With all of the former Michigan basketball players finished with their NBA seasons, we broke down how 10 former Michigan players fared in this year’s league action. Ranging from old lottery picks to unwritten successes and star players to players buried under tables of depth, the former Wolverines have had a variety of experiences this season.
Brazdeikis has rebounded around his second season in the NBA, playing for three NBA teams and having another stint in the G-League. His season began with the New York Knicks, where he scored two points and two rebounds in seven minutes in four games. Next, Brazdeikis returned to the Knicks’ G-League branch in Westchester, where he averaged 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 12 games.
Next, Brazdeikis was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he appeared in one game (zero points and two rebounds in eight minutes.
Brazdeikis has been more successful with his third team, appearing in eight games with the Orlando Magic. Although the Magic were badly injured and in tank mode, Brazdeikis scored 89 points, 41 points and 16 assists in eight games. While Brazdeikis’ future is unclear, the former Big Ten Freshman of the Year has used his brief stint with the Magic to help himself find a spot next season.
While Burke’s stats were down from previous seasons, the former Michigan National Player of the Year settled into a valuable bench role with the Dallas Mavericks. Burke has played 62 games – his record in three seasons despite the shortening of the schedule to 10 games – averaging 6.6 and 1.3 assists per game. Playing for the No.5 seed in the Western Conference and replacing All-Star Luka Doncic, Burke has found a strong and efficient bench role, although his raw numbers have declined for the season.
In the playoffs, Burke scored just one point in two games (0-7 on shooting) as the Mavericks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Former Burke teammate in Michigan and with the New York Knicks and Dallas, Hardaway had one of the best seasons of his career with the Mavericks. Hardaway averaged 16.6 points per game, the third-highest of his career, and posted an effective field goal percentage of 56.0, a career-high, with 3.3 rebounds and 1, 8 assists per game. Making 31 starts with the Mavericks, Hardaway actually finished the team’s season second and 42nd in the NBA in scoring.
Hardaway’s 3-point shot has been particularly strong this season, as the three-year-old Michigan starter placed eighth in the league with a career-high 207 on 3 points while shooting 39.1% from 3 for the season.
In the playoffs, Hardaway averaged 17.0 points and shot 40.4% of 3 as the Mavericks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games.
Like Burke, Hardaway seems to have found a comfort zone playing for one of the best teams in the league.
While it certainly didn’t go without adversity, the 2020-21 season has proven to be a career year for LeVert. Between 12 games with the Brooklyn Nets and 35 games with the Indianapolis Pacers, LeVert averaged 20.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.4 steals – all career highs.
It’s a pretty impressive season for LeVert, but comes with an added degree of difficulty because, when he was traded to the Pacers, a physical exam revealed a small lump on his kidney, which turned out to be more later be renal cell carcinoma. The fear of health, while not expected to impact his health in the future, has cost him nearly two months of the season. Had he played a full season, especially with a successful stint at Indianapolis, LeVert would likely have finished in the league’s top 30 in terms of scoring.
While the Pacers made the playoffs as a 9 seed, LeVert did not play in the playoffs as he was ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols.
Michigan’s youngest former NBA star at the moment at age 21, Jordan Poole had an eventful season with the Warriors but ended on a high note. Poole started the season averaging just 5.53 points per game for Golden State, appearing in just 15 of the Warriors’ first 20 games and 13 of 38 3-point attempts. Then Poole was sent to the G-League to boost his confidence and averaged 22.4 points per game before being called up.
Since then, Poole has averaged 14.7 points per game, increasing his season average to 12.0 points per game to close out the regular season. Poole is seen as a key player in the rotation for Golden State.
In two play-in games, Poole scored 29 points on 10-on-20 shots (5-fot-10 of 3) and added seven assists, although the Warriors lost both games and were eliminated.
For the second season in a row, Duncan Robinson has established himself as a household name in the NBA, continuing to shoot as well as any player on the planet. This season, Robinson has averaged 13.1 points per game in 72 starts, shooting 40.8% out of 3 and finishing fourth in the league with 250 3 pointers and 14th in the league in actual shooting percentage from the field. While his defense and rebounds aren’t praised at the NBA level, his length and touch-in-goal made him essential for the Heat (40-32, 6th seed in the Eastern Conference) as Robinson played the 15th most NBA minutes this season.
In the playoffs, Robinson calmed down a bit, scoring just 41 points, adding 11 rebounds and shooting 37.0% of 3 as the Heat were swept away by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.
Glenn Robinson III
A year after hitting a double-digit average for the first time in his career, Glenn Robinson III’s 2020-21 season hasn’t even reached the midpoint. Playing for the Sacramento Kings, his seventh team in as many seasons, Robinson has played 23 games and made two starts. He averaged 5.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per night, but was sidelined on Feb.24 by the Kings, who were 31-41 this season and finished 12th in the Western Conference.
Similar to Brazdeikis, Moe Wagner rebounded in his third NBA season, appearing for three teams. Wagner started the year with the Washington Wizards, where he started 13 of 25 games and averaged 7.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 15.0 minutes per night. Next, Wagner was traded to the Boston Celtics, but averaged just 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game over nine games (6.8 minutes per night) before being released.
After some time without a team, Wagner was signed by the Orlando Magic for the remainder of the season. Like Brazdeikis, Wagner took advantage of Orlando’s shorthanded training, averaging 11.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Wagner started 10 of his 11 games with the Magic and organized two 20-point and six-point games where he scored in double digits. Wagner’s future in the NBA is still murky – he isn’t signed until next season – but a double-digit average and better than 37% of 3 shooting in Orlando has helped Wagner’s cause.
Another former Wolverine who has been traded this season, DJ Wilson is averaging 3.6 points per game for the Milwaukee Bucks and 6.1 points per game for the Houston Rockets. Stretch 4 also hit 34.5% of its 3s and averaged 3.2 rebounds per game over 35 games and one start.
Wilson struggled to find playing time for the title-contested Bucks, scoring over 10 minutes of action just three times in Milwaukee’s first 40 games, up from 28 competitions he did not compete in. Wilson found more opportunities to play for the latter. place Rockets, appearing in 23 of 25 games before COVID-19 protocols ended his season earlier.