Depth and future rotations


Last year Beilein played an 8 man rotation (Walton/Rahk/Irvin/Wilson/Vagner with Simpson/Robinson/Donnal). He usesd Simpson to rotate with the guards, Robinson to rotate with the wings and Donnal to spell Wagner (sometimes he used Wilson at the 5).
This year I would expect him to use 9. Instead of Simpson rotating at the guard, I expect him to sub at point and Poole to sub at the 2. I think this would be a better use of the talent. I expect Livers to sub for Robinson at the 4 and then Robinson to relieve Mathews at the 3. Davis or Teske to sub at the 5. That would be 9 players on a per game basis.


That’d be nice, but it depends on both Poole and Livers being good enough to play every game as true freshmen. I think that’s far from certain. Poole may be a better player in the long run, but he has more established guys ahead of him this year. With Wilson gone, the 4 is open for someone, though, unless Davis or Teske really steps up at the 5, and Wagner takes most of the minutes at the other big.


The rotation guys always comes down to how good the players are. Who is more experienced than Poole that can back up Rach at the 2? My point is, I think we would be better with Poole getting the back up minutes at the 2, rather than Simpson, Brooks, or Watson.


I believe they will both play…but if Poole or Livers are only going to get freshman Ibi Watson-like backup minutes that result in a bunch of DNPs come conference play, I would hope that JB would redshirt either of them. They are too talented long term to lose a year of eligibility in spot minutes.


If JB does not get effective minutes out of either Poole or Livers the team will have issues.


I think it’s less about the number of players in the rotation and more about the number of minutes played by the bench. I would say 8 players is an optimal rotation (backup guard, backup forward, backup center). That’s even what NBA teams tend to do in the playoffs. You only need a long rotation to deal with season-long grind, but in the NCAA you get plenty of rest.

On an individual game basis, I think it’s best to try and avoid playing your starters more than 34 minutes to keep them fresh throughout the whole game. Michigan unfortunately couldn’t afford that last year because we really only went 6 deep


Our issues will be size and physicality down low against plenty of teams this season. Neither Duncan or Moe, or Livers for that matter are physical (I know Davis is but imo will be limited).

Wilson’s size and skill made up a lot for his lack of physicality on D, although he improved a ton. We’ll be missing him in a couple different aspects this year.

I’m comfortable with every other position this season minus the 4 spot.


This thread has jumped from 2018 Recruiting to 2017 roster/rotation depth, etc. Any chance we can start a new thread for this coming season? This one is 1700+ posts deep and causes my heart to skip a beat every time there is a new post (I love how the 2018 class is shaping up and hope there is no activity until signing day :slight_smile: )


I agree with the size issue at the 4. We better hope Sanderson has worked some early magic with Livers because if what we have is Duncan to be the main person at the 4 I’m afraid we will get abused at the position. I still think we will need Poole’s shooting looking at what we lost in 3 point scoring from Walton and Irvin. There are a lot of questions to go around from point guard through the 4 spot.


I also think this talk is really speculative until we even see them in a real game against a real opponent (it’s always hilarious to see us all try to deduce stuff from games against East Northstate Tech - it’s fun to see the guys play in them, but I have found you can draw virtually nothing from them). You have to see how these back of the rotation guys belong or don’t belong on the court against an at least passable level D1 team in a game where both teams have at least thoughts of winning - imo.

This is something I feel I have learned over the last five years (I used to try to practice divination from those exhibition games, too)


I still think we should be slotting Wagner in as the stretch 4 for most of his minutes, and some combination of Teske and Davis at the 5, for as much as we want to have two bigs in at the same time. Then if we want to run a smaller lineup, give Robinson or Livers some minutes at the 4. I agree that having Robinson starting at the 4 is not an ideal situation. Better for him to get most of his minutes backing up the 3, and maybe a little time at the 4 if we’re playing a heavy zone team.

And yes, we’ll probably miss Walton’s 3 point shooting, but Irvin was actually pretty bad on 3s last year, so that won’t be that hard to replace. Point guard is the least of our concerns, actually. I doubt anyone will be as good as Walton was down the stretch last year, but Simmons is experienced, productive, and has a good skill set for Beilein’s offense. Pretty high floor there. If Simpson shows reasonable improvement as a backup, that position is in good hands, even if Brooks doesn’t contribute. It would be nice to see Poole giving MAAR some quality backup minutes, though.


Wagner cannot guard the 4. He struggled moving his feet laterally and staying in front of 5s. Trying to do it with perimeter players is a recipe for defensive disaster. Not to mention, part of what makes Mo so good is his mismatch on offense. 5s can’t guard him. He is too quick and skilled for them. If a 4 is guarding him, he loses some of his mismatch.


Wagner is not a stretch 4. He’s a huge, plodding 4 in modern basketball terms and doesn’t really have the requisite lateral agility to make it work. Wilson was an ideal 4 cause he was very long and athletic, to go along with decent lateral agility. Mo is just big, without the athleticism or agility to make it work.


I know Beilein has mentioned Wagner at the four in passing (as an option not a primary look), but I just don’t see it as a good idea. I guess time will tell.


Wagner at the 4 would be an auto bench after 2 minutes every game.


Wagner can’t guard the 5, either. He’s likely going to be a defensive liability regardless of what you call the position he’s playing. So be it. And calling him a 5 on offense doesn’t mean the opposition is obliged to guard him with their 5, so what does it matter? Bottom line, you want him on the perimeter a lot more than Davis or Teske.


Yeah, I saw him plod past Caleb Swanigan quite a few times when we played Purdue. Louisville’s big men might disagree with the “plodding” label as well.


Wagner being a 5 doesn’t mean that Davis or Teske is a 4. (They are also 5s).

Bottom line is that you want to get your best players on the floor the most minutes and I’m not sure that you can Davis or Teske eating away at minutes for some of the guards and wings on this roster.

Wagner’s biggest advantages come when he can pull an opposing five man away from the basket and attack him from the perimeter. If he’s being guarded by a guy like Vince Edwards or Jae’Sean Tate while playing the four, he loses those quickness advantages.


That may or may not be the case. We really don’t know what we’ll see from Davis or Teske this year, but they are much more pure inside players than Wagner. How good they’ll be is another matter, of course, but without Wilson, we’re probably going to be depending on some combination of those 2 for at least 20 minutes a game this year, regardless. What are our alternatives, especially if we’re facing a bigger, stronger lineup? Robinson at the 4, which is a defensive and rebounding disaster against good power forwards, or an unproven true freshman in Livers?

And the nice thing about Wagner is that if you send a quick 6’5" guy to the perimeter to guard him instead of a slow 6’11’ guy, Wagner can shoot the 3 right over him


The alternatives are very similar to what they were last year (and look back at how many minutes DJ Wilson played at the five down the stretch last year). Michigan is going to play pick and roll, pick and pop against bigger and slower teams. Those teams are going to try to switch and Simmons will have to attack the big. Those teams are not going to switch and Wagner has to hit pick and pop threes. Those teams will eventually usually end up going small because their four man isn’t going to want to chase Duncan Robinson around the perimeter.

It’s the same sort of match up chess that Michigan has been juggling for a while now.