Is a beginner center Hunter Dickinson The Michigan Wolverines basketball team’s MVP so far this season. He has undoubtedly been one of, if not, the club’s best players, but other important contributors such as the senior game Isaiah lives, sophomore guard Franz Wagner and fifth-year senior guard Mike Smith could do a case as well.
TheWolverine’s Austin Fox and Clayton Sayfie debate the topic below in this week’s edition of “Buy or Sell”.
This is an extremely close conversation and can probably go some way. Dickinson clearly has the best statistics for everyone on the team, leading Wolverines in scoring (15.1), returns (7.2), blocks (1.4) and field goal percentage (68.8).
That said, the term “MVP” can be defined in a few different ways. Is it simply the best player on the team, or the player that a club can least afford to lose? If this question had been asked about two weeks ago, the answer here would definitely have been “buy”.
Dickinson’s latest dip in production (and it’s not a knock on him, but instead a testament to how opponents double him and how other Wolverines have strengthened their game) has changed the view of this answer.
The rookie has averaged just 7.6 points over Michigan’s last three wins and has not darkened 12 points in any of them, and yet the Maize and Blues’ profit margin has still been 21.3.
In other words, Michigan is still finding ways to blow out opponents without Dickinson producing much from an offensive point of view, a view that was not necessarily thought to be the case earlier this month.
The return of the fifth-year senior freight forwarder Austin Davis from injury would also allow Dickinson to be easier to overcome. Davis has shown time and time again that he can more than serve as a high-quality big man in the big ten, shooting 66.7 percent from the field and with 6.1 points on average, which is surprising when you consider that he only has one average 11.7 minutes per competition.
Lever delivers the bill to a tee when discussing the player UM could least afford to lose, and would be the answer here for the team’s MVP. We all saw how much Wolverines struggled when he was injured last year, and how much his presence on the field means.
The fact that this is a tough decision means that Michigan is a very good team and a very tough team to beat. It’s not always the same guy who leads the team to score every night, which makes the Michigan attack extremely difficult to protect for the opposition.
With that said, right now it’s Hunter Dickinson. The 7-foot-1 beginner has exceeded expectations immensely and became one of the best big men in the conference and the country right away.
He leads the team in points (15.1) and rebounds (7.2), while shooting a ridiculous 68.8 percent from the field. The next thing Dickinson does, which you can not say about all great big men, is that he opens up opportunities for his teammates.
Gone are the days of a big man who gets the ball in the post, lays his head down and strikes a shot. Dickinson looks to pass, and he’s very good at it. Whether it’s a jump court over the whole court to the wide-open guy or a simple feedback to the perimeter, he can do it, and he improves on it even though he’s made too many turnovers too late.
This is where shooters like the senior game Isaiah Livers (44.6 percent from three) and fifth-year senior guard Mike Smith (47.1 percent from long range and 63.6 percent in conference games) come in.
When the defense collapses on Dickinson and often sends double teams to the post, it gives Livers, Smith, senior guards Eli Brooks and Chaundee Brownand second-year winger Franz Wagner more space to work with in the perimeter.
Dickinson has not looked like a newcomer to the defense either. His ability to play in the post and defend without defeating (1.4 fouls per game) has kept him on the floor, which has been key, especially with the Wolverines not having much depth in fifth place.
While Livers has a goal to be MVP, and so do Brooks and Wagner, but Dickinson gets the whole thing going. Liver may be the guy after the end of the season, but so far it has been the novice who has opened so many doors for Wolverines at both ends of the floor.
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