Maize&BlueReview - Michigan basketball: Looking back at previous NBA Draft decisions
football Edit

Michigan basketball: Looking back at previous NBA Draft decisions

Recently, Michigan had three players make decisions regarding the NBA Draft. Hunter Dickinson chose to return to Michigan after entering the evaluation process last season. Freshmen Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan have decided to go through the NBA Draft process before deciding by June 1 whether to stay in the draft or return to Michigan.

Michigan has had multiple players face the same decisions in the past five seasons. Let's look at those players who entered the draft, what they ended up doing, and where they are now?

Franz Wagner

After his freshman season in 2020, Franz Wagner submitted his name for feedback from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee (UAC). Wagner took all the time allotted to him before deciding to return to Michigan for his sophomore season.

After the 2021 season, Wagner was widely expected to be a lottery pick and shocked no one when he entered the draft and signed an agent, forgoing his final two seasons in Ann Arbor.

Franz Wagner was selected with the 8th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. Wagner had an incredible rookie season finishing 5th in Rookie of the Year voting.

Isaiah Livers

Like his teammate Franz Wagner, Isaiah Livers declared for the 2020 NBA Draft and worked with an agent and the Michigan staff to work through the evaluation process. Livers would ultimately decide to return to Michigan for his senior season.

In 2021, Livers decided to forgo his extra year of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft. Livers suffered a right foot injury that ended his season before the NCAA tournament. Despite the injury and surgery, Livers elected to enter the draft.

Livers would be selected 42nd overall by the Detroit Pistons. John Beilein, former Michigan head coach who is now an advisor for the Pistons, is said to have been a significant factor in Detroit selecting his former player. Livers spent time with the Motor City Cruise of the G-League and ultimately played 19 games for Detroit. He played well with a shooting slash of 46/42/86. Livers will have an expanded role next season.

Jordan Poole

Easily the most polarizing name on this list, Jordan Poole declared in 2019 that he was entering the NBA Draft. Many expected Poole to return, but after he began selling videos on the app Cameo, he announced he would indeed be staying in the draft.

Analysts and fans were highly critical of the decision, but rumors persisted that Poole had received assurances he was a first-round pick. That turned out to be true when the Golden State Warriors selected Poole 28th overall.

Poole spent time with the G-League affiliate and the Warriors in his first two seasons, getting extra playing time while Klay Thompson was injured. Things have taken off for Poole in the 2021-22 season as he started 51 games for Golden State and played in 76. He scored 18ppg in the regular season while shooting 36% from beyond the arc. Poole was a finalist for the Most Improved Player Award.

The 2022 playoffs have seen Jordan Poole become a star. He averaged 24 PPG in four games while shooting a ridiculous 60/52/84 slash line. Expectations are now that Golden State will work to get Poole an extension in the four-year, $80 million range. A deal he may turn down to pursue an even bigger contract next offseason. Haters be damned, Poole has proven the bet on himself was a winner.

Ignas Brazdeikis

Another polarizing move in the 2019 NBA Draft class for Michigan was freshman Ignas Brazdeikis. The Lithuanian had a stellar freshman year for Michigan that included a lot of hardware and recognition. Still, many were surprised by his decision to enter the draft as he was a fringe second-round pick with a chance to go undrafted.

Brazdeikis would be selected with the 47th overall pick by the Sacramento Kings but was part of a draft-day trade to the New York Knicks. While it initially seemed like a potentially good situation for Iggy, he managed only to play 13 games in two seasons for the Knicks, spending most of his time in Westchester with their G League affiliate. Brazdeikis was traded to the 76ers in 2021 before being waved days later.

Brazdeikis signed a 2-way contract with the Orlando Magic. After playing in only eight games in 2020-21, Brazdeikis saw his bench role increase in 2021-22. He played roughly 13 minutes a game in 42 games this recent season, backing up fellow Wolverine Franz Wagner.

Moe Wagner

After his sophomore season in 2017, Moe Wagner declared for the NBA Draft and went through the feedback and evaluation process. Wagner elected to return to Michigan, saying, "I would've hated myself if I'd found myself in the D (now G) League next year. I would rather play in college."

Wagner would be vital to Michigan's success in 2018, helping lead the team to a Final Four. After the season, Wagner would again elect to enter the NBA draft, keeping his name in. Wagner was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers. After bouncing back from an injury, Wagner would play well in half the season for the Lakers and was poised to take a big jump in his sophomore season, playing alongside Lebron James.

Unfortunately for Wagner, he was a cap casualty in the Anthony Davis trade and shipped to the Washington Wizards. Wagner would again deal with injuries and never find a solid role in Washington. After a stop in Boston, Wagner joined the Orlando Magic in 2020. This past season Wagner was a solid bench contributor for the Magic and got the opportunity to play alongside his brother Franz.

D.J. Wilson

In his freshman year at Michigan, D.J. Wilson dealt with injuries and only played in 5 games. He saw limited action in 2015-16 but looked to take a considerable jump the following season. Wilson leaped in his junior season, and despite not high scoring volumes, he declared for the 2017 NBA Draft. Wilson had been efficient and had the ideal size many NBA teams were looking for from his position.

Wilson would be selected 17th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. It felt like an ideal situation for Wilson to learn from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Wilson would deal with injuries again in Milwaukee and bounce back forth between the NBA and their G League affiliate Wisconsin Herd. After four years of extensions and opportunities, the Bucks traded Wilson to the Rockets in a deal for PJ Tucker.

Unfortunately for Wilson, the Rockets cut him, and he spent the next two years bouncing between the Oklahoma City's G- League affiliate, Oklahoma Blue, and multiple 10-day contracts with Toronto Raptors. In March of this year, Wilson signed with the Blue for the third time but suffered an injury and was released the next day. Time will tell if Wilson gets another opportunity.


Not a subscriber to The Maize and Blue Review? Sign up today!

Discuss this article on our premium message boards

Follow our staff on Twitter @MaizeBlueReview, @JoshHenschke, @BrandonJustice_, @DanielDash_, @DennisFithian, @StephenToski, @Baird_CJ, @ZachLibby, @JimScarcelli, @TrevorMcCue

Subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify

Subscribe to The Maize and Blue Review on YouTube!

Like The Maize and Blue Review on Facebook!