As we near the end of the NBA regular season, several bit or role players are getting expanded playing time for teams well outside the playoff picture. Several Wolverine alumni fall into this category.
Trey Burke came off the bench Sunday to spark the Dallas Mavericks to a 106-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He led the team with 25 points (on 10-of-18 shooting), adding 8 assists to boost Dallas’ record to 30-46.
Trey Burke dropped 25 points (10/18 FG, 4/8 3PT FG) with 8 assists and 2 rebounds tonight in a win for the Mavs. pic.twitter.com/j0Pn50Jy60— Michigan in the NBA (@NBAMichigan) April 1, 2019
The former first-round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves is averaging 10.7 points and 2.7 assists per game. He’s splitting time with fellow Naismith Player of the Year Jalen Brunson, formerly of Villanova.
His Michigan teammate Tim Hardaway Jr., a fellow guard on Dallas, is out for the season with a surgery to repair a stress fracture in his leg.
Mavs swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. will probably undergo surgery to insert a rod in his leg to repair the stress reaction that ended his season, Mark Cuban said. Hardaway would be recovered well in advance of training camp.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 28, 2019
Moritz Wagner is also seeing the court far more for the Lakers, who have been eliminated from the playoff race for a couple weeks. He reached double figures in two games this past week.
On Tuesday, he notched 11 points in a 124-106 victory over the Washington Wizards, while he managed 13 points the next night in a loss to the Jazz.
Last year’s No. 25 pick is starting to ramp up his production. While he’s averaged just 4.4 points a game in 2018-19, including just a hair over 30 percent from three, he scored double-digits in four games in the month of March.
He’s earning starting minutes, as well. He hit the floor first Sunday in a 28-point win over the Pelicans.
Today's Lakers starters @ Pelicans:— LakerShow BR (@LakerShowBR) March 31, 2019
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Lance Stephenson
PF: Moritz Wagner
C: JaVale McGee#LakeShow #NBA pic.twitter.com/ReRl1JdVJ1
Cleveland’s Nik Stauskas tallied a combined 14 points in three losses last week, boosting his 3-point percentage to 36 percent by canning a pair of triples.
There’s a former Michigan contingent that are breaking out for Eastern Conference playoff contenders. In D.J. Wilson’s case, his Milwaukee Bucks are closing to wrapping up the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage for the entire postseason.
He filled the stat sheet in an overtime loss Sunday to the Atlanta Hawks. He racked up 12 points (draining two deep makes), seven rebounds and five assists. On the month, he connected on 11-of-32 attempts from behind the arc.
In 17.5 minutes a game this season, he’s posting averages of 5.4 points, 4.2 boards and an assist per contest.
Glenn Robinson has established himself as a defensive specialist for the Pistons. He hit the floor in Saturday’s victory over Portland, helping stifle the Trail Blazers to just 90 points (including just 34 points in the first half).
He also mustered eight points and four rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Detroit is currently the No. 6 seed in the East, looking for the franchise’s third postseason in the last decade.
Even former Division III transfer Duncan Robinson saw 22 minutes against the Mavericks, stringing together six points.
@CarisLeVert puts on the burners and takes it to the rack!#NETSonYES live stream: https://t.co/wDWv15H3sz pic.twitter.com/nggy1ZsT5k— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 29, 2019
Last but certainly not least, Brooklyn’s Caris LeVert is starting to find his groove as a sixth man for the Nets. He averaged 16.3 points in three games against playoff teams last week (Boston, Philadelphia and Portland).
His most efficient performance came in last Monday’s 148-144 double-overtime loss to the Trail Blazers, where he pumped out 16 points on just eight shots, while also dishing seven assists and three rebounds.
If he starts to reach his early season form, Brooklyn would have a formidable bench player to supplement a burgeoning superstar in De’Angelo Russell. Right now, the Nets are the No. 7 seed in the East at 39-38.