Last season, Michigan basketball coach John Beilein had an easy decision to make when deciding who his starting backcourt would be comprised of. Rolling out Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. every night was a no-brainer.
But now that those two guys have departed for the NBA, who will take over their role in the offense?
Clearly, nobody on this year’s Michigan team will be able to truly fill the shoes of Burke, and they shouldn’t try. Sure, Derrick Walton is a top prospect and has been praised by both players and coaches, but he’s only a freshman and expectations must be tempered.
On the other hand, Spike Albrecht became nationally known when he went off for 17 points in the first half of the National Championship game, but can he really produce on that level consistently?
Regardless of whom the Wolverines start at point guard, everyone on the floor will have to step up and shoot the rock: Burke’s 560 field goal attempts and Hardaway’s 460 will have to be replaced by someone.
“We got a lot of guys that can shoot it,” said Stauskas. “Glenn (Robinson) has really improved his jump shot, even Mitch (McGary) over the summer, he showed that he can hit the three ball.”
That’s right, big Mitch McGary has been working on his jumper and Stauskas acknowledged that we might see the big man pulling it from deep this season.
Obviously, with snipers like Stauskas and Albrecht, and other shooters like Caris LeVert, Robinson and Walton, McGary’s triples won’t be frequent. But if McGary can develop a solid jumper from outside, look out.
And there’s something to be said for Robinson as well- he struggled at points last season, but has been putting in the work to develop his outside game.
“I’ve been at the gym every morning and every night,” Robinson said. “That’s something that I’ve been focusing on- my ball handling ability and my shooting ability.”
Without Burke and Hardaway on the floor, maybe Michigan doesn’t have that go-to guy who can hit it from anywhere, but if McGary and Robinson can improve their outside games, then everyone on the floor for the Wolverines becomes a threat from behind the arc.
The starting point guard position is still up for grabs in Ann Arbor, and while coach Beilein won’t name a starter, he did mention that during scrimmages, Spike Albrecht’s team almost always wins, no matter who he’s playing with.
The competition between Albrecht and Walton has been a good one so far, and Spike said it’s been competitive.
“Everyone’s competing, we’re competing for minutes,” Albrecht said. “We don’t let that come between us- we’re all brothers. [There is competition], but it’s fun though.”
The competition at point likely won’t be solved until Michigan has played several games, and even then we might see the two split time.
Either way, whoever is in the game playing point, as well as the other four guys on the floor, can’t be hesitant to shoot.
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