Thomas Heurtel ranked sixth in the Euroleague in shots created per 28 minutes, defined by in-the-game.org’s Simon Jatsch as unassisted field goals plus assists. Heurtel is very good working the pick-and-roll thanks to his killer mid-range shooting off the bounce and terrific passing instincts. He hit 49.3% of his 71 two-point jump-shots and ranked sixth in assist rate in 542 Euroleague minutes. He ranked third in the Spanish league in pure point ratio, behind only Sergio Rodriguez and Marcelinho Huertas.
What keeps him from being rated one of the best all around point guards are his limitations as a scorer. Heurtel lacks the speed to get to the basket with consistency and athleticism to finish against any sort of size. He took only 35 attempts at the rim in 21 Euroleague games and finished them at a 57.1% clip. Listed at six-foot-one and 180 pounds, he’s unable to absorb contact and maintain his balance on drives. Heurtel will often fail to blow by the defender and then leap off the ground looking for a jump-pass without any sort of plan, which is part of why he turned it over on almost 20% of Baskonia’s possessions when he was running point.
Heurtel is also a lousy outside shooter, missing 68.2% of his 132 three-point attempts last season, making the 43.7% accuracy on 158 shots from beyond the arc in the previous year look like an outlier as he hit only 28.2% of his 73 threes the year before that one. As a result, his limited scoring area diminished his impact on Laboral Kutxa’s offense at the highest level despite his prolific assist numbers. The team averaged 105.2 points per possessions with him on the floor and 107.3 when he hit the bench in the Euroleague, though it did score 6.3 points per 100 possessions more with him in the lineup in the Spanish league.
His size and general lack of athleticism also limited his contributions as a defender. Heurtel works hard to fight picks (though he sometimes has a tendency to lean on the opposing big man rather than make himself free of him) and does have decent lateral quickness but gets picked on in isolation by faster opponents and isn’t aggressive at all jumping passing lanes to try manufacturing turnovers. He posted average defensive rebounding rates among position peers in both leagues. Baskonia allowed 108.6 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor in the Euroleague and 106.3 when he hit the bench, the difference between below average and above average jn defensive efficiency.
Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.