Heading into his second season with the Pistons, questions remain for the 28-year old big man out of Wisconson. Stan Van Gundy signed Leuer to a deal worth north of $40 million over four years last offseason, and after his first season with the Pistons, many questions if he was worth the price Detroit is paying.
Leuer bounced between roles last season, as he spent a little more than half of the season coming off the bench, but was eventually moved into the starting lineup after playing as solid as he was. The move did not help Leuer, it only hurt him.
Leuer’s numbers took a dip across the board when he moved into the starting lineup that, as a whole, struggled throughout the year.
In the 34 games he started, he averaged 10 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. He shot an abysmal 28 percent from the three-point line. He produced those numbers in 26.9 minutes per game.
In his bench role, Leuer was not great, but he was adequate. In 25.1 minutes per game, Leuer averaged 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. He shooting barely improved and was still an unacceptable percentage, as he shot just 30.4 percent from long range. Leuer posted these averaged in 41 appearances off the bench.
Detroit needs a better Jon Leuer, starting with his three-point shooting ability. He shot 38.2 percent from deep in the 2015-2016 season with the Phoenix Suns, but his efficiency did not translate with the Pistons. This is a big issue.
He also has a very comfortable mid-range jumper, and he needs to embrace it.
A big part of Jon Leuer’s value this year will come from focusing on his strengths and not pretending he’s something he’s not. pic.twitter.com/uKrqPOmATt
— Duncan Smith (@DuncanSmithNBA) October 6, 2017
Stan Van Gundy gave the power forward spot a long look in the preseason. Tobias Harris, the assumed starter, will hold the main power forward duties, but it seems as if it is still up in the air as to who will back him up. Van Gundy played the second year forward out of Marquette, Henry Ellenson, a lot, and Ellenson looked comfortable on the offensive end. Anthony Tolliver also put together a very solid display in the preseason.
With that being said, it seems likely that Leuer will be in Detroit’s main rotation. He is the best defender out of the Ellenson, Tolliver, and himself. He is not necessarily quick, but he is mobile and uses his length as a benefit. Size-wise, at 6’10”, he can easily play power forward, but he will also see some time at the backup center position when other teams go small, rendering 7’3″ behemoth, Boban Marjanovic, ineffective.
The expectation for Leuer should be a bounce-back season. He may not shoot the 38 percent from three that he shot in Phoenix, but if he can get that number up to 34-36 percent, Detroit’s floor spacing will look much better.
Leuer still has a lot to prove, and this season will be telling as to if he can do so.
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