This week, members of the Maize n Brew staff got together to react to the news that Hunter Dickinson has submitted his name for the 2021 NBA Draft. We addressed the immediate reactions if he stays in the draft and what his decision might mean for the ceiling of the team.
What was your immediate reaction to Hunter Dickinson’s decision to test the NBA Draft?
Kellen Voss: I’m happy for him. I see it as similar to Livers’ decision last year. There’s nothing wrong with an evaluation from NBA scouts and coaches, as that will only help him become a better basketball player in the long run.
Matt Eifert: I wasn’t surprised by the decision as there’s no reason for him not to be evaluated by NBA scouts. I was only surprised that it took this long for him to announce it. I expected such an announcement shortly after the season ended, not in late May.
Tyler Helsel: Intrigue. Although his Freshman season saw ups and downs, it was the best Freshman year Michigan has seen in years. His old school game makes for hard matchups in college, but I am not sure how well it will translate to the NBA. Yet, with the numbers he put up, it is definitely worth going through the process to see where he stacks up.
Von Lozon: He has every right to do so and should absolutely do that. He had a great freshman campaign and should do his due diligence with the process. He likely wouldn’t be drafted this year, but you can only really find out through the NBA Draft process. I always wish the best for the kid, no matter what situation, so I feel similarly here.
Trevor Woods: My immediate reaction was that it makes sense. Why wouldn’t he test the waters and get feelers? I thought it was pretty cool Dickinson took the time to create a post about his thought process and let the fans know where his head is at. That’s maturity, that’s love for the block M actually.
Do you think there’s a chance he stays in the draft? Why or why not?
Kellen Voss: If he gets a top-20 evaluation, maybe, but otherwise I think it’s likely he returns to Michigan because he wants to win a championship.
Matt Eifert: There’s always a chance, though I think it’s slim. Dickinson’s game doesn’t match the modern NBA. I fully expect NBA scouts to give Hunter valuable feedback about adding a more consistent jump shot and gaining more athleticism, followed by a return to Michigan for his sophomore season.
Tyler Helsel: I think he comes back to Michigan next year. We saw flashes of a mid-range game last year, yet it was very inconsistent. I think his evaluation will complement his strength, size, and footwork, but he will be told what we know, which is that he needs to be more consistent from 8-12 feet.
Von Lozon: There’s always a chance, but ultimately I do not believe he’d be drafted and will be back at Michigan for one more year, at the very least.
Trevor Woods: Sure, there’s a chance. Conventional wisdom along with the eye test would say that Dickinson could use a little more seasoning, but all it takes is a couple of teams who believe in him to make him a realistic second-round selection. And would that be worth Dickinson heading to the pros, or would another year in college turn him into a top 20 selection? These are the questions Dickinson is surely asking right now.
What do you think his return would mean for next season’s team?
Kellen Voss: It would mean next year’s squad is much more likely to make it to the Final Four and possibly win it all.
Matt Eifert: Dickinson is the lynchpin of the team for 2021-2022. Throughout large stretches of last season, the offense ran through him and I expect that to continue. He provides Michigan with a legitimate All-American candidate who should be the most dominant center in the Big Ten, if not the country.
Tyler Helsel: Michigan is set to be young but talented. His experience, even if just a year, matters. He hasn’t played in the National Title game or won the B1G Tournament, but he has the experience of being the team’s leading scorer and go-to player. That experience will likely be thrust onto a Freshman or transfer player if Dickenson leaves, which could hurt the team (at least in the early part of the season). Having a reliable, experienced, scoring, and rebounding big man to pace this team all year makes Michigan a contender for back-to-back B1G titles.
Von Lozon: Everything. Michigan would have to break in another new player at a position they don’t have experience at. Michigan would’ve had to do the same at PG had DeVante’ Jones not transferred in. The talent incoming is undeniable, but it’d be a better situation for Dickinson to return to the team.
Trevor Woods: There were games where Dickinson was Michigan’s best player on the court. He is Michigan’s bonafide and proven big man and if he stayed there’s good reason to believe that Michigan can have another long run in the NCAA Tournament.
How would you feel about Michigan’s 2021-22 roster if he did decide to leave?
Kellen Voss: It would be a young roster that would need a little time to gel. I would still love the roster with all the stud recruits coming in. Having Dickinson return would be like bacon on a grilled cheese; it’s not necessary for success, but it only adds value to the product.
Matt Eifert: If Dickinson decided to remain in the draft, an already young Michigan team would be even younger. Brandon Johns would have to play significant minutes at the center as Johns and Diabate would be the only bodies capable of playing at the five. With that being said, this would still be a good team just with a slightly lower ceiling. With Dickinson, the ceiling is a national championship. Without Dickinson, the ceiling would be a Big Ten contender and possible conference championship.
Tyler Helsel: Confident. The team has leadership, talent, and scoring ability. However, his leaving does leave unknowns. Dickenson returning solidifies Michigan as a banner-level team.
Von Lozon: They’d have the talent to compete with just about anybody, but the experience level would be hurting a bit. If you want a championship team these days, you need experienced players. The days of championship teams being built and relied on by one-and-done players are over. Their ceiling would only be so high.
Trevor Woods: It leaves Michigan scrambling to decide what to do at the 5, and it will become a plug-and-patch operation without Dickinson. To put it simply, losing Dickinson would be a big blow to Michigan’s roster in 2021.