Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske, and Charles Matthews
If you think Z's not the most important player on this team, wait'll you see him after someone says he isn't [Marc-Grégor Campredon]

This Week's Obsession: Beilein's Most Precious Asset Comment Count

Seth January 16th, 2019 at 4:02 PM

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The question:


The responses:

Seth: We haven't mentioned Livers yet.

Alex: "Most Important Basketballist" is a tough question. "Best basketballist" is also tough, but less so and for different reasons. Most important begs the value-over-replacement question, and since Michigan has such a tight rotation, really any absence from among the main six would be tough. Zavier Simpson is important because he's really good, and because Michigan's third guard, Eli Brooks, can't operate the ball-screen like he does and because Michigan would no longer have a third guard (DDJ would need to step up). Poole is important because his blend of scoring ability and creative ability is unmatched on the roster and Brooks would need to step in for him as well. Iggy or Matthews would be adequately replaced by Livers, but then Michigan would need someone new to back up the 3, 4, and 5. Teske might be the most irreplaceable because Davis would have to soak up a lot of minutes. Michigan weathered Livers's absence okay, I guess. I don't know. It's a tough question.

Seth: I can make a case that Jon Teske is alone as most important. While a few league teams have scary guards to run off the line, everybody seems to have a big. Having a 7'1 dude who can affect all shots at the rim is a major deal in the two's-heavy Big Ten. Having one who's boss on the glass, also generates steals at a fair rate, can switch onto a wing, has a scoring touch, hits .300 on triples, is top 10 nationally in turnover rate, and can stay on the court for 30 minutes a game because he doesn't foul is unfair. Without him, Michigan's trying to small ball and hurry Brandon Johns along while Austin Davis becomes a meme. We've seen those Michigan teams before, and they're worthy of a BTT banner and a tournament run, but Teske is what makes this a 1-seed.

Alex: And you didn’t even mention his ball-screen defense! It’s about as good as I’ve seen at the college level.

Seth: I guess I thought it with the switching but yeah, Teske is unreal in ways that don't show on Kenpom except in team stats.

Alex: Michigan covers most guys with that “flat hedge” which asks a lot of the big: move laterally to contain the ball-handler and to let his man recover, be ready to contest a shot or keep up on a drive, and then rotate back to the big. It’s not easy but Teske makes it look pretty easy — and it requires mobility. A lead-footed seven-footer normally necessitates “drop” coverage, which keeps the big in the paint and concedes a number of things to the offense, especially with guards who take long shots off the dribble. Watching Teske hedge, contain, recover, and force post catches out from the paint is always impressive. Maybe more impressive than his verticality and quick hands.

Ace: Yeah, if we’re going most irreplaceable, it’s Teske and then Simpson. The case for Teske has been laid out so I’ll give one for X. He’s the only lead guard who seemingly has the full offensive playbook down, he sets the tone for the entire team both with his play and his on-court communication, and he guarantees an opposing guard is gonna have a Not Fun Time.

Matthews should probably get a mention, though, too. He’s getting knocked for his lack of efficiency but some of that is him taking on a lot of the offense in a not-always-ideal environment—as a slasher first, he’d be better off if his point guard could shoot instead of usually having an extra defender ready to help. Meanwhile, he’s about X’s equal in terms of defensive ability and can utilize that across any wing position.



Seth: These are all important things that don't show up on a stat sheet or in metrics based on things that show up in a stat sheet. Of course we could just define this by talent, or whomever the advanced metrics say is the team MVP, and that would be potential Kenpom Top 10 player/lottery pick Iggy Brazdeikis, who is virtually matching Matthews for usage with a lower turnover rate and the kind of slashing that doesn't even need a shooter shooting behind him. And it's not like Iggy is a bad defender. Far from it. Michigan could weather the loss of Iggy by playing Livers at the four. I doubt Michigan is this good without a very John Beilein version of a one-and-done, especially during free-throw hour.


"I've got this explosive power forward with NBA range; you've probably never heard of him." [Smoothitron]


[After THE JUMP: We love all our Torvik children equally]


Seth: We still haven't mentioned Livers yet.

Brian: All right I guess I can make the case for Jordan Poole, the guy hitting 46% from three who will be called upon at some point to save Michigan's ass with NBA threes when someone effectively zones. It does not do to think about the overall feels coming out of the Binghamton game if Poole didn't hit 6/10 from deep, many of those very deep and contested.

Poole is Michigan's most efficient starter, only pull-up three point shooter, and while his usage isn't at Iggy/Matthews levels it could/should be. He's 41% on other twos with virtually none of those assisted--he probably should be the primary late-clock option a la MAAR.

slackbot: Eat MAARby's

Brian: Good Poole is probably the real answer but Bad Poole shows up too much for it to be the real-real answer. Guy vibrates.

BiSB: I can only imagine the things that go through John Beilein's head about Jordan Poole.

Ace: If Iggy or Livers stop shooting threes as efficiently as they are, Poole’s argument strengthens considerably.

BiSB: He is both the most and least Beilein guy.

Brian: Speaking of Isaiah Livers he's a three-position defender who is hitting 46% from three and is at 47% on other twos and while he probably doesn't have an argument if anyone else is the sixth man of the year in the league we riot.

Seth: How important has it been that Livers can play the five? Even when Michigan hasn't had the small lineup out there, the potential has discouraged teams like Illinois from using one of their favorite weapons.

Brian: You really can make an argument for any starter. Michigan's best two players per game are constantly shifting.

Ace: Yeah, I leaned Teske/Simpson because this team relies more on defense, but you can pick anyone out there.

BiSB: So, if "best" is a wash, that point you're probably left with "least replaceable." Which is probably Teske. Unless and until Brandon Johns explodes.

Brian: Yes, it is. I get more stabby about his bench time than anyone else.

Ace: I mean.


Brian: Some 3 point luck on offense but not enough to close that gap.

Ace: And “not clogging up the court” accounts for some of the three-point numbers, too.

Brian: Good god the FTA rates allowed

Ace: (Austin Davis is whistled for a foul)

Teske’s foul-avoidance is kinda otherworldly.

Seth: How did you get to that part of the chart? I'm still looking at the ZERO POINT SEVEN NINE points per possession when he's on the floor. Teske turns offenses into lonely Borg drones.

Brian: I remember way back in the day when Ben Wallace left the Pistons and David Berri was out in these streets trying to pump up rebounding as the most important stat. I wrote a post about the Pistons before and after; I found that their OREB numbers at both ends literally did not change but their FT rate allowed spiked.

Post defenders who make giant impacts on 2PT% but can stay on the floor for 30+ MPG because of their foul rate are rare and amazing to have.

BiSB: And he's shown to be able to physically do it from a stamina standpoint.

He must be... well-rested.

Ace: Michigan has College Rudy Gobert.

Brian: And he's got a ~120 ORTG because he has 8 turnovers on the season

Ace: …but less turnover-y!

BiSB: Michigan is being outscored with him off the court. With him on the court they are a walking murder.

slackbot: image

Ace: It’s worth noting that they’ve played enough Deep Garbage Time that it’s impacting the on/off splits for the rotation guys a little.

BiSB: Ace wishes to tempt the Walking Murder.

slackbot: image

Seth: And I know I mentioned it before, but there are a lot of offenses in this conference that are just a five and a maybe a wing for Matthews. Dererk [sic] Pardon was efficient but we watched his usage dropping in real time. Crisler gave Teske an ovation for making Pardon push the ball back out when it was obvious Northwestern wanted to keep going post. And quick preview of the UW chart:



Smoothitron: Needs a hula skirt and floaties.

Ace: A certain relevant team relies largely on the output of their point guard and center. I’m okay with this.

Brian: It is interesting that the Livers at the five lineup is mostly a step back on offense.


Ace: They may need a little more shooting, even with Livers going as well as he has, before that small lineup is really killer.

Brian: I mean they're not putting Livers out there at the 5 except in situations where he's plausible defensively, so that has something to do with it.

But Teske's ability to finish on the PNR and hit short jumpers without ever turning it over may be underappreciated even amongst this crew of Teske stans.

Ace: Yeah, I’d say they’re pretty reliant on that pick-and-roll combo.


Small sample and three-point luck but still, good god.

Brian: yoinks

BiSB: Defense holds up surprisingly well

Seth: That's gotta be Austin Davis: the graphic.

Except for literally an Austin Davis graphic.

BiSB: (though, again, a lot of that is garbage time)

Brian: Those are probably a third Johns/Castleton time

BiSB: Castleton's usage remains at 44.6%

I just like to remind people of that whenever possible.

Ace: Davis: The Graphic isn’t very pretty either.


And while some of that defense has to be bad three-point luck, I think some of that is also the dropoff in communication from Teske to Davis.

BiSB: Eh, it's not as bad as I thought? Can you sort that against real teams?

Brian: Eric Shap had a video on twitter that touches on this.


It might not be communication but inconsistent PNR defense forcing rotations and the like. But yeah those 3P% gaps are way too big to all be Davis. Honestly that makes me slightly more optimistic about him.

Ace: Real teams mostly just made the sample smaller.


Yeah, if he can have a Teske-like breakthrough in court awareness, he can be serviceable at least.

BiSB: /Davis is whistled for another foul

Ace: My fear is he’s not athletic (or freakishly, Teske-like coordinated) enough to avoid the above.

Brian: He's not but I think the gaps could get smaller.

Ace: And if we’re being honest, he’s probably a career backup/Castleton stopgap. I still wouldn’t be shocked if Johns passes him before the season is out.

Seth: If Davis gets his five fouls in four minutes on Saturday he's earned his scholarship.

Brian: Right, our hopes here are very modest.

BiSB: And Michigan has until mid-February to get Johns up to speed for two games each with MSU and Maryland.

Alex: Just checking in to confirm that I agree with the consensus. Big Sleep: most essential.

Brian: Anyway this conversation has wandered: it is the consensus that Jon Teske is the most irreplaceable Michigan player.

Ace: Also: everyone is good.

Brian: the only guys who get assisted on most of their twos are Teske and Livers, and Livers is close to 50/50. Michigan has four creators. I don't think that's ever happened under Beilein.

Seth: Maybe the Stauskas team.

Brian: The Stauskas team is in fact a winner. Also the #3 offense in the country and only missed #1 because Duke and Creighton were also super good.

Seth: Nik & Caris & McGary & Walton. And GRIII could float over some Boilermakers if called upon.

Ace: Also the year when Zak Irvin couldn’t miss.

Alex: Before his back got messed up.

Ace: But yeah, those dudes got a banner and so will these guys.

Seth: Or three.



January 16th, 2019 at 4:22 PM ^

Funny how y'all cannot come up with an MVP...and I would agree. But, to me, that makes the choice obvious------------it's the coaching staff!!! I put great onus on coaches doing their job and both praise and criticize them freely in this regard. Yes, the players need to make the plays but when the coaches are not teaching well and putting the players in the best position to succeed the pot goes to hell. When the whole is greater than the sum of the parts it means the coaches are doing one helluva job.  Here, Coach Beilein and his staff deserve great praise.


January 17th, 2019 at 1:03 AM ^

This seems like the epitome of THE TEAM THE TEAM THE TEAM, and is what's so beautiful about what we're enjoying this season. Each of the players brings something, and any one of them could step up big at any given moment, elevating each other's effectiveness and that of the unit. Beilein's the alchemist.

PB-J Time

January 17th, 2019 at 1:15 PM ^

While I understand this opinion, I completely disagree. If not for branding, it would say 'Regional Championship'. All other NCAA sports aside from football have regional championships. They are a big accomplishment. 

Final Four is big branding, so that's what's listed, but Michigan has 2 Regional Championships (with trophies) from Beilein's time

Go Blue in MN

January 16th, 2019 at 4:55 PM ^

We foul LESS when Austin Davis is on the floor?  That's what the first Davis chart indicates.  I think Davis alone has fouled enough to exceed .164 FTA/FGA when he's been in the game.


January 16th, 2019 at 8:07 PM ^

Not necessarily that we foul less, but opponents do shoot fewer FTs. That...doesn't seem right.  Especially since opponents shoot far more FTs with Teske not on the floor than on the floor.

If correct, my guess is 1) a lot of his fouls are non-shooting and 2) he doesn't play at the end of halves so he's less likely to be playing with M in the bonus.


January 16th, 2019 at 5:34 PM ^

Brian: Speaking of Isaiah Livers he's a three-position defender who is hitting 46% from three and is at 47% on other twos and while he probably doesn't have an argument if anyone else is the sixth man of the year in the league we riot.

Truth! #LiversForSixthManOrRiot 


January 16th, 2019 at 10:02 PM ^

Eli Brooks averages 3.5 ppg and 1.5 apg. He's scored 3 points or less in 11 games this year including going scoreless three different times despite playing over 15 mpg. He has a worse 3-point shooting percentage than Xavier Simpson. On top of that he is not a good defender. But sure, keep yelling about Maizen if it makes you feel better. 

Reggie Dunlop

January 17th, 2019 at 11:47 AM ^

You may be right. My biggest problem with Brooks is his ball-handling. He doesn't seem like a point guard. I've already seen too many defenders pick his pocket clean.

However, you can't ding him for PPG. Last year Isaiah Livers averaged 3.4 PPG and 0.4 APG. As a starter. You know why? Because he was the 5th option on the floor at all times and often gave way to Duncan Robinson. Did that mean Livers sucked? Or was he low man on the totem pole and wasn't asked to be a primary scorer?

Same with Brooks. If you're railing on him for his raw output, you're missing the point. His job is to rest Simpson without the game falling apart. He knows the offense, is adequate defensively and chips in with an occasional bucket. He's perfectly fine in his limited role.


January 16th, 2019 at 6:01 PM ^

i don't necessarily think that simpson or teske are the best players are the team, however, they may be the most indispensable. only because of the bench.  with poole, livers, matthews and iggy able to play multiple positions, any foul trouble or injury by them can be mitigated.  however, if simpson or teske were to get in foul trouble or injured, i would hate to see us have to play 30 min of brooks at point or 20 min of davis at center.  i wouldn't want to see 30 min of livers at the 5 either.  That would be big trouble against several BIG teams.


January 17th, 2019 at 9:36 AM ^

Um, we really can't afford to have anyone get injured.  This team is not very deep right now. 

I am hoping that, as in past years, some of the guys who start the season unreliable, like Brooks and Davis, will step up their game as the season goes on and they get more experience. 

It wasn't THAT long ago (middle of last season) that we were nervous about Teske having to play significant minutes.  With good coaching, guys improve as the season goes on.


January 17th, 2019 at 2:06 AM ^

I'm going with Simpson for most important. I'm surprised in a discussion that quickly concluded (correctly, IMO) that this is a two horse race, we got two sentences about Simpson and that was it.  And he's coming off two career games!

We got not one but two charts on a guy that plays fewer than six minutes a game.  We got zero charts on Simpson.

I'd be interested to see the splits with Simpson on/off.  Not only is he the floor general and absolute bulldog on defense, he's an underrated creator, excellent distributor, and becoming really good in the pick and roll.

Anyway, Simpson and Teske are both awesome. I think Teske is maybe a little "better" as a complete player. But I think Simpson is more important because of what would happen to his minutes.

Without Simpson, the minutes at the 1/2 spots would probably be:

1: Brooks 30, DDJ 10

2: Poole 37, Brooks 3

Someone else pointed out that Brooks, after a nice start, has really struggled.  He'd have to play 30+ minutes if Simpson went down and the only backups for BOTH he and Poole would be a couple freshmen that have played almost no minutes are a combined 2 for 17 from the field (!!) and look far from ready.

Without Teske, we're looking at this as the 4/5 minutes distribution:

5: Livers 20, Davis 10, Johns 10

4: Braz 30, Livers 10.

To me, those 1/2 minutes are more shaky (again, would be interesting to see the splits with X on/off) than those 4/5 minutes.  That's 22 more minutes of Brooks and 10 more minutes of DDJ.

Losing Teske would basically result in 10 more minutes of Livers, a couple more minutes of Davis, a couple more minutes of Iggy (since Livers would be needed at the 5 more) and probably 10 more minutes of Johns.  That's probably not national title contending, but it's big ten title contending still.

Put another way, Simpson plays 81% of minutes, Teske only 67%. Without Simpson you'd have to find another option for more minutes than what you otherwise would prefer. 

A big reason Teske plays fewer minutes is that Livers is a solid option at the spot.  The coaches feel like Teske is replaceable for a third of minutes.   They only feel Simpson is replaceable for a fifth of team minutes.



January 16th, 2019 at 7:50 PM ^

Teske is so valuable on both ends that I might be inclined to give him a bit of an edge. Don't know quite how to factor it, but because of fouls M may be slightly more likely to lose him for part of a game than Simpson too so that--though it's a slightly different proposition--I'd say that M is more vulnerable without him. OTOH, Livers can replace Teske under some conditions whereas we've seen a bit of fall off when Brooks replaces Simpson lately. Would love to see Brooks get some of this mojo back, and soon. 


January 16th, 2019 at 7:51 PM ^

Great topic, but you guys can't go to great lengths to point out that there's no such thing as 3pt% defense (which is *mostly* true) and then blame Davis for opponents hitting higher than expected from 3.

Pointed this out a couple weeks about some of Shap's analysis but it's overly critical of Davis on those P n R's.  This first is Printy hitting a fall away three from 5 feet behind the line.  The second is Flowers hitting a contested three falling to his side.  If anything those are the tough shots that would cause your 3pt% defense to be low. That they both went in was simply bad luck.  That's just seeing an outcome and assigning blame even though he couldn't have defended those much better (and could have done much worse by letting those guys get around him).

I also UFR'd a game with the offensive possessions with him on the floor after he was taking some serious heat for "bogging" down the offense. M had like 5 wide open, beautifully set up threes that they just missed.

It's human nature to want to try to explain randomness but Davis is mostly fine as he's being used and the reason his efficiency splits aren't much closer to the overall team splits is staggeringly bad 3 point luck on both ends.  The difference between 18% on offense and 45% on defense is mind-blowing.

He is not Teske, who is incredibly good.  He isn't the kind of backup that represents little to no dropoff like Teske was to Wagner last year.  But he's fine as a backup center in the big ten.  Especially when you can play the matchups, which incidentally, is exactly the reason the team is just about as good on defense with Livers at the 5. Beilein plays that lineup when the matchups suggest you want a switch-everything swiss army knife like Livers.  Guys are put in the right spots.

I also don't get why a guy playing less than 10% of the teams minutes sucks up so much airtime. He's a replacement level player keeping the spot warm for Castleton.  We have 6 extremely good players! Let's talk more them, notably Simpson and Poole, since this is a post about most important player.

ERRATA: "Michigan is being outscored with him off the court." (in reference to Teske).  Not quite correct.  They're scoring 0.93 ppp and holding opponents to 0.90 ppp.  Seth must have mixed those up.


January 18th, 2019 at 1:09 AM ^

I think his point is that if you get a guy a wide open shot, you did the same thing, why only give the assist if it's made?

The answer is that defining a "good shot" introduces too much subjectivity for the stat keeper.  A pass leading to a made basket is easier. 

And over the course of the season, the randomness of makes and misses should largely even out.  If you're getting guys a lot of good shots, your assist totals will be high.  And since the rule is the same for everyone, it's still a good directional indicator of who is best as setting up teammates.

4th phase

January 17th, 2019 at 11:25 AM ^

Yeah the 3rd clip in that Shap analysis really isn't that different than the first 2, Davis sags way off the guy, except the 3rd time the guy passes up the shot so all of the sudden: 'he has corrected his defense.'

What I do think those clips show is that Davis is much more comfortable being in the paint as he tends to sink back into the key on all those PnRs. Which doesn't surprise me that much for a traditional big man coming from a small school where he probably just overpowered everyone in the paint in HS. Seems like a mental thing that can still be worked out. At this point, I still think Davis can be a useful piece as an upper classman, backup C in the B1G. 


January 17th, 2019 at 4:44 PM ^

In the second clip, Shap faults him for giving Flowers a sliver of space, acknowledged that it was played pretty well, but thought it was too much space because Flowers "was hot".  It was literally Flowers first shot of the game.  Know the context of the clip you're looking at, man.

Davis' positioning has nothing to do with his HS days.  Yaklich has coached all of the HS out of him by now.  He's doing exactly what he's been coached to do and it's actually pretty impressive that he's able to play so closely to the ball handler at his size.

The depth at which a big defends pick and rolls varies by what a coach wants to do but also depends on the player.  If you're a big that can move well, you can hedge closer to the ball handler without too much risk of giving up dribble penetration.  It was mentioned in this post, but most traditional bigs sag even deeper into the paint than Davis is doing here because that's the head start they need to not give up dribble penetration and allows them to get back to their man quicker (both of which are generally more dangerous than giving up a three off the dribble).

Davis is actually relatively close to the ball handlers here, for a guy his size (although it's not as close as Teske or some other elite guys can get).  He's close enough that Printy has to step back and take a fall away from pretty far behind the line.  That he prevents dribble drives and is close enough to 1) make a pass to the roller difficult and 2) forces tough shots is pretty good. Any closer and the ball handler probably goes by him.  Any further back and the shot is easier and the passing lanes are wider.

But a lot of guys his size would be deeper so credit to him that he can play that close. And credit to Yaklich for asking more of his players.  The main thing about Yaklich is that he asks for a lot of his defense and when you do that, you get more.

The only better outcome is to prevent the drive AND be close enough to prevent a shot or easy pass to the roller such that the screened defender can recover and the play goes nowhere.  There are a TON of worse outcomes (most notably giving up dribble penetration, giving up a three that the guy steps into or allowing a pass to the roller).


January 16th, 2019 at 9:54 PM ^

Jordan Poole. If you give him anything he will exploit it, and once he gets going the team feasts. Dude is aptly named and if the elder Jordan's competitive, "fuck you, I will not lose on either end," bug kicks in full gear with the younger, well, then, watch out! 

Aside from X of course.


January 16th, 2019 at 10:51 PM ^

Honestly, this doesn’t seem that hard. It’s Teske, followed by Simpson. Poole, Matthews, and Iggy are all excellent, and Michigan regularly wins games in which at least one of those guys is basically invisible-someone else can step up and supply what’s missing. 

Things get really nervous when Teske is out of the game. His impact on offense goes beyond the visible and counting stuff; he always knows where to be and his ability to seal defenders is vital for other guys who drive. The way the offense stalls when he’s not there goes beyond the stats he brings. 

HeiZen is being overly harsh on Brooks. He plays well in occasional spurts and doesn’t hurt the team; on occasion he’s been a real factor. There just isn’t a lot of usage available for or needed from him. His D is worse than Z’s, but then, so is literally every other point guard’s. It’s possible he gets passed by DDJ at some point, but it’s also possible that Beilein’s PG magic makes him a vital player down the road. 

I am less optimistic about Davis. 


January 17th, 2019 at 3:03 AM ^

HeiZen is being overly harsh on Brooks. He plays well in occasional spurts and doesn’t hurt the team; on occasion he’s been a real factor. There just isn’t a lot of usage available for or needed from him. His D is worse than Z’s, but then, so is literally every other point guard’s. It’s possible he gets passed by DDJ at some point, but it’s also possible that Beilein’s PG magic makes him a vital player down the road. 

There is literally no statistical evidence to support this conclusion. He's a warm body and nothing more. Probably should be playing mid major.

New Carr

January 17th, 2019 at 5:42 AM ^

In politics they say "it's the economy stupid"

In college basketball we can narrow it down the same way.

"It's the point guard stupid"

Almost every elite team, especially those making deep runs in March have great point guard play. 

Beilein is the obvious MVP every year in how he develops players, but if we look at just the players, it's the PG.

Amaizing Blue

January 17th, 2019 at 9:49 AM ^

Jordan Poole reminds me of a less-knuckleheaded Sean Higgins from those late 80's teams.  One moment, he would look like a combination of MJ and Clyde Drexler rolled into one.  The next, he would look like some random guy pulled out of the stands who had never seen a basketball game before.

Still one of the great calls of the '89 tournament.  Semifinals, I think, late in the game, really close.  He was dribbling around outside the three point line, and had almost turned it over a couple times while doing so.  Bill Raftery said "Higgins is getting a little loose with the ball out there" which point Higgins gathered the basketball, took two dribbles and three steps, blew by his defender, then rose up and jammed it over everyone for one of the biggest baskets of the game.  

Poole isn't as physically gifted as Higgins was, and he's not AS erratic.  But it's the nearest comparison I can make.

Reggie Dunlop

January 17th, 2019 at 11:29 AM ^

Good conversation. Agree with the Teske/Simpson conclusion.

I remain a bit confused as to why everybody expects Brandon Johns to replace Austin Davis. Johns is 6'8". He's the same height as Livers. And if you look at his H.S. highlights, he shot a ton of threes and did very little work in the paint. From what I saw, he was more perimeter player than big man.

I see him more as a versatile "positionless" college frontcourt player. But I don't see him personally benching Davis. Austin Davis is a big body who will play a role on this team banging (and probably fouling) Nick Ward and Bruno Fernando and the paint-bound centers of this league.

Johns isn't going to be that guy. He's... I dunno, he's another Livers. He can shoot. He's athletic. His high school reels are loaded with drives to the basket.  I could be wrong. I'm not the world's foremost basketballologist. It just seems we've echo-chamber'd him into being a Center, and that seems incorrect.