After taking a large step forward with his game as a sophomore, John Shurna
mostly stood pat in his junior season, actually seeing a slight reduction in production in a few areas. Shurna did improve on his three-point shooting, which is critical for his NBA chances, but still faces a few question marks with his game as a senior.
On the offensive end, Shurna has a very cut-and-dry game with his biggest assets clearly being his spot-up shooting ability and superb basketball IQ. Playing in his team's Princeton Offense, Shurna does an excellent job reading the floor with and without the ball, facilitating ball movement and spacing for his team.
Shurna's basketball IQ shows up in his passing game, where he's very adept at reading lanes and angles, while frequently making pinpoint passes on backdoor cuts to his teammates. He finds himself on the opposite end of these plays just as often, where he shows very good coordination on catch-and-finishes in the lane. Not the best athlete from a quickness or explosiveness standpoint, Shurna does manage to elevate well on these cuts, where he builds momentum with a running start without having to dribble.
In terms of his shooting abilities, Shurna has a quick release with NBA range and he hit an impressive 43.4% from behind the arc as a junior on 5.4 attempts per game. His shot has a slight pushing motion to it, but his combination of quick mechanics and always being ready off the ball helps him get off his shot with ease. Shurna is also serviceable knocking down spot-up shots from the mid range, coming off screens, and hitting one-dribble pull-ups in space, where he shows good decision-making ability and rarely forces shots.
Moving beyond his contributions as a passing, cutting, and shooting cog in his team's well-run offense, Shurna is lacking in more dynamic offensive attributes, being very underwhelming when it comes to creating his own offense. Not possessing a great first step or ball-handling ability, Shurna struggles in pure isolation situations and isn't frequently able to either get space for a pull-up jumper or get past his man going to the basket. And aside from an occasional turnaround jumper from the mid-post, he doesn't bring much to the table with his back to the basket either.
Shurna does handle himself fairly well on drives to the basket where he starts with a half-step on his man, doing a good job controlling himself on straight-line drives and showing nice creativity and touch around the rim, but his lack of athleticism and strength show up when facing help-side defense in the lane, where he will likely face much more trouble at the NBA level.
On the defensive end, Shurna appears to be somewhat caught between positions, not having the lateral quickness necessary to defend NBA 3's and not having the length or strength to defend NBA 4's. He's almost always his team's de facto power forward on the floor at Northwestern, but he's frequently matched up with players who are more stylistically similar to NBA small forwards.
Measuring out a surprising 6-10 in shoes at the New Jersey workouts helps his cause somewhat, but the fact that he has just a 6-8 ½ wingspan negates that somewhat.
In isolations, Shurna is frequently beaten off the dribble by his man, though he does a good job contesting shots from behind while riding his man's hip in the lane. Shurna's problems defending post-ups are even more concerning, where he is severely lacking in lower body strength and is backed down and scored over at a very high rate. To Shurna's credit, he is very attentive and scrappy on the defensive end, constantly hustling and not often being caught out of position, but his lack of position and underwhelming physical attributes are problematic. As too is his glaring weakness on the boards, where he pulled in just 6.0 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted as a junior, a step back from his 7.4 as a sophomore, which was already very poor.
Looking forward, Shurna brings some clear-cut positive attributes to the table from an NBA perspective, namely his three-point shooting, passing, cutting, ability to play in a team offense, and general basketball IQ. He's clearly caught between positions defensively, but his best chance would appear to be as a reserve stretch-four for a team that plays small ball, where his negative attributes could be somewhat curbed. Maximizing his physical attributes, becoming a more serviceable rebounder, and continuing to improve as a three-point shooter could all help his stock, but he doesn't appear to have a ceiling much higher than what he currently is.
With that said, there are a number of players in the NBA who fit a similar mold, so clearly there is already a blueprint in place for him to find a niche in the league.