Juwan Howard has a number of different lineup combinations at his disposal this season. Julia Schachinger/Daily. Buy this photo.

With so much turnover from last year’s starting five, the Wolverines find themselves in a bit of a transition period. 

Three of the five members — Franz Wagner, Isaiah Livers and Mike Smith — of the starting from last year’s Big Ten Championship and Elite Eight season have moved on and left big shoes to fill.

However, a vast influx of talent from this past year’s No. 2 recruiting class leaves them with a multitude of options to fit those spots. So, now is as good a time as any to break down a few possible lineups that may see the floor for Michigan come the season:

The Starting Lineup:

1: DeVante’ Jones

2: Eli Brooks

3: Caleb Houstan

4: Brandon Johns Jr.

5: Hunter Dickinson

This is the assumed starting five for the Wolverines come Nov. 10. Their two returning starters, fifth-year senior guard Eli Brooks and sophomore center Hunter Dickinson, along with rotational player senior forward Brandon Johns Jr. anchor the starting five and provide some continuity from last year’s team. They are joined by two new faces, freshman forward Caleb Houstan and graduate transfer guard DeVante’ Jones, to round out the starting five.

This group could very well be one of the best in the country depending on a few key factors, the largest being perimeter shooting. Brooks is a reliable shooter from deep, but the rest remains largely unproven. Houstan is projected to be a knockdown shooter and his teammates have even gone as far as to call him “Klay Thompson,” but he has still never played in a college basketball game.

Dickinson’s outside shot could prove key this year as well. He took four shots from the perimeter last season — missing all four — but it was a major focal point of his offseason improvements and NBA feedback.

“I know there’s been a lot of talks about his outside shooting,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said at Michigan Media Day on October 15. “I want to say this today, Hunter has always been able to shoot the basketball.”

If he can shoot like Howard says, look for the Wolverines to be able to run pick and pop actions with him and either Jones or Brooks. This would also open up the possibility of Dickinson stepping out to the perimeter and opening up driving lanes for the guards and wings.

Johns and Jones are both players who shot in the mid 30% range last year. If both of them can keep up that production, or even improve upon that, Michigan’s spacing would be better for it.

Shot-making combined with a backcourt that has a combined seven seasons of collegiate basketball experience and a returning All-American is a recipe for success.

The First Off the Bench:

1: Frankie Collins

2: Zeb Jackson/ Kobe Bufkin

3: Terrance Williams II

4: Moussa Diabate/ Brandon Johns Jr.

5: Moussa Diabate

This lineup consists of those who will likely be off the bench first at their respective positions. All except for the point guard position, that is. With two guards as experienced as Brooks and Jones and given the relative inexperience of the rest of the backcourt options, seeing lineups that don’t include either of these players will probably not see the court all that often. Yet still, by the time March comes along, freshman guard Frankie Collins could very well be trusted as the back-up point guard.

Though the first guard off of the bench is still something that is very much up in the air. It will most likely come down to either sophomore guard Zeb Jackson or freshman guard Kobe Bufkin. Intuition would tell you the answer is Jackson as he has one more year of collegiate basketball experience under his belt, but it’s important to note that experience mostly came late in non-competitive games and his minutes were typically less than efficient.

Bufkin came in as a McDonald’s All-American and has been making noise since he came to Ann Arbor. 

“Kobe (Bufkin) has really impressed me,” Brooks said at Big Ten Media Day on Oct. 7. “I like his game, I like the way he plays, and he has a good feel for the game. It’s just natural.”

If Bufkin lives up to his billing, there’s no reason that he couldn’t be the first guard off of the bench as the season progresses. 

Sophomore forward Terrance Williams II and the other new face in this lineup, freshman big man Moussa Diabate, are two players with similar stories at the moment. Unproven shooters that could make a big impact if they could stretch the floor. And even if they don’t, could provide depth in the frontcourt.

The Big Lineup:

1: DeVante’ Jones

2: Eli Brooks

3: Caleb Houstan

4: Moussa Diabate

5: Hunter Dickinson

This is the lineup that is only really possible if Dickinson or Diabate could get their outside shots to fall. This lineup could leverage its size to play through the post while also keeping defenses honest out to the 3-point line. 

Defensively it is the most exhilarating lineup possibility. A frontcourt that averages 6-foot-10 and is long enough to get into passing lanes is a tough thing to gameplan against.