Practice Begins

Practice Begins

  • Couple tweets from Michigan basketball at the start of Juwan's first practice as coach.

    Don't think we'll be nearly as good as last year, but I'm excited to see how Juwan does. After spending years watching JB's meticulous planning and implementation of a system it'll be interesting to watch a different style. And one that we don't really have any idea will look like.

    https://twitter.com/umichbball/status/1176636085264252928?s=20

    https://twitter.com/umichbball/status/1176658984947847168?s=20

    https://twitter.com/umichbball/status/1176666372279062528?s=20

  • Discussion
  • Sounds like Franz is the real deal. This could really help band aid this down year. Perhaps we end up a bit better than expected. I still think we should be around a top 4-6 Big Ten team.

    Sure, we lost a lot, but that happens almost every year. Teske, Simpson, Livers, Johns, Wagner alone is a lot of talent. More than half the big ten has to offer. Not sure what to expect yet from Brooks, DeJulius or Bajema(redshirt?)

    Plus with Castleton, who I am expecting to make a huge Sophomore jump with his 23 extra lbs and 3 1/2" increase on his vertical, I could see this team turning in to a rim protecting, rebound dominating type team. Something we NEVER saw under Beilein.

    Sure, we don't have a lot of pure outstanding perimeter shooters it seems, but we might be able to make up for that with our length and extra opportunities made with an increase of offensive rebounds.

  • BigTenPhan said... (original post) Sounds like Franz is the real deal. This could really help band aid this down year. Perhaps we end up a bit better than expected. I still think ...

    I think this team could surprise a lot of people this year. Losing the talent they did hurts, but as you pointed out, there's a lot still here, especially where it matters.

    Simpson and Teske could be 1st team all big ten. If the other guys grow and stay healthy, I think they will be a tough out.

    DeJulius and Castelton showed well in limited minutes, and the will be key for this team to be a factor. One thing this team will have is a lot of size up front. Haven't seen that too often here.

  • ScottGaf said... (original post) I think this team could surprise a lot of people this year. Losing the talent they did hurts, but as you pointed out, there's a lot still her...

    Two biggest X factors are Johns and Wagner. If they can be upper echelon starters, our ceiling goes way up. If they are just average or not quite ready for 30 minutes a game, our ceiling is limited. Luckily our floor is solid because we know what we're gonna get with Teske and Simpson. Livers will - at the very least - provide quality shooting and versatility on defense.

    Could see us finishing anywhere from 2nd to 8th in the conference. Don't remember a spread that large, but it's the case for alot of the conference outside of Michigan St

  • bacon1431 said... (original post) Two biggest X factors are Johns and Wagner. If they can be upper echelon starters, our ceiling goes way up. If they are just average or not quite ...

    That is a big spread. 2nd seems like a reach and I think we would have to suffer some major injuries to fall all the way to 8th. Eighth place is NIT territory. I think we have too much talent to not make the dance, even as a 9 seed.

    I would expect Wagner to be a solid contributor, but we should probably not expect greatness. Livers, to me, seems like the one I could see blowing up a bit. He went to the bench last year and took it well, but he's gotta be itching to be a leader. He also has a man's body and will be a mismatch for opposing teams when he plays the 3. He wasn't explosive, but he wasn't asked to be in Beilein's offense. If he got 8 pts and 4 boards off the bench last year, I think he's primed for at least 14 and 7 this year.

    Between Teske, Johns, Livers, Wagner, Castelton, and Bajema, that's some serious size and length! I can't remember when we had a roster where we had 6 key contributors that were 6'7" and taller. It would be sweet to see us in the top 3 in the league in rebounding and blocked shots.

  • BigTenPhan said... (original post) That is a big spread. 2nd seems like a reach and I think we would have to suffer some major injuries to fall all the way to 8th. Eighth place is ...

    5th or 6th could mean the NIT, depending on the rest of the conference. MSU, Michigan and Purdue were all very good teams last year. Then Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, and Ohio St were all solid. This year, we know MSU it going to be top 5. Maryland has top 15 talent. But beyond that the conference is all over the place. Maryland, OSU, Purdue, Michigan or Illinois could finish second and I wouldn't be all that shocked.

    I see Livers production going up, but I don't think his role is going to change all that much. In his first two years, he's been a spot up shooter and slasher. He almost never attacked off the dribble and wasn't a ball screen playmaker. I suppose he could add that, but I haven't seen anything from him yet that makes me believe it's going to happy. I know his role in JB's offense was limited, but the 3 & 4 were the same thing in JB's offense and we saw Iggy attack closeouts. We saw Charles do it in his time here too. But Livers rarely did. He will be solid all around on defense for sure.

    I'll be very very interested to see the offensive strategy going forward. JB rarely had guys attack the boards, so our rebounding numbers were always fairly low. But our transition defense was always among the best in the country because he made everyone get back, limiting transition opportunities. And with turnovers being emphasized by JB, that limits the opponent's ability to get out in transition too. I would think Howard will have us more aggressive on the boards. Teske, Castleton and Livers should all be fine with this. I want to see more aggression out of Johns than we did last year. Which is understandable considering he was a small ball 5 when he was in, not his natural 4 position.

  • Yeah, I don't think Livers was a good fit for Beilein ball. Beilein did with him like he did with Duncan and Nik. "Go stand outside the arc". He's always had a guy who was a statue on offense. Didn't cycle around, didn't set screens, just stand there and wait to shoot a 3.

    I honestly think Livers would thrive with some back cuts, pick and pops and even backing down smaller 3's.

    I have no idea what the starting lineup will be once big ten season gets going, but if they went with something like:
    Teske - 5
    Johns - 4
    Livers - 3
    Wagner - 2
    Simpson -1

    That would be a lineup big enough, long enough and strong enough to give even MSU fits. Now, the bench is a different story. Pretty thin and unproven, but there is some talent there for sure.

    Perhaps our team will look a bit more like a prototypical Bo Ryan team that limits possessions and wins lower scoring affairs. They just don't have the run and gun players.

  • BigTenPhan said... (original post) Yeah, I don't think Livers was a good fit for Beilein ball. Beilein did with him like he did with Duncan and Nik. "Go stand outside th...

    He was near the top of the league in shooting efficiency last year. I think he was a great fit for JB because he could space the floor and guard multiple positions. He hasn’t shown much diversity within his game to warrant much else, at least at that point in his career. Nik was a primary ball handler his sophomore year. And he attacked off the dribble a decent amount his freshman year. But as a sophomore, he and Caris shared the creative load and Walton spread the floor as a shooter.

    I think the lineup you shared is the ideal one. But it depends on if Johns is ready. If they don’t think he is ready for starter minutes, we will see Livers and Wagner slide down and probably Brooks or DDJ at the 2. I would be very very surprised if we didn’t play far more uptempo this year. JB teams were usually near the bottom of the NCAA in terms of pace. Which isn’t all that bad because they typically maximized every possession.

  • BigTenPhan said... (original post) Yeah, I don't think Livers was a good fit for Beilein ball. Beilein did with him like he did with Duncan and Nik. "Go stand outside th...

    I agree. I would think Livers could be a strong candidate for most improved player this year.

  • bacon1431 said... (original post) He was near the top of the league in shooting efficiency last year. I think he was a great fit for JB because he could space the floor and guard ...

    I just think he was underutilized under JB. It happens. There's only 1 basketball and Beilein seemed more concerned about getting Teske 3 point shots for some reason. It was the 1 year our offense really seemed to bog down a ton, while our best shooter rode the pine. Not my favorite coaching year under Beilein although I loved him as our coach.

    Yeah, my lineup is big, but doesn't have much in regards to ball handling. You are probably right that they may go with Eli or DDJ at the 2. Can't say I can imagine this team playing an up tempo style, just because they don't have the athletes. I mean, Simpson himself is a human fast break, but between Teske, Johns and Livers, there's not a ton of athleticism. That's what made us so good years ago. Having Burke, GRIII, THJ and Nik all being able to attack the basket and shoot outside was a real balanced threat. That's why I'm hoping Livers improved his burst and can be more of a slashing threat. Not a whole lot of those on this roster

  • BigTenPhan said... (original post) I just think he was underutilized under JB. It happens. There's only 1 basketball and Beilein seemed more concerned about getting Teske 3 p...

    I don't really think so. He shot nearly double the amount of 3s as Teske did. He never really showed doing much other than cuts and spot up shooting. Not even attacking closeouts like Iggy, and he had lots of opportunities to do so. The issues last year was the Simpson was the only player on the roster that could effectively run ball screens. Poole was capable of it, but it's a lot hard when whoever is defending Simpson can sag in because he's not a threat from deep. Makes it hard to run the PnR. Whereas when you do it with Teske and Simpson, Poole's guy had to stay on him because he's a threat to shoot it from nearly anywhere on the court.

    We didn't have the shooting we typically did under most JB teams. Matthews is not a great shooter. Livers, Poole and Iggy were the only real shooting threats last year. Teske could hit a few here and there but he had some real bad games. I'm not sure what I would have done alternatively with the offense. As ugly as it could get sometimes, it was still top 25 across the nation and better than the year before according to KenPom. But last year was a very weird year, but I mostly chalk that up to having a strange roster when you compare it to other JB teams.

    I don't think increasing the tempo necessarily means being a fast break team. But when we get in the halfcourt, I expect us to get into the offense faster. Under JB, he would have them run some motions before even really getting into the nitty gritty of the offense.

    This post was edited by bacon1431 3 months ago

  • That's fair. I just think Beilein used Teske and Livers in an unorthodox way. I hope Howard uses them more to their strengths. I'm not a fan of having your 7'1" center 25 feet from the basket on the offensive end and having your 5'8" PG responsible for clearing rebounds on the defensive end. Teske played nearly 30 minutes per game and only averaged 7 rebounds. That's seems crazy.

    Our offense went into long **** droughts throughout the season, yet Livers rode the pine even though he was a plus shooter and plus defender. I also think JB gave Poole WAY too much love. He played with a part time motor and was scared to drive. I guarantee he will lead the NBA in ineffective jab steps.

    Anyway, I'm excited to see what Howard brings. The NBA mindset is very intriguing when it comes to putting people in the best spots. Beilein constantly put square pegs in round holes and made it work, because he is a very unique coach, but I won't mind seeing a more traditional style offense with some inside out focus.

  • BigTenPhan said... (original post) That's fair. I just think Beilein used Teske and Livers in an unorthodox way. I hope Howard uses them more to their strengths. I'm not ...

    Teske was maximized by JB IMO. One of the most efficient ball screen big men in the country. And part of that is because he could hit the occasional three. He also had no back to the basket game (which is why it was hard for us to do anything when teams starting switching every ball screen). I will be Interested to see if he’s developed one under Howard.

    7 boards a game is one of the highest rpg by a player under JB. Remember, we played at a slow pace. Which means fewer opportunities for boards because of limited possessions for both team.

    Livers rode the pine? He averaged more mpg as a sophomore than he did when he was starting as a freshman. He was the primary backup for the 3 &4. But Matthews and Iggy were just better players than he was. You want both of them playing around 30+ minutes per game.

  • bacon1431 said... (original post) Teske was maximized by JB IMO. One of the most efficient ball screen big men in the country. And part of that is because he could hit the occasio...

    Teske was maximized for Beilein's system, sure, but maximized to his strengths? I'm not so sure. I'll wait to see under a more conventional coach if he has a back to the basket game.

    Teske is a good PnR guy, but the PnP I am not a huge fan of. Sure, it's not bad to have it as a threat, but teams were basically letting him shoot line drive 3's at 20 something percent, knowing we had no rebounding presence within 20 feet of the basket.

    Livers played behind a lot more talent as a freshman so that's not a huge surprise, but as a sophomore, when the offense took a major step backwards as did the team depth, he sat for half the game as one of our best shooters and better defenders. Even when Iggy was completely missing for entire games. Not to knock coach B, but I think Livers has a chance to really break out if he is given the chance.

    For instance, Iggy vs Wisconsin. 0 points the entire game.

    Next time we play Wisconsin. Iggy: 2 points, 3 rebounds in 32 minutes. Same game. Livers: 9 pts 4 rebs in only 16 minutes. And you will never convince me that Livers isn't a much better defender than Iggy.

    This post was edited by BigTenPhan 3 months ago

  • BigTenPhan said... (original post) Teske was maximized for Beilein's system, sure, but maximized to his strengths? I'm not so sure. I'll wait to see under a more co...

    The only team that let him just shoot whenever he wanted was Maryland, and those were by far his worst shooting games. And two of the five games he took more than three threes in a game. It's not about whether he can hit 40% of them. If he can hit 33% - which he did in alot of games - you have to respect it because hitting 1/3 of your 3s is better than half of 2s after a handful of FGA. Plus, being the threat of a shooter, opens up the lane for the roll - which could be seen by his 63% on 2s. Out of HS, Teske's strength was considered lateral movement and vision. As a 7 footer, you'd be hard pressed to find someone in college basketball that can defend anywhere on the court like Teske can. Averaged an assist per game as well. His rebounding was never considered a strength. In fact, that was the area that was identified as the biggest need for improvement, along with a back to basket game. Teske was never going to be the guy that grabbed 10 rebounds a game. And that's fine. JB didn't want his team to be aggressive on the offensive boards, so it doesn't matter that he wasn't in the middle of the paint on every offensive possession. Didn't play to his strengths either.

    Livers in his freshman and sophomore years was completely dependent on others to create his offensive. He scored off spot ups, backdoor cuts, fast breaks and PnRs. He does not create for himself. He never once showed it in his freshman and sophomore years. In fact, he had half his turnovers trying to run the fast break. If he adds that to his game, he will have a breakout year. I just haven't seen that from him to believe it will be a significant part of his game. I'd love to be wrong.

    "Even when Iggy disappeared" - He had five games in single digits. Only three times in games that mattered - both Wisconsin games and Florida. The reason why Livers wasn't "given a chance" - which I disagree with in principle - is because Iggy had a more well rounded offensive game. He could go to the bucket and get a basket for himself, shoot off the dribble or draw fouls. Livers isn't going to come in a change a game by himself. He needed Simpson or Poole to run ball screens and hit him off the kick out. I won't convince you that Iggy is near the defender because I never said that nor do I think that.