The New York Knicks might have a steal in free agent rookie signee C.J. Leslie, or they may have natural athlete with an underdeveloped work ethic in a league flushed with the latter.
The 6-foot-9, 209-pound rookie forward was once considered a surefire lottery pick a few years ago and was even selected as the ACC preseason player of the year in 2012.
However, during his three years at North Carolina State University, Leslie was a bit of a disappointment. Though he would average a respectable 15 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a junior, those numbers were still below expectations.
He was deemed the second coming of Chris Bosh upon his initial arrival at NC State because of his athleticism, slight build and 7-foot wingspan, but wasn’t nearly as explosive a scorer on offense and often appeared disinterested on defense.
Though he was able to score on most collegiate forwards and centers due in large part to a quick first step, his moves on offense need to be refined. His go-to move in college was a jump hook over his left shoulder, but outside of that, the pantry is largely bare.
Also, he didn’t seem to have much confidence in his outside shot and only made three from beyond the arc last season.
If he is to be of any use to New York during the upcoming season, he will have to on his outside shot to the tune of 500 shot attempts a day and put on at least 10 pounds of muscle. If not, he’ll be playing second fiddle to the Gatorade guy, just ahead of the towel boy on the depth chart.