With the No. 30 and final pick in the SB Nation 2011 NBA Mock Draft, the Chicago Bulls, represented again by Blog A Bull, select Jon Leuer from Wisconsin. Kevin Ferrigan, better known at Blog A Bull as fundamentallysound, explains the pick.
Jon Leuer has been one of the most productive big men in the entire country for two years running. As a junior, he put up a 30.2 PER and as a senior, he put up another very solid season with an 28.7 PER. He also shoots the three very well, 39 percent and 37 percent in his last two seasons on three and six attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted, respectively. His ability to increase the volume of his three point shooting without suffering much of a drop off in percentages suggests that he is a top level shooter. Additionally, Leuer is 6'10" without shoes and 6'11.5" with shoes making him quite able to shoot over just about any defender from that distance. He's got a strong upper body (17 bench press reps) and very good leaping ability for a 7-footer (36-inch vertical).
Leuer could stand to gain some strength in his lower body to help in his post defense, but he's an interested, active help defender which would serve him well in Tom Thibodeau's rotating, attacking defensive scheme. Additionally, it'd be nice if his rebounding were a little bit better, as that tends to translate, but given how often Leuer played offensively on the perimeter, it's hard to say that it's totally surprising. Fortunately, the Bulls are flush with a very strong rebounding frontcourt, so they should be able to mask whatever deficiency Leuer might have there.
Leuer is an intriguing pick-up at this stage in the draft because, much like Joakim Noah, he's a 7-footer who played in high school as a point guard and still displays some of those ball-handling skills. Given the proclivity of teams to trap Derrick Rose and the Bulls' need to have multiple trap breakers who can put the ball on the floor when Derrick is doubled, picking up another one of those guys would really help. Leuer is doubly well-served for this role, and might be even better than Noah at catching the ball at the foul-line / high-post area to break the trap, because he is such a good shooter. When Joakim breaks the trap he is almost always forced to put the ball on the floor to try and break the defense down, which can, at times, be predictable. Leuer would be a threat to either shoot or to put the ball on the floor and attack, which would obviously be better. Leuer's shooting skills would also really open things up for Derrick Rose on the pick and pop, as his best shooting option on that play this past year, with Carlos Boozer's jump shot betraying him a little this year and Taj Gibson's jumper always being a little iffy, was often 38 year old Kurt Thomas. Thomas was able to be incredibly effective simply because he was always wide open on the pick and pop. Teams were forced to double Derrick and live with the result when Thomas got it. He usually made them pay. Leuer should be able to do that much more frequently and often from the three point line, which would really help as the Bulls need more 3 point shooting wherever they can get it.
Finally, it certainly doesn't hurt that our man John Hollinger's Draft Rater had Jon Leuer as a sleeper in the draft.
Also, Leuer has a YouTube highlight video set to 50 Cent's P.I.M.P., which I find hilarious.
See our 2011 NBA Draft hub for full coverage.