Players to Watch in Summer League

The Salt Lake City and California iterations of Summer League kicked off last night. While some might argue the real game, free agency, continues to rage on, rookies are looking to justify their draft position and veterans are trying to prove everyone wrong. Each team has interesting rosters, and every team has a player, some expected, some unexpected, worth keeping an eye on.

Atlanta Hawks – Cameron Reddish (Duke – Rookie)

Atlanta’s eighth overall pick comes into Summer League with both a lot of pedigree and even more question marks. Reddish, the third, sometimes fourth, option on a Duke team that touted Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Tre Jones, was the best shooter of the bunch. However, with all the talent around him, Reddish deferred maybe more than he needed to, hurting his ability to find a consistent rhythm offensively. Reddish will, at least, be the second option for Atlanta’s Summer roster with new teammate, De’Andre Hunter.

Boston Celtics – Tacko Fall (UCF – Rookie)

The 7’5″ undrafted rookie out of UCF will have the opportunity to show how he could fit on an NBA team. Guys like Romeo Langford, Robert Williams, Guerschon Yabusele, Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards, Chinanu Onuaku, Aaron Harrison, and maybe even Max Strus will get offensive priority over Fall, which leaves Fall to defend, rebound, run the floor, and put back garbage points. If he can do a couple of those things, he could be a nice wrinkle at the end of a bench.

Brooklyn Nets – Rodions Kurucs (Latvia, 1 Year Experience)

Kurucs started 46 games for a Nets team that will look very different in the upcoming two seasons. The Nets are likely looking for the former second round pick to shoot better from deep than he did during the regular season (32%) and stand out from the players trying to find G-League spots.

Charlotte Hornets – JP Macura (Xavier – 1 Year Experience)

Macura signed a two-way contract with the Hornets last season and saw only 17 minutes of action over two games. Macura’s only shot to make an NBA roster is as a 3-and-D guy. Look for Macura to improve on the 36% he shot from deep in the G-League last season and guard the opposing team’s best wing.

Chicago Bulls – Justin Simon (St. John’s – Rookie)

After winning Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East, Simon aims to show that he can contribute to an NBA team. How much the Big East Defensive Player of the Year is worth is up for debate, as the only draftee this season out of the Big East was Eric Paschall (41st over to Golden State), which might suggest Simon won an award in a down conference. Offensively, Simon will have to improve an ugly looking shot that produced 29% shooting on 1.1 three-point attempts per game.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Marques Bolden (Duke – Rookie)

The undrafted big man out of Duke sacrificed for the Blue Devils in final two seasons under Coach K. Bolden went from sacrificing for Marvin Bagley to sacrificing for the army of freshmen that enrolled for this season. On the downside, there is no way to know how good Bolden actually is when he only attempted 3.3 field goals per game last season. With Darius Garland and Kevin Porter’s availability for Summer League in question, Bolden may get an opportunity to show how good he can be as a near-top option. On the upside, his role in college will be likely his role in the NBA should he make a roster, so there will be little adjustment for him to find his role on an NBA roster.

Dallas Mavericks – Cameron Payne (Murray State – 4 Years Experience)

For those looking to watch a guard out of Murray State, there are more options than one might think. Payne is one of the most experienced players in Summer League and having already played for three franchises in four years, he might be on his last chance. Payne shot it better from deep in nine games for the Cavaliers, shooting 36% from three (better than his career average of 33%). If Payne can shoot well and defensively dominate inferior ball-handlers, he could find his way onto a roster as a third ball-handler.

Denver Nuggets – Michael Porter, Jr. (Missouri – Rookie)

After playing a total of 53 minutes of basketball at Missouri, the Nuggets took Porter with the 14th overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. Porter sat out all season and watched his team come within a game of going to the Western Conference Finals. Denver needs to add a wing scorer this offseasons, and many hope that its Porter. Porter said that he is “expecting to dominate” at Summer League, which he might, but needs to be more than 53 minutes of Summer League that he plays.

Detroit Pistons – Bruce Brown Jr. (Miami (FL) – 1 Year Experience)

Brown, like Kurucs, was a second round pick who played considerable NBA minutes this season. Brown started 56 games for the Pistons, and defended well enough with a 110 defensive rating. Brown needs to continue to develop his defensive chops and discover some sort of offensive calling card. He did not shoot well from deep (26%), get to the line (0.8 free throw attempts per game), or create a whole lot (1.2 assists per game), so hopefully there will be a lot of trial and error in Summer League.

Golden State Warriors – Jimmer Fredette (BYU – 6 Years Experience)

As a gross oversimplification, Fredette and Steph Curry came into the NBA as excellent shooters, but too small to be shooting guards and lacking enough handles to be point guard. As such, talking heads will point to the duo as evidence that the NBA Draft is a crapshoot after the top two or three picks. Maybe someone in Golden State heard the argument and thought they could do the same thing again. No promises on this end, but Fredette will hopefully light up some Summer League games and make the Warriors roster for next season.

Houston Rockets – Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s – Rookie)

Ponds went into last season as the Big East Pre-Season Player of the Year on the team touted to have the most talent in the conference. Conference play started, the Red Storm were inconsistent, and Ponds draft stock fell and kept falling. Houston likely hopes they found value in a player whose poor stock was a result of poor coaching. As far as X’s and O’s, Ponds is crafty at getting to the basket, a streaky shooter, and an opportunistic defender. If he can improve one of the latter categories in Summer League, he has a shot at recovering his stock value.

Indiana Pacers – Edmond Sumner (Xavier – 2 Years Experience)

Sumner’s playing time picked up after the injury to Victor Oladipo, and defensively showed some promise. Sumner forced 2.1 steals per 36 minutes and maintained a 106 defensive rating. Offensively, Sumner shot 26% from deep, but had one game where he scored 17 points on the Lakers on 7 of 9 from the field. More than two years removed from tearing his ACL, Sumner should be looking to show some offensive refinement this summer.

Los Angeles Clippers – Jerome Robinson (Boston College – 1 Year Experience)

The head-scratching 13th overall pick in last years draft did little to justify the Clippers’ decision to take Robinson that high. Robinson played in 33 games and average 3.4 points per game on 32% shooting from deep. After shooting 41% in his Junior season while dishing 3.3 assists per game, the Clippers are likely hoping Robinson just had trouble dealing with the speed of the NBA and that he can recapture his college play starting this summer.

Los Angeles Lakers – Joe Young (Oregon – 3 Years Experience)

Young also benefited from the time Oladipo missed for Indiana, playing in 53 games while averaging just under 4 points per game. Young shot an impressive 38% from deep, albeit on only 1.2 attempts per game. The league will be looking to see if he can produce similarly with more attempts before the Lakers inevitably let him go, regardless of how he performs. Last night, Young only produced 6 points on 2 of 5 shooting in a blowout loss, 106-79.

Memphis Grizzlies – Shaq Buchanan (Murray State – Rookie)

The Memphis fans will have an opportunity to check out their new Murray State guard. While not Ja Morant, Buchanan will look to show Memphis he can be more than Morant’s security blanket. Buchanan was an improved shooter for Murray State (33% from deep) and did not turn the ball over (1.2 tunovers per game last season). He is likely a guy who will be shocked by the speed of the NBA compared to the Ohio Valley Conference. He should be back next year. Buchanan did not play last night, so as far as being someone worth keeping an eye on, this one is off to the worst start.

Miami Heat – Tyler Herro (Kentucky – Rookie)

Herro looked good last night against the make-shift Lakers Summer League roster. The Heat are looking for Herro to build off his quality season at Kentucky, contribute as a shooter right away, and see if he can be a crafty shot creator as well. After playing on a talented Kentucky team, Summer League will be a chance to see if Herro can be the truly best player on a team. In last night was any indication, his 18 points on 6 of 15 shooting with 5 of 10 from beyond the arc suggest he is going to have a fun summer.

Milwaukee Bucks – Fletcher Magee (Wofford – Rookie)

The senior out of Wofford can flat out shoot. His college career ended with a 4 of 17 shooting performance against Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, but the guard shot over 40% from deep in every season in college. While he did so in the Southern Conference, it is undisputed that the guy can knock down open shots. Magee improved as a defender in college, getting his defensive rating down to 101.4. If can can continue to improve, he has a chance to become the next great undrafted shooter.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Tyus Battle (Syracuse – Rookie)

Syracuse has a shaky history in terms of their NBA track record. If nothing else, it is always interesting to see how Syracuse guards transition from the zone to an NBA man-to-man defense. Battle got to the line a decent amount averaging 5.4 attempts in each of his last two seasons. Potentially, not being the primary offensive weapon will help Battle’s three-point shooting percentage to be more like his freshman year (37% from deep) than his junior year (32%).

New Orleans Pelicans – Trevon Bluiett (Xavier – Rookie)

Bluiett started only 7 of his 24 games in the G-League and had thumb surgery in February. He did shoot 38% from deep on 5.7 attempts per game and shot 92% from the foul line. Summer League will be an excellent opportunity to Bluiett to knock down open shots, since he will have plenty playing with Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

New York Knicks – Kevin Knox (Kentucky – 1 Year Experience)

There is no reason for the Knicks to be to anything but Summer League champions this summer. The 19-year-old personally was inconsistent throughout last season, and Summer League is an opportunity for Knox to continue getting used to being a go-to player. Supported by R.J. Barrett, Allonzo Trier, and Mitchell Robinson this summer, Knicks fans may have something to cheer about until the regular season starts.

Oklahoma City Thunder – Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky – 1 Year Experience)

Diallo is another guy who played considerable minutes last year but need to show that they have taken a step. Diallo played in 51 games for the Thunder and was a large contributer on the boards with 6.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. Like many returning Summer Leaguers, Diallo needs to demonstrate he can be a go-to defender, improving on his 108 defensive rating, and shoot anything over the 17% he shot from deep last year.

Orlando Magic – Mo Bamba (Texas – 1 Year Experience)

Bamba missed almost half of last season with a tibia fracture, so Orlando’s biggest goal is making sure Bamba stays healthy through the summer. Bamba, if healthy, will be a dominant defender due to his 7’10” (in case it was not covered enough last draft) and his 103 defensive rating last season. Offensively, look for Bamba to keep it simple: finishes at the rim and catch-and-shoot situations. He shot 30% from deep last year, so if he can continue to improve on that, he will be a match-up nightmare this summer.

Philadelphia 76ers – Zach Hankins (Xavier – Rookie)

The final Xavier Musketeer to make this list, Hanky McSpanky is a typical undrafted big guy who tries really hard all of the time. The big man has soft hands for a guy who does not demand the ball, will fight for every rebound, and maybe set screens too hard for Summer League. While he may not be athletic enough to have a real shot at the NBA, feel free to appreciate a guy who is not too cool to do the little things.

Phoenix Suns – Tariq Owens (Texas Tech – Rookie)

Aside from being evidence that getting away from St. John’s can help a player’s draft stock, Owens can be an interesting power forward this summer. Owens is not currently strong enough to match up with the bigs this summer, but his length and athleticism will show itself when he is the help-side defender. Due to his thin build, Owens will need to stretch his offensive game out if he hopes to stick around. Until then, he should be a fun rim runner in both the 2019 and 2020 Summer Leagues.

Portland Trail Blazers – Nassir Little (UNC – Rookie)

The 19-year-old from Pensacola, Florida, may struggle to adapt to the speed of the NBA in his rookie season. After coming off the bench at UNC, where he shot 27% from deep, Little will need a little time to adjust to playing both in his body and at NBA speed. Hopefully, there will be flashes of excellence this summer, but for the time being, Isaiah Whitehead will need to be the one creating most of the offense for Little. Next summer? Little will likely be the best returning player to actually play in Summer League.

Sacramento Kings – Caleb Swanigan (Purdue – 2 Years Experience)

After being traded by the Trailblazers for Skal Labissière (in one of the most Spider-Man meme trades of all time), Swanigan is back in Summer League. Swanigan has not played in more than 27 games in either of his two seasons in the NBA, and may be running out of time to prove his worth. Look for Swanigan to set quality screens, box out, and grab a ton of boards. However, if he does not start converting his rebounds into points or assists, Swanigan will be on the move again inevitably to the Spurs (DeJuan Blair 2.0).

San Antonio Spurs – Lonnie Walker IV (Miami (FL) – 1 Year Experience)

After spending most of last season rehabbing from a medial meniscus tear, Walker is back for the Spurs. Walker only played in 17 games for the Spurs, so San Antonio will likely be hoping Walker looks like a guy a year removed from college. At Miami, Walker liked the three-ball attempting 5.1 per game and converting 35% of them. Last night, Walker looked good shooting 8 of 12 from the field for 20 points.

Toronto Raptors – Chris Boucher (Oregon – 2 Years Experience)

The two-time champion, Boucher, looks to add some playing time to his championship rings. The forward did manage to play in 28 games for the Raptors this season, but Summer League is a chance to improve as a stretch-4. Almost half of Boucher’s attempts last season came from deep (shot 32% from long range) and he maintained a 97 defensive rating. If Boucher can get his shooting percentage from beyond the arc comfortably above 33% and maintain his defensive prowess this summer, he may get substantially more time for the defending champion Raptors.

Utah Jazz – Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra – Rookie)

Wright-Foreman was a professional quality (wouldn’t want to upset the NCAA) scorer for the Hofstra Pride. He shot almost 43% from deep last season with a 33% usage rate. Wright-Foreman will need to show the ability to shoot efficiently without constantly having the ball in his hands. If Wright-Foreman can be productive off the ball, he could be an interesting third ball-handler for the Jazz as soon as this season. True to form, as far as the usage, Wright-Foreman went 3 of 14 from the field last night for 6 points missing all five of his three-point attempts.

Washington Wizards – Garrison Mathews (Lipscomb – Rookie)

Mathews is another senior from a small conference looking to prove his success in college was not a fluke. Mathews’s three-point shooting improved every year peaking at 40%. Mathews’s defense also improved to the tune of a 96.2 defensive rating. In the Summer League, Mathews can settle into a catch-and-shoot role with Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield likely carrying a bulk of the load offensively.

Minnesota and the Crying Wolves: the Enigma at Eleven

Minnesota and the Crying Wolves: the Enigma at Eleven

Like the Hornets, the Timberwolves have a lot of dollar figures locked in for next season. Unlike Charlotte, the Timberwolves’ bad contracts are not expiring. Minnesota is locked into over $100 million next season just between Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, Gorgui Dieng, and Karl Anthony-Towns. Of those, only Teague’s $19 million deal is expiring. Consequently, the Timberwolves have only two strategies going into the draft.

First, trade the pick to get some financial relief. Sadly, at least for the lovely people of Minnesota, that’s easier said than done. This year, the chasm between the top two player, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, and everyone else in the draft seems bigger than usual, arguably akin to the 2016 NBA Draft. So, at the 11 spot in this draft, teams should be looking for guys that can play in an 8-man rotation. Consequently, teams aren’t really going to be looking to trade up. However, teams might be willing to take on an expiring bad deal to swap picks. If Minnesota were to try and package Jeff Teague with the 11th pick, a team looking for a guard who can’t shoot might just swap picks and make the money work. San Antonio does love guards who can’t shoot and may need eight spots. Might be a team worth keeping an eye on.

If Minnesota does trade down, they may key in on Kentucky guard Tyler Herro. Herro has a quick release and is comfortable shooting in uncomfortable shooting positions. Herro works hard on defense, but lacks some lateral quickness to make him an immediate 3-and-D guy in his rookie season. Working with NBA trainers and watching film, Herro should be able to overcome his lateral issues and potentially be the better shooting 3-and-D wing than Covington.

The more likely outcome is the team looks for someone who can play now and compliments the team’s current assets. The Wolves ranked 26th in three-point attempts last year with almost 29 per game while ranking 19th in their three-point conversion rate at 35%. Defensively, Minnesota ranked 25th in effective field goal percentage at just under 54%. At the 11 spot in the draft, Minnesota will be looking for a clone of Robert Covington. Minnesota could use a 3-and-D wing to help both with the defense and make the team more viable from the perimeter. Unfortunately, the fits may be either of the Johnsons: Keldon or Cameron. Cameron is a senior out of North Carolina, so the upside may not be there, and Keldon, a freshman, may not be ready to compete in the west on day 1. Keldon will compete on the defensive end and his shot continued to improve throughout his season at Kentucky. However, he does not finish above the rim or handle contact well. Cameron already spots up at an NBA level offensively, but between his age and his recent arthroscopic procedure on his hip, Cameron’s upside might not be high enough to pick him up this early.

The age of Minnesota’s pick here may determine how competitive they intend to be in 2019-2020.

The Buzz at 12: the Stinging Reality in Charlotte

The Hornets are seemingly locked into a majority of their roster for next season, and if they want to make the playoffs next season, they will need to draft correctly this offseason. Assuming the Hornets re-sign Kemba Walker, and most signs indicate they will, Charlotte will be on the hook for Kemba’s big deal, Nicholas Batum’s $25 million deal, and the $13 million-to-$17 million salaries Michael Kidd-Gilcrest, Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo, and Cody Zeller will each be making. On the bright side, Kidd-Gilcrest’s, Williams’s (Player-Option he will be picking up), and Biyombo’s contracts are all expiring, so the Hornets may be able to move up on draft day.

The Hornets were 18th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage at 35% while also ranking 24th defensively on two-point shooting percentage. The fit to help with both may be Bol Bol. While Bol’s draft stock will solely depend on his medical report, if healthy or healthy enough, Bol has a clean looking catch-and-shoot stroke while his 7’8” wingspan gives him tremendous upside defensively.

The problem with Bol Bol’s fit with Charlotte has to do with Charlotte’s logjam in their front court with Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo, Cody Zeller, and Willy Hernangomez. All of those, with the exception of Zeller, will be on expiring contracts making them all movable either by draft night or at the trade deadline. If Charlotte has its heart set on Bol Bol, then there are two possible solutions. First, draft Bol Bol anyway. With Bol Bol’s health, it may be worth copying Denver’s handling of Michael Porter Jr. The downside and difference from Denver is that Charlotte is not on the up and up live Denver was and Charlotte may not be able to wait on their first round pick to make an impact. The upside would be that by next season, if Bol Bol is healthy, the logjam in the front court will be gone, and Charlotte’s patience could pay off with a draft steal.

The second solution is to trade some of the front court players before next season begins. The Hornets would likely be looking at taking on a longer bad contract, ideally on the wing or at the guard spot. Bad contracts that aren’t expiring include John Wall’s contract and Tim Hardaway’s contract. While trading Biyombo for either straight up works financially, Wall next to Kemba would never work, even for just long enough reestablish flip value for Wall, and Dallas might want to keep Hardway believing they can be competitive next year. Keep an eye out for Charlotte talking to teams looking to move a bad contract.

If making a Bol Bol draft pick work is too much of a headache, Charlotte could look to trade up. If Charlotte were to trade up, look for them to talk with Atlanta. The crapshoot with Atlanta is gambling between whether trading Luka Doncic for Trae Young makes them skittish in making another draft trade or if Atlanta wants to trade for a first round pick next year hoping to save face. Jordan loves drafting from powerhouse college programs that make runs in the tournament (Frank Kaminsky, Kemba Walker, Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, to name a few), so if there’s any chance Jarrett Culver would be available for the Hornets, Mitch Kupchak may not be able to keep Jordan from selling the farm. Culver is currently valued as a fringe top-5 pick, so even if Charlotte could settle for Cam Reddish, they should consider moving up. Reddish looks like he should be a productive shooter in the league and has the body to be switchable on defense. Potentially most important, Reddish accepted his role at Duke, kind of like how Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did for Kentucky. If Charlotte can trade up, they may look at Reddish as Kidd-Gilchrist after Kidd-Gilchrist’s contract expires as Reddish has the offensive potential Kidd-Gilchrist was never healthy enough to develop plus Kidd-Gilchrist’s defensive switchability.

Celtics Thoughts: What to do at 14

Celtics Thoughts: What to do at 14

If you had told Celtics fans a year ago that their beloved Kings pick would fall to number 14, you would have been laughed out of every bar in Beantown. In the here and now, the Celtics will have the 14th overall pick to go along with the 20th, 22nd, and 51st picks.

The big what-ifs start with the Celtics only having six players under contract for next season. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Aron Baynes all have player options, and Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, and Brad Wanamaker are becoming restricted free agents.

If the Celtics resign Kyrie Irving, then this pick will be included in every offer the Celtics make for Anthony Davis However, if Irving does not re-sign or Davis cannot be acquired, then the Celtics may have to get more creative here.

One option would be to see if they can trade out of this year’s draft. The Celtics already did not have enough minutes to go around for their talent this season, and adding another lottery player wanting to cut their teeth likely won’t be the solution, even with Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier becoming a free agent and restricted free agent, respectively.

As far as another trade option, Boston could package this pick with pieces that don’t play to consolidate some talent into a single player. The only feasible target (using the term loosely) would be a trade for Michael Conley which would involve packaging 14, probably another first, and Gordon Hayward to make the money work. However, Hayward likely makes it a deal-breaker for Memphis.

Another option would be to draft international. With the exception of Guerschon Yabusele in 2016, the Celtics have yet to spend almost any draft capital on foreign players. With the logjam of players that may again be on the roster next year, it may be worthwhile to keep someone oversees for a season or two. Sekou Doumbouya of France and Goga Bitadze of the Republic of Georgia appear to be the best non-collegiate international players in the draft this season, so those may be options to keep an eye on.

Finally, the Celtics can draft the best available and make it fit. That’s what they did with the Timelord, Robert Williams last season, and he was exciting to watch in his sparse minutes. With the question marks regarding Rozier’s and Irving’s status next season, a point guard would be ideal. However, after Ja Morant, Coby White, and Darius Garland, who will certainly be gone before 14, the best options available at the position would be Ty Jerome and Carson Edwards, both of whom should not be picked in the lottery. The fit with this strategy may be Nassir Little. With his limited experience, he can sit for a season and potentially bloom into a 3-and-D guy to play in Boston’s switch-heavy defensive schemes, especially with Jayson Tatum’s and Jaylen Brown’s perennial involvement in trade talks. Little’s draft stock tends to have him in the 10-15 range, so there’s a real possibility he won’t even be there.

Next Coach for Michigan Basketball

On Monday, John Beilein left Michigan after 12 seasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers. A head coach leaving a college program in mid-May leave puts the school in a tough spot, so who will Michigan call and who will Michigan hire?

People that Shouldn’t Answer the Phone

Brad Stevens (12/1 odds). For some reason, people link Stevens to every college opening since he left Butler. He’s coached his last college game. Let him go.

Billy Donovan (7/2 odds). This all changes if Oklahoma City fires Donovan, but he’s not leaving for college either. It took Fred Hoiberg almost a whole season of NBA teams not wanting him before he settled for a college job.

Realistic Hires

Juwan Howard (3/1 odds). It’s like a poor man’s Patrick Ewing situation. Howard has been an assistant coach since 2013 makes sense for him to be moving up. Why is it a poor man’s Ewing? Howard was no Ewing and Michigan is far less prestigious that Georgetown.

Johnny Dawkins (+2200). Dawkins just came off a compelling run with UCF. Falls and his Dawkins’s son are both done at UCF. Now is the time to jump ship for a better job.

Chris Beard (+325). Beard is another guy losing a lot of talent this offseason. With Culver, Mooney, Owens, and Francis leaving, Beard needs to strongly consider whether he wants to stick around Lubbock.

Unrealistic Hires that Would be Interesting

Rick Pitino (+475). Like Stevens, Pitino has been linked to every job opening since he departure from Louisville. Unlike Stevens, a lot of the college jobs would be an upgrade for Pitino. Pitino brings a lot of basketball acumen and arguably even more baggage.

Porter Moser (+2200). Moser needs to leave Loyola University Chicago if he wants to cash in on his 2018 Final Four appearance. However, Moser has turned down several other jobs, including St. John’s. If Moser doesn’t cash in soon, he much get stuck with the DePaul job.

Bobby Hurley (+2200). If Michigan wants a guy who starts hot and fades when it matters, then Hurley should be at the top of the list. His Sun Devils have had an above .500 record in the Pac-12 Conference just once in his four years there. But hey, he went to Duke and is entertaining on the sidelines.

Weird Rumors

LaVall Jordan (+900). It makes sense to hire from a place that doesn’t miss on coaches (as long as you ignore Brandon Miller). However, Butler has a better reputation for hiring coaches than Jordan Butler has a coach himself. Butler made the tournament in Jordan’s first season there, but Butler has yet to do anything of interest under Jordan.

Steve Wojciechowski (+2200). Another Big East coach, Wojo is building a resume that will likely land him a bigger job. However, Marquette has National Player of the Year candidate Markus Howard coming back, so the timing is just not quite right for Wojo to go.

Best Hire

Luke Yaklich (+600). One of Beilein’s assistant, Yaklich is probably the least sexy hire out there. That’s half of the appeal. Yaklich’s presence greatly improved the Michigan defense over the past two years, and he was a head coach in high school for 14 year. Plus, sticking with a guy who has been there might keep the Michigan players from transferring.

Probable Hire

The Michigan Athletic Department might have a flair for dramatic hirings (See Harbaugh, Jim). Michigan is obsessed with Michigan Men and they will likely introduce a Michigan Man as their next head coach: Juwan Howard.