On Thursday, reports indicated that the Cavs have signed Xavier product J.P. Macura to an Exhibit 10 deal with a partial guarantee for the 2019-20 season. So who is the 6’5”, 24-year-old guard exactly?
Here’s your primer on Cleveland’s latest signing.
Who is J.P. Macura exactly?
Macura is originally from Lakeville, Minnesota, where he set a school record at Lakeville North High School for career points scored, and won a state title, averaging 32.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game as a senior. He received scholarship offers from Butler and Iowa State, but went to Xavier to play in the Big East. While at Xavier, he earned a reputation for his trash talk and for tweeting “Thank you, god bless” when people trolled him on Twitter. He also earned the nickname “Dennis the Menace” for his on-court antics.
As a senior, he was part of a Xavier team that was among the best in the country in the regular season, but was upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He shot 37.7% from three that season and functioned as the team’s second option behind Trevon Bluiett, who is now a two-way player with the Pelicans. For his career at Xavier, 10.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
Upon graduation, he went undrafted and signed a two-way deal with the Hornets. He only appeared in two games with Charlotte, but played in 30 games for their G-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm. In 27.9 minutes per game in the G-League, he averaged 16.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 45.6% from the field and 36.4% on 6.2 three-point attempts per game. In his highest scoring game with the Swarm, he dropped 31 points in 34 minutes. However, only six of his points came on three-pointers.
In his second highest scoring game, he dropped 30 points in 41 minutes and made three of his eight three-point attempts:
Macura then played in summer league for the Hornets this year, averaged 3.3 points and 11 minutes per game while shooting 33% from the field.
What are his best skills?
Macura has a Nik Stauskas vibe to him. He cuts and moves well and has gotten much more comfortable taking three-pointers as evidenced by his uptick in attempts last year. He feels like a Beilein player.
He plays with energy that makes up for him not being an elite athlete. Macura doesn’t project as a good defender, but he at least tries at that end and tries to make plays in passing lanes. With Greensboro, he did have six games with three steals or more.
Playing in the G-League as more of a lead option, as opposed to a fifth option as he likely would in the NBA, skews what Macura is. But per nba.com, 68.8% of his baskets last year were assisted. For what it’s worth, nba.com’s similarity tool compares him to Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo. If he’s going to make it as an NBA player, it’s going to be because he moves well off-ball for open looks and tries on defense.
Does he have upside as a prospect?
He’s already 24, so Macura doesn’t likely have a huge amount of untapped potential. But he did put up good G-League numbers, even if that didn’t translate to him standing out to summer league. If he’s put into a situation that makes sense — maybe John Beilein’s system is that — he can maybe be a on the fringe of a rotation.
How could he factor into the Cavs’ plans?
Because he’s on an Exhibit 10 deal, Cleveland can convert his deal to a two-way deal. With a two-way open slot — forward Dean Wade is signed to the other two-way slot — Macura would seem to be a candidate. He also fits the profile of the offensive-oriented players Cleveland has added this summer in Darius Garland, Dylan Winder, Kevin Porter Jr. and Wade.
If the Cavs do convert his deal, it has to occur before the regular season. Cleveland’s roster is currently thin on the wing, so he might make sense in that regard, particularly if Stauskas doesn’t return. One injury to one of Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler or Kevin Porter Jr. and the Cavs will be hurting for bodies.
However, it would be surprising if Macura ends up on the Cavs’ 15-man roster. If he’s not on a two-way deal October, he could be funneled to the Canton Charge. If he ends up there, he could earn a bonus worth $5,000-$50,000 if he stays with the team for 60 days. From the Cavs’ perspective, it’s a chance to keep an eye on him and develop him in case he does make a strong case for a 15-man roster spot. If not, there’s no harm done.