Memphis Grizzlies 2014-15 Review: Jon Leuer, PF
Okay, badgers do not hibernate.
As a matter of fact, when you type in "Do badgers hibernate into Google" the following pops up on the screen.
So apparently during they winter, badgers don't sleep but go into long cycles of physical inactivity. Does that remind you of someone else? Perhaps, one Johnny Badger?
It seems like before every Grizz season starts, there is that one player that was for whatever reason in the previous year was not given an opportunity to succeed, but fans overwhelmingly want to jump on the bandwagon for him in the next year. Darrell Arthur was that player in 2012 and Ed Davis in 2013. Jon Leuer was it this year. Often overlooked in 2013 due to his limitations on defense and rebounding, Leuer was hoping to prove his worth as a key contributor off the bench, particularly as a deep threat being a stretch 4. Unfortunately, Leuer continued the trend of past bandwagon favorites, and things did not work out so well for him.
For anyone watching the surging Grizzlies at the beginning of the season, it was easy to notice that something was off with Jon. In the first few months, he was getting decent minutes off the bench, but often hesitated to shoot, especially beyond the arc. As the season rolled along, Leuer did provide a few solid performances including a 19 and 20 point game (vs Mia and Bos) and some nice highlight dunks off fast breaks, but overall underachieved. He finished the year averaging 4.5 points with a 44.3 fg% in 13 minutes, and his defensive rating was 98. Considering Leuer's speciality is being a stretch 4, his three point stats have to be the most disappointing part of his season. His final stats were 24% from beyond the arc with averages of .1 FGM and .5 FGA. Here is three point shot chart for the entire season.
Notice the total? Seven for the entire season.
Not surprisingly, that while the Grizzlies were making their final push for playoff position, Leuer was considered nothing more than an afterthought. He only played during garbage time and blowouts. The lone exception was at the end of the season at Washington when half the team did not play due to injuries. As expected, the lack of play continued into the playoffs, where he averaged less than 3 minutes in 4 games played. It was a rather disappointing end for a player that Grizzly fans truly wanted to believe in. Regarding his Grizzlies' future, we won't have to wait long to find out his fate. While his contract for his final year is not bad (~ one million), it is non-guaranteed if he is waived before July 1st. So the question is, will the Grizzlies want to gamble for another season on a power forward that can't rebound or play defense and was only able to make 7 three pointers as a stretch 4? If the answer is no, I'm afraid Leuer's days in the NBA might be coming to a close.