Did Caris LeVert earn a Starting Role?

Submitted by Allin4Blue on March 4th, 2013 at 8:04 AM

It's been discussed on here whether Morgan or McGary should start (when both were healthy). In Morgan's absence, I think we can all agree Morgan is the starter and was extremely undervalued for his defensive prowess.

Now, Caris is stealing away Stauskas's minutes and stepped up big time after the injury that Nik had early in the game.  There's no doubt that Stauskas has been a liability on defense and offensively seems to be in a bit of a slump as well.

So, If you're Beilein, who do you start against Purdue (assuming Stauskas is healthy)?  I love Caris coming in off the bench, but it seems to me he has really stepped it up on defense.  Stauskas played horrible helpside defense against MSU and was responsible for 2 easy baskets they had early in the game.  So if I'm Beilein, I start LeVert over Stauskas.




March 4th, 2013 at 10:03 AM ^

I have nothing against LeVert, I just do not believe he should be a starter. IMO he is inconsistent on D, (I know the same argument could be made for others) and he is sporadic. For some reason when he is on the floor, especially in defensive situations, I cringe. He is a great young talent and he can play a role fairly well, I just do not feel he should be a starter. I see improvement, but not enough consistency to justify his presence for the majority of a game.


March 4th, 2013 at 10:10 AM ^

So how many 3s did we make this game with Stauskas out?   This bagel got more coverage by ESPN then the handslapping.   So you suggest we sit our best shooter?


March 4th, 2013 at 12:43 PM ^

Change our starting lineup based on the last couple of games. Seems like we would have twenty lineups throughout the season. This seems knee jerk.

Jb needs only to bring in the Levert and m&m earlier for Morgan and Stauskas. When he need to d up he can put Morgan back for mm.

That said, I might like to see Stauskas and mm come in together and keep cl with Burke as much as you can. Clearly, Burke plays well off his mentor.


March 4th, 2013 at 10:13 AM ^

It was great to see LeVert contribute yesterday and I think he earned some extra minutes as a defensive spark off the bench.  But perspective is required here - we didn't even score 60 points and it took some lucky breaks and heroic play from Burke to win this one. 

I also don't think you mess with the starting lineup at this point in the season with a team laden with freshmen who are probably physically and menally spent.  (Though the injury may force a lineup change). 

What I think you should see is a quicker hook from people who are struggling.  LeVert's play and Morgan's health and play in a two-post lineup suggest that Stauskas and GR3 should be on a short leash.  And maybe you keep their minutes about the same but you pull them and have a talk on the bench sooner if they struggle on either end of the court. 


March 4th, 2013 at 10:18 AM ^

I would go with LeVert and bring Stauskas off the bench as a "gunner."  It might help him get his stroke back in time for the tournament.


March 4th, 2013 at 10:44 AM ^

I think you give the starting nod to Stauskas and allow him the minutes until he demonstrates lack of defensive effort. Shorten the leash a bit.  Irregardless of Stauskas' play I would still like to see LeVert get about 40% of the minutes at that wing position. 

UofM Die Hard …

March 4th, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

pleasantly surprised with LeVert.  He stepped up and played solid, he played his ass off and got some big buckets.  Happy for him.  Gain 20 more pounds please.  He will be a nice player for them as he fills out.  He has a nasty lil crossover. 

True Blue Grit

March 4th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

still be the starter assuming he's healthy.  But at the same time, LeVert really came through for us last night and earned more PT the rest of the way.  He's looking more and more like the steal of this freshman recruiting class.  As he continues to get more experience, gains some strength, and confidence, his upside is pretty high. 

As for Stauskas, he needs to get his 3 point mojo back quickly.  We're going to need it to make any kind of tournament run, especially if Hardaway continues to struggle from outside. 


March 4th, 2013 at 11:49 AM ^

I'd also like to throw my hat into the ring as a potential starter the rest of the way.


Matt Vogrich



On a serious note if Caris makes the whole team defense improve by THAT MUCH as it did yesterday, I'd say its a NO BRAINER.   Stauk can be the Vinnie Johnson of the Wolverines in his 20+ minutes knowing the defense would have a drop off. 

The whole past 5 weeks all we've complained about is the awful defense (and freshman slumps) and yesterday we got defense like we have not seen all year.  If that was the emotion of playing MSU after being trucked a few weeks ago I dont know.  But if its due to the player working better together, I say the answer is easy.  Impossible to tell without more evidence - would like to see Caris out there for 3-4 games, on the road, without the help of emotion of crowd and see if it makes a big difference but unfortunately we dont have much more season left. 

What I've been concerned with the past week or so is a lot of comments leaking out of Michigan camp from THJ and Burke about players not buying into defense.  Comments like "we can only talk so much to them, eventually they need to do it."  It pointed to some dissention in camp and some frustration at some players not putting the EFFORT into defense.  Stauk was the first to mind in this and maybe GR3.  (Never can question Mitchs effort even if execution fails)  So if you are playing defense with 3.5 players vs 5 against quality teams you are going to get frustrated and I think thats what the upperclassman were feeling (I am speculating).  Having played a different sport with "offensively gifted" players who could care less about defense, trust me it brings down the whole morale.  If Caris takes care of that - so be it.  Offense has not been the problem this year.

The same people underestimating the impact of defense are the same who said Jordan Morgan is "junk" before he went out with his ankle injury.


March 4th, 2013 at 3:54 PM ^

Well put.  This summed up what I was going to write (albeit a bit late for this thread).  Yesterdays' defense was awesome, the effort, the energy, and the overall execution.  If LeVert is the spark that helped ignite that, then I agree it's a no-brainer you need him in there more, starting the game, more.  I don't think that defensive unit(s) plays that well yesterday if Stauskas had been on the court the majority of the time.  Plus, I've personally given up that Stauskas will return to a 45% three point shooter; that's about the mark he needs to hit to be able to be considered worthy of playing with the lack of defense he brings.  Hate to harp on the kid.  He's good and brings things to the team, ya know, he's more than a shooter, but some of that more is porous defense and turnovers (and even missed three's at times when a make could be deadly to the opposing team).


March 4th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

Play the guy who wins you games. Defense wins games. Stauskas is cocky and doesn't use his feet enough on D. He could  use a start or two on the bench for more defensive intensity/motivation when he comes in.

Tim Hardaway Sr said it best that his son needs more dog in his game. The whole team needs it and Lavert and McGary have that quality more than Stauskas and Horford right now.For UM to make any run they need a fired up Stauskas and Horford ( along with Hardaway to be able to hit an outside shot). 

All great coaches use this tool from Harbaugh to Bobby Knight to Scotty Bowman. Don't let your kids get too comfortable, challenge them constantly, demand 100% on defense.

btw I loved when Beilein almost got a T yesterday and bitched out Stauskas in Happy Valley. If handled right I can see Nik starting a being a better player come the Big Dance.

UM in NC

March 4th, 2013 at 12:32 PM ^

Earlier poster implied LeVert wasn't as good as we thought on defense and then mentioned Burke has better feet.  To my eye, LeVert is particularly good at closing out on the perimeter without overrunning and getting out of position (he closes and stops/contests the jump shot without fouling and is still in position to stop the dribble).  But I admit I know little about the finer points of the game so am curious what others think.

My name ... is Tim

March 4th, 2013 at 12:44 PM ^

Yes - or at the very least, increased playing time. The book on Stauskas from a defensive standpoint is simple - take him baseline. He lets players take him left (offensive player's right) with such ease it's a wonder that teams don't do it more often. It happened in his few minutes against MSU and all day against Penn State. 

This is not to say that Stauskas isn't a valuable player - he is. However, I think Levert - on a team that is extremely efficient offensively and mediocre defensively - is much more valuable to this team. His offensive game isn't nearly as good as Stauskas' but the gap between their defensive play is larger.


March 4th, 2013 at 5:17 PM ^

I think with Stauskas' injury, this is the perfect time to start Levert - if even for one game.  I think he earned it against MSU, it'll give the coaches more info on which to base a longer-term strategy on how to utilize both.  Stauskas was great early in the year coming off the bench adding an offensive spark.  

Because it is our defense that needs greater improvement, I like Levert in the starting lineup to help set the denfensive tone of the game, and bring Stauskas in off the bench to add firepower.

I might even play Stauskas more, but I think it might be best to start Levert... and against Purdue at least, I would definately go this route and see how it works. This is the best opportunity to do this without causing too much damage to Stauskas' confidence.



March 7th, 2013 at 10:06 AM ^

I loved Stauskas coming off the bench for Vogrich, he provided a huge spark and would force the defenses to change mid game rather than prepare for him to start. Not saying Vogrich should play 15+ minutes, but he provides more senior leadership and depth. Let him play the first 3-5 minutes so he can have a better feel for the game rather than come off the bench cold. Levert isn't ready for more than 20 minutes due to his lack of production offensively. 


March 7th, 2013 at 10:06 AM ^

I loved Stauskas coming off the bench for Vogrich, he provided a huge spark and would force the defenses to change mid game rather than prepare for him to start. Not saying Vogrich should play 15+ minutes, but he provides more senior leadership and depth. Let him play the first 3-5 minutes so he can have a better feel for the game rather than come off the bench cold. Levert isn't ready for more than 20 minutes due to his lack of production offensively.