The Moving Screen: Thoughts on Michigan's 5-0 start

Really enjoyed this pod. Admittedly didnt get through the last 15 min yet, but when you and Brendan talked about the most surprising/shocking thing from the past week, for me it was definitely the proficiency of Iggy defensively. He was extremely good one-on-one, even laterally which I was surprised by, and understands the team concepts already. Obviously this fits in line with your answer about how elite the defense is, but there is really no weak player in the top 7 to attack. Great stuff!

My surprise was the leap in performance from the first two games to games 3-5. They almost look like they are in NCAA tournament mode.

It is on the list… We aren’t the most technically savvy in the audio game.

This was good.

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Maybe I missed it, but a brief table of contents to your podcast would be helpful for those of us with limited time. Thanks!

You guys talked about Iggy being the first freshman since Walton to play significant minutes for Michigan… I think you have to include Livers in that.

Dawkins, MAAR, Chatman, and Doyle also played pretty significant minutes for Michigan during the latter half of 2015. All but Chatman were between 40-50% of available minutes.

True freshman sorted by number of minutes:
Robinson - 1312
Burke - 1227
Stauskas - 1190
Hardaway - 1074
Harris - 1057
Walton - 989
Novak - 960
Douglass - 794
Grady - 782
Morris - 777
McGary - 769
Smotrycz - 623
Dawkins - 620
Livers - 604
Irvin - 568
Doyle - 564
Abdur-Rahkman - 550
Chatman - 486
Poole - 476
Levert - 354
Simpson - 332
Albrecht - 317
Brooks - 311
Wagner - 258
Horford - 196
Vogrich - 166
Watson - 83
Teske - 60
Brundidge - 44
Wilson - 24
Cronin - 10


I think the number I’ve used in the past was 25 minutes per game. There were a few freshmen who played in 2015 but that was largely induced by injuries.

Walton was a starter and legit rotation player as a frosh. Walton playing 27 mins and Livers playing 15 mins seems like a fairly big gap to me. Iggy is on pace to play 27 mins per game this year, which is similar to Walton.


Iggy has some pretty good companies on this list

I actually posted in the wrong topic. I was referring to what you guys were talking about on the podcast.

I agree with your point about the necessity of establishing a solid 8th (or 9th) man in the rotation, especially as it relates to the fatigue factor as we move through the season. I really hope that it becomes Johns.

To that point, I think it was a mistake to put Johns at the 5 even though I understand Beilein’s thinking at the time. It was asking a lot of Johns to adapt to D1 basketball, learn a new offensive and defensive system AND do it at a new position. It might have been faster to get him up to speed at the 4, his natural position, and then switch him to the 5, kind of like they did with Livers last year. However, given how much time has already been invested in this approach, it may be better to continue down this road rather than making him change again. I do think Brandon has shown improvement over the last few games. With his size and athleticism, it will be a tremendous boost to this team when he gets up to speed.

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Johns did play mostly the five in high school I believe, so I’m not sure it is quite as dramatic of a position shift as you put it.

He’s struggled with turnovers and quick decision making when he’s been on the floor… I’m not sure how those improve by playing the four and having to handle the ball more often.

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Also I think I kind of hit on this on the pod… but there isn’t a huge roster hole for Johns to fill at the 4 or the 5. This isn’t a comparable case to say… Kam Chatman’s freshman year.

If you want Iggy and Livers playing 30 minutes… you basically have Iggy playing 25 at the 4, 5 at the 2 and Livers playing 15 at the 4 and 15 at the 5. Add in Teske playing the other 25 at the 5 and you are pretty booked up there.

Right now Iggy and Isaiah have been two of Michigan’s most productive players and Johns is trying to pass them to get playing time (at either the 4 or 5).

Because of all the roster flexibility, you can play seven guys and not necessarily have to play people 38 minutes per game or anything like that.


I went back and watched a couple of the videos you posted here during his commitment and it sure looks like he played mostly wing/forward. All the hype was about him in transition, shooting threes and taking guys off the dribble (from beyond the arc). You even list him as a stretch forward.

He definitely projects long term to be a stretch forward at Michigan. Not saying that, just that he spent a lot of time in the post in high school.

Definitely played more as a four in EYBL, no one really wants to play inside in grassroots play :laughing:

But as was pointed out in that same podcast, that is all fine and dandy until you get an injury or foul trouble and then you have to throw someone in there who hasn’t been getting any playing time experience.

Yeah, and that’s why Johns will continue to see some time. He got a first half shift against George Washington and the upcoming guarantee games will be important. But until he can show something (probably in practice, but especially in a game) it is hard to really expect his role to change.

Isaiah Livers’ growth as a small ball five and Ignas Brazdeikis’ growth in general are probably more important.

Johns playing 5 doesn’t make him a traditional 5 on offense. Coach Beilein can stretch floor by having a PG and four wings offensively with Johns on floor. Isn’t that what made M so effective with Wagner? Johns like Wagner has the capability of hitting 3’s and taking guys off the dribble. I find this exciting.


Yeah, the idea behind Johns at the five is the same as Livers at the five.