NBA Position: PF
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
High School: Word of God Christian Academy
Ceiling: Julian Wright
Basement: Jeremy Evans
NBA Comparison: Earl Clark
- High Motor
- Combo Forward
- Terrific Hands
- Face-Up Four
- Over Dribbles
- Average Rebounder
- Tweener; Three or Four?
- Inconsistent Shooter
It took him about a year and a half for the talent to meet the athleticism, but C.J. Leslie is at that point now. As a sophomore Leslie was a more proficient defender and an effective scorer, this year he has added more wrinkles to his game.
Coming into college Leslie was an elite athlete with great length giving him the ability to play in the paint and on the perimeter.
This season he has been more aggressive on the offensive end asserting himself as a scorer. Before Leslie would get all of his from his athleticism alone, now he is utilizing a great post spin move and his strong hands to get points more consistently and efficiently.
On the block or high-post Leslie has shown an elite, quick, and effective spin move that may be the best of any player in college basketball. It is smooth and quick thanks to his speed and wiry frame. That spin move compliments his face-up game and ability to score above the rim off the ball.
This new aggressiveness is showcasing his ability to score the ball beyond simple athleticism. Leslie was already getting points in transition and above the rim off the ball. Now he is a threat with the ball.
When Leslie is facing a bigger opponent on the offensive end he can utilize that spin move on the high post or step out on the perimeter. He has enough of a handle to take traditional fours off the dribble exposing their lack of lateral movement. Again, Leslie’s raw talent and athleticism is what gives him the advantage nightly.
Defensively Leslie is a bit of a mixed bag still. He has the length and athleticism to guard on the perimeter, but is more of a four at both levels. For his career he is averaging 5.2 defensive rebounds per game (2.2 on the offensive end), which is not elite, but rather below average for a four.
As a three he would have the advantage as a bigger player that can post situationally, but his athleticism will be limited. While a four he is exposed as a very thin big lacking a lot of needed strength.
Tweeners typically struggle to find a position in the NBA and Leslie falls into that category, but has shown the ability to play the role of the athletic four this season.
Leslie is an athletic marvel who is a bit of a combo forward. Athletic and able to attack off the dribble on the perimeter, also can attack the glass in the paint. Very long and finds himself in good rebounding position on both ends very frequently. Not much to speak of in fundamentals on the offensive end needs help with footwork, shooting and his post moves. If he can tweak those things there is no reason he can’t be a Top 10 pick.