By Jordan Rivas, Staff Writer
Project Spurs has been profiling players in the 2009 Spurs training camp. We recently profiled Marcus Williams and Malik Hairston. Today we look at Curtis Jerrells and welcome back to Project Spurs Mr. Jordan Rivas.
Curtis Jerrells is a 6' 1" guard who hails from the great city of Austin. He attended Baylor University for four years and averaged 16.3 points and 4.9 assists in his senior year. He played for the Mavericks' summer league team earlier this year, and he'll be competing in the crowded Spurs back court for a roster spot during training camp.
And, if you've got a minute, we'd like to drop some knowledge on you about Jerrells and his game.
Jerrells is a playmaker. He can get into the lane with consistency, athletic and even at 6'1" he gets to the rim pretty well when he gets into the lane. He does put himself into an undesirable class of guards, however, because he trends towards shoot first, pass second. He's talented, but I question whether he can run that type of game in the Association the way he did in college.
He got by people in college, but adjusting to more experienced defenders in the NBA is going to give him problems. No disrespect to the defenders of the Big 12 Conference, but watching tape of Jerrells I could point out four things fundamentally wrong with half the defenders trying to check him – and I'm just some guy who writes on the internet. NBA guards would die of excitement if they saw lackluster defense like this guy saw in college.
Jerrells also has a tendency to shoot a majority of his shots off the dribble. Furthermore he tends to take ill advised shots. When he does spot up for a jumper you notice the awkward motion in his shot. Granted, people with keyboards and clipboards alike have been griping about odd shooting motions for a long time and people like Peja Stojakovic have been laughing at us for just as long – now if only Jerrells could shoot more than 36% from 3-point range I'd stop busting his balls over that weird left-to-right motion in his shot.
But okay, Jerrells hit a respectable percentage in college from deep. He's a player who would benefit from taking less shots from behind the line; better shot selection would clearly "up" his percentages. People have tried to make an issue out of his size, but in terms of going into the lane he's strong and can get shots over larger defenders. He'll struggle with the adjustment, but his size isn't what will keep him from having success in the league.
Allow us to throw some stats at you, rapid fire.
- In four years at Baylor, Jerrells never shot at or above 45% from the field.
- In four years at Baylor, he never averaged exactly at or above 5 assist per game (4.9 senior year was his highest).
- In four years at Baylor, turnovers were always at or above three per game.
- In four years at Baylor, 3pt% never got above 36%.
At Baylor, Jerrells was the type of player who needed 35-36 minutes per game and the ball in his hands all the time to average around 15-16 points per game and that balance just doesn't equate to an NBA point guard.
Jerrells doesn't have the skill set or mentality to fit with the Spurs system. He's already got used to being a shoot first guard. He's a good scorer, but he doesn't score enough points to justify that role in the NBA. He's also too small to try a move to off guard. He'd have to make some serious adjustments to fit the Spurs system. And even then the roster is filled with potential lead guard options and we've already got a young point guard project in George Hill.
Jerrells is talented and with some work I believe he'll find some work in this league, just not with the Spurs.
Alright, just because we're pretentious bastards who preach on a sports blog, doesn't mean we don't like the guys we cover. Curtis Jerrells seems like a cool, laid back guy. And, if you're wondering, here's some things we found about him while researching.
- likes R&B music
- apparently digs on chicken tacos
- is a Dallas Cowboys fan (always a plus)
- was once in a snowball fight in Missouri
We wish Mr. Jerrells the best of luck.