Coming into this season, there were a lot of questions circling the 2013-2014 Michigan basketball team. It’s still early, but 5 games in some of the questions are starting to be answered.
Who will replace Burke as the guy with the ball in his hands at the end of the game?
Nik Stauskas. Stauskas has the confidence you want in a guy that is taking the final shot. Everyone knows he can shoot, but his ability to get to the hoop has always been underrated.
Will GRIII take his game to an elite level by developing his dribble/drive?
No. GRIII is a great player who doesn’t excel at any one particular facet (besides dunking). He has the talent to blow up for a 20/10 night here and there, but more often than not he is going to be having quiet 13/6 type nights.
Was Mitch McGary’s post-season a fluke?
No. Mitch’s size, talent, and motor are going to continue to show up on the stat sheet. I think McGary might end with a ridiculous amount of double/doubles, a solid source of steals, and respectable blocked shots #s.
Will Mitch McGary take his game to the next level by developing post moves and becoming less awkward in the paint?
No. That is not a knock on McGary, because I think he is one of the top 5 centers in the nation. McGary has a great overall skill set, but I don’t see him being a great scorer. I think we will see several games where McGary has more rebounds than points.
Will Derrick Walton be able to step in and run the offense?
This is TBD, IMO. Walton has looked good at times and like a freshman PG at times. The Big Ten has a lot of talent at PG this year and I need to see more from Walton before I am comfortable going into conference play.
Who will replace Tim Hardaway Jr.?
Caris LeVert. I think this trade off is a wash. LeVert’s improvement from last year is incredible. Though he isn’t the scorer that THJ was, LeVert brings better defense, ball-handling, and vision to the table. This is huge for Michigan because 5* Zak Irvin is nowhere near ready for extended minutes.
How will the new foul rules affect Michigan?
Michigan was always pretty good at drawing the charge. We aren’t going to be getting those calls anymore and that is going to put a big onus on our bigs. Without our guards in the lane drawing charges, McGary is going to be in foul trouble a lot. He has already had 3 fouls in 14 minutes, 4 fouls in 22 minutes, and 4 fouls in 33 minutes.
On the other side of the court, Michigan is going to be a huge benefactor. Players have to play Stauskas close because of his ability to shoot and quick release. This is going to allow him to get a lot of “hip-check” foul calls. That is a huge weapon for a player that shot FTs at an 85% clip last year. You can bet that both Beilein and Stauskas realize this. Stauskas played 39 games last year and averaged 30.5 minutes per game. He shot a total of 87 free throws. In 5 games this season, Stauskas has already shot 37 free throws- putting him on pace for a total of 222.
These are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken as fact.