Michigan State Basketball: Best-case scenario starting lineup for 2020-21

Rocket Watts, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Rocket Watts, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State basketball
Xavier Tillman, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Michigan State Basketball Starting Five: C

Obviously it’d be a long-shot to get both Aaron Henry and Xavier Tillman back next season, but this is the best-case scenario lineup.

Tillman’s return would be both surprising and welcomed. He seems pro-ready and is mocked as a first-rounder by plenty of publications, but he is more worried about the feedback he gets from NBA teams rather than where “experts” believe he’ll get drafted. He’s said that his decision is still about 50/50 and hasn’t leaned one way or another since he declared.

If he comes back, he’ll likely be the best defender in the Big Ten again and arguably one of the best pro prospects in the conference for 2020-21.

Tillman needs to develop an offensive post-game for next season if he does return and if that’s the case, he’s likely to approach lottery territory. Right now, he’s known as a defense-first big, but the potential is there to be much more.

If Tillman and Henry return and Michigan State lands Mane, the starting five will match up with anyone in the country and be ranked in the top five to start the season.

Michigan State Basketball Bench

The best-case scenario sixth man would have to be Josh Langford, but if Henry and Tillman return and Karim Mane commits, there would be no room for him without someone transferring out. So let’s say that happens and Langford returns, the bench would have an elite scorer leading the way along with AJ Hoggard and Foster Loyer at guard. Gabe Brown, too, is a guard option.

In the post, the Spartans would have Malik Hall, Marcus Bingham Jr., Julius Marble, Thomas Kithier, and Mady Sissoko. This team would be incredibly deep and it’d be hard to trim 13 Big Ten-caliber players down to a 9-10 man rotation.

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If Langford doesn’t come back, I’d give Brown the nod as the team’s top sixth man.