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 10:06 AM ^

Yeah...there are positives and negatives to starting both players.  Stauskas is better on offense, but LeVert is a better defender.  LeVert looks like a mini-Hardaway out there, and I can't tell them apart with those maize jerseys/maize numbers.  I was frustrated by LeVert yesterday because of some freshman mistakes, but Stauskas is just as guilty sometimes.


March 4th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

If you score 10 points a game but your poor defense is responsible for giving up 12 you are a liability.  It's obviously not as simple as that but I'm at the point where I think even when stauskas is scoring points his defense is such a liability that he should be coming off the bench, we didn't lose to penn st because our offense wasn't clicking.


March 4th, 2013 at 3:14 PM ^

I get the notion of what you're saying but we scored 10 points in the final 9 minutes of that game (6 in the final 7:30).  I was watching a team as a whole struggle: defensively not stopping a lower tier NCAA team score triple the amount of points we were scoring in that final "stretch" and offensively a malfunctioning unit that really just looked like crap, which we know isn't the case as we've seen them do some special things with the ball.


March 4th, 2013 at 8:16 AM ^

I still think Stauskas is the better option if he's healthy. Someone posted in another thread that he still has the best +/- rate on the team. He surely hits a couple threes last night if he hadn't gotten hurt. His defense has been porous at times, but I think there's been a bit of overreaction as well. A lot of our problems come down to giving up second chances becuase we aren't physical enough when it comes to rebounding, which is a team concept (forget the ball, just find a man and box out).


March 4th, 2013 at 8:41 AM ^

If Stauskas is almost always out there when Burke is, but Burke is on the court a decent amount when Stauskas is off, then that stat could tell you that whoever replaces Stauskas is not as good as Stauskas, which is what lowers Burke's +/- below Stauskas. +/- is overrated, maybe, but it has utility, especially when comparing two players who are substitutes for each other on the same team (Stauskas vs. Levert), because more of the other variables (other players on the court) are similar.

That said, I'd be curious about Stauskas vs. Levert's +/- the last 10 games. Stauskas got to rack up nice numbers early in the year when Caris wasn't playing much. It's also nice that they're both great contributors as freshman, and I would expect they'll be on the court more at the same time in the coming years.


March 4th, 2013 at 10:10 AM ^

Stauskas plays basically all of his minutes alongside Burke, GR3, THJ while lavert plays a substantional portion of his time with the subs. Of course the +/- will reflect that.


March 4th, 2013 at 8:16 AM ^

Based on the rest of our starting rotation and granted he's healed up enough from that nasty cut, I'd would still have Stauskas start.

Stauskas and LeVert are very different players and while LeVert's defense is important, I'd rather give Stauskas the confidence to come out early and get hot.  No matter what LeVert's defense will be there, but we are better off if Stauskas hits a few threes before half.

I like the idea of evening out their minutes though.  LeVert was so key to our win on Sunday.


March 4th, 2013 at 11:11 AM ^

There's only one ball and Stauskas needs to have it to contribute.  If we're working to get him the ball it means Burke, Hardaway, GR3, and Morgan aren't getting it as much.  It'd be nice to work on getting shots early in the game to get THJ and GR3 going.

In short, we have enough offense for that group, but the D needs work - insert LeVert.

Stauskas should be our 'microwave' off the bench - instant offense.

LeVert should be our designated perimeter 'stopper' to start games.

Who finishes?  Depends on the game and matchups. 



March 4th, 2013 at 1:42 PM ^

Can get out of his funk or not. Right now we need anyone who can score other than Burke. We also need better defense. It's a tricky place to be. If THJ can start scoring again Nik's minutes aren't as important. We need someone to get hot.


March 4th, 2013 at 8:18 AM ^

At this point in the season, I'd probably go with:






I know it's not gonna happen. I just like the way that five looks.


March 4th, 2013 at 9:09 AM ^

I know it's not going to happen, but when Max Bielfeldt is healthy again, this lineup becomes much more possible.  Having Horford and Bielfeldt able to come in and rest McGary & Morgan for a few minutes is a huge luxury.  

It's pretty amazing that this team is going 9 players deep and Burke is still playing almost 90% of the time, which is probably much higher over the past 10 games.  


March 4th, 2013 at 8:38 AM ^

I think the offense looks less stagnant with him out there. On the other hand, Stauskas has averaged 11 points for Michigan as a freshman, and will in future have games where he scores 25-30. Good problems to have down the road, but right now I give Caris more minutes. And I think that coming off the bench could help Stauskas rather than hurt his psyche. Couple of threes from him yesterday in the late going and that is a comfortable victory. 

SF Wolverine

March 4th, 2013 at 8:46 AM ^

with Morgan now healthy, and lots of folks having got PT over the last 10 games or so, we have some lineup flexibility as we hit the postseason.  We can go bigger with McGary and Morgan, more offensive with Stauskas, or amp up the defense with Caris.  I'm in favor of givning minutes to people who are diving on the floor for 50/50 balls, boxing out, etc.

Mr. Yost

March 4th, 2013 at 8:49 AM ^

Hardaway Jr.

Then put McGary in for GRIII and Stauskas in for THJ.

Then come back with GRIII for Morgan and THJ for LeVert.


Stauskas is a role/specialty player right now. Just like the kid Sheehey at IU. Bring him off for THJ and you still have two offensive minded guards on the floor. Then when you sub Burke out for his quick breather, THJ will have already gotten his blow.

As for Morgan and McGary...we HAVE to play them more than we do. I'm begging Coach B to play them just 5-7 minutes more than we do. We need the rebounding and toughness.

For that matter, I'd play GRIII at SF for a couple minutues with "2 bigs" just so you're not killing his minutes with the "2 Bigs" lineup. 

Mr. Yost

March 4th, 2013 at 9:03 AM ^

Guys, it's LeVert!!! Caris L-e-Vert. There is no 'a' in his last name.


He's not going to the NBA anytime soon, we're going to have 3-4 years with this kid...let's learn how to spell his name.



March 4th, 2013 at 9:09 AM ^

I really like LeVert's game.  He is a better defender than Stauskas, has a better handle, can score the ball in a variety of ways and can get out and run in transition (I don't remember Stauskas being that quick).  The defensive rotations seemed so much better yesterday and Izzo even commented about how much more aggressive LeVert was as compared to their first game.  

I guess it doesn't matter who starts as JB has shown that he will sub early but I have to wonder for a team that has struggled on defense if LeVert isn't the better option to help set a tone at the start of a game.  I'll say this, I don't know if Michigan would have won, between turnovers and defense yesterday with Stauskas getting major minutes.  Yes, he may have hit a 3P shot or two but then again, State's whole defensive plan was to take the 3P shot away so I'm not sure a even a couple of threes would have made up for the other problems.


March 4th, 2013 at 9:32 AM ^

LeVert still comes off the bench. Stauskas earned the starting position, and it isn't going to be taken away that quickly. I have to believe that the last three games have impacted Stauskas on what he needs to do. Having said that, the starter will possibly depend on if Stauskas is healthy enough to start.

Spontaneous Co…

March 4th, 2013 at 9:34 AM ^

I just watched the post-game interviews with Burke and Levert on umhoops.com and that's really the first time I've heard Levert.  He's a great interview - humble and responsive, not just full of cliches.

I think as he gets more mature he's going to be a real glue guy for us.


March 4th, 2013 at 9:38 AM ^

We could start LeVert for his defense and bring Stauskas off the bench in a Vinnie Johnson instant offense role but only IF hardaway can improve his consistency on offense. Else, we become too limited to survive without Stauskas starting and playing extended minutes.


March 4th, 2013 at 11:55 AM ^

But I think this is why GR3 goes invisible for long stretches.  With the current starters he is option #4 on offense.  With Stauk coming in around minute 6, GR3 could get established at beginning of games as option #3.  The 2nd unit could use a sharp shooter as well as its lacking scoring - most of the current bench guys are scramblers.


March 4th, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

Go big or go home! Just let the big guys run a million picks and let Burke weave his way for a layup...they've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time. 

PG - Trey Burke  6-0

PF - Jordan Morgan 6-8

PF - Jon Horford 6-9

PF - Mitch McGary 6-10

PF - Blake McLimans 6-10

Top Sub:

PF - Max Biefeldt 6-8



Blue and Joe

March 4th, 2013 at 9:49 AM ^

I was wondering halfway through the game if the better defense performance was due to Stauskas being out. I don't know if Levert should start, but I think he has earned much more playing time. 


March 4th, 2013 at 9:56 AM ^

...that we start a kid who misses mearly every 3 point shot he attempts while wide-open, gets burned regularly on defense and is turnover prone just because he made a few open lay-ups???? Am I the only one on this board who thinks LeVert should be limited to 10 minutes a game and Horford should start getting more minutes??? Or are we just happy that we lucked out to beat sparty at home???

Space Coyote

March 4th, 2013 at 10:01 AM ^

He has struggled quite a bit since coming back from injury. His rebounding has been underwelming, his defense has reverted back a bit to last year (looking a bit weaker/getting pushed around) and he has looked lost on offense quite a bit. There is a reason he goes in for a little bit and then gets pulled shortly after and has a coach typically in his ear. He is a role player that isn't sufficiently playing his role right now. He is needed on this team, and I hope he steps it up on the rebounding and defensive end, because those 5 or so minutes where McGary and Morgan can get a rest or you can play one of them at the 4 and rest the other are huge. But he really needs to step it up from his B1G play so far.


March 4th, 2013 at 10:29 AM ^

...and tell me the rebounding numbers vs. Sparty, then tell me how we will beat a team who will make those easy put-backs...I'm glad LeVert is getting experience and proved useful is perimeter defense (when he wasn't getting scored on regularly), but to say that Horford isn't doing well is largely due to the fact he isn'g getting any minutes...Horford would be much more productive than LeVert if he gets the time to play...If not, he might be leaving the team just like the other 6'9" player we had who had to sit and watch a terrible Vogrich play over him last year

Space Coyote

March 4th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

I'm struggling to comprehend your thought process here. Horford's potential minutes have at most an extremely marginal impact on LeVert's minutes. LeVert plays the 2 or 3, Horford mostly the 5 but potentially the 4 as well. The only way their minutes cross is if you put GRIII at the 3, which hasn't been happening so that point is moot.

I even admitted that this team needs Horford to step up, but when he's in the game he isn't providing the impact you seem to think he is providing. Playing him more minutes won't make him better at rebounding. He needs to get better at rebounding before playing more minutes. The whole team needs to get better, but defense and rebounding are supposed to be his role, and he isn't doing well enough yet to warrent more minutes (though, again, I admit that he needs some minutes to rest the other guys). He isn't the answer to the problem you're posing.

I guess I should throw an ellipsis in here too...


March 4th, 2013 at 12:22 PM ^

....as I can see you will not listen to my argument, let the stats talk:

Horford is averaging 2.3 Rebounds per game and only avergaes 9.5 minutes a game (lately he has been getting around 5 or 6 minutes and is still getting a couple of rebounds)...so lets increase his minutes to say 15 a game and I am willing to bet he gets at least 5 rebounds a game and a couple of O-Reb's as well

Horford also only has 208 minutes in the books and has scored 55 points and is nearly 54% shooting from the field compared to LeVert who has 280 minutes in the book (almost 2 more complete games) and plays a position in Belein's system where he has far more open looks and shots and only has 68 points and comes in at 34% from the field

I would agree with your argument on his defensive ability, but he got scored on twice at Wisoconsin and let his man shoot 3 pointers in his face that cost us the game...and we are getting destroyed down low, we don't need another mediocre defender at the 2 position who is 34% from the field...LeVert deserves some limited time, but we need the bigs to play

Space Coyote

March 4th, 2013 at 12:50 PM ^

LeVert's minutes and Horford's minutes don't relate. So you can argue Horford deserves more minutes, but not because you don't think LeVert should get as many.

Now looking at the stats (rather than what I've seen since Horford came back from injury), against MSU this season Horford has played 10 minutes. In those 10 minutes he has had 1 rebound, 1 steel, 0 blocks, 0 points, 2 TOs, and 5 fouls.

During B1G play, Horford has 30 rebounds in 121 minutes. That's 9.9 reb per 40 minutes. Morgan averages 13.0 reb per 40 minutes while McGary averages 10.9 reb per 40 minutes. Bielfeldt averages 8.6 reb per 40 minutes. Both Morgan and McGary offer more offensively and appear to be better at rebounding (although rebound per 40 isn't that great of a stat, it's what you're pretty much asking for and I can't do rebounding efficiency). Horford a little better at shot blocking, but also picks up a ton of cheap fouls because he isn't as good at moving his feet and getting into position.

So my conclusion stands, Horford has a role on this team and he isn't doing it to the degree you would like. This team needs him going forward, but he needs to step up if he's going to get more minutes, particularly against good rebound teams like MSU.


March 4th, 2013 at 1:14 PM ^

...makes perfect sense: play 2 bigs at the same time to increase rebounds and second chance points...I don't care what 3 since all 3 are efficient given the chance...but Belein choosing to sit Horford when we need bigs is silly and hasn't worked on the road in conference play....I hope I'm worng, but this short line-up will most likely bite is int he end like last year

Space Coyote

March 4th, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

One thing I said back in the McGary/Morgan debate, is you don't know how coming off the bench after starting all year would effect a kid (especially one so young). So I'd probably stick with what Michigan has been doing but increase LeVert's minutes.

That being said, if the season started brand new today, I'd probably start LeVert. McGary is your energy guy, so you don't really need LeVert to be that guy off the bench. I don't think LeVert is as good of a defender as many on here are making him out to be, but he is probably the best perimeter defender on the team right now due to his length (I think Burke has better feet, but he can't really disrupt shots as well so players get more "open" looks, open being a relative term). I think this team needs that initial focus to really be on defense. The offense will come with this team, and Stauskas can play about even minutes (or more still, depending on game situation or who's hot), have fresh legs off the bench, and hopefully be responsible for defending some of the other teams bench guys (in his few minutes last night he got beat rather easily at least a couple times).

One thing you worry about bringing a shooter off the bench is them getting a little cold between warm ups and game time, so you must consider that, but from my experience with pure shooters this doesn't matter as much as it does with most other guys.

I think at the end of the day, the difference is pretty slim. For this season, I think you stick with Stauskas because you know both players (Stauskas and LeVert) react well to their current position. You also, obviously, have to take into account what happens in practice, which we aren't privy to.