Very few players have been given the sort of opportunity to dominate an offense the way Thomas Huertel has over the last two seasons. Head-coach Dusan Ivkovic decided, I assume, that the best way to make up for the fact that he is a massive defensive liability was having him dictate everything.
That’s still confusing, though, given Huertel developed into a pretty good spot-up shooter since transferring to Turkey, nailing 40.2% of his 489 three-point shots over the last two seasons – according to RealGM. And Efes had players in other positions who could have used more shot creation opportunity.
Heurtel didn’t always just bring the ball up and went through no-pass or one-pass possessions 100% of the time. Quite often he started off the ball or gave up possession pretty early into the shot clock and went through a few screens to then get the ball on the second side for a catch-and-go or sprinted to the top of the key to get it on a dribble hand-off for a middle pick-and-roll.
Out of middle pick-and-roll, Heurtel has proven able to stop on a dime and pull-up in balance, even from three-point range. He’s proven able to make these shots at an appealing rate.
His top priority is always going around the ball-screen and getting into the lane. Heurtel does not have a tight handle, can’t maintain his balance through contact and is a bit reckless with some of the chances he takes trying to thread the needle on cross-court passes, turning the ball over on over 21% of Anadolu Efes’ possessions when he was on the floor these last two years.
He’s almost always looking to pass out of dribble penetration and has shown great court vision when his decision making is on point, assisting on more than 40% of Efes’ scores on each of the last two seasons – one of the highest marks in the continent.
Heurtel is quick enough side-to-side and has some hesitation moves to get decent pull-ups off on straight isolations but mostly needs the aid of a screen to get downhill. He is less of a threat the deeper he gets into the lane as he lacks burst to attack length at the rim with any sort of explosiveness.
For as many points as he created, Heurtel often gave up just as many on the end, where he was pretty terrible.
Defending at the point of attack, he often got stuck on screens and died on the play. When he did navigate over the pick, Heurtel’s quickness never translated into an ability to recover in time to his man to contest shots or deflect passes from behind.
One-on-one, Heurtel has no lateral quickness to keep opponents in front or strength in his 180-pound frame to contain dribble penetration through contact.
His contributions through steals and blocks have always been marginal, though he’s consistently grabbed more defensive rebounds than the year before in each of the past four seasons.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor and at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara