Pro Blue: Checking in with former Michigan basketball players in the NBA

John Beilein and Juwan Howard have certainly sent their fair share of prospects to the NBA in recent years. Former Wolverines are making an impact in the professional ranks now more than ever. Throughout the NBA season, we will be highlighting the weekly performances of all former Michigan basketball players in the league.

This week we’ll set the table by showing how all nine active players have fared over the first two months of the season.

Note: All stats are as of December 4th.

jordan poole, Warriors of the Golden State

Across 24 games, Poole averages a 16.7 PPG, 4.5 APG, and 1.9 RPG. He has become a real star for the Warriors despite coming off the bench. He is fourth on the team in scoring and third on the team in assists. Averaging 27 minutes per game, Poole gets starting minutes and his massive contract has paid off to date.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks

Much like Poole, Hardaway Jr. came off the bench more this year than in the past, starting in just six of the Mavericks’ 21 games. Much like Poole, he’s gotten starting minutes as he averages 25 minutes per game. With 12.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG, it’s more than just a dependable bankpiece. He is the fourth-leading scorer by a Dallas team likely to make the playoffs.

franz wagner, Orlando magic

Wagner continued to build on his stellar rookie campaign, averaging 19.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.8 APG. Additionally, he has emerged as a formidable NBA defenseman. While Orlando is still fighting mightily, they’ve certainly found a centerpiece in Wagner. He is second on the team in goals and fourth in assists while playing more than 33 minutes per game. He’s started every game this season for the Magic.

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Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers

LeVert has started about two-thirds of Cleveland games this year in a backcourt with Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. He averages 11.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 4.5 APG in about 30 minutes per game. If he’s healthy, he’s a solid starter at the NBA level. So far in 2022, he has been mostly healthy.

Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic

Next up for the Orlando Wolverines is Franz’s brother Moe. He’s only appeared in five games this year (all since Thanksgiving) but averages 8.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.3 APG. He struggled from three and shot 3-for-19 but recovered well and finished well in the paint. It will be interesting to see how Wagner’s role evolves given Orlando’s struggles and what he provides.

Caleb Houston, Orlando Magic

Houston has appeared in 19 games this year and had a starting seed in a game against Brooklyn on Nov. 28. He has mostly played in the cleanup duty, averaging 4.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 0.8 APG. In a roster full of young talent, Houston is getting 19 minutes a game to show what he’s capable of with minimal results so far.

Mussa Diabate, Los Angeles Clippers

Diabate has appeared in five games this season, averaging 4.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 0.2 APG. Eleven of his points came in one outing. He has so far split time between the Clippers and their G-League partner. This is not a big surprise as it is quite raw but has immense potential. It wouldn’t surprise me if he spends a lot of his time in the G-League this year.

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Duncan Robinson, intense heat

Robinson has struggled to stay healthy for the disappointing Heat this season, struggling with a nagging ankle injury. He appeared off the bench in 16 games and averaged 6.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, and 1.2 APG. Since averaging 13.5 PPG in his sophomore year in the NBA, his score has fallen for three straight years, largely due to his three-point percentage doing the same. He still has the good will of the Heat coaching staff but needs to start shooting better to stay in the rotation in Miami.

isaiah liver, Detroit piston

After Marvin Bagley’s injury last season, there was talk in Detroit that Livers could become a regular. While he’s started in seven games, Livers only gets 19 minutes a game, so he’s only started in the nominal sense. Averaging 5.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 0.6 APG, the former second-round pick is part of the rotation but has struggled to produce on the floor so far. He injured his shoulder last Thursday and hasn’t played since.

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