Going into last Thursday, many expected C.J. Leslie to be among the select few to hear their name called on draft night. The wiry combo forward’s basketball skill was still deemed raw by NBA scouts after a disappointing year for NC State, but Leslie’s physical tools were impossible to ignore. Besides, after supposedly receiving a promise from a team in the second round, he seemed a lock to be chosen. Either way, when Latvia’s Janis Timma came off the board to the Memphis Grizzlies with the 60th and final pick to conclude the event, Leslie found himself as a man without a team; probably near a silent phone and pondering life as an undrafted rookie in the NBA.
Prior to draft night, the Knicks, who selected Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th pick, were reportedly looking into making a deal for a second round pick. In a draft where talents such as Jeff Withey, Nate Wolters, and Tony Mitchell slid out of the first round, a second rounder would have been percious, but GM Glen Grunwald couldn’t get anyone to bite. Still in need of help at the forward position, Grunwald extended his hand to Leslie, signing him to the team and adding him to this year’s Summer League roster.
At 6-9, 209 pounds, the first thing you notice about Leslie is his athleticism. His 7′ 2.25″ wingspan is an awesome tool, and in combination with his explosive leaping ability, recorded a 12′ 1″ max reach vertical; the highest of any participant in 2013 Pre-Draft Combine. To put that in perspective, he can essentially reach the space in-between the white rectangle behind the rim and the top of the backboard. He’s also remarkably fast, as he completed the Combine agility drill in 10.19 seconds, also the best of the event. He even finished second in the three-quarter sprint with a time of 3.10 seconds, just behind Shane Larkin’s 3.08 seconds. More
Today’s featured draft profile will be on European phenom, Dario Saric. The 19-year-old forward is believed by many to be the best international player available in this year’s draft, and his uncanny passing ability in combination with his size has led to his fans labeling him as “The European Magic Johnson”. While I wouldn’t go that far, it isn’t hard to look at Saric and notice the immense potential he possesses when he’s on the court. After winning the gold medal with Croatia in the 2012 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, where Saric was unanimously voted tournament MVP by averaging 25.6 points per game (1st) and 10.1 rebounds per game (2nd), he was pegged as a lottery pick by many scouts, but his stock has begun to sink due to his sub-par performances this year with his new club, and there is a possibility he makes it into the late 1st round.
Birthday: 4/8/94 -Projected NBA Position(s): Small Forward/Power Forward – Class: International – Ht: 6-10 – Wt: 225 – Team: Cibona Zagreb – Hometown: Sibenik, Croatia
2012-13 Per Game Averages: 7.7 Points – 2.1 Assists – 6.1 Rebounds – 36.8 FG% – 30.3 3P% – 50.0 FT%
Because Saric is currently playing for a European club, he was not able to participate in the Pre-Draft Combine. His height, weight, and wingspan are the only official measurements available.
Today’s featured draft profile will be on University of North Carolina swingman, Reggie Bullock. I love hard-working, 100% effort guys, and if you were to study Bullock’s game as I’ve been doing over the past few days, you’d see just that. Bullock leaves it on the court every night and finds ways besides scoring to contribute to the win. A scrappy defender and dependable 3-point shooter, I’d go as far to say that Bullock reminds me of another former Tarheel: Danny Green.
Birthday: 3/16/91 – Projected NBA Position(s): Shooting Guard/Small Forward – Class: Junior – Ht: 6-7 – Wt: 200 – Hometown: Kinston, NC
2012-13 Per Game Averages: 13.9 Points – 2.9 Assists – 6.5 Rebounds – 48.3 FG% – 43.6 3P% – 76.7 FT%
Bullock’s Pre-Draft Combine Results
Today’s featured draft profile will be on the University of North Texas wing, Tony Mitchell. A player with the ability to operate at small forward or power forward, Mitchell is an outstanding athlete, possessing all the physical tools to make an impact at the pro-level. Viewed as a potential lottery pick after his standout freshman year at North Texas, a disappointing sophomore campaign marred with character concerns caused his stock to dive, as many scouts are now placing Mitchell in the 20′s of the first round. The Knicks may be looking at a bargain should Mitchell slide to #24.
Birthday: 4/7/92 – Projected NBA Position(s): Small Forward/Power Forward – Class: Sophomore – Ht: 6-9 – Wt: 236 – Hometown: Dallas, TX
2012-13 Per Game Averages: 13.0 Points – 0.8 Assists – 8.5 Rebounds – 44.0 FG% – 30.0 3P% – 67.5 FT%
Mitchell’s Pre-Draft Combine Results
Today’s featured draft profile will be on the University of New Mexico’s mellow sharpshooter, Tony Snell. Nicknamed the “Silent Assassin” by the Lobos faithful, Snell prefers to let his game do the talking, enforcing that reputation with his impressive showing last season against George Mason where he ignited for 27 points on only 12 shots; including the game winning 3-pointer with 01.2 left in the game. What did Snell do after? Get right back on defense.
Birthday: 11/10/91 – Projected NBA Position(s): Shooting Guard/Small Forward - Class: Junior - Ht: 6-7 - Wt: 198 - Hometown: Riverside, CA
2012-13 Per Game Averages: 12.5 Points – 2.9 Assists – 2.6 Rebounds – 42.2 FG% – 39.0 3P% – 84.3 FT%
Snell’s Pre-Draft Combine Results