What Will Duke Transfer Joey Baker's Impact Be For Michigan?
Also, a few transfer targets go off the board elsewhere and a 2022 overseas prospect emerges.
Michigan entered the offseason broadcasting their desire to add shooting via the transfer portal. On Friday, they secured a commitment from Duke grad transfer Joey Baker, a career 38% three-point shooter.
A 6’6, 206-pound wing, Baker is a former top-50 recruit who came off the bench all four seasons he played for the Blue Devils. Mike Krzyzewski pretty much just asked him to shoot, and that’s pretty much what Baker did: 63% of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, he has the following career highs:
Rebounds: 5 (South Carolina St., 12/14/21)
Assists: 2 (Gardner-Webb, 11/16/21)
Blocks: 1 (South Carolina St., 12/14/21)
Steals: 3 (Gardner-Webb, 11/16/21)
So, yeah, Joey Baker is gonna shoot. As long as you don’t expect him to do much else, this is a welcome pickup for Juwan Howard.
How Baker Fits
Baker’s projection is complicated by a couple factors. For one, he played on mega-talented Duke squads. Last season he backed up potential top-ten pick AJ Griffin and likely first-rounder Wendell Moore. In the years before that he was behind either Moore or, in his freshman year, Cam Reddish and RJ Barrett.
The other issue is a hip injury that limited him in some unknown capacity for 2021-22:
Baker has spent the summer recovering from hip surgery. That hip ailment — about which few details were made available — almost certainly limited Baker in the closing stretch of the 2021-22 season, when his playing time cratered. The Blue Devils believed he would recover in time for his fifth year.
As long as he’s fully recovered, he may have more to offer than he could show last year.
I tried to gauge Baker’s impact on Duke from on/off stats. At first it appeared he had a negative impact on the team’s overall efficiency; after adjusting for lineup quality — i.e. checking his numbers when playing with Moore and Paolo Banchero — that changed to a neutral impact. While sample size caveats apply, Baker fit in with a very good team as long as he was a tertiary option.
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