Julia Schachinger/Daily. Buy this photo.

With freshman forwards Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan both declaring for the NBA Draft, the Michigan men’s basketball team faced a lack of depth at the forward position — until now. 

The Wolverines have found a piece to help fill that void. On Friday, Michigan acquired former Duke forward Joey Baker via the transfer portal as reported by Sports Illustrated’s Jason Jordan and confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

After his senior season with the Blue Devils, Baker opted to use his additional COVID-19 year of eligibility as a graduate transfer. And three weeks after he announced his decision, Baker chose where he’d play his final year of basketball: at Michigan.

Last season with Duke, the 6-foot-6 forward averaged 4.5 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.4 assists in 11.9 minutes per game. While the numbers he put up may seem underwhelming, his shooting abilities will be key for the Wolverines in the upcoming season. 

As a team, Michigan shot 34% from three in the 2021-22 season with fifth-year guard Eli Brooks leading the way at 39.4 percent. Baker’s 40.5 3-point percentage tops that and positions him as a shooting threat for the Wolverines. 

It remains unclear who will fill Diabate’s and Houstan’s starting lineup spots or the amount of playing time Baker will see. Many speculate that rising-junior forward Terrence Williams II will fill one of the voids and incoming-freshman forward Jett Howard will fill the other opening. 

Baker — who started just four games in his four years with the Blue Devils — will likely begin the season on the bench. Despite that, Baker will bring an important presence — whether that comes in a starting role or off the bench — to a frontcourt that currently lacks depth. 

With two forward positions to fill in the starting lineup, picking up Baker will seemingly make a significant improvement to a backcourt that remains unestablished. 

In addition to his skills on the court, the leadership and experience that Baker brings will be advantageous to a Michigan team that lacks a clear identity at this point in the offseason.