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Denver Stiffs NBA Draft Prospect: Kevin Huerter

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A knockdown shooter

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Maryland vs Wisconsin Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Zhaire Smith | Robert Williams | Keita Bates-Diop | Miles Bridges | Josh Okogie | Chandler Hutchison | Džanan Musa | Troy Brown | Shai Gilgeous-Alexander | Melvin Frazier | Kevin Knox | Jacob Evans

Measurables

Age: 19

Height: 6’ 7.25” (w/ shoes)

Weight: 195lbs

Wingspan: 6’ 7.5”

Standing reach: 8’ 5.5”

Hand length: 8.25” x 8.50”

Max vertical: 38”

Bench Press reps: 9

Three-quarter sprint: 2.97

Stats

Per Game Table
Season School Conf G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS SOS
2016-17 Maryland Big Ten 33 33 29.4 3.4 8.0 .420 1.4 2.7 .517 2.0 5.3 .371 0.6 0.8 .714 0.7 4.3 4.9 2.7 1.0 0.7 1.4 1.8 9.3 8.29
2017-18 Maryland Big Ten 32 32 34.4 5.1 10.1 .503 2.8 4.6 .605 2.3 5.5 .417 2.3 3.1 .758 1.0 4.1 5.0 3.4 0.6 0.7 2.5 2.4 14.8 7.94
Career Maryland 65 65 31.9 4.2 9.0 .466 2.1 3.6 .572 2.1 5.4 .394 1.5 2.0 .748 0.8 4.2 5.0 3.0 0.8 0.7 1.9 2.1 12.0 8.11
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 6/20/2018.

Strengths

Shooting: Huerter’s shooting ability is his money maker and his defining skill. In two years of Big Ten play he averaged 40 percent on all of his jumpers, just under 40 percent from deep and 57 percent from the field overall. The threat he poses off the ball is the first thing to come up when discussing Huerter, but he’s far more than just a superb spot up guy. The 19-year old found plenty of scoring opportunities on the ball thanks to his willingness and ability to knock down the shot off the bounce.

Handle: Huerter is indeed a shooter, and Huerter is indeed white, but be careful to avoid the trap of labeling him as a guy that’s confined by those limits we are so eager to place on players of that designation. Kevin can ball. With a handle that might surprised you and good height for a guard, Huerter was able to create for himself at the collegiate level beyond all those off ball screens designed to spring him free.

Instincts: Huerter is capable of both dribbling and passing with either hand, which results in an impressive playmaking ability that few shooters of his caliber posses. Huerter sees the floor well, and his basketball IQ is high, but perhaps the most encouraging part of his game is his decisiveness. Huerter doesn’t just see passing lanes, he seems them before they opens up, and is eager to thread the needle. Of course, that eagerness sharpens both ends of that sword.

Weaknesses

Turnovers: Huerter’s vision and ability to make tough passes results in a strong desire to do so. He can force the issue, not just as shooter, but a playmaker as well. He gets excited and struggles to adjust his own pace to that of the game at times. He averaged 2.5 turnovers a game in the 207-18 season as a secondary ball handler.

Strength and Length: Huerter is athletic, but that becomes an increasingly relative term the longer a player’s career goes. His dribble and height allowed him to create for himself in the Big Ten but the NBA is a different animal. The best wing players in this league are imposing physically—whether it be their strength, explosiveness, length, or a terrifying combination of all three—and Huerter doesn’t seem to check any of those boxes. He’s quick and he can jump, but you won’t find anyone labeling him as “powerful”. Can he compete physically with the big dogs? Will he be able to create for himself at the next level and/or finish inside? These are crucial questions in the process of determining his ceiling.

Defense: Huerter played as a guard in college, but in the modern game a player standing 6’7” will draw some assignments—and be forced into many switches—on true forwards. Given his lack of strength and length, there are real concerns about his defense despite solid footwork and strong instincts.

** Of Note: Huerter underwent surgery on his shooting hand (right) earlier in June and is expected to spend two months of basketball activities.

Fit with the Denver Nuggets

Offensively, Huerter projects as the type of player that Denver has use for. His ability to spot up and his work ethic off the ball are encouraging qualities for a potential complementary piece to Nikola Jokic. Huerter would do more than just benefit from Denver’s ball movement though, as his strong instincts and desire to move the basketball are a mouth watering pairing for a team that, at it’s best, plays one of the more beautiful offensive games in the league. But the Nuggets struggle mightily on the defensive end. And with their only two capable wing defenders being Wilson Chandler—aging, at times disengaged, and not in love with his role in the offense—and Torrey Craig—a 25 year old rookie who may not even be with the team next season—it’s hard to get too excited about a 6’7” player whose defense is chief among his weaknesses. His tendency to play outside of himself and turn the ball over isn’t too encouraging either. Huerter could help Denver, but he’s not a player that, if selected, is likely to evoke excitement from a fan base that is desperate to land a needle mover on draft night.