Form Tracker: Dec 1st, 2015

Something is messed up with the Form Tracker post on the main page so temporarily moving it here…
After a year on the shelf, we’re bringing back our Form Tracker feature. Roughly every two games we’ll check in and grade Michigan players’ performances over the last week.

Caris LeVert: 8

Caris LeVert was expected to carry Michigan’s offense and he’s done just that to this point. He’s shooting the ball well, distributing, rebounding and getting to the free throw line. During Michigan’s trip to the Bahamas, LeVert seemed to learn a lot about where he fits into this team as he fell into a more natural role. He was still a creator and scorer at critical times, dominating parts of both games against Charlotte and Texas, but he allowed his teammates to be involved in the offense as well.

Derrick Walton: 7.5

For Walton, we saw more of the same inconsistency that’s plagued his season to date. Walton was dominant against Texas, easily earning Michigan’s MVP honors, but he struggled to control the game against UConn. Walton was just 1 of 8 from two-point range last week, but he’s on fire from three where he hit 8-of-10 attempts in the Bahamas. His ability to find big men, cutters and shooters for open shots against Texas was impressive and he drew a critical charge in the final moments against the Longhorns in another step in the right direction.

Moritz Wagner: 7

Wagner scored 19 points on 9 shots in a blowout win over Charlotte and followed that up with 7 points on perfect shooting against Texas. He’s the most technically skilled of Michigan’s big men – he’s got great hands, catches the ball high and knows how to finish – and he held his own against Texas’ massive front line.

“It’s really been encouraging for all of us. You guys saw what I saw,” John Beilein said on Monday. “First of all he has really good hands and secondly he has a sense of where he is underneath the basket where he just puts it in. There’s considerable dilemma sometimes for some of our guys when there’s a layup and he just puts it in.”

Duncan Robinson: 7

Duncan Robinson was supposed to be a shooter that made an instant impact in Michigan’s offense and other than his clunker against UConn, he’s been just that. Robinson – like just about everyone else on the roster – couldn’t make a shot against the Huskies, but was lights out against Charlotte and Texas.

“I think that when he first got to this level, where at the other level he could probably have a pretty average speed release at 6-8 and still get his shot over a 6-3 or 6-4 Division III player,” Beilein said. “Now he has really quick guys coming at him and he has to quicken that. I think you saw the shot fakes when they are coming at him too hard, once he gets his feet on the floor he’s a pretty good passer.”

Zak Irvin: 6

Zak Irvin played the best game of his junior season on Friday against Texas and appears to be showing signs of emerging as the player we saw at the end of last season.

“They’re not back until they’ve back and (Irvin) is still not back,” Beilein said. “But he’s getting better every single day.”

He’s still not fully healthy and has the tendency to get beat to some rebounds due to his lack of explosion at this stage in his recovery, but his passing ability has been rounding back into form and it was nice to see him finally hit some shots against the Longhorns.

Aubrey Dawkins: 5

Duncan Robinson played more minutes than Aubrey Dawkins in all three games in the Bahamas, a sign that the sophomore wing could be in jeopardy of losing his starting spot at some point going forward. Dawkins averaged just 7.3 points per game at Atlantis and he’s been plagued by mental mistakes defensively. He has the potential to explode for 20 points in just about any game, but he hasn’t taken a big leap as a creator in the offense.

Ricky Doyle: 4

Doyle moved into the starting lineup when Michigan traveled to the Bahamas, but he failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Doyle was active on the offensive glass, but turned the ball over 6 times in three games and struggled to catch and finish in the pick-and-roll game. He’s still the biggest player that Michigan has down low, but he doesn’t look comfortable in the ball screen game and needs to rebound more effectively going forward, especially on the defensive end.

DJ Wilson: 3

Wilson banged in a couple of threes in garbage time against Charlotte, but played only one minute against Texas where he was immediately yanked from the game after allowing an offensive rebound on a free throw in the second half.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman: 3

Abdur-Rahkman is now backing up Walton and LeVert with Albrecht essentially on the shelf, but the offense has sputtered a bit when he’s been in the game. After earning 20 minutes in Michigan’s first two games in the Bahamas, he played just six minutes in the win over Texas.

“I should say Muhammad will definitely be in that eight (man rotation),” Beilein said on Monday.

So expect Abdur-Rahkman to continue to earn his chances, but he it would be nice to see him provide an offensive spark sooner than later.

Kameron Chatman: 2.5

Chatman grabbed eight boards and scored 6 points against Charlotte, but failed to record a statistic other than a missed shot and two fouls in limited playing time against UConn and Texas. The 6-foot-7 wing seems to be out of the rotation for right now as Michigan’s wing minutes are split between Irvin, Dawkins and Robinson.

Mark Donnal: 2.5

Donnal lost his starting role and didn’t play against UConn, but he deserves some credit for stepping up down the stretch against Texas when he grabbed a couple of boards, scored a bucket and split four free throws.

Spike Albrecht: 2

It has been clear that Albrecht isn’t healthy enough to play and now he’s going to focus on rehab rather than practice over the next few weeks as he tries to improve his flexibility and mobility. There’s still a chance that Albrecht will play in games, but he won’t be a regular part of practice.

“If we have a choice right now of two hours of therapy at one of the therapy centers here in Ann Arbor or two of practice, it’s going to be two therapy,” Beilein said on Monday. “Just to do whatever we can to get him ready.”