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A TOC Special: New 2023-24 Lineup Projections With The Return of Malik Hall

Minutes are getting hard to come by

Michigan State v Kansas State Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Well, it did not take long for another one of my predictions to be proven wrong. In a social-media post put out just a day after the news from Tyson Walker, Malik Hall has announced that he, too, will return for a fifth season.

Let’s get right to trying to figure out the lineup now. I have read comments in the other threads and I know some of you are saying that maybe this causes a player to transfer/decommit. For the sake of this article, I am not entertaining those thoughts and will go with the roster as it is today. So, I will go ahead and say that for the beginning of the season, Hall will be a starter. We will be playing some small ball to open games in November while Izzo gains confidence in his freshmen.

So the starters will be: Hoggard, Walker, Akins, Hall, Cooper

And the reserves will be: Fears, Holloman, Carr, Normand, Booker, Kohler, Sissoko.

Obviously, that is a deep bench. I will maintain my confidence in Xavier Booker and say that he will assume the starting 4-spot by New Year’s. This will allow MSU to play a little bigger. But it also eats away from another reserve’s minutes. When I had Hall starting at the beginning of the season, Booker was his backup, and either Carr or Normand was backing up Akins at SF. But, once Booker gets inserted into the starting five, I could see Hall being the primary backup at both the 3- and 4-spots. That would then move Carr and/or Normand even further down the pecking order. Also, prior to today, I had Kohler as the backup PF. This could impact him as well.

Long story short, this does create a log jam for minutes. I am not so sure I am thrilled with this news. I have three questions:

  1. Is Malik Hall’s value this season greater than the sum of the value of the guys he is taking minutes from (any and all of Booker, Carr, Kohler, and Normand)?
  2. Does Hall’s return negatively impact the long-term development of those players?
  3. Does Hall’s return cause someone to transfer (either now or next offseason) or cause one of the freshmen to decommit?

I do not know the answers to these questions. But they are worries. All I know is that there are going to be two people from the reserves list above who could be playing exclusively with Sanders, Smith, and Lil’ Izzo (assuming no one leaves).

Okay, that is all for now. I will talk to you all in a day or two when I revise this for the return of Jason Whitens.