Michigan basketball has been humming along for a while now, and it’s spilled over into the NBA as well. With the conference finals now set in the association, there’s a former UM player on all four rosters meaning that there’s a 100% chance that a Michigan Wolverine will be crowned an NBA champion next month.
Boston Celtics – Nik Stauskas
The beginning of March was special for Stauskas. While playing in the G League for the Grand Rapids Gold, he scored a career-high and set the franchise scoring record with 57 points on 20-of-29 shooting (11-15 three-pointers) against the Wisconsin Herd on March 1 and then dropped 43 points on 16-of-21 shooting (9-13 three-pointers) the very next night against the Lakeland Magic, becoming the second player in G League history to produce 100+ points in a two-game span. Three days later, he inked a two-year deal with the Boston Celtics. Stauskas has only played mop-up minutes in 10 games since signing with the Celtics, but he’s in the league, signed and has a chance at a ring as of yesterday.
Dallas Mavericks – Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway Jr. broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot on Jan. 22, had surgery on Feb. 1 and has been out ever since. Early last week, however, the starting wing was on the Mavericks’ practice court preparing for a potential return during the playoffs. He was ruled out for yesterday’s Game 7 against Phoenix but with the Mavs advancing, there’s a chance he’ll return to the lineup against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. He hasn’t done anything at full speed just yet, but it sounds like he’s trying to get back on the court as the Mavs make a run. When healthy, he’s option 2 or 3 behind Luka Doncic and alongside Jalen Brunson for an explosive Mavs team that is as hot as anyone remaining in the playoffs.
Burke, on the other hand, is pretty far down the bench for the Mavs but does get a chance to get in and jack up some shots whenever Dallas is up or down big. The former player of the year at Michigan played in 42 games this year for the Mavericks and averaged 5.1 points per outing when on the court in just over 10 minutes of action.
Scroll to Continue
Golden State Warriors – Jordan Poole
Poole has blossomed into a bonafide scorer in the NBA and is now viewed as a third Splash Brother alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. During the latter part of the regular season, with Curry sidelined, Poole exploded as a scorer. He notched 17 consecutive games with 20 or more points, including five games where he had at least 30. During that stretch, the former Michigan playerd 26.4 points on 49.7% shooting from the floor with 5.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. While shooting nearly 50% from three-point range during his 17-game tear, he also showed that he can facilitate push the pace and finish at the rim regularly in the NBA. Poole is still on his rookie deal, but he’s positioned himself to sign a massive extension in the very near future.
Miami Heat – Duncan Robinson
For a while, it looked like Robinson was poised to be a starting member of the Heat for a long, long time. It turns out, being a lethal shooter at a legit 6-7 can make you a lot of money in the NBA. Robinson is in Year 2 of a five-year, $90 million contract because of those two traits. In the early stages of this postseason, he was playing a lot and was shooting a scorching 53 percent on 3-pointers. He had a huge 27-point outburst and eight three-pointers in the first game of the first round against the Atlanta Hawks, but then saw his playing time diminish throughout that series before racking up DNPs in the second round. Instead of playing Robinson, who struggles on defense at times, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has opted to start Max Strus and give more bench minutes to Tyler Herro and a now-healthy Victor Oladipo. The Heat haven’t shot the ball well from the outside throughout the postseason, but so far it hasn’t hurt them as evidenced by their presence in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, if the lid stays on the rim, Robinson may get the nod in order to keep pace with the sharp-shooting Celtics.
Michigan isn’t the only school that will definitely have a player win a championship ring. Surprisingly, though, it’s not a regular NBA-player producer like Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina that joins UM — it’s actually Florida. No matter which NBA team wins the title, a Gator will get some jewelry. One of Al Horford (Boston Celtics), Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat), Chris Chiozza (Golden State Warriors) and Dorian Finney-Smith (Mavericks) will ensure that Florida is represented.