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:
2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):
2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):
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, ESPN.com: “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].”