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New York Knicks Sign Undrafted N.C. State’ Forward C.J. Leslie

Former N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie measured 6’8.5″ (in shoes), 198 lbs with a 7’1.5″ wingspan at the 2012 Amare Stoudemire Skills Academy. Now he’ll be calling Stoudemire a teammate. The New York Knicks reached a deal with the undrafted free agent. Now it will be up to New York to tap into the potential of an explosive athlete who was projected to be a first round draft pick coming into what would be his final season playing for the Wolfpack.

C.J. Leslie is a junior from N.C. State with loads of potential. These are his statistics as a member of the Wolfpack. He’s an absolutely explosive athlete. He lives above the rim and slashes through the lane. When it comes to Leslie the subject is untapped potential. He’s a player that tends to lack focus and motivation. He also has a low basketball IQ. That’s why he went undrafted. That being said, if the Knicks coaching staff can get Leslie to buy in, bulk up and work hard he could be a real player for them.

Leslie does a good job of using his length to disrupt shots and to steal the ball on defense. He’s a slasher with a solid face-up game and difficult to defend in the high post. He uses his explosiveness and leaping ability to throw down some highlight real dunks when he gets to the rim that can change the momentum of the game. He’s a lethal finisher on fast breaks and has the ability to go coast to coast.

He’ll have to bulk up if he’s going to play in the low post in the NBA but he should be a matchup problem against power forwards with his ball-handling skills. That being said, unless he puts on more weight he projects better as a small forward despite having the length to play power forward.

Leslie shoots with pretty good proficiency despite having to develop his jump shot. He used his leaping ability and his length for rebounding at a high rate for his position. He has great hands that help him get a lot of put-back opportunities and should make him an ideal alley-oop target. He also has the foot speed and length to defend the perimeter well. He also has all the tools to become a great shot blocker on and off the ball.

However, Leslie can play a bit out of control with the ball in his hands because he’s overconfident with his handle and he tries to do too much. As a result, he can be a bit turnover prone. He needs to develop a consistent jump shot. He also needs to work on his footwork.

Despite being more suited to play small forward Leslie needs to improve his post up moves. He also needs to work on his focus. He tends to lacks concentration at times on the court. He could also afford to bulk up a bit as he has plenty of room to add to his frame.

Leslie also has a questionable motor on both ends of the floor. Combine that with bad body language and attitude at times and you know why he went undrafted. He also has a poor basketball IQ. Doesn’t have a true position. He also tends to disappear in games at times. He can also get lazy on defense and not close out on shooters or fight through screens. Those are things that could potentially land him in Mike Woodson’s dog house.

The bottom line is, Leslie has a great body and all the God given talent to be a good player but his lack of effort to improve has really set him back. That being said, if the training and coaching staff can get him to buy in and take command of his career there’s really no reason Leslie can’t develop into a nice role player at the NBA level.

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  1. Pingback: ACC Week in Review: June 30, 2013 | ATLANTIC COAST CONFIDENTIAL

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