Meyers Leonard With Big Ground To Gain
About a month to go until the draft, the highest point at which Meyers Leonard appears are most teams would be the third center behind UConn's ultra-athletic Andre Drummond oozing with potential and Tyler Zeller from North Carolina, who certainly doesn't have the upside of Drummond, limited athletically, but is a safe bet given his size and strength. Then there is the 20-yeard old former Illinois' center in the mix, anywhere from late-lottery to mid-first round on Draft night.
Leonard progressed as much as any other big man prospect in the country between his freshman and sophomore years and still has a ways to go. With his athleticism, quickness up and down the floor and some added bulk, the sophomore saw his minutes grow exponentially to the point where he was able to average 13.6 points, up from 2.1 as a freshman, and grab 8.2 rebounds per game, up from 1.2 in his first season with the Fighting Illini; he led the Big Ten in blocked shots, finished third in the conference in rebounding and was 11th nationally with a field-goal mark of .584. He plays physically, unafraid to back down, with a nearly unstoppable motor and that something every scout has pointed out about Leonard as a huge plus for the prospect. He's a legit 7-footer with large hands and a finesse mid-range game to complement his inside dominance.
However, the negatives are there as well; he still needs at least another year or two to master his maturation physically and is questionable in the focus. He seems to really lack that desire to get on the court and dominate night-in and night-out.
With upside surrounding his well above-average athleticism along with the physical profile of Meyers Leonard, he'll be a difficult prospect to pass up right around that 15-18 pick range.
By NBA-DRAFT.com Staff Writer - 5 - 29 - 12