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How Hunter Dickinson can develop his game if he returns to Michigan

The big man has NBA potential, but has some things to work on.

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2021 NBA G League Elite Camp Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images

Hunter Dickinson was one of four Michigan Wolverines who participated in the G-League Elite Camp earlier this week, showcasing skills against a number of NBA Scouts. While he did not received an invite to the NBA Combine, Dickinson did play well in the 5-on-5 portions of the camp.

Dickinson likely didn’t receive a combine invite because NBA teams likely want to see him expand his game before he gets drafted.

As Brendan Quinn of The Athletic recently laid out, Dickinson became predictable for Big Ten opponents as the season went along, with the reigning Big Ten Rookie of the Year getting the majority of his buckets through put-back dunks, left-handed layups off cuts and slips, and a hook shot with his left hand over his right shoulder.

Dickinson deferred to his left hand at the Elite Camp, but watch how he scores at the 0:49 mark of the video below.

As Dickinson watches his teammate grab the ball with all his momentum going towards the rim, the big man floats to the middle of the lane, catches the ball and scores with a quick little jumper.

If Dickinson can continue to gain confidence in that mid-range shot, his offensive game will expand, benefitting Michigan’s offense as a whole.

Michigan fans didn’t see Dickinson take a ton of jump shots last season, but we saw him pick-and-pop and finish from deep in high school, so we know he has that in his bag.

Hunter’s older brother Ben, who served as an assistant coach on Hunter’s high school, told Quinn that we haven’t seen Dickinson maximize his potential at the college level.

“He really hasn’t shown off his ability to shoot the ball yet,” Ben Dickinson said via The Athletic last month. “He really can shoot it. In high school, he’d have games where he’d hit three or four 3s, and they’d be huge 3s. Plus, he can face up, give you a jab, hit the short jump shot.

If Dickinson can get a little quicker to separate from defenders on shots and can gain more confidence to take those long-range shots, it creates more space for the Michigan offense and can elevate Dickinson’s game to a whole new level.

Developing more quickness can also help Dickinson on the defensive end, as while the Big man averaged 1.4 blocks per game and helped anchor Michigan top-ranked defense, improving on his perimeter defense will help Michigan defend screens and improve Dickinson’s draft stock.

Should Dickinson return to Michigan this season, this is a very key offseason for his development.

If he remains predictable and doesn’t improve much athletically, we may witness a sophomore slump from Dickinson, which would be terrible for both the Wolverines and Dickinson’s NBA potential.

If Dickinson can improve on his quickness and get a little stronger while showcasing more offensive variance by finishing with his right hand and expanding his range, Dickinson will not only shoot up draft big boards, but he can elevate the ceiling for just how good the 2021-22 Wolverines can be.