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2021 NBA Playoffs: Five former Wolverines enter the postseason

From history-making to life-saving surgery, it has been a busy season for ex-Michigan hoopers.

2020 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Under John Beilein, and soon to be Juwan Howard as well, the Michigan Wolverines have seen a sharp increase in the number of players drafted into the NBA. Eight different Wolverines saw playing time in the league this season, with more than half continuing to help their teams in the playoffs. Here is a quick look at some familiar faces and where they stand heading into the postseason.

Duncan Robinson, MIA (East No. 6)

No player has risen faster over the past few years than Robinson. From Division III-transfer to National Runner-Up, the elite shooter’s collegiate journey alone was a great success. However, despite being undrafted, Robinson has made an even bigger name for himself professionally, this season becoming the fastest player ever to make 500 career three-pointers in the NBA.

Robinson and the Heat made a surprising run to the finals last season, averaging 11.7 points and 3.0 triples per game in the playoffs. This season, he has started every single game for Miami and continues to shoot over 40 percent from deep. Heading into free agency, this will be an important postseason for Robinson.

Caris LeVert, IND (East No. 9)

One of the most likeable players in basketball, LeVert has experienced a wild year. Moving from Brooklyn to Indiana during the James Harden mega-deal, his customary pre-trade physical revealed a small cancerous mass on his kidney. The former Wolverine said the trade possibly saved his life, and remarkably he was able to return to the court just two months after the surgery.

In 35 games with the Pacers he averaged 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists, but he is currently out due to health and safety protocols. Indiana will need to take down the Celtics in the play-in tournament to clinch the No. 8 seed and set up a series against the 76ers.

Tim Hardaway Jr., DAL (West No. 5)

Hardaway has bounced around the NBA since leaving Michigan, but it looks like he has found a good home in Dallas. While he is not an every-game starter, he actually lead the Mavs in games played (70) and finished third on the team in scoring (16.6 PPG) behind Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

The Mavs look to fare better than last season’s first-round defeat to the Clippers. Hardaway played well in that series though, putting up 17.8 points per game on a 52.1 eFG%. The two teams will have a rematch in this year’s first round.

Trey Burke, DAL (West No. 5)

Even more so than Hardaway, Burke has really moved around the league since being drafted ninth-overall in 2013. The two spent some time together with the Knicks and now are teammates once again in Dallas.

Burke is much more of a rotation player, but he did play in most of the Mavs’ games this season. He also appeared in every playoff game last year, averaging 12.6 points per contest. Michigan fans know he can hit some big shots with the clock winding down, and that still seems to be the case:

Jordan Poole, GSW (West No. 7)

Poole was pretty terrible as a rookie, looking a bit lost on the court while posting very poor shooting numbers. While he still has some room to develop, he has looked very different as of late. Over the past 14 games he as averaged 15.4 points while shooting 43.9 percent from the floor, including a 38-point outburst against the Pelicans last week.

This late-season charge could give him a bigger role on a depleted Warriors roster. Poole is capable of improving on his 35.1% three-point mark, and if he can continue to grow overall, he might soon become a key part of an NBA lineup. Just like Burke, he also has shown off his buzzer-beating abilities recently: