Player Name: Jon Leuer
Height/Weight: 6’10/ 228 lbs.
NBA Position: Small/Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Late First/Early Second Round
Overview: As a freshman playing for Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers, Leuer often times looked lost on the floor—nearly a “deer in the headlights” type of lost. He is not one of the more athletic big men in this year’s draft—this was especially apparent during his early years as a Badger—but his flawless shot and ability to create his own shot developed into the best parts of his game during his junior and senior seasons at Wisconsin. Standing just shy of seven feet, Leuer plays much closer to a shooting guard or small forward than a center. For his size, he is a below average rebounder—probably because he spends a good deal of time outside of the painted area—but he can tickle the twine with the best of them at his size and position. He has always shot a high percentage from the field (48.2%) and from three (37%), but it is free throw shooting that has markedly improved throughout his career. Leuer will be drafted for his offensive capabilities, so the drastic improvement on his three-point shot and performance from the charity stripe has really improved his stock. As a freshman, he shot a paltry 48% from the line, but this number improved every year (60% as a sophomore, 72% as a junior, and 84% as a senior). When scrutinizing Leuer’s ability to venture beyond the arc and hit a three regularly, he has become a much more polished shooter. During his first three years he was a combined 46-126 (36.5%) from behind the line, but in his final year he significantly upped his output from distance, hitting eight more treys than the previous three seasons combined (54-146 for 37%). The ability to stretch opposing defenses beyond the arc, as well as being able to create his own shot off the dribble (he is quicker and has a better handle than you’d think) makes him a very appealing draft candidate for a team looking to stretch defenses.
Will Translate to the NBA: Known more for his offense, Leuer will be asked to extend defenses and add a “European-type” offensive flare to his future NBA team. When studying his game, Leuer plays like the traditional European big player would as he is an excellent shooter, a sound defensive player, and has a fundamentally strong understanding of the game. There is always room for shooters in the League—especially big men—so Leuer will have little trouble finding his niche.