Knicks Free Agency Look In: C.J. Leslie

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What C.J. Leslie can bring to the Knicks is speculative. He is slender for his position, and the fact that he did not get drafted makes you wonder what his problems are? With some questionable behavioral issues and an apparent lack of motor at times, C.J. has the chance to prove to the Knicks and the NBA that he belongs.

Via NBADRAFT.net

Strengths: Explosive athlete who excites with his above-the-rim play … Has great length (7’1.5”) and uses it to disrupt shots (1.2 BPG) and swipe the ball (1 SPG) on defense … Though he is 21, he still has loads of untapped potential thanks to his athletic ability … One of the best in this draft class at getting to the line, Leslie averaged 6.6 attempts per game last season … Great slasher … Has a solid face-up game and is hard to stop when he gets the ball in the high post … Is a fantastic dunker thanks to his leaping ability … Great finisher on the fast break … Solid ball-handler who should be a matchup problem when guarded by power forwards … Runs the floor very well, making him a good transition player … Is generally considered a small forward but has the length to play the 4 … His dunking prowess can change the momentum of a game and get the crowd behind the team … Shot a solid FG percentage (52%) last season … Is a very good rebounder for a small forward thanks to his length and leaping ability (averaged 7.4 RPG last season) … Surprisingly effective in spot up opportunities, though they were limited … Great hands that serve to make him an ideal alley-oop target and help him get numerous put-backs … Defends the perimeter in ISO situations well using his good foot speed and length to disrupt opponents …

Weaknesses: Most of his problems stem from a lack of focus and motivation on the court … Questionable motor on both ends of the floor … Scouts have major reservations about his basketball IQ / attitude / negative body language … Doesn’t have a true position. Lacks strength at the 4 and skills to play the 3 … Lacks great decision making, passing skills to play on the perimeter (1:2 A/TO ratio) … Has been known to disappear in games, although he was a bit more consistent in his final college season … Needs to be more assertive, particularly when matched up against smaller or slower defenders … Offensively his touches come in a variety of ways, but nothing is overly effective … Lacks any sort of consistent perimeter shot, which allows bigger defenders to play off of him … More effective in transition than in the half court game. NC State attempted to use him on the block, but his post game never evolved … Gets lazy on defense and fails to do the little things, such as closing out on shooters and fighting through screens … Too skinny for his size and must put on weight or he will be unable to defend the 4 (his natural position) in the NBA … Turnover-prone (3 per game last season) … No consistent post moves will force him to be a face-up forward … Inability to ad strength via weight training during college career points to a lack of work ethic … Hasn’t come close to his full potential at age 21, which suggests that he never will … Will turn 22 just before draft night, meaning he’s the age of a senior … Should be a much more efficient defender considering his athleticism and length … Really struggles defending in the post …

Notes: Made All-ACC team each of the past two seasons … Suspended first three games of sophomore season for receiving impermissible benefits … Made an inspirational “assist” by rescuing a disabled student in a storm the court situation during the season …

Overall: Sheer athleticism makes him a potential first rounder … Leslie is a superb athlete who can bring excitement off an NBA bench, but his inconsistent motor and poor perimeter shooting lead to several major holes in his game, which is why he finds himself falling to the second round of most mocks… Game could ultimately be best suited playing the 4 position in Europe.

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