iteration of the dribble-drive offense to college while he was at Memphis, or at least was the first to reall promote it, and we've seen that take hold in the pros.  And the current offensive "explosion" in the pros doesn't seem much more than people looking at the Suns 7-second offense and stretching that out a bit.  And let's not ignore the fact that the NBA's rule changes as it relates to hand checking and zone defense forced some innovation, as it would in college if similar rules were instituted.  I mean, you can mug a guy in college to a far greater degree than in the pros, and one of the big arguments about the late-90s/early-00s offensive issues was due to the clutching and grabbing going on.


April 13th, 2015 at 3:44 PM ^

You can boil down Dantoni's impact I suppose, but you can also boil down football innovations this same way.  Walsh just a bunch of short passes. Ryan just blitzing a bunch. Kelly/Rodriguez/Meyer/etc. just running the QB more often. etc.  There's been a lot more going on in NBA than the push-the-pace Suns brought in.  The league has gotten so much smarter the last 5-10 years.

As to the cause, it doesn't really matter if it's because of rule changes or not.  The fact is the NBA has evolved quickly and college hasn't.  Smart NFL guys are watching the NCAA for good ideas.  Smart NBA guys are ignoring the NCAA entirely until it's time to evaluate a given draft prospect...and then probably drafting a European Leaguer instead (a la Spurs).

Agree about the Pistons to an extent, but their hot streak coincided with optimal personnel.  May not explain all of it, but some of it is due to running Jennings/Drummond plus shooters out there. Smith & Monroe don't fit, so Pistons were best off with them being minimized/optimized.  Jackson doesn't fit either until such a time when they can put 3 shooters on the floor consistently (i.e., Monroe isn't around demanding minutes)...and even then it might not work (Note: I am not a fan of Jackson and hope someone gives him such a stupid offer the pistons elect not to match.)


April 13th, 2015 at 4:32 PM ^

There is no equivalent to the spread offense in college ball.

Hmmm, I'd say the four-out, one-in style of play in basketball is very equivalent to the spread offense. In philosophical terms, it has the same basic goal: prevent the defense from converging on any one player by forcing it to defend the entire width of the playing area.


April 13th, 2015 at 5:14 PM ^

I could be wrong, but the origins of this (or at least of it's rise in populatrity) come from the NBA (Mike Dantoni/Suns) not NCAA.

Dantoni may have gotten it from someone else or while coaching in Europe, but he has never coached amateur/college ball AFAIK.

Most of the scheme innovations you hear about in basketball come from the NBA.


April 13th, 2015 at 5:35 PM ^

The posts below point out the likelihood of the Pistons without Monroe next year.  But he was out there on the court with Drummond this season for 24-30 mpg---so I rarely saw the offense you described.  The Pistons are not a good example of the point you were making.  

And the NBA is still a mixed bag of team offenses like the Hawks, the Spurs and Golden State and iso teams like OKC (this year at least), the Kings (the horror of watching Cousins and Gay) and others.  While always more skilled, the NBA still isn't more entertaining than college basketball to me--and that comes from one who likes pro ball.


April 13th, 2015 at 8:25 PM ^

I don't know what you're talking about. I am watching the game right now, and they are literally running that offense. Moose was injured for a time which saw Anthony Tolliver (a stretch 4) earn more playing time.

Since Tolliver's acquisition, the Pistons are 6 points better with him on the floor and have won 58% of their games. Those numbers are tops on the team. The Pistons offense has clearly benefitted from having 4 shooters on the floor surrounding one big.

Also, IIRC, like 9 of the top 10 Pistons offensive units this season have been one big (either Drummond or Monroe), surrounded by 4 shooters. Their best offensive unit was Drummond and 4 shooters.


April 13th, 2015 at 8:02 PM ^

I root for MIchigan first and foremost and tournaments season is a blast.  The NBA, like all big sports is a generic corproate-experience. But, I can't argue with the gist of what Cuban is saying. The style of play, rules, and quality of play in the NCAA is inferior. There's a lot of clutching and grabbing and you see teams like MSU, Louisville and Wisconsin rewarded for mucking up the game. The NBA solved that problem coming off the bad boys and Knicks.  NCAA hasn't.

I'm also a guy who enjoys watching a dominant force of nature like Shaq or a skilled low-post scorer like Olajuwan or Mchale.  Cousins is fun.  It's the Rudy Gay iso ball hogs that aren't so much fun.  Those guys aren't gone from the NBA but they are increasingly irrelevant.


April 13th, 2015 at 12:43 PM ^

Speaking as a guy who's watched almost every minute of every Cleveland Cavalier game this year I can tell you that the only time the offense DOESNT work is when LeBron dominates the ball and tries to play hero-ball.  

If Brian (or anyone else) watched any of their games since they added Smith & Mozgov to the starting line-up you'd see many possessions where the ball is passed rapidly 7-8 times before finding a wide-open shooter on the wing or finishing with a Lebron or Mozgov dunk.  The speed in which the ball is moving is at a pace you simply do not see in college ball.

The days of the exclusive high pick n roll & two-man game are largely gone from the NBA.  If you havent seen it in a while it's changed a LOT and I agree with Cuban - it's changed for the better.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:13 PM ^

It's a combination of analytics revealing that ISO plays are the least efficient plays in basketball, and monkey see monkey do in terms of everyone copying the Spurs as the class organization of the league.

The Atlanta Hawks, for instance, have won 60 games this year with only one player scoring 30 points or more, and it happened one time, and the guy (Paul Millsap) scored exactly 30 points.

Even shitty teams, like the 76ers, run the same sort of high efficiency, team based offenses. They just have shitty players because they're tanking for picks.

This GIF is a pretty solid example of a modern era NBA offensive play:

The Jazz spread the floor with shooters. Run a PnR with Gordon Hayward, who can both shoot and attack the rim. Gobert is super athletic, and dives to the basket off of the screen. The defense has to help on Hayward, leaving an open lane to the rim. The defenders on the outside are left in no-man's land, because they can't simultaneously help on Gobert and cover the shooters. So they hesitate, giving Gobert an easy dunk.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:20 PM ^

Same sort of play, but the reverse is true here:

And that's what makes it so deadly. If you try to stop the ball handler (like in the LeBron play), then they can pass it out which will almost certainly generate an open look from deep.

If you don't fully commit to stopping the ball handler, and stick to covering the shooters on the perimeter and covering the roll man, then you give the ball handler (in this case, Wade) and easy path to the rim for a layup.

Notice how in the Wade play, no one on the defense fully commits to anything because there are so many options for the offense. That's NBA basketball in 2015.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:33 PM ^

In the NCAA, #2 for the Lakers would, when he guessed wrong on the pick, reach out and hand check Wade on his hip, allowing him to recover back over the pick, prevent the drive, and therefore not force the set of defensive choices faced by everyone else on the Lakers. That kind of impeding of motion is rarely, or unpredictably, called in the NCAA (watch any Louisville or Duke game, where their defense is largely based on using their hands on the perimeter rather than moving their feet). It's called every time in the NBA and it makes offense much more free flowing.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:26 PM ^

As the others have commented. Even with the most ball dominant superstars in the league noone is running clearout iso's anymore. Well maybe Kobe.... I'll agree with Cuban that college ball is basically unwatchable unless you have a rooting interest even though he is wrong about whats killing the NBA. I don't actually think anything is killing the NBA other than having to look at James Hardens beard several times a week. What kills NBA talent is owners aren't willing to be patient with developing that talent.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:39 PM ^

The NBA is doing just fine in terms of popularity. If there is one thing that is "killing" it, it's the lottery system which incentivizes teams to tank. It sounds like they're going to make some major reformations to how the draft works in the next year or two in an attempt to fix it though.

Personally, I'd kind of like to see a March Madness style tournament for the number 1 pick. That would be fun.


April 13th, 2015 at 2:49 PM ^

where teams who don't make the playoff will play in the tournament in best of 5 series to determine a champion for the right to get #1 overall pick.  That would discourage tanking and encourage team not to tank for top 3 picks. The winner/loser of championship and winner of consolation game would get top 3 picks while the rest of order would be based on records.


April 13th, 2015 at 1:56 PM ^

I don't disagree that the elite teams do it well, but on the college level you see the same performances to a lesser degree by the elite squads.  I mean, Wisconsin had a great offense this year, same with ND.  Michigan in the past was terrifying.  With the obvious caveat that college kids are going to be worse than pros, those offense moved the ball well, looked for the open man, and generally pushed the envelope of what you saw on the court.  

But I can imagine that watching the Cavs last year was the complete opposite situation in terms of ball movement and offensive efficiency, and my point is that there are lots of pro teams that similarly struggle at times, just like college teams.  My issue is with guys like Cuban saying the college game is abysmal while ignoring the fact that not all teams are so, just like how not every NBA team is beautiful on the offensive side of teh court.  I mean, this is the guy whose team traded for Rajon Rondo, who has clearly bogged down their offense this year. 


April 13th, 2015 at 4:07 PM ^

I personally don't see them as particularly interesting.  A lot of their offensive success this year came with Kaminsky or Dekker doing something individually impressive.  Wisconsin is methodical, efficient, and well coached, but not particularly impressive offensively.  Their identify is their physical (borderline illegal) defense.

If you want to make the same argument against the Bulls I might buy it, but Spurs/Warriors/Hawks have a schematic edge because of their offensive style of play and I don't think that's true at all for Wisconsin.


April 13th, 2015 at 4:29 PM ^

Wisconsin just shattered Kenpom's record for offensive efficiency, so it's a bit silly to say they "weren't particularly impressive" this season.  

Their system is similar to Beilein's in that it spreads out defenders so that the player with the ball is consistently facing only a single defender, and they have an added twist in that all five players can potentially be isolated in the post.  Those "individually impressive" feats of Kaminsky and Dekker were greatly aided by their system.


April 13th, 2015 at 5:19 PM ^

Kaminsky was POY and deservedly so. Whenever I watched them he bailed them out on a lot of late clock possessions, not to mention the open-3 creating gravity.

In 2013, Wisconsin was 108th in kenpom O and 1st in kenpom D.  That's the kind of Wisc team I expect.  But you make a valid point and calling them a defensive oriented team is probably unfair as they have been balanced more often than not.


April 13th, 2015 at 12:48 PM ^

A lot of people who hate the NBA haven't watched it in a decade.  The affect of Stephon Marbury and his selfish and entitled cohorts is immense.  It's shame really, because the vast majority of today's generation of NBA players are team-oriented individuals. The NBA would have a lot more fans if people would let go of their 90's inspired preconceptions. 

Cuban is right that the NBA fixed (or at least mitigated) its gameplay issues through rule changes.  Unlike in football (where the high school and college game drives innovation and the NFL eventually adopts bits and pieces of it) the innovation and sophistication of the NBA is far ahead of college ball.  College ball is a place where ground-and-pound teams built like the 90's Knicks (like MSU or Louisville) can thrive.  In the NBA that's a losing strategy.

Yostbound and Down

April 13th, 2015 at 1:29 PM ^

We've debated this before. I'll concede for the sake of argument that the NBA offenses have evolved and improved significantly in the last decade. Brian is wrong about it being more iso-ball centric than college although I do think you give the league as a whole too much credit. I digress...

What I find obnoxious about Cuban's opinion is A. he's bitching about free minor leagues for him... you don't like it, get off your broadcast.com billions and build the D-league into basketball worth watching. B. college ball still had a significant impact on changing the NBA's offenses, namely the Rose-led offense at Memphis under Calipari which has given many of the spacing concepts to the NBA. C. College offenses in general are also better than they were 10 years ago. You can't tell me that the offense even a mediocre coach like Crean runs at Indiana today is worse technically than his offense was at Marquette with Wade.

In general it ticks me off when the NFL or NBA decide to shit on their free farm systems. So the motivations of players and coaches at both levels don't exactly align with your goals. Cry me a river. The NBA is superior play for sure but it is less entertaining and enjoyable for me to watch, particularly the playoffs vs. March Madness, than college ball.



April 13th, 2015 at 12:35 PM ^

I'd say that if LeVert goes pro, Michigan could absolutely use a guard. 

PG is covered by Walton/Spike, while at PF Dawkins is the main guy, backed by Wagner/Chatman.  But in between you have the 2/3 spot where Irvin, Robinson and MAAR live.  Enough to get by - sure.  But that's not a trio that's going to put Michigan over MSU and Maryland or overcome our disadvantage at the 5.  And yeah, you can slide Dawkins or Spike to the wing, but that takes them away from the roles where they are best fit.

Furthermore, with Irvin a strong candidate to go pro after next year and Spike graduating, you're then down to only Walton and MAAR as pure guards in 2016-17, so there's a significant developmental need as well.




April 13th, 2015 at 8:25 PM ^

Dawkins is a very good Beilein 4 and GR3 was the best 4 Beilein's ever had. Dawkins, if he sticks around 4 years, could be even better than GR3.

Irvin can be a 4 in the pinch, but if LeVert's gone he's going to be a primary ball-handler and can't be tasked with the boxing out duties that a Beiliein 4 needs to be able to attend to.  I assume you are saying this because of the uptick in Irvin's rebounding.  But rebounding is something that Hardaway and Walton have done too.  Michigan wan's a 4 to box out his man (presumably a threat to ORB) and the 5 and guards are there to grab boards.

Anyway, nobody is putting their PF on Irvin, but on Dawkins they might. On the other end, the 2 has to dribble and create in Beilein's offense and Dawkins isn't skilled enough yet to do that.

If Michigan has a lineup of Walton-LeVert-Irvin-Dawkins-Doyle on the floor, Dawkins will both guard and be guarded by the 4 against most teams.



April 14th, 2015 at 3:32 PM ^

is not  a prototype Beilein 4.  Dawkins has a smaller body than GRIII, rebounds at Irvin's 2013-14 level and plays poorer defense than GRIII.  If he can improve his handle, he will be a 3.  We just disagree.


April 14th, 2015 at 8:07 PM ^

Well sure, the prototype is Kevin Garnett, like with any other coach.  But here in reality, Michigan isn't going to get a 7 foot athlete with shooting guard skills.  Best case scenario is a Kevin Looney, but Michigan has not been successful in landing that type of elite recruit at the forward position.  Jaylen Brown would be a first, but he's still more in the SF mold (like Dawkins and GR3) than Kevin McHale. 

Beilein has shown, time and time again, that he is happy to select skill over size at the 4 spot. He wants wing players, not forwards.  For example, Jaylen Johnson (now at Louisville) was not aggresively pursued by Beilein despite being a prototypically sized PF from Ypsi.  Beilein puts these guys at Center.

The Beilein 4's job isn't to rebound. Never has been. The Beilein 4 is supposed to create/exploit offensive mismatches while not getting overwhelmed on the other end.  Dawkins does that. Between his 3 point shooting an athleticism he's a huge asset and a matchup problem at the 4.

The only way Dawkins shifts away from the 4 is if Michigan has a better player for the job.  The only possible candidate right now is Brown. You could make a case for Chatman or Wilson based on potential, but they are far away from reaching it and in the same entering class as Dawkins. Robinson's another option I guess, but lets be real.

Dawkins is likely to be the starting 4 for the next 3 years, and Michigan is very lucky to have him.



April 14th, 2015 at 8:16 PM ^

They guy let McGary sit on the bench rather than play him at the 4.  He elected to play other freshman LeVert, Stauskus, and Robinson on the wing instead.  Not because they are better players, but because that's not what Beilein wants from his 4.


April 15th, 2015 at 3:14 PM ^

with all of that.  I agree that Beilein prioritizes an athletic 4 over a rebounding one.  And I, for one, have enjoyed that style.  We may actually disagree less than you think.  

I simply think Dawkins tends to be too small (height to a lesser degree, but rather strength and attitude) even for Beilein's preferences--and is less so than GRIII and even Irvin.  

I think the limited Mcgary experiment at the 4--and his unwillingness to play Donnal at the 4--reinforce the unlikelihood of two bigs playing together.


April 16th, 2015 at 5:44 PM ^

Same height, but GR3 had 30 pounds on him by the time he was a sophomore. Novak had 20.  So yeah, Dawkins is a little lighter than you'd like at 190, but I expect him to add 10-20 pounds over the next 6-18 months. 

If Novak can do it, he can.

Furthermore, whatever additional compromises you have to make by playing an undersized guy you offset by a better than 40% shooter who is a very good athlete.  I think he's staying at the 4 until he is displaced by Wagner, Chatman, (or Brown?).