Should Michigan Redistribute Charles Matthews' Usage? (Also Poole and Iggy are unreal)

Submitted by Barn Animal on December 10th, 2018 at 1:37 PM


I was poking around on Bart Torvik and found some truly remarkable stats that made me think that Michigan would be better off lowering Charles Matthews' usage and giving it primarily to Jordan Poole.

First off I should say Michigan's offense if fine, great in fact. Since Nov. 13 (this excludes Michigan's first two games) Michigan is 5 in offensive efficiency and *gasp* 5 in defensive efficiency (don't worry if you take out SC we're #1 in defense over that stretch, everything's fine). However looking at the individual player stats Michigan may be able to get even better by redistributing Matthew usage.


Whole Season Stats 

UM Whole Season Stats.PNG

Last 5 Games

UM Last 5 Games.PNG

OMG!!!! (Player Rankings From Nov. 23- Dec. 10. High Major Only)


Sorry for such a big chart but I saw Teske down there and didn't want him to feel left out.


So What?

So first... OMG!!! Since Nov. 23 Poole and Iggy have been the best high major players in the country, and its not even close. Also while this data is only a segment of the season the Big 10 definitely has some some players this year. Wow.

While Poole and Iggy have been our best offensive players all year they've stepped it up even more in the last five games. Matthews on the other hand has had a rough stretch shooting only 33% on 2 pointers and posting an O rating less than 100. Even over the course of the whole year his O rating has only been 103, which isn't great. As seen last year Matthews is not as efficient once his usage reaches a certain level. His overall efficiency should improve if his usage falls back to around 20. Luckily Michigan can certainly do this because of...

JORDAN POOLE! The guy has been the best offensive player in the country by a wide margin in the last 5 games and is only getting about 21% usage. Granted shooting 60% from 3 isn't sustainable but Poole is easily a 40% 3 point shooter, with the potential to hover around 45%. The guy can shoot. But there are two other reasons why I think a bump in usage for Poole could help this offense go nuclear.

1. 2 point %: One thing I'd noticed in watching Poole this year is he is very good inside the arc, despite looking for most of his shots outside of it (which when you're shooting 60% go for it!). The stats bear this out with Poole shooting 56% from 2 over the season and 61% over the last 5 games. Its probably not beneficial for Poole to bump up his usage with more 3's but there is a lot of room for more usage inside the arc which brings me to...

2. Playmaking: Poole has impressed me as a passer this year, his assist numbers aren't amazing but he does spend a lot of time looking for 3's which probably brings down those assist numbers. Last year one of the guys (Ace?) was talking about how dangerous a Poole-Teske pick and roll could be. Given Teske's offensive emergence and Poole's triple threat combo (3 pt, 2pt, playmaking) this pick and roll could be a great way to give Poole more usage and make him a major part of the offense. 

I don't propose a major increase, probably only to 25 and then see how it goes. Given the variety of weapons on this team nobody needs to be above 25. But I think this is the right move considering the bump we would see in Matthews efficiency. The only drawback I can see to this is Zavier Simpson. Simpson's off ball offense is a major weakness and could be potentially exposed if Michigan plays long stretches with the ball primarily in Poole's hands in the pick and roll. However since we're taking some possessions away form Matthews it may be a wash. I'd be interested to hear what people with more knowledge of the X's and O's think of this. Also feel free to poke around and draw your own conclusions from these stats. There's a lot to work with here.



December 10th, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

Mathews has improved his 3% and looks considerably more comfortable and adept at making spot up 3’s. 

It is clear he should not be creating off the dribble near as much as he does. 

JB is a brilliant offensive mind, but it would seem Charles’ strength would be the mid post and high post area of court, much like the Mavs used Dirk- FT lane area and then allow him to take on dribble or two (definitely not several!). 

He is a pretty solid on ball and help defender and Michigan seems to suffer a drop in defensive FG% when he’s out. 

Mike Damone

December 10th, 2018 at 3:24 PM ^

User name does NOT check out.  Some damn good analysis here!  Would expect a Barn Animal to get more undivided attention over at the RCMB - "Deliverance" style...

Tough to draw a conclusion from these stats over still a pretty small sample size -10 games.

In reviewing the numbers in combo w watching the games, it still strikes me that Michigan is strongest when Matthews is handling and driving the ball effectively.  If he gets stopped going through the lane based on the D swarming to him, nice to have Poole and Iggy outside the 3 point line, ready to receive the kickout pass.  

But with all that being said, probably depends on the team we are playing, and who is the slowest defender on our 4 playmakers who can effectively drive the lane - Matthews, Iggy, Poole and of course, Z.  Wouldnt be surprised if effectiveness based less on our 4 playmakers - and who the opponent's weaker defenders is guarding.  


December 10th, 2018 at 9:58 PM ^

"[P]robably depends on the team we are playing, and who is the slowest defender on our 4 playmakers who can effectively drive the lane - Matthews, Iggy, Poole and of course, Z. Wouldn't be surprised if effectiveness based less on our 4 playmakers - and who the opponent's weaker defenders is guarding."

Exactly. OP's analysis would be perfect if we were playing hypothetical teams for the rest of the season and if all of our players were not going to get better or worse as the season goes on, become more confident or less, or thrive or not in the context of who we actually play. 

Everyone should remember how Charles came on down the stretch last year; he was our MVP.

Could well be that Beilein says "feed Jordan; he's got the hot hand," sets up plays for him or Isaiah coming out of timeouts, etc. And data put forward here is notable. But usage is not something you adjust like water from a spigot.

Let's see how things develop over the next month. Earlier this month there was an article floating around that asked the rhetorical question whether Beilein was fielding an almost-perfect team. I think that premise, which most of us have seen Beilein trying to fill for years now, is to have five men on the floor who are almost interchangeable, who can all shoot from anywhere, all of who stretch the floor to the maximum as offensive threats. Under such a scenario you MIGHT get Charles down a bit more, but this dynamic has to speak to what's in front of the players on the floor, how players perform in practice, execute game plans, etc.



Barn Animal

December 11th, 2018 at 12:01 PM ^

Obviously you want to exploit matchups on a game by game basis, but I'm saying that generally Poole should be getting a few more looks than Matthew per game. Sample size is small and we'll see as the season goes on the stats will be more reliable. But usage is something that should totally be adjusted. A major turning point last season came when Beilein gave MAAR a greater share of the usage. 

I also don't want it to seem like I am trashing Matthews, he's a great player. It just seems like (based on a small sample size) that he might be more effective at lower usage.


December 10th, 2018 at 5:36 PM ^

Generally agree.  Matthews has improved his 3pt shot enough it appears fine for him to take open, in rhythm, step-in 3's.  His patented fade-away jumper is fine as a 3 or 4th option as the clock is getting low, but overall I think he should be used more like GRIII was.  If the matchup is right then sure they can isolate him on the wing or block and let him attack the basket, but it would be good to see him kick the ball out to shooters more often once he's drawn a help defender. He can sometimes get himself in trouble in the lane as he tries to muscle or slide through a crowd. That would be more palatable of course if he shot a respectable FT %.

His ability to time up rebounds for put-back dunks is pretty special...another reason to let others shoot and let him hunt down the misses.

Mr Miggle

December 10th, 2018 at 7:24 PM ^

Short answer - of course.

Poole was struggling at the beginning of the season, both with his shot and with his role on offense. He's earned a higher usage and his teammates are looking for him more, even without Beilein changing things.

Matthews is still important and will be a very tough matchup some games. I don't expect anything dramatic, just fewer possessions where he hangs onto the ball a long time. Beilein can show charts of what's efficient and what's not too. Matthews has been streaky, so I think you just need to rein him in when he's off.


December 10th, 2018 at 9:10 PM ^

I have been under the weather and haven't watched as much hoop as I would like.  Have tehre been many lineups where Poole was the primary ball carrier?  Probably not enough wing depth yet.  Could really use Johns or Castleton developing.  You could run a second unit with Poole at point and run pick and roll with him and really space the floor with Livers, Iggy, Johns.

I think it would be tough to run too much pick and roll with Poole and the starters.  Mathews has to be respected at the three point line but you can still shade off him.  Z you can leave, so that doesn't create a lot of space.  Right now poole is probably best in the corner bc you have to leave a guy on him.  

Blue Durham

December 11th, 2018 at 10:39 AM ^

I think that Wahooverine's points above are excellent and just want to expand on a few of them further.

I think Matthews' offensive numbers are a little depressed because he is much used when the called play breaks down and the clock is winding down.  He is our best option in that case, and his combination of driving and fade-away shot (which is unblockable) is a relatively high percentage option (given other options with only a few seconds left).  Much better than Simpson (who can't shoot) or anyone else that has creating open shots on their own.

Matthews' step-up 3 point shot is much improved from last year, and is a decent option when open.  So a usage of around 20 or a little more is probably about right for him.  I just wish that Simpson could shoot open jumpers a little better. 


December 13th, 2018 at 2:38 AM ^

Xavier fucking Tillman is number ten on that list.  I'm not entirely sure what that list is all about but it's not of the best offensive players in the country.  It's missing a few schools and names who are legit great offensively.  Tillman, Pardon, and Teske are not that.

Good post, the above comes across as asshole-ish but it's more of a "wtf?!"...the Bigten is over-represented there and will play out accordingly.


December 14th, 2018 at 12:14 AM ^

I'm hoping Matthews becomes a starting version of Vinnie Johnson, ala 1980s-90s Pistons. VJ could have stretches of blah followed by games when he could not be stopped. 

CM has that kind of potential


December 16th, 2018 at 11:19 AM ^

Should they redistribute usage between Poole and Matthews? No. Here is why.


Poole is scoring more because he isn't the guy who has the pressure to score. Matthews does. Poole is coming on which is great to see but not having the pressure to score at a higher level is best for Poole this year.

Matthews is so underappreciated for what he has done for this program.