Horford vs Morgan

Submitted by gte896u on January 16th, 2014 at 5:20 PM
After about 10-12 games of saying to myself "Horford is giving really good minutes" I took a spin to UM's Sports Reference page to see if his numbers matched the eye test. In short, they do...by a lot. Horford is currently 2nd among active players in PER and ws/40, trailing only Stauskas. His rebounding % are better than even McGary's and his block rate is double that of the next best. Morgan is producing well enough when hes in, but on top of the discrepancies in individual numbers Horford has a DRtg 10 points lower. Basically he is producing at almost the same rate McGary was defensively, exceeding that on the glass, and is far and away the best shot blocker. Given that Morgan even fouls more often (Horford's per 40 fouls are a tick above 4, and thats skewed by a major outlier in Stanford) its time for Horford to see his minutes expand. What do yall think?



January 16th, 2014 at 5:23 PM ^

i thought you meant they were going to fight.  had me worried for a moment. 

i think it may be as simple as using horford against bigger teams/lineups and morgan against smaller ones.  i think morgan is the better player, but gets abused by guys taller than 6'9".


January 16th, 2014 at 11:02 PM ^

"The senseless waste of pitting these two mighty forces of nature against each other, like matter vs. anti-matter, will be a tragedy, not only for the teams involved.." [ flips card over ] "..but for our planet. All nations must band together, to ensure that such a conflageration never takes place."

Voltron Blue

January 16th, 2014 at 5:28 PM ^

I think the division of playing time is a hot hand / matchup issue.  I'm just glad that Morford (combined entity) is giving us such competent production from the 5 position in McGary's absence.  That's huge for this year's team.


January 16th, 2014 at 5:30 PM ^

Morgan has been solidly improving every year that I've seen him play. he used to be so tentative under the hoop with his putbacks.   Now you see him going up a little stronger.  However, Horford has really been picking up the slack in McGary's absence.  Hard to say but I think both deserve a fair share of play time till a clear winner emerges. 


January 16th, 2014 at 5:34 PM ^

initially I would have said they should stick with the rotation as it is becuase things have been working lately.  But it is clear that Horford brings a different dimentions with his athleticism.  If Horford could cut down on the fouls he could be in line for more PT, but right now, I like the two-headed monster the way it is.


January 16th, 2014 at 5:50 PM ^

I think Beilein has played this one perfect.  He can rotate them so interchangeably right now depending on match-ups, fouls, style of play, and hot-hand that it really doesn't matter.  Horford plays miserably in one game and Jordan Morgan sets some season highs.  Then in the next game it is vice versa.  Much like we've seen with PG, the minutes will shake out over time depending on how it goes - but so far they have both stepped up.  People forget in all the McGary hype that this team has won a lot of games with the Morgan/Horford center position and McGary struggled for much of the regular season and was mostly an energy guy off the bench rather than a focal point of the team.  I love the guy, but having these two experienced guys who know their role is not the weakness the casual fan assumed when McGary got hurt.

Lucky Socks

January 16th, 2014 at 5:53 PM ^

I think they're perfect as a two headed monster.  Horford's numbers may be great, and I do agree he passes the eye test.  But I also think that Morgan plays better when he's given more minutes.  To me, Morgan is a "you get what you see" guy.  He's steady and can produce some nice games.  Horford is a boom or bust guy.  He's been far less bust lately, and his boom probably skews the numbers in his favor.  

My bottom line is that we're fortunate to have two centers with different skill sets.  I love how Beilein manages it.  They each play -- and he rides the hot hand as long until he cools down, fatigue, or fouls.  I don't think the statistics matter.  They're both good options, and they'll earn their minutes on a game-by-game basis.  

Dilithium Wings

January 16th, 2014 at 5:54 PM ^

Both are head scratchers. They have games where they look pretty dang good and then you get a lot of games where you wish we just played with a small lineup.

I like horford because of his outside play and his ability to shot block. Morgan would be my closer though. The guy has worked extremely hard on the free throw line and seems to have batter than average girl hands.

The Victors

January 16th, 2014 at 5:55 PM ^

It is really about matchups and who is playing best in any given game. Each have different strengths and weaknesses and that is why they are such a solid rotation at the 5 spot.

Morgan runs the floor better, plays better perimeter and help defense.

Horford is better against taller, more physical players, better rim protector, and has shown some good, reliable post offense.

I like the way they are utilized now. Go with the hot hand and who matches up better on any given night.


January 16th, 2014 at 6:01 PM ^

has hit more of those low post baby hooks so far this year than in every other year combined.

his offensive game is so much more productive with that shot working.

also, horford has the nicest midrange game for a big on michigan since i don't know when.


January 16th, 2014 at 10:58 PM ^

Morgan's ability to hit that low post baby hook consistently has made him much more viable for long stretches during games. The charges help, too. He's definitely been reasonably solid in everything he's been asked to do.


Horford has appeared more aggressive around the rim and has been hitting that mid-range jumper. Horford has been pulling down 1.8 more boards per game, albeit with a 1.7 minutes more per game. Just seems to give a bit more energy. Having hands not made out of stone helps, I suppose.


As Beilein said when he came to my fraternity's banquet (with absolutely nothing resembling prepared or passingly-considered remarks): "It's all about Balance." (The event had the word "Balance" in its title. )  He related this to rebounding drills.

Both are producing and letting the other rest.



January 17th, 2014 at 2:57 PM ^

Well, clearly the context I was providing for the remark was misconstrued there. The context was required to get to the underlying point. Obviously, everyone loved whatever the man said.

BUT, fwiw Lloyd spoke the next year and gave a beautifully composed and delivered speech. I'm sure it's similar to what he gives elsewhere, but it was well done. Just a contrast.

I'm a big fan of both men. There was no derogatory intent there. But thanks for the witty lolz.



January 16th, 2014 at 6:10 PM ^

It is worth pointing out that Horford and Morgan together have been quite present. They are a combined 67-122, good for a combined FG% of 59.82, and they are also responsible for about one-quarter of the teams total rebounds and nearly half of the blocks. Combined, they definitely have provided a boost out there. 


January 16th, 2014 at 6:34 PM ^

To me this isn't even a real debate right now. Morgan has definitely outplayed Horford this year. He's better offensively, defensively, and is a smarter fouler.

Also don't buy into the defensive ratings. Stauskas was like #1 on the team last year.


January 16th, 2014 at 6:35 PM ^

I think Horford is the most improved player on the team this year. That being said, I don't know that you want to increase his minutes a whole lot more, lest he start to lose effectiveness. Plus, with only basically two big men, they need to both stay fresh and out of foul trouble.

Mr. Yost

January 16th, 2014 at 7:19 PM ^

Michigan will need both. Neither is consistent enough to be dominant over the course of a season, but together, they make a VERY solid combo.

Either gives you a little something extra (hustle, versatility in Horford) (defense, steadiness in Morgan). Either can have a big night on any given day.

Michigan will need both and they'll be a very solid team because of these two guys getting the minutes at C.

We may not need in during the B1G season, but I hope we're practicing a few minutes a day with both guys on the floor at the same time. There are a few teams around the country that would destroy us because of postplay if we try to play small against them. Kansas is one of them.

But as for the topic, these guys could be the difference between the round of 32 and the Sweet 16.

Add McGary and I think we were talking about a potential Elite 8 team. Still, if this group makes it to the Sweet 16, that's nothing to be ashamed of after last year's run.


January 16th, 2014 at 9:17 PM ^

I agree.  Plus the wings have been really good at running the offense this year in the absense of Burke. I would love to see what a lineup of Horford/Morgan/GRIII/Stauskas/LeVert could do, even for just five minutes on the floor together.  Obviously Spike and Walton need their minutes too, and you can't overuse Horford and Morgan without someone else capable of playing the 5, but I don't think it's ridiculous to ever play them together.

I think that unit would be damn hard to attack on defense.  If LeVert (2014 Tim Hardaway Jr. Memorial Streaky Shooter Award Nominee) can get a little more consistent with his shot (not an overnight thing, I know), they'd really have some firepower forcing the defense to play tight help defense on the bigs inside and punishing them with kickouts to open shooters when they do.  Easy points in the paint and deadly 3 point shooters.  Hell yes, that's


January 16th, 2014 at 11:02 PM ^

if one is producing nore than the other, how is that not relevant?

at Horford's rate of production, moving to a 25/15 split is more than justified. if he levels off, they can rebalance the minutes. but right now Horford is producing at an all B1G rate, no reason not to see how much of that he can give.

SF Wolverine

January 16th, 2014 at 11:35 PM ^

Both, please.  Both have put up great numbers against mostly second-tier opponents.  The roud gets tougher and the bigs bigger as we go forward.  Neither is going to consistently dominate, and we will need them both to continue to play well to compete over the next stretch.

A little underrated here, in my view, is how well Stauskas (and others) have been able to deliver theball for easy buckets.  some synergy there; let's hope that the big play continues to be strong, and efficient.



January 16th, 2014 at 8:33 PM ^

Play them both roughly equal minutes in the first half.  Whoever is playing better that day gets the bulk of the minutes in the 2nd half.  Seems to be working out pretty well so far