Jon Leuer won’t have to travel too far from Madison to begin his NBA career.
The Milwaukee Bucks selected the former UW forward with the tenth pick in the second round in Thursday’s NBA draft. Many NBA writers have stated the Bucks selected Leuer to gain some fans from the Madison area who have followed Leuer’s career, but Leuer was given a late first- to early second-round grade my many of those same experts before the draft.
Despite averaging 18.3 points per game as a senior at Wisconisin, Leuer will face an uphill battle to earn minutes in his first season, even for the low-scoring Bucks. He’ll join a crowded frontcourt in Milwaukee that already includes veterans Andrew Bogut, Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova and 2010 first round pick Larry Sanders.
Leuer improved his defense and rebounding substantially during his senior campaign with the Badgers, but he’ll still have to put on weight and improve those areas of his game before he gets serious playing time at the NBA level.
That said, I’d be surprised if Leuer suffers the same fate as many second-round picks and doesn’t make it in the NBA. His deft shooting touch and athleticism are attributes not shared by many (near) seven-footers at the NBA level. Don’t be surprised if Leuer carves out a role similar to the one Ryan Anderson plays for the Orlando Magic, whether it be in Milwaukee or elsewhere.