The Michigan Wolverines’ projected playing rotation for the 2022-23 season has changed a lot over the last few days.
Princeton senior guard transfer Jaelin Llewellyn will be heading to Ann Arbor for the upcoming season, while point guard Frankie Collins will be exploring other options as he entered the transfer portal Saturday evening.
Over three seasons with the Tigers, Llewellyn started in all 76 games he appeared in and averaged 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game. He also shot 38.6% from three-point land last season.
I think it’s fair to assume he’ll be a starter with the Wolverines this season; he can provide veteran leadership to a young team and his three-point stroke helps the Wolverines immensely. They were ranked 172nd in three-point field goal percentage last season, so they really need that boost.
It’s hard to project exactly who will even be in the rotation for Michigan next year, with Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan testing the NBA waters.
For the purposes of this projection, let’s assume both those guys come back to Michigan. With that in mind, here’s what I would project Michigan’s starting lineup to be next season, or at least the start of it:
PG: Jaelin Llewellyn
SG: Jett Howard
SF: Caleb Houstan
PF: Moussa Diabate
C: Hunter Dickinson
First three off the bench: Terrance Williams Jr., Kobe Bufkin, Tarris Reed Jr.
The biggest question mark going into this exercise was who to put at the 2 spot. Bufkin flashed some great moments last season, but Howard has a bit of a higher ceiling and has been turning heads at recent showcases. He has the potential to grow into Michigan’s best player one day.
Jett Howard buries the dagger in the Iverson Classic. The Michigan signee dominated the second half against future college stars and earned rave reviews from Allen Iverson and JR Smith: pic.twitter.com/t0Pe5TebEo— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) April 30, 2022
Jett Howard was one of the top players at the Iverson Classic this weekend. Check out this exchange between him and A.I. about Juwan.— Blue By 90 (@bluebyninety) April 30, 2022
"You gonna be great...just be a great dude like your mf daddy."@J9Howard @JettHoward5 pic.twitter.com/GbKADDoXUS
I could see a smaller lineup of Llewellyn, Bufkin, Howard, Houstan and Dickinson getting a lot of playing time as the year progresses.
The starting lineup featuring Diabate and Dickinson, who developed more offensive chemistry as the year went along, gives Michigan another year with a super talented frontcourt. Plus, Diabate and Williams give the Wolverines a lot of positional flexibility since both guys are positional tweeners who can thrive against a lot of different lineups.
Also, if Dickinson gets into foul trouble, expect Diabate or Reed to get more minutes at the 5. Michigan learned in the win against Ohio State last year it can survive without Dickinson offensively, at least for one game.
I dare you to find an eight-man playing rotation in the Big Ten with that much talent. Yes, you’re still relying on a lot of young guys, but surrounding Dickinson with shooters and versatile scorers seems like the best route to go.