Kevin Huerter Scouting Report

(First posted at RealGM)

CONTEXT

Kevin Huerter was the 49th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1].

In his two years at Maryland, the 19-year-old[2] accumulated 2,071 minutes of college basketball experience. Other than that, he has 184 minutes with the United States National Team at the 2016 U18 FIBA Americas and 2017 U19 FIBA World Cup under his belt[3].

Most recently, the six-foot-seven swingman averaged 17.1 points per 40 minutes[4] on 64% true shooting and compiled an 18.4 PER in 32 appearances last season.

Maryland played the 50th-toughest schedule in the country[5] and had a +17.3 pace-adjusted point differential with him on the floor[6].

His stock has been on the rise over the last month and after a very strong appearance at the 2018 Combine, he is now expected to end up a top 20 pick.

Huerter was given the chance to showcase a very versatile skill-set on offense. He took 54.3% of his shots from three-point range and was assisted on 59.8% of his field goals[7] but did more than just spot-up as a weak-side floor-spacer, proving he is able to nail shots on the move and create for others off side pick-and-roll as well.

On the other end, the native of Clifton Park, New York acted as a weak-side defender for the most part, though he found himself guarding on the ball when Maryland switched aggressively on ball screens against select opponents. He is a so-so individual defender and lacks elite athleticism to fly around in terms of creating events in volume but proved to be exceptional at executing the scheme.

SHOOTING

Besides basic weak-side spot-ups, Maryland created shots for Huerter off his movement as well. He got looks coming off pindown screens, staggered screens, off dribble hand-offs, off roll-and-replace and as the trailer in transition.

Huerter catches it on the hop, has compact mechanics and pulls the trigger very quickly. For the most part he manages to get his shots off comfortably prior to or over closeouts but his low release, launching the ball out in front, can be costly against closeouts by wings with elite length. Sometimes he doesn’t get that great an arc on his shot and his misses tend to be short.

Huerter nailed 39.4% of his 350 three-point shots over his two years at Maryland, at a pace of 6.8 such attempts per 40 minutes. Other than the types of shots he takes, his 74.8% foul shooting on 127 free throws also creates the expectation that he will be a very good shooter in the pros as well.

SHOT CREATION & FINISHING

To keep the defense honest, he can put the ball on the floor attacking closeouts, curl off pindown screens, turn the corner off a live dribble on hand-offs and run side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving.

Huerter can maintain his balance through contact and euro-step to maneuver his way through traffic but lacks an explosive first step and isn’t particularly fast with the ball. As a result, he took just 20.5% of his shots at the rim and earned just 3.6 foul shots per 40 minutes last season.

Huerter can go up strong off two feet with some space to load up but isn’t an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic. He flashed some ability to hang in the air and finish through contact but was a basic up-and-down finisher with a strong preference for laying it up with his right hand for the most part – making just 23 unassisted shots at the rim all year.

Huerter did convert 71.2% of his 66 total shots at the rim but half of them were assisted, as he proved to be an instinctive cutter off post-ups and reading his defender overplaying the likelihood of him sprinting to the perimeter for a catch off a pindown screen.

But his best skill off dribble penetration is his passing, as Huerter proved he is very versatile in the ways he looks for others off the bounce – assisting on 20.2% of Maryland’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

He is not only able to execute drop-offs and kick-outs against a collapsing defense but after getting deep into the lane off a hesitation move and tying up the help defense, he can deliver well-timed bounce passes and wraparound passes to the roll man or find shooters on crosscourt passes to the opposite end, including against the momentum of his body at times.

Some of that high level passing came at the cost of higher risk but part of his turnover rate (2.9 turnovers per 40 minutes) can also be explained by his struggles handling pressure, as Huerter was often seen picking up his dribble as soon as a path to drive off the ball-screen wasn’t immediately available.

In instances where he was tasked with creating against a set defense late in the shot clock, Huerter flashed a between the legs crossover and a spin move to try shaking his defender off balance or charging his way forward on momentum. He can unleash floaters off jump-stops and 1-2 footwork but the results were mixed.

As he lacks an explosive first step and doesn’t have a lot of shiftiness, Huerter more often than not looked to create separation for stop-and-pop pull-ups or step-back fade-away jumpers in isolation. Showing some nice shot making ability, he nailed 51.9% of his 81 two-point shots away from the basket last season.

Huerter also showed he can take smaller matchups into the post in a pinch, though only basic righty hooks came out of it for the most part.

DEFENSE

His primary role was as a weak-side defender and he excelled at executing the scheme.

Huerter proved he is attentive to his responsibilities rotating in to bump cutters or roll men, clogging driving lanes, helping crowd the area near the basket on actions on the side of the floor, coming off the weak-side in help defense to challenge shots at the rim and reversing switches on the fly.

He is not an impact player, though.

Huerter hustles on closeouts but isn’t fast enough to run the shooter off his shot often and can’t contest shots effectively with his eight-foot-five standing reach[8]. He flashed some nice instincts reacting to the ball but his six-foot-seven wingspan doesn’t help him get steals in volume. He can leap off two feet in a pinch but isn’t a real shot blocking threat for the most part.

Huerter was active trying to front the post against Keita Bates-Diop in the game against Ohio State but generally doesn’t seem suited to offer versatility in terms of being able to pick up bigger players on switches due to his unimpressive 194-pound frame and below average length for someone his height.

He is also probably not a fit to exchange onto smaller players regularly. Defending on the ball, Huerter proved he has multiple lateral slides in him to stay in front of similarly-sized players out in space but hunches rather than bends his knees to get down in a stance, doesn’t contain dribble penetration through contact and can’t get skinny negotiating screens at the point of attack.

His contributions on the glass were good but also not particularly special, as he collected just 14.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor over his time at Maryland.


[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 8/27/1998

[3] According to our stats’ database

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Ken Pomeroy

[6] According to our stats’ database

[7] According to hoop-math

[8] According to the measurements at the 2018 Combine

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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