Depth and future rotations


Livers, the reigning Mr. Basketball in the state of Michigan is equally as “unproven” as Teske and Davis. If we are relying on 20 minutes or more out of Teske and Davis next year we are in big trouble IMO. Wagner needs to stay on the floor and be our go-to as much as possible and that will most likely be at the 5


Well no, they aren’t. Last year we had the alternative of playing Wilson as a single big, if Wagner were on the bench with foul trouble, or playing Wilson and Wagner together if we wanted two bigs out there. We don’t have either of those options this year. I’m asking, what do you do this year, if Wagner gets 2 fouls in the first 5-10 minutes (which you know will happen)? Or if you want a bigger lineup?


It is absolutely key that one of Davis or Teske emerges as a reliable option to backup Wagner. I’m not disagreeing with you there. That is very different than saying that they will force Wagner to play more/any minutes at the four.

I’m working on a story about some of this stuff, but we’ve been down this path before. Michigan has rarely (ever?) gone with a ‘bigger’ lineup because so many of its advantages stem from being the more skilled, more spread team. There’s more that Michigan can do offensively with Livers or Robinson on the floor than a second big man. The offense has 4 perimeter players and 1 big.

Right now, I’m not sure it is best for Wagner to play the 4 (for him or the team), but I wouldn’t be surprised if he at least tried it in early exhibitions and stuff to see if it is an option. In crunch time or in important games, I’d be surprised if that look persists.


I don’t think we need to rely on Teske/Davis for 20 MPG. However, playing Wagner at the 4 with Teske behind him to offer rim protection is an intriguing thought. Of course, if you want to put Mo at the 4 for a few minutes offensively, you can always go zone.


Wagner is still going to experience foul trouble. I don’t think there’s any getting past that. We just have to hope it’s less than last year, but I think 30 mpg average is probably as much as we can expect. We could get away with basically only giving our bigs 40 minutes a game when we had a GRIII starting, but we have no one comparable at the 4 this year. If Wagner is taking 30 minutes out of 80 for the 4/5, who are you going to give the other 50 to? Teske/Davis may not be ideal, but neither is giving Robinson 30 minutes a game.


Minutes should be bunched in three buckets: 1/2, 3/4, and 5.

Wagner plays 28 at the 5, Teske/Davis split the other 12.

Duncan, Matthews, Livers and Poole (could throw Watson into the mix here as well) split the 80 minutes at the 3/4.

Simmons, Simpson and MAAR split the 80 minutes at the 1/2.

There’s your basic rotation as I see it today.


Yes, we’re on the same page there. We really need one of Teske/Davis to be > Ricky Doyle at least, but there’s some wishing involved there.

I think it’s premature to project what we’ll be able to do offensively with Livers, though. He may be no more than a marginal contributor this year.


We have enough perimeter-oriented wings that can slide to the 4 if need be. Robinson and Livers should combine for close to 40, but if not we could always slide Matthews to the 4 similar to when Irvin would play that spot and put him next to Poole, MAAR and a point guard.

If Wagner can average close to 30, we won’t have an issue.


I will be curious to see how often Matthews will be assigned with guarding the opposing teams athletic 4’s. It seems like it will make sense in a lot of situations…

General question for anybody who wants to answer: Does Robinson struggle more with guarding 3’s or 4’s? I really haven’t thought about it…


In terms of a base assignment, I expect Michigan to basically hide Robinson on the opposing team’s worst player. Or least dynamic player (shooters, etc.). Against a team with a stretch four man, then Robinson probably guards the four. Against a team like Ohio State, maybe Robinson guards Kam Williams and you put Matthews on Tate, etc.

But with so much switching these days, you’ll end up guarding just about everyone and Michigan usually always switches 1-4.


I am not overly worried about the 4 this year. It will be our weakest position, but I think we will actually be better at the other 4 compared to last year’s team. Most teams have a weakness. We should have plenty of options to deal with various opponents.


I’m curious if this will hold true with a new defensive coach and presumably a new defensive philosophy


I think last year kind of taught us that ‘changes to defensive philosophy due to assistant coach’ are a bit overblown. Yes, Michigan made some tweaks last year (i.e. trying to allow fewer 3-pointers), but they were just trying to play a better version of the defense that John Beilein has been trying to run.

Maybe Yaklich brings new tweaks or ideas, but it isn’t like going from a spread offense to an under center quarterback. I’d expect Michigan to still switch heavily 1 through 4 (as a lot of teams do at this point).


I’ll bet Brooks takes some minutes at the 1-2. And I would further argue MAAR is going to have to shoot the ball well to keep his starter’s minutes.

Is there any reason to think Simmons can play the two? If not, then one of Brooks or Poole is almost certainly going to play some there, because certainly Simpson seems to be a pure PG all the way.


Wrote a lot about Muhammad’s game over at The Athletic. I’m not sure he’ll be ‘the guy’ this year, but why do you think he’ll lose starter’s minutes?

Michigan usually gets by with about 3 guys at the 1 and 2 and maybe someone else who can slide down. In this case, I would say Simmons and MAAR play ~30 mins per game and Simpson eats up a lot of the remaining 20. Beilein hasn’t been scared to go w/ 2 PG looks if both PGs can play.

Poole could play the two, but I think the 3 is an easier spot to play as a freshman (similar to Nik) and plays into his ability to stretch the floor from the corners.


It really depends on what Brooks and Poole offer.

MAAR, to me, has always been a solid player, but on a great team he’s a sixth or seventh man. Ideally, you would like your two guard to be a main scoring threat and someone who can consistently make outside shots. To date, he hasn’t been that. If either Brooks or Poole offer more scoring punch, I think they could eat into his minutes in games where he starts slow.


More in that article, but he did shoot 49% from three in Big Ten games last year.


Poole and Brooks’ presumed best/most useful attribute as freshmen is their shooting; but MAAR shot 40% from 3–and something like 50% during B1G play–last season. And MAAR is a bucket-getter in the paint, and while not a ‘lockdown defender’, has been one of our better defenders each of the last 3 years.

So Poole and/or Brooks could be better shooters, but they would have to be elite shooters to be good enough to take MAAR’s minutes, if shooting is all that they really excel at. Maybe Poole or Brooks is also a great passer–MAAR’s most glaring flaw–but I doubt it, at least as freshmen.


Usually when JB plays 2 PGs at the same time, at least one or both can shoot the 3 though. Z is still a work in progress with his shooting (unless he took a big jump in the off season) and Simmons is fine, but he’s not as good of a shooter as Walton, Spike, Burke (guys who have been used in 2 PG sets)… I think either Brooks or Poole gets minutes at the 2


The rotation at 4 is not necessarily a concern but a big question mark. Theoretically we can see Robinson, Livers, Wagner, Mathews and Watson all playing that position. The simple solution is Robinson/Livers but the extra factor is how good Poole will be. Given Beilein’s comments on Poole, he is likely to spend most of his freshmen year at 3. If he is too good to be sitting on bench as season moves on, then I see him starting at 3 and Matthews at 4 in March, with Robinson the first coming off the bench.