Defensive rebounding rate
I agree with most of your assessments, but I think a big concern of mine going forward is late shot clock/game offense. Who are we giving the ball to create their own shot with 5 seconds on the shot clock? Seems like a decent number of possessions against better opponents end in that scenario and I don’t know who I’d give the ball to at this point… Moe at the top of the key or on the block? MAAR on the wing?
Even though we’ve seen sparks from both guys at different times, the PG is still the biggest question mark as to how good this team can be IMO. I don’t think we’ve seen enough to really judge what it will look like moving forward, but there’s nothing that has led me to say “this is going to work out great” either.
Saying this team is very, very bad right now is a stretch IMO. I agree that they will struggle early in the season as there just aren’t any proven play makers beyond Matthews. They have a lot of nice roll players, but will badly miss Walton and DJ until some of the younger guys are ready to step up. My guess is they will be a bubble team most of the year and we won’t know the true direction of the team until February.
I think that hits on the main point @93grad… this team doesn’t really know what it is or who does what right now. It is going to take time to figure that out.
Last year the situation was more along the lines of ‘we are going to do this, let’s hope it works’. Irvin and Walton knew what they were doing on any given possession.
This year, that just isn’t clear right now.
IMO we are more geared toward avoiding late shot clock situations in the first place with Z. Except for the last 2 months Walton was a horrible time waster—often forcing us into late shot clock attempts with a lack of urgency. Simmons seems similar to Walton and he needs to get a sense of urgency earlier in the shotclock, at all times actually.
The late shot lock thing was so irritating to me—it always felt like Walton and Irvin were actually strategizing for that moment when they were forced to shoot because the clock was running out. It’s like they enjoyed it. It was so frustrating.
With Z pushing, Mathews and MAAR hunting and if Robinson will actually pull a quick trigger (he has shown willingness this year) we can reduce those late shot clock situations.
Trying to sell Simpson as an offensive upgrade over Walton is a tough sell.
The team is a work in progress as I see it. We still need the point to step up and be the catalyst during end of the shot clock offense. Right now it is still difficult for Zavier to create his own shot consistently. I think Simmons is probably better at this.
Team will have to create a lot more easy baskets early as the offense has not seemed to flow but its early plus they have faced zones almost entirely these two games.
We are going to have to have Livers develop quickly during the early season games as we will need him during the BIG season. JB needs to let him take his knocks now to get ready.
MAAR is going to be key this season to help settle the team. Played like a senior yesterday and needs to continue to show his leadership.
It’s more fair to say i am pointing out specific categories where Walton was weak and Z is strong. In particular I was addressing the worry of late clock situations.
That’s the same point that I was trying make. Last year’s team was lost for more than half season until Walton stepped up, then suddenly everything fell into places. Three games into the season, this team has no identity yet, but it is getting there. In both games, they played much better as the game progresses. This team has many good pieces and depth, yet a leader needs to emerge, and I think that it could be MAAR if he continues to play the way he did last night.
Well we just saw a game where Michigan had 8 of shots with < 4 seconds on the shot clock in a 64 possession game. That’s not exactly ideal, but you’ll get it against a zone.
A team that plays at Michigan’s tempo and runs half court offense is going to have those shots and I’m not really sure you can eliminate them. U-M is going to run its offense and its counters and then if there’s nothing there, reset and run a PNR or something like that.
We just haven’t seen that at all because of all the zone looks. Eventually, we have to see this stuff against man defense because that’s what U-M is going to face 85% of the time.
Yesterday, he stepped up. On Saturday, he was a no-show. That’s the problem and has been the problem. Can you build an offense around him? Can he pass the ball well enough as a playmaker? I still don’t know. He did make some big buckets yesterday though.
Appreciate the statistics you offered to counter-balance my intuitions. Great stuff! Thank you.
Very excited to see how this team develops over the next few months.
It seems like Wagner is an obvious answer as a go-to guy, but it’s a bit harder with a big guy and especially against a zone and when Wagner’s outside shot isn’t falling. And I’m still not sure MAAR is the guy you can depend on late in the clock – he hasn’t shown an ability to shoot off the dribble or pass it consistently in the halfcourt. Seems like you want one of the PGs or Matthews in PnR with Wagner late. That’s why I am somewhat concerned about Z’s limitations. We should have more information after seeing this offense against man to man.
Early season struggles happen. Northwestern, who got essentially their whole team back, has defeated L-MD by 4 and St. Peter’s by 9. Penn State was in a 5-point game against Campbell with a minute left. IU lost to ISU by 21 and beat Howard by 9. Kentucky has beaten Utah Valley and Vermont by a combined 14 points. Michigan won by 20 and then by 7 in a game where they shot poorly and the other team shot well. It’s not surprising for a team that lost its two leading players plus an NBA first round pick.
Still a lot of unknowns with this team, but also plenty of positives from areas we weren’t sure about.
Yep, tough to set up those ISOs for Wagner. I don’t think that concern is really warranted about a close game in a game like this, I just don’t have any more confidence in projecting what the hell this is going to look like down the road.
Anyone else feel like our defensive switches/rotations don’t look smooth? I don’t know if it’s a lot different from Donlon to Yaklich but we constantly seemed to have guys late rotating, getting turned around on switches, etc.
We have seemed to force turnovers pretty well though. But I think that’s partly with the defensive players we have on the floor.
Also for the PG spot, Z had a very efficient night. That isn’t going to be the norm. I feel like Simmons game most resembles Walton’s and I’d like to see him get more action. I think he can settle into a real nice scoring role off the bench.
We should expect some rough edges early. As has been pointed out, last year we returned 4 starters and Wilson and that team didn’t really get going until February. This year we only return 2 starters and expected rotation guys who have had little or no game experience. Work in progress.
Do we have the pieces to make this work? I think yes.
This team this year to me is about growth toward something special next year. In a lot of ways this team reminds me of the 2011-2012 team, albeit without a guy named Burke, so the ceiling is lower. MAAR/Duncan similar to Novak/Douglass in experience and overall talent. Then you have the returning star coming off one great season, Wagner/Hardaway, who struggle with consistency but can go for 20+ any given night. And you’re hoping for a special breakout guy his first year in the system…I believe Matthews can have that type of impact. An early season trip to Maui that season showed us a lot, hopefully this year’s trip is similar.
I love what I’ve seen from Z so far. 9 “just making the right play” assists in game 1, then JB said he needs to be more aggressive. He comes back with an efficient 5-7 from the floor and 2-3 from deep.
I take solace in the fact that any given night Wagner and Matthews might just be the best pair of teammates on the floor talent-wise. That’s a good place to start. MAAR and Duncan are fine starters with clear strengths and weaknesses, but I think relying on them to be 30-35 minute contributors limits the team’s best-case scenario this season. If Z, Matthews and Wagner can have great seasons of growth, and Livers, Brooks, Teske make strides as well next year very well may be special and a top-10 preseason type year with the incoming class
Coach Beilein doesn’t know how offense or rotation is going to shake out, but he’s confident he has the pieces to make it work, I’m cool with that.
The big unknown (for me) is how PG evolves, but it is becoming increasingly clear Simpson is going to have a major role.
Maybe Simmons and Simpson can run some together idk.