Name: C.J. Leslie
Age: 21 (will be 22 by draft)
Position: Power Forward
School/Country: North Carolina State
Latest Stats: 15.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 bpg, 1.0 spg
C.J. Leslie has had the NBA on his radar ever since arriving at North Carolina State. After considering the draft following both his freshman and sophomore seasons, Leslie has now made the decision to declare for the 2013 NBA Draft. This comes on the heels of a junior year in which he averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Leslie and the Wolfpack struggled in comparison to preseason expectations during the 2012-13 season, but his decision to enter the draft now, really comes as no surprise.
Leslie had the potential to be a mid-first round selection and maybe even break the lottery portion of the draft had he made the decision to come out earlier, but now as a junior, Leslie’s stock has dipped a little bit. At 6-foot-9, Leslie is listed as a power forward, but his ability to step out and defend the perimeter really helps. Leslie is not a three-pointer shooter, but he has athleticism to guard the arc.
Expect Leslie to hear his name name called in either the late first or early second round.
Strengths: Leslie has great size and athleticism and he’s not afraid to get the ball and go in transition. He can handle the ball well for someone who stands at 6-foot-9 and he has the strength to take contact and finish inside. Leslie has a high motor and can really take his game to the next level when he has things clicking.
Weaknesses: Leslie can defend the perimeter, but he can’t really play on it offensively. He’s listed at a power forward, but either way he must improve his jump shooting. Leslie shot over 50% this season at N.C. State, but a lot of those points came at the rim. That’s a good thing, but at the NBA level there won’t be as many opportunities. Leslie needs to develop a more refined mid-range game.
Draft Projection: Late First, Early Second
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