Big Ten’s top 25 players for 2018-19: 10-6

Zavier Simpson,

You are unranked and Winston is considered top 5. Let that sink in, then,as you did last year, show us again why many of us are glad to have you, leading our team, instead of Winston.


I vehemently disagree with any list that has Winston as a top 10 player.

1 Like

There’s some serious underrating of Winston happening here. Winston’s offensive numbers are absolutely nuts. 50% from three on 150 attempts, 52% on twos, 7 assists a game. He also just so happens to be a WAY below par defender and Zavier has his number. He’s basically the complete inverse of Zavier. As a predictor, I actually disagree with Winston being top five. I think he will see a lot more defensive attention without Bridges and JJJ which will open up Langford. But if you’re looking at stats and the fact that he is almost surely the top guy at MSU, I put him top ten in the Big Ten pretty easily.

This has no correlation to Simpson being in the top 25, I think he is easily, probably top 20, and the question to ask relating to that is would you rather have Zavier Simpson, or Trent Frazier? I take Simpson, zero hesitation.


I agree with the idea that Z is the inverse of Winston.

I also agree that Winston is a great offensive player. For me, it boils down to comparing Winston’s defense to Z’s outside shooting. Z’s outside shooting is not good but luckily Z can refrain from shooting from the outside a lot and to some extent hide his weakness. Winston’s defense is horrible (!) and unfortunately for him, and MSU, refraining from defending will not hide his weakness. Winston is hurting his team 50% of the time he is on the floor…

Between Winston, Loyer, Langford and to some extent Mcquaid. I can’t think of a worse defending backcourt on any big ten team. Ever. It is going to be bad. Very bad.

1 Like

The issue though is the impact of an individual offensive player is more important than an individual defensive player.

A great offensive player can take over a game. A great defensive player can force the other team to adjust (and possibly avoid their first option). So here the great offensive player helps the team more than the great individual defensive player.

On the other side of the ball, a poor offensive player means your team has to essentially play 4 on 5 (this is the Lourawls Nairn scenario), and the defense can help. A poor defensive player can be hidden by defensive tactics such as zone, switching, or matching up with opposing teams worst option. Again, here the poor offensive player hurts the team more than the poor defensive player.


I tend to agree with romeowolv and gtfomycourt.

Also, last year Winston had Jackson and Bridges to clean up some of those drives he gave up. This year, MSU’s shot blockers are not nearly as good as last year.

Izzo should be practicing zone defense all fall. If I was coaching that team, I would. But then again, he is Izzo.

I think the impact of a single defensive player varies according to their position. A center that protects the rim can make up for other defenders’ mistakes. A PG can completely disrupt the other team’s offense, depending on the opponent.

1 Like

AMEN to that!

Sporting News has Michigan Basketball preseason #10 nationally 2 spots better than Sparty.


IF Winston was at M, everybody on this board would’ve been ecstatic.

The numbers he would’ve put up in a real offense would be outstanding.

Kid can flat out shoot.


I think part of the disconnect with Winston is that while his offensive numbers are insane, they PLUMMET against top tier competition. Season long 129 offensive rating. 108.5 versus top 50 equivalent comp. Which is an enormous plummet, there’s no gap even close to that on the Michigan roster.

I think there’s just a certain athleticism gap that Winston can’t make up when he plays certain teams. Can’t overstate his skill (NBA level, probably most skilled college guard in the country) and can’t understate his athleticism (poor athlete at even the high school level). Just a really unique player.


I’ve seen Simpson matchup up with Winston numerous times and it’s very clear Simpson is the better player.

Please allow my poor analogy: Winston is similar to a RichRod Michigan offense, very good against poor comp, exposed against good comp.

Don’t even get me started on the limitations on Nick Ward :slight_smile:

I am not sure this is a matter of “michigan goggles” for me. I have, more than once, confessed that I enjoy watching Winston play. However, I was happy when we landed Z instead of Winston. I am still happy with how that all worked out.

I will be interested to see if Winston can keep producing without Bridges and JJ–all while other teams have learned many of his tendencies and sneaky cheats…My guess is that his offensive numbers will fall some this year and I am not really expecting much of a defensive improvement either.

This is one of the key reasons I think he struggles this season. His numbers fall off quite a bit against top tier competition, as you show. Now he’s going to be option number one for MSU, and everyone knows that he’s their guy. Lots of teams will be game planning about how not to make him effective.

1 Like

To be fair Cassius Winston was really really good against everyone in conference but us…

But how much of that had to do with the two NBA players that required most of the attention. I’m not knocking him but I am curious how he will look when the D focuses on him.

Couldn’t you say the same thing about Simpson?


We remember MSU’s conference schedule, right?

50% from three on 4.3 attempts per game aaaand top 10 in the country in assists per game is ridiculous. I wonder how many players in NCAA history have even done that. But Zavier Simpson played better than him twice and MSU’s conference schedule was soft so he’s obviously not a great player…I really can’t believe Winston being top 5 in the league is such a controversial stance