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Pro Blue: Isaiah Livers returns to Pistons

The forward returned from injury and was quickly forced into the starting rotation.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Detroit Pistons Allison Farrand-USA TODAY Sports

Just as one former Michigan standout returns from the injured list, another joins it. It was just one of those weeks for the former Wolverine basketball players in the NBA.

Let’s see how each of the nine former Wolverines on NBA rosters did this week.

Note: All stats are as of Jan. 17.

Isaiah Livers, Detroit Pistons

Livers returned to action this week for the first time since Dec. 1. The Pistons eased him into action as Isaiah saw just 18 minutes on Wednesday and 21 minutes on Friday in which he played a floor-spacing role in each contest. However, on Sunday Detroit battled a swath of injuries so Livers was forced to start and play 39 minutes. He scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting with three made three-pointers, six rebounds, and three assists.

With the Pistons playing the Bulls in France this week and many of Detroit’s regulars expected to once again be healthy, expect Livers to slide back to the bench. However, it’s nice to see him back out on the floor again for Detroit.

Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors

The Warriors bounced back this week, winning two out of three. This included a 144-113 win in San Antonio in front of the largest NBA crowd in history as the game was played at the Alamodome. Poole played well in that game, scoring 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting along with six assists and three rebounds.

He then struggled a bit (by his standards) in Chicago on Sunday as he scored just 15 points in 26 minutes. However, he bounced back in a hurry as he put up 32 points and seven rebounds against the Wizards Monday night. He made seven three-pointers alone in a spectacular shooting performance.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks

In a double-overtime affair with the Lakers on Thursday, Hardaway tallied 22 points and eight rebounds on 9-of-21 shooting. He was efficient in the paint despite shooting only 3-for-11 from deep. On Saturday in Portland, he scored just 10 points in 32 minutes with virtually no other stats to speak of. While still in double-digits, this was his lowest-scoring performance since January 5th against the Celtics.

Unfortunately, Hardaway Jr. joined the ranks of the injured as he missed the backend of the Mavericks’ back-to-back with the Trailblazers due to an ankle sprain. He has struggled with injuries off and on throughout his career so hopefully, it’s nothing serious.

Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic

Franz continues to shine in an Orlando Magic uniform. He put up 26 points with five rebounds and four steals against the Jazz on Friday night before scoring 19 points with five rebounds and two assists against the Nuggets on Sunday. He has now scored 15 or more points in 12 consecutive games and 12 or more points in 19 consecutive games. The young star is blossoming before our eyes.

Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers

LeVert struggled quite a bit this week coming off the bench. He scored just four points on Thursday against Portland and was virtually invisible on the floor. He semi-bounced back on Saturday by scoring 12 points with four rebounds and three assists against the Timberwolves. However, he then scored just eight points in only 15 minutes on the floor in Cleveland’s matchup with New Orleans on Monday.

It is worth noting that Donovan Mitchell has again been sidelined due to a left groin strain, so LeVert is expected to slide right back into a starting role. Last time he started for an extended period, he thrived. Let’s see if he can repeat it.

Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic

Wagner continued to come off the bench this week though he played well despite limited minutes. On Friday night in Utah he notched 11 points and four rebounds in just 18 minutes on the floor. On Sunday against Denver, he scored eight points along with five rebounds but struggled from deep, shooting 0-for-4.

In both contests, Wendell Carter Jr. (who started in Mo’s place) ended the night with a negative +/- while Mo was well into the positive. I would not be surprised to see Wagner regain his starting role in the near future.

Caleb Houstan, Orlando Magic

As expected, Houstan was sent down to Orlando’s G-League affiliate on Monday of this week. In Lakeland, he was a force to be reckoned with. In his first game down, he scored 24 points along with nine rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.

Moussa Diabate, Los Angeles Clippers

Diabate remained in the G-League this week on the Ontario Clippers.

Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat

Robinson remained out this week due to a finger injury. There is no timetable for his return at this time.