Jon Leuer is not worthy of a starting spot

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 17: Jon Leuer /

A season ago, Jon Leuer spent a small chunk of the season slotted in as the starting power forward for the Detroit Pistons.

Out of the 75 games Jon Leuer appeared in last season for the Detroit Pistons, 34 of them he was named a starter. Is he really capable of producing for any team as a starter? Not in the slightest.

Leuer serves as a quality backup big man, but he has no business flirting with a starting spot. Detroit gave Leuer a friendly 25.9 minutes per game, the most ever in his seven-year career. With Aron Baynes bolting for the Boston Celtics, it leaves a gaping hole on the bench to be filled. Unfortunately, that hole will most likely be filled by Leuer.

Stan Van Gundy has recently stated that he intends to experiment with Leuer at the five. Standing at 6’10”, Leuer playing center is not such a bad idea. Leuer has shown flashes of three-point shooting inconsistently throughout his tenure. His best shooting season coming in year four of his career, knocking down just under 47 percent from downtown. His career average from deep stands at a respectable 34 percent, enough to qualify him as a stretch-big.

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His career 76 percent free throw shooting also looks incredible compared to his counterpart Andre Drummond. It would make sense for Leuer to play in crunch time for Detroit, late in the fourth quarter when teams are trying to hack-a-Dre. But, Leuer has struggles holding his own on defense. Which is why he should not be a starter for any club in the NBA. Consequently, it only makes sense for Leuer to finish games over Andre Drummond.

Unless Drummond has miraculously improved on his free throw touch, Detroit cannot risk having him on the floor in late-game situations.

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So, if Leuer is a no go for a starting spot, who should get it? That depends on Stanley Johnson. If Johnson can recover from his abysmal previous season, then Tobias Harris will easily be slotted at the four, with Johnson manning the three. This Detroit team is filled with ifs. And that is a problem.

It is hard to predict anything with this team, considering everything has a contingency attached. If Reggie Jackson is healthy, if Stanley Johnson improves, if Andre Drummond improves on free throws. Too many if’s, not enough guarantee.

What if Stanley Johnson continues his struggling ways? Well, then Detroit will be in trouble. The Pistons would have no choice but to start Jon Leuer, unless they threw Anthony Tolliver into the mix. Which would not make any sense, given Leuer is better suited for a starting spot than Tolliver.

Leuer averaged 10.2 points per game in his first year with Detroit. He also helped out on the boards, grabbing 5.4 per outing. Those are solid numbers for a player coming off the bench. But, considering he was given 25 minutes per game, he should have performed at a much higher rate.

If Leuer can improve upon last year, he will be a great backup big man for Detroit this season. If Detroit is forced to start him, though, it can be expected that opposing players will expose him.

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The Detroit Pistons should change their name to the Detroit Ifs. Ifs are the only thing keeping this team afloat, on the brink of a complete rebuild. Time will tell how these ifs pan out, and if Detroit will need to go into rebuild mode. Would you start Jon Leuer if you were the coach?