They Smell Like the Future: Jon Scheyer

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 17, 2010 under Commentary, Rumors | 8 Comments to Read

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

Duke Senior
6’6”, 180 lbs (Combine measurements)
22 years old
Point guard/shooting guard
Projection: late second round/undrafted

Regardless of who drafts him, Jon Scheyer will face an uphill battle for NBA acceptance. For one, he’s from Duke; if there’s a more reviled American institution of higher learning, I know not of it. Beyond that, he’s the preeminent post-Redick, post-Paulus Blue Devil. Every iteration of Duke basketball has its lightning rod, and for the ’09-’10 squad, it stood as a 6’6” combo guard.

A combo guard. It’s a term that makes strict positionalists wet the bed, and more than a few GMs wary of such a prospect’s future. Scheyer certainly fits the bill, but in a more optimal way. Rather than being a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body, Jon has the shooting stroke of a knock-down wing, solid playmaking skills, and a legit off-guard size. He’s not a perfect draft prospect — hence the tag as a likely late second-rounder — but in terms of the value to be found at No. 50 overall, Scheyer could be a good get.

First, a disclaimer: odds are that Scheyer is in and out of the NBA or relegated to end-of-the-bench duty, but let’s dive into a vision of what could be. Selecting Jon would be a gamble, sure, but a low-risk one that could yield pretty decent returns. It’s tough to predict exactly how his overall game will translate from college to the pros, but at the very least Scheyer has skills that appear to be valuable for an NBA team.

Jon will never be the type of athlete that can explode off of a screen or penetrate at will, but his shooting abilities still make him a threat in the pick-and-roll and his experience running the point makes him an interesting selection. His ability to defend NBA shooting guards is a huge question mark, and that’s just about the last thing Mavs fans want to hear regarding a 2-guard prospect. Shawn Marion is really the only true wing stopper the Mavs have had in the Dirk Nowitzki era, and the shooting guard position has provided particular problems for the Mavs over the years. Caron Butler isn’t a terrible defender, but Jason Terry and the aging Michael Finley? The two longest tenured shooting guards weren’t exactly earning their paychecks on the defensive end.

I wouldn’t say Scheyer is more of the same, but well…yeah, he’s more of the same. Quite inferior to JET and Fin, actually, in terms of his defensive ability. He wasn’t exactly a great defender in college, and by upping the talent, strength, quickness, and size of his opponents, things are about to get far more difficult. That said, all Jon has to do is hold his ground on defense. He doesn’t have to lock anyone down, but provided he can prevent his match-up from going hog wild (a big assumpion, frankly), his offense should be good enough to earn him solid time as an NBA reserve.

Scheyer could possibly thrive in a Derek Fisher-like role, should he ever find himself in the triangle offense or a variant. But as an alternative, I could see him and Rodrigue Beaubois coexisting in an Eric Snow/Allen Iverson style backcourt. By playing Beaubois and Scheyer together, the Mavs would have two playmakers that can both create and score, with Scheyer as an oversized point and Beaubois an undersized shooting guard. Beaubois’ ability to penetrate would more than make up for Scheyer’s lack of quickness, and Jon’s shooting touch would be a welcome complement alongside a drive-and-kicking Rodrigue. They could share the ball, utilize each other’s strengths, and maximize the post-Dirk Mavs’ potential by having two entry points for the offense.

Both will have to prove themselves defensively. Beaubois still needs to improve his defensive fundamentals to prove that he has what it takes to really zero-in on NBA ball-handlers, and we have yet to see whether Scheyer can impress with average NBA defense. Still, because of Rodrigue’s athleticism and length and Scheyer’s size, imagining a world in which the two could succeed defensively isn’t that much of a stretch.

Of course, Scheyer doesn’t have to be an NBA starter for the Mavs’ pick to be a success. Even if they can bring him off the bench for limited minutes, Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban would have made something of a late pick. Most teams don’t expect to find a rotation player at 50, yet Scheyer is an NBA-ready shooter that works hard and could eventually contribute for an NBA team…supposing he can continue to find ways to succeed in spite of his lack of athleticism. He may not be an ideal off-guard, but he’s still a rather useful player whether spotting up on the perimeter or running the offense.

Scheyer doesn’t fill any immediate needs for the Mavs and his upside is limited, but if he’s on the board at 50, he’d be a nice value pick. Perhaps not one that yields immediate benefits (the learning curve of J.J. Redick is not only convenient, but fair), but a useful asset nonetheless.

Oh, and the Scheyer face.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40-Minute Stats:

Per Game18.
Per 4019.

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):


2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):


Other People:

Matt Kamalsky, Draft Express: “John Scheyer ranks as the most efficient overall scorer [among shooting guards] at 1.054 PPP. As one could guess, his tremendous jump shooting ability when left open afforded him success in spot up situations (1.16 PPP), but he surprisingly ranks well above average in isolation (.938 PPP 3rd) and is the most effective pick and roll player on our list (1.16 PPP). Despite his limited quickness, Scheyer is one of the savviest prospects around. If he’s able to show that he can defend his position on a consistent basis, he should be able to carve out a niche for himself in the NBA.”

Eamonn Brennan, “Scheyer won’t sniff the first round of an NBA draft — he, like Reynolds, simply isn’t athletic enough to hang in the NBA. (Scheyer isn’t athletic even by college standards; much of his scoring came from crafty hesitation moves and efficient cuts around the perimeter). It’s not that hard to understand. But as a college player, especially in Duke’s 2009-10 national championship run, Scheyer was ruthlessly effective.”

Royce Young, Daily Thunder: “Did you know Scheyer was 6′6? I didn’t. I thought he was more like 6′4. But he’s a guy that can shoot, can handle and get even get to the rim. He could run point or play off the ball. Obviously again, like Rautins, you wonder if he could defend Kobe Bryant, but as for a marksman with other abilities, Scheyer could fit [with the Thunder].”

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

  • Dre

    Like the denizens that frequent college basketball’s student sections, there is no doubt that Mahoney is just as white as Redick, Paulus, and Scheyer. He’s just without their athletic ability or intellectual capacity.

    • Rob Mahoney

      @Dre: Good one? I guess?

  • Matt WH

    Ah, the anonymous blog-knockers have made their arrival known. The intellectual basketball commentaries of TTMG will no longer be met with clever retorts and various alternative opinions, but with the animosity of the faceless, argumentative Dre’s of the world.

    Rob, as far as your post is concerned, I agree with your assessment. Although I’d much rather pick up a big man for the future, or a true two with defensive skills, those just aren’t possible with the Mavs’ lone draft choice, making Scheyer a logical choice at fifty.

    He does have a good deal of upside, and hopefully he can develop into a solid Reddick-style shooter off the bench, but we can’t expect anything more than that from him. Part of me wants us to instead use the pick toward a purely defensive-style guard or small forward, but after seeing what we did with Stevenson this season, that theoretical prospect doesn’t appear to have any hope of seeing the court for this team.

  • Jason from Durham

    I was in Linguistics with Jon Scheyer, and I must say this about him: he would read his draft stock every class and dated my friend’s hot sister
    on the basketball side of things, I noticed that he is a strangely good finisher. He isn’t strong, fast, nor does he jump high; he just gets really really creative

  • tcat75

    I’d love to see one of these pieces on Lazar Hayward. I’ve seen him projected as the Maverick pick and he seems intriguing.

  • Joe Hamilton

    What an incoherent rambling, nonsensical , review of Jon Scheyer. He is athletic enough. I know he is Melanin challenged . Ask West Virginia , Butler or Baylor if Scheyer is athletic. He scorched them. Scheyer has the 3rd highest rating in “isolation” of any guard in the draft as measured by Synergy. Isolation is essentially one on one ability to score What more can he do to prove himself . He is a better all around player than the infinitely overrated John Wall. Which team has the national championship trophy UK with all the alleged talent or Duke? On June 14, Scheyer who was still recovering from Mono was the most impressive player at a work out attended by 23 NBA GMs.

  • Joe Hamilton

    I hope the above alleged experts don’t actually get paid for their “analysis” of Scheyer. Draft Express only compares Scheyer to other shooting guards despite Scheyer’s 3/1 A/TO ratio which is higher than any PG prospect. In the final 8 ,Scheyer dispelled the nonsense he is a defensive liability. He was able to handle Ebanks who had a several inch height advantage in the semis , then alternated guarding the 2 very quick starting guards of Bulter,neither of whom had good shooting nights.Scheyer also had 3 blocks in the NCAA final. He is a much better defender than Redick was when he came into the NBA .Redick has made himself into a decent defender.Scheyer will have problems with guards who create problems for any NBA guard. For Mr Thunder I have a question. Who can guard Koby? The answer is very few NBA guards.

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