I Can Haz Sad: Michigan Basketball and Early NBA Draft Entries

Gone baby, gone. - Andy Lyons

Michigan just bowed out of the tournament short of the Final Four. That means the next couple weeks are all about who is leaving for the NBA. Yay. Let's take a look at Michigan's three possible early enrollees and the chances they leave for the NBA draft this off season.

Nik Stauskas

The Canadian wing was the only one of Michigan's starters a year ago with no NBA draft drama surrounding his name after the close of the season. How fitting that this year is almost entirely the same.

I say no drama because the odds of him returning to school are so small as to be negligable. Stauskas won the Big Ten player of the year award this season after averaging 17 points, three rebounds and three assists for the Wolverines this year. His game blossomed from a year ago. While as a freshman he was always jokingly "not just a shooter" because of his ability to pull off one or two surprising drives per game, this season Stauskas turned that meme on its head. Not only did his outside shooting stay the same (44%, this time on 26 more attempts), but Stauskas became a genuine threat to get to the basket, and used this to greatly improve his FT rate as well as his assist numbers.

While his defensive deficiencies are still an issue, there is nothing left for Stauskas in college — something most have been aware of for months now.

Chad Ford had Stauskas 17th in his latest Mock Draft. Considering the last month that Michigan has had, in which it has closed out an outright Big Ten title, made it to the BTT title game, and then came within a late basket of going back to the Final Four all in big part thanks to Nik, I would imagine Nik has come very close to completing all his college basketball goals.

Stauskas, like the rest of Michigan's roster, hasn't said one way or another whether he will be going to the draft, but it would be a shock if he returns.

Chances Stauskas declares for the NBA Draft: 95%

Glenn Robinson III

Michigan's enigmatic four has never had the words NBA far from his name in any discussion. His dad was an 11 year vet in the pros and a two time all star. The younger Glenn was expected to follow in dad's footsteps very soon after blowing up into a five star recruit as a high schooler thanks to otherworldly athleticism.

His career at Michigan has had its ups and downs, and Robinson's draft stock has run the gamut this year. He started the season with high expectations of taking over the offense, only to be pushed into a tertiary role behind the emergence of Stauskas as an alpha dog and Caris LeVert as a offensive catalyst.

However, Robinson has put together a very good final stretch run to the season and has played some of his best college basketball over the last few weeks.

There are two questions:

First, does Robinson have the skills to make an impact in the NBA? He certainly has the athleticism, although his first step isn't refined enough to allow him to get to the basket off the dribble consistently, which limits his offensive versatility. He is a very good finisher and has a feel for playing off the ball, but his rebounding and defense might not be good enough for that type role.

Second, and perhaps more important, is there anything left for Robinson to stay in school for? The thought of him developing another year in college is nice, but its overblown. Having no distractions standing between him and working on his game in an NBA environment could be as beneficial as coming back for another year as "the man" for this team. Also, he isn't getting any younger, and that boundless youthful potential is going to begin to give way to the yoke of "upperclassman" hanging around his neck in future drafts.

Robinson is a fringe first/second rounder right now to Chad Ford, who has him 32nd overall. The opportunity to move up could be there next year in a weaker class, but as Robinson showed this year: you can always move down the draft boards. This feels like Robinson getting a second chance at a first round draft pick, and it isn't likely he passes that up again.

Chances Robinson declares for the NBA Draft: 66

Mitch McGary

It wasn't supposed to happen like this. Mitch was supposed to be the one out there leading Michigan on a deep March tournament run. This was his year to return after a breakout tournament performance as a freshman. His chance to lead MIchigan back to the promised land before leaving for the NBA.

It didn't end up working like that. First there was the back injury that kept him sidelined during the off season. He was slowly able to recover from that and he joined the lineup earlier than most expected, playing eight games with Michigan in November and December before further aggravation made surgery a necessity.

Nik Stauskas is a fully formed offensive weapon with NBA three point range and enough size to hold up. Glenn Robinson is a freak athlete that has proven himself capable if a bit inconsistent.

What about McGary? He is an elite big man based on a half dozen games a year ago that is plagued by back trouble. He could be drafted in the first round or not be picked at all and neither outcome would be surprising.

This could be Mitch's last opportunity to be selected in the NBA draft. Another off season of recover followed by a year of injury troubles could all but push him off the draft radar entirely. Although if his back fully recovers and he rounds back into form he could end up going way lower than he should.

Given that Mitch is already older than most sophomores due to a year in prep school, it seems more and more likely that taken together, Mitch's best choice might be to roll the dice and try his name in the draft this year. Although there are so many variables to consider that it makes any guess just that: a stab in the dark.

Chances McGary declares for the NBA Draft: 50%?

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