Form Tracker: December 5th, 2013


Iowa State 77, Michigan 70-12

Our weekly feature tracking the performance of Michigan players performance over two game segments of the season. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

 Caris LeVert9 (Last week: 7.5)

Over Michigan’s past two games, Caris LeVert has been Michigan’s best player — and it’s not close. The sophomore scored 15 points on seven shots against Coppin State, but more importantly, he was the player Michigan’s turned to when its offense was flailing against Duke. With the Blue Devils shutting down Nik Stauskas, LeVert stepped up big in the second half, finishing with 24 points, four rebounds and two assists in the loss. The talented wing scored his points mainly by dribble penetration to the basket and showed an ability to finish through contact. LeVert is steadily becoming an offensive force, something Michigan desperately needs alongside Stauskas. One interesting tidbit from the past two games: LeVert did not miss a free throw, going 11-for-11 from the charity stripe.

Zak Irvin7 (Last week: 2)

Michigan’s talented freshman made a big jump this week, mainly because of his flaming-hot shooting performance against Coppin State. Zak Irvin led all scorers with 24 points and made six 3-pointers in Michigan’s blowout victory. More important than the point total was the confidence that game gave Irvin going forward — it seemed as though he had been struggling with getting into the flow of the offense, and needed a breakout game. Against Duke, Irvin played 14 minutes and after some so-so decisions early rose up confidently to hit some shots late.

Mitch McGary7 (Last week: 6.5)

Michigan’s big man continues his steady climb through the rankings as he plays himself into shape. Mitch McGary didn’t do much against Coppin State, only taking four shots in 26 minutes, but he was productive against Duke: the sophomore scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against the Blue Devils. While much of that production came late in the game when it was largely out of reach (eight points and three rebounds came within the last two minutes of the game), he was still effective. McGary’s ability to pull down defensive rebounds and start the fast break was what kept Michigan in the game in the first half.

Derrick Walton5 (Last week: 5.5)

Derrick Walton is steadily finding his stride as Michigan’s point guard. Unlike Michigan’s freshmen last year, he has had to play in some of the most hostile environments in the country very early in his college basketball career. So far, results have been mixed — there have been flashes of great play mixed in with some perplexing decisions. He had some very nice drives to the hoop against Duke, but he is still turning the ball over too much, with more turnovers than assists against the Blue Devils.

Jordan Morgan5 (Last week: 4.5)

Michigan’s redshirt senior had a pretty good offensive performance against Coppin State, scoring six out of the Wolverines’ first 10 points. The big  man scored on a nice take the basket from the high post, an offensive rebound and putback and even a nifty midrange fallaway. Against Duke he was less effective: in 10 minutes, he didn’t record a rebound but scored on a tough hook for an and-1 opportunity.

Glenn Robinson III4.5 (Last week: 5)

Glenn Robinson III continues to struggle. The sophomore just can’t seem to find his way in Michigan’s offense right now. He had a vintage Robinson game against Coppin State, scoring 14 points and bringing down six rebounds (two offensive) in 27 minutes. But against Duke, when Michigan truly needed production with Stauskas being shut down, Robinson was nowhere to be found: eight points on nine shots and three rebounds.

Spike Albrecht3.5 (Last week: 6)

Spike Albrecht had a relatively productive night against Coppin State despite missing all three of his 3-point attempts — he still managed to hand out four assists in 12 minutes. Against Duke, the sophomore was mostly ineffective, hitting one 3-pointer and registering an assist and a turnover.

Jon Horford3 (Last week: 4)

After a good night against Coppin State where he raked in six points and three rebounds in only 11 minutes, Horford was virtually invisible against Duke: he played six minutes and his only shot was blocked by Jabari Parker and taken all the way back for a lay-in.

Nik Stauskas: 1.5 (Last week: 9)

Stauskas didn’t play against Coppin State and only took two shots in 34 minutes against Duke. The sophomore will have to figure out how to get his points when entire defenses are planned around him, a la Trey Burke last season.

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  • CZGuy99

    Robinson often looks like a spectator who wandered onto the floor. He needs to to step up against real competition. If someone could install that Zack Novak “fire in the belly”, he would be unstoppable.

    • It’s more than that IMO. The yelling, energy and all that would help, sure, but that’s not going to make him into a five-tool offensive player on anything like that.

      The confidence to take his offensive game to the next level requires a lot of things other than a change in on-court demeanor.

      • MLaw

        I agree, GR3 will never be Mitch Mcgary and that is fine. He can be quiet and dominant. He just needs to play better.

      • CZGuy99

        I’m wasn’t talking strictly outward appearances-chest pounding, etc. He has to leave it all on the floor every night, especially when playing against high quality opposition like Duke. Projected NBA draftees, especially first rounders, rise to the occasion and give it all against the very best competition – they can’t wait for the big games.

    • Chris De Sana

      It really is amazing the difference in demeanor between he and his father once they hit the court.

  • Daniel

    It seems a bit harsh to knock Nik down that far, considering he was injured.

    • Injuries factor in so that you can track things… Not to mention, even if you ignore the Coppin State game, Nik didn’t score a basket in the two game stretch.

      He was hurt, that obviously played a part, but you can’t change the score especially if you want to look back and track his progress.

      • Champswest

        Then I guess I don’t understand what Form Tracker is, how it works or what it is suppose to tell us.

        • KAM

          How well you played during that week. In that week Nik didn’t score a basket. Soooo he gets a very low ranking

          • Champswest

            So it’s all about scoring. Do we really need a Form Tracker analysis write up to tell us who scored the most points?

          • The Yooper

            Nik is our leading scorer and the most important player to our offense. Do you think we need him to score?

          • No it’s not “all about scoring”… Did Nik do anything else incredibly well at Duke?

            Joe and I both give ratings 1-10, we average them out and that’s the score for the week. FWIW.

            The idea is to generate some debate.. I’m just not sure what Nik did to deserve a better score.

          • KAM

            Nik didnt have point. he didn’t very many assists or rebounds. He did nothing the past two games so why should he get a higher rating?

        • Rating each players performance over the last week. Nik didn’t score a basket in two games, he’s going to be graded low.

  • mikey_mac

    I think when looking at GR3’s performance we need to understand just how good Jabari Parker is and was in that game. He’s just too big and skilled for GR3 to be expected to guard or, especially, to take to the hole, when we really haven’t even seen that against lesser comp.

  • Wayman Britt

    GR3’s play so far is such a mystery. A lot of good discuss on this site about his play. He seems to be having trouble creating his own offense dribbling on top, I wonder if he posted up some if it might help him score. He could use his strength and jumping ability.

    • guestavo

      I actually think we’d do better posting up Glenn than McGary. Cool idea.

      • Dr_ZC

        Well, I do not think posting up is THAT easy, especially if one has not done it before. It takes a lot of practice to develop the moves (drop step, up and under, etc) that will complement posting. It is good that he has a good jumping ability, but he should be using it facing the basket, rather than posting. Posting is a skill for the bigs which takes a lot of time and effort to develop. Once you master it, you graduate as a complete player. Just Ask Akeem.

        • guestavo

          Not true at all. A simple post up and quick hook and spin off the defender isn’t a hard move to execute. I’m also sure GR3 has experience posting up..

          • KAM

            If its that easy why don’t most players do it?

          • guestavo

            Because most players don’t have GR3 frame or athletic ability. He’s doesn’t have to be Hakeem. Get deep position, catch it in post up position, pivot into face up position, attack. I don’t know how many people are stopping someone like GR3 coming full force at them in the post?

          • KAM

            i honestly many 4’s would stop him in the post.. he probably got handle some 3’s. I think Dawson for msu wouldn’t shut him down in the paint and thompson for OSU those are some 3 men

          • KAM

            would shut him down*

          • guestavo

            How many teams have those kinds of players?

          • Wisconsin

            All have guys that I don’t see GR3 taking in the post.

          • guestavo

            GR3 can’t bully Vonleh, Dekker, Thompson/Ross, in the post? He’s definitely stronger than any of those guys. He doesn’t even have to score, just catch it, turn around and face up and draw contact. Idk…

          • No, he can’t. IMO.

          • guestavo

            So what can he provide on offense? I don’t trust any of our lead guards to find him consistently on cuts or off screens and curls at this juncture. He isn’s shooting particularly well and he can’t create off the dribble. Usually when guys are one way players, it’s on the offensive end of the ball lol

        • Chris De Sana

          For the most part agree but he showed some post ability in high school, of course that is because many nights a 6ft6 kid who jumps through the roof is at a huge advantage in the paint.

          • Dr_ZC

            I bet in high school he was oversized to post, but in college, he is undersized at the 4. Posting up makes sense if you are slow and big and you can push you man around creating space for your hook or drop step. With his athleticism, Glenn should be getting the ball at the elbow hitting fadeaway jumpers if he cannot drive to the hoop.

          • Chris De Sana

            We agree, that is why I think having him run the high pick and roll may be helpful creating a match up advantage for him. As for the elbow we agree there as well, but coach does not seem to run many plays for that situation which seems strange because Irvin seems to find that seem on a regular basis.

          • Do you mean GR3 as the screener? They tried some of that action last year but it didn’t have a lot of success. I think that being the screener is a lot harder than it looks (a lot of reads, etc.) and Robinson also isn’t that big to set a screen like Mitch or someone.

            Robinson does a pretty good job of getting to the two dribble elbow pull-up, but he’s not hitting it very often this year.

          • Chris De Sana

            Yes I was talking as the screener, and I have zero doubt it is harder than it looks but it could create a better match up. And heck it may just help get GR3 more involved in the flow of the offense, which could not hurt.

    • Chris De Sana

      I have been thinking the same thing all season. Maybe using him in the high pick and roll with Caris or Nik would create some match up problems. This is also what I was hoping to see Donnal do.