Grading the 2012-13 Memphis Grizzlies: Jon Leuer, PF

USA TODAY Sports

Jon Leuer, rotation player?

Well, honestly, I'm not even sure where to begin with this player review considering how little data I have to work with. Let's start with how second-year player Jon Leuer got to Memphis.

The Memphis Grizzlies traded Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby, Marresse Speights and a future first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jon Leuer. That sounds like a lot for a player whose been a garbage-time player right? Well, of course, the trade wasn't necessarily for him. It was to shed $6 million off the cap.

This trade put Jon Leuer deep on the bench behind Hamed Haddadi (traded eight days later), Darrell Arthur and the new acquisitions Ed Davis and Dexter Pittman (cut). Only during blowouts did Leuer see the floor. Here are his 2012-13 numbers:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Jon Leuer 28 6.6 0.9 1.9 48.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.5 46.2 0.5 0.9 1.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.8 2.0

As a Grizzly here are his numbers:

What does this show us? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. But you know what I'm going to show you? THE JON LEUER GAME (be prepared for excitement):

I'm not afraid to say it. When I saw Leuer play, I never felt like the team was at a clear disadvantage. Mainly it was his confidence. Compared to, say, Ed Davis he didn't look lost on offense all of the time. And when he played with the starters, though the minutes were rare, the offense didn't lose a step. Defensively, it happens, but I was a fan of Leuer's 96 minutes ESP the ones shown above.

With that said let's talk about future Jon Leuer.

Heading into the offseason, Leuer has a qualifying offer of $1,084,293. I'm one-hundred percent sure that he'll be back next year. He's cheap and someone that John Hollinger liked while in college. The front office also can't walk away from a three players and a first trade with nothing in a matter of months.

I am also sure that he could be a rotation player if given the opportunity, but the question is what kind of player can Leuer be with the proper work? I'll let Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer describe the perfect vision for Leuer in '13-14:

....send him to Matt Bonner camp this summer to try to stretch that solid 20-footer out to three-point range, which he had been doing in the D League earlier this season. The downside is minimal. The upside is a cost-effective stretch big at the back end of your frontcourt rotation.

THAT. IS. GENIUS.

What does this Grizzlies team need? Shooters. What does Jon Leuer do best? Shoot the ball. In the highlights of the "Jon Leuer" game he showed his range a few times. That's what Darrell Arthur used to do the ideal player Memphis needs. IN Leuer's rookie season his shooting numbers as a Milwaukee Bucks were ideal for what we're looking for: 44.6% on spot-up jumpers. And to Herrington's point, what does this Griz team NEED the most?

Three-point shooters. Austin Daye's likely gone, Quincy Pondexter is the best on the team, Jerryd Bayless is sometime-y and Mike Conley is a solid spot-up shooter. Outside of that, nothing. And with the league going "small", he could be a great way to counter that when Zach Randolph or Marc Gasol needs rest.

As a D-Leaguer, Leuer shot 7-15 from three. In four years at Wisconsin here are Leuer's three-point shooting numbers:

  • Freshmen: 12-26 (46%)
  • Sophomore: 16-54 (30%)
  • Junior: 18-46 (39%)
  • Senior: 54-146 (37%)
  • Total: 100-272 (36%)

While the first three years aren't sample sizes you would want to judge something off of, the senior year is. If Leuer had shot 37% from three in the NBA this season on 146 attempts he would have finished with the likes of Joe Johnson, Marcus Thornton, Brandon Knight, Danilo Gallinari, etc. That's not bad at all.

I'm throwing out a lot of hypotheticals here, but the ideology of them make sense. I haven't spoken on defense because that'll come with time; remember Bonner defensively circa 2010-11? This team made Speights and Randolph buy into the defensive system. I'm sure the same can be said for Jon. His rebounding numbers show that he's effective on the board when giving the minutes and everything else falls into place.

No one's sure how this Leuer thing will turn out, but I guarantee he either becomes Matt Bonner-lite in 2013-14 or the new Hamed Haddadi.

Grading

  • Production - C
  • General Grizznosity - C
  • Clutch Performance - A (JONLEUERGAME)

Final Grade - B

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