European Prospects

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Daniel Mayr working his way in the German ProA

December 12th, 2013 · No Comments

With Tibor Pleiss doing his job in the ACB and earning MVP trophies on a weekly basis, there is another German seven-footer on its way to the top at the moment. Born in 1995 and son of the former German National Team player Rolf “Bibo” Mayr who was once considered as the tallest German ever, Daniel Mayr is getting decent minutes with the German ProA team Science City Jena this season. Therefore, it is about tome to check out what the 2m16 tall Center is putting on the court.

So far, Mayr is averaging 18.5 minutes on a good ProA team that is playing the promotion to the Bundesliga. Coming off the bench, the 18 year old big guy is mainly used as a screener in the Pick and Roll offense of Jena. With his long body and good wingspan, Mayr reminds you of a young Tibor Pleiss as he moves quite well on the floor showing no problems to run up and down. However, he is still not very stable in his body structure and gets pushed around easily by physically stronger American players in that league. This mobility is used by Jena on the defensive end where Mayr often plays a goalkeeper role in a matchup zone where he stays far away from his man in order to close the paint. He is  though quick enough to recover his man, even up to the three point line.

More surprising is the fact that Mayr plays also in the first row of a press defense in order to disturb the entry pass and has to double the first ball handler. He can put some pressure like this in an interesting way but offense breaks that kind of press more often than Mayr or one of his team mates got a steal in the games we analyzed. The 2m16 tall kid has in most of the games a very tough job on defense as the centers in the German ProA are rarely of his size. His good lateral speed helps him to avoid getting beat too often on the dribble which is a good point for him. However, he gets lost in defensive rotations sometimes as he is the preferred helper on drives and struggles at moments to recover his or the right man after his help. His overall help defense though is good and with his long arms, he can deflect shots and passes on multiple occasions and is doing a good job to protect the paint.

Mayr was key with his defensive presence in one of the games that I followed as he was playing hard defense on the inbound passer with 3 seconds on the clock and forced a game-deciding turnover with his size as the opponent could not find a team mate for the entry pass. In all these defensive situations, he looks very similar to Pleiss at the same age being “abused” in the low post or when being posted up (what does not happen too many times surprisingly) but being present with his mobility everywhere on the court.

On the offensive end, it is not that much of a different story. Mayr is running around setting ball screens left and right at the top of the key. Mostly his defender comes out for hedging the screen and Mayr rolls really well to the paint. However, his team mates seem not interested or incapable of giving him the ball in good situations. The 1995 born is showing his hands really well to signalize that he is open but often, his team mates forced the drive against two defenders.

As you can see above, Mayr is totally open in the lane but #3 does not pass him the ball.

On the same exact play a little bit later in the same game, Mayr does not receive the ball once again despite being totally open.

This one is even worse as #5 prefers to play the one-on-one situation despite Mayr being totally open just in front of him.

When Mayr gets the ball in these situations, he has a good touch to finish but prefers to go for the soft layup instead of dunking the basketball even when being open. This is another similarity with Pleiss who was the master of the soft finishes when he was young and it took him years to become more aggressive. Mayr rarely posts up in the Jena offense as he is mostly used as a ball screener. However, there are situations when he is in a low post position to get the ball after a switch on the defense. He has though problems to get a good position even against smaller defenders. This might be the reason why he does not get the ball in those situations either as you can see on the picture below.

But how does he score in the end as he is averaging 6.2 points per game so far. As often for players of that age in a guard based offense, the offensive rebounds and put backs are his best passers. With 2.2 offensive boards per game, Mayr is a good presence in the 18 minute he spends on the court. His good feet help him to go up quickly for putbacks and tip-ins even coming from outside the paint. Additionally, he is quite a good free-throw shooter already. His technique is stable and the follow-through is looking good. With the years, this should normally develop into the 75% area.

Daniel Mayr can be considered as the most interesting German 7 foot prospect of his generation. He reminds me a lot of a young Tibor Pleiss at the moment. However, there are some doubts about his work ethic which has been underlined by his suspension from the German U18 National Team last summer. Additionally, he does not look like he is in great shape as you can see him putting his hands on his knees to recover at any moment during the games. This might also be because of his young age and the uptempo style of his team but he needs to get in better physical condition if he wants to make the next step. His body stability is another part to work on over the next years as he gets pushed around still quite easily. Nevertheless, if Mayr can continue his development, he is a player to follow for the Euroleague level as his combination of size, mobility and skills is quite rare.

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