Milwaukee Bucks pick DJ Wilson at No. 17


Huge miss on Jamal Cain too.


DJ could still improve his lateral agility. The thing is, he’s so freaking long that drivers have to take the scenic route and he can still swat them from behind.


Fun looking back at the offseason preview I wrote about the wing position last year…

DJ Wilson has played 182 minutes at Michigan in two years and it’s still hard to define what exactly he’s going to be. Whatever that is, he’s never going to have a better chance to prove it. With the transfers out by Aubrey Dawkins and Kameron Chatman, Wilson is Michigan’s backup four man almost by default.

The problem might be that even John Beilein and Wilson himself aren’t sure what he’s going to be. Beilein has a good idea of what he wants.

“He’s had a really good offseason in the weight room. He’s understanding who he is,” the head coach said at Media Day. “He’s an athlete who can shoot, he’s not a shooter who’s an athlete. I want him to be a guy that’s a great defender, a guy that is always giving the opponent fits.

“I told him Troy Williams is a great example, what Troy was able to do just cutting and slashing to the basket without the ball, and use your length.”

If you add a Troy Williams to the Michigan roster, you have a way better team. That’s basically the role that Glenn Robinson III filled in his own way. But we’ve also been writing for two years about how badly the Wolverines need someone to fill that role and no one has stepped up to the plate.

Wilson is a 6-foot-10, 240 pound forward who can touch 12-foot-3. He has the raw tools to fill that role, but it’s hard to say that he’s done anything to prove that he has the mindset. Running back the footage of the last 10 baskets that Wilson made (which takes us back to before Christmas), kinds of reinforces the general stereotype: a lot of jumpshots and too many layups that probably should be dunks.


That stands out… Sort of like what we are saying about Charles Matthews: he has all of the tools, but hasn’t proven that he can actually do it. There’s your x-factor for this season.


DJ is a late bloomer who has blossomed. I really liked his handle in high school and thought he needed a major body transformation which he accomplished. JB and the assistant coaches did a great job of teaching DJ how to not play small with all that length. I think he always had the tools just needed to learn how to play. I think it will take a year or two for him to adjust to the physical play of the NBA, but he already has the skill.


Well, they gave up an average of 114.8 a game in the series, so I’d say they won it with offense far more than defense. And the deciding moment was Game 3, with Durant hitting some huge shots on offense (granted, they also got stops in the midst of the comeback).


Agreed. He certainly has things to work on. If he were a 6-11 guy who could shoot 37% from three and had no other flaws to his game, he would be a top 5 pick or better. But certainly he was worth recruiting, and was a huge contributor to a team this year that ultimately turned out to be, at worst, a top 16 team (and really, probably a top 10 team by the end of the year).

Meanwhile, the guy MattD really wanted over DJ (Dante Grantham) is not real special and has very little chance of ever being a pro.

And all of this is not to slam MattD (not too much, anyway). He works hard at his craft, and I do legitimately appreciate all the information he brought to the board about recruits. A little less of the “I’m smarter than Beilein” stuff would have served him better, IMO.


@LosAngelesWolverine1 Why do you keep bringing him up when he doesn’t even post here?


I Know why and I love it. Opinions are great but when someone was so demeaning and insulting to others for believing in Beilein and who he was recruiting, it’s a nice reminder that we all have our own opinions and they are right and wrong, but to try and force your opinion on others and insult them when they feel differently is wrong. The fact he was so far off makes it even better @LosAngelesWolverine1



I don’t find boards like this one enjoyable when 95% of the posts are negative. Now, of course, in some instances the negativity is warranted. I wasn’t happy when we missed the tourney year after year under Tommy Amaker, and I certainly wasn’t happy when the football team went 5-7 in 2014.

But, in my estimation, MattD went out of his way to bash anything and everything John Beilein has ever accomplished. The Big Ten title in 2012 “meant nothing.” The championship game run in 2013 proved you can’t win it all with our style of play. We shouldn’t have recruited Wilson. We shouldn’t have recruited Duncan Robinson. Wagner didn’t look like much on film. Austin Davis is terrible (jury is still out but the news lately seems to be quite encouraging). JB can’t recruit. Players don’t like him. Waiting until June 15th to offer is stupid. Not offering Greg Elliott was stupid.

And, of course, his analysis was always “objective,” he “calls it like he sees it,” and anyone who disagrees with him is a “homer” who doesn’t know anything about basketball.

His constant negativity made this seem like an MSU board at times, and unfortunately there was a very small but consistent group of posters who seemed to hang on every word he posted as if he was, in fact, smarter than everyone else - which only reinforced his condescending attitude toward those who dared disagree with him.

So, when the guy turns out to be dead wrong about something, and something that isn’t at all trivial, it’s worth pointing out. Why? Because at some point he’ll be back, and if his attitude is the same, at least people will remember (or should know) he was spectacularly wrong about plenty this year.

And, as I’ve said, I actually enjoy MattD’s work when it doesn’t involve his “analysis” of Michigan’s players or its recruiting strategy. I like learning about new kids, he takes good videos, and I think he does a nice job with player interviews. And there’s nothing wrong with expressing an opinion. It just shouldn’t come with a heavy dose of condescending arrogance.


And, I should add, he hated Brandon Johns’ game, openly questioned why we were recruiting him, etc., etc., even though everyone acknowledged Johns was playing up a level last summer and that could have been contributing to his struggles. Johns is now turning into a very nice player, and if we end up getting him, there’s no doubt all that early work recruiting him was necessary.


To be fair on the DJ debate, you could debate how much utility you get from basically redshirting a guy for two years and then getting one year of above average starter production, lol.


Well, in retrospect, he clearly should have played more last year.

But either way, let’s say Austin Davis doesn’t play much this coming year but, in 2018-2019, is a key part of a team that wins the Big Ten tourney and makes the Sweet Sixteen. And then turns pro. I don’t see anyone arguing we shouldn’t have recruited him.

Plus, it’s not like we turned down better players for DJ or something. Our other potential option was Dante Grantham. Year one: 8.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, .372 from the floor. Year two: 10.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, .384 from the floor. Last year: 7.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, .386 from the floor.

In year one, having Grantham’s production certainly wasn’t going to turn a 15-17 team into a tourney team.

In year two, maybe having him would have made us a little better (although a 6-8 guy shooting .384 from the floor is awful).

In year three, DJ far outperformed Grantham.


He had plenty of opportunity, he just wasn’t good enough.

Different situations, you could argue that DJ’s inability to play is a lot of the reason why we were so bad in 2015 and 2016. If you recruited someone who could have played right away, maybe your three year stretch is a lot better, and maybe you get 4 years of consistent production. Thinking about it, recruiting a guy who ends up not playing for two years, then blows up into an above average starter and leaves for the NBA without really being a college star is just about the worst-case scenario as far as roster management, lol.

There are hundreds of potential options. Beilein isn’t only allowed to recruit Dante Grantham.


You would rather have a guy this year who was worse than Wilson, so long as you get him back next year, too?

Here’s the reality. We recruited Chatman in the same class. He was the guy we anticipated being the early impact starter at the four, and Wilson was the developmental project. The recruiting “failure,” if any, was that Chatman didn’t develop as anticipated. And if you look back at many of my old threads, I consistently argued the reason the team wasn’t that great for the past few years was that the guys we recruited to be stars - Irvin, Walton, Chatman - weren’t stars. Of course, Walton did turn into a star player the second half of this year, and look what happened.

Honestly, if you look at the logic of your argument, you’re basically saying Wilson is too good. If he wasn’t quite good enough to leave for the NBA, and instead was coming back next year, you would be really happy, right?

Again, we didn’t turn down Kevin Looney for DJ. Looney wasn’t coming. After Chatman, DJ was the highest rated guy we were after. I don’t see how a less productive version of Wilson would be more beneficial to us this year.


I’d rather have a guy play for 4 years, but be a little worse than Wilson because now we’re left with basically three years of bad PF play in exchange for one good one.

But as far as getting drafted, it really doesn’t come down to ability. Like, DJ is not even close to the 17th best basketball player in this draft. He was drafted because has certain things that NBA people like (long arms and 3 point shooting), but that doesn’t translate directly to usefulness in college. I’m saying that having a project who provides nothing for two years and then becomes a solid but not spectacle player who gets immediately drafted to the NBA based on still being a project is pretty bad as far as cost/benefit for roster management.

If you’re not getting immediate impact players, you don’t want projects who are gonna be able to jump to the pros just based on averaging 11 points and 5 rebounds. You want guys with some sort flaw/playstyle that is going to keep them in college (aka the Izzo). So, I think it’s fair to argue that recruiting DJ could have been a mistake.

Well yeah DJ wasn’t literally the only reason we disappointed those years, but he was a reason and was a drain on those rosters.


But you’re totally ignoring the fact that Chatman was the guy we recruited to be the instant impact player. If DJ was the only guy we recruited to be our four, and it took him three years to develop, your argument is a better one.

With that said, I think it’s expecting A LOT for coaches to figure out, in advance, that Player X is going to be “good,” but not good enough to leave early for the NBA.

By your logic, the fact that Wagner (who tested the draft waters) returned means he was worth recruiting, but if he had left (which he easily could have), we shouldn’t have bothered.

Also, Wilson was a very big part of our postseason success this year. We don’t beat Purdue in the Big Ten tourney without his huge game, and we don’t beat either Louisville or Oklahoma State without him playing well. So I don’t see how a lesser player would have helped.

Look, it’s exceedingly rare to get good players, and keep them four years. Most guys leave for the NBA as soon as they have a good shot of getting drafted. Look at GR3. He could have easily left after his freshman year. Still, even if he had, he was worth recruiting because his contribution to that team was significant.

Are you telling me we shouldn’t recruit Pete Nance, simply because it may take him a few years to develop?

Now, if you want to argue we should recruit guys like Johns, Hunter, or Iggy ahead of Nance, because they will be more ready to immediately contribute, sure. But what if we can’t get them? Pass on Nance anyway?

That was the situation with DJ. We landed Chatman, who was supposed to be an immediate contributor. In that situation, it makes all the sense in the world to recruit Wilson.

And finally, I’m again struggling with the logic of how it’s not a good idea to recruit a player who ends up being a pretty important starter on a pretty good team, even if it’s only for one year?


How in the world are you supposed to know that a guy you bring in with the idea of developing is going to be an early entrant in year 3?