JNixon-Iggy9's Countdown to the Draft: 60 Prospects in 30 Days (14&13)
14: Kawhi Leonard, 6’7 227, SF/PF, San Diego State, Soph.
After being a highly touted recruit, Leonard went to mid-major San Diego State and was an impact player from the moment he set foot on campus. He’s got some traits that are clear cut, and a few traits that are often exaggerated. What can be said is that Leonard was very productive and was a main reason the Aztecs became a winner in both of his years in college. Physically, Leonard has nice size for a combo forward. At 6’7 with a solid 227 frame that can fill out even more, Leonard certainly has a pretty good frame. Although 6’7 is probably an inch or 2 short for a combo forward, his 7’3 wingspan more than makes up for it and allows him to plays a good bit bigger than he is. Athletically, Leonard is pretty good but not as good as most make him out to be. He runs the floor well and is a good leaper when he gets a head of steam, but he’s always generally been more smooth than explosive and sometimes can look robotic. His 1st step and quickness are good, but not great.
On offense, Leonard has a skill set that largely is unorthodox and lacks a standout trait. He operated in all kinds of roles at San Diego State, as a slasher, shooter, passer and transition player. The area Leonard struggles the most is as a shooter without question. He struggles with his shot off the dribble and spotting up. His form and release look elongated and his touch isn’t great at all. Doesn’t show much in the way of NBA range on his jumper, and was a poor shooter in both years in college despite taking a very reasonable amount of jump shots from 3-point range. As a slasher, Leonard isn’t great but he’s not bad either. A much underrated ball-handler, Leonard has the ability to free himself with crossovers from the mid-range area and will occasion knock down shots or find teammates around the rim. Doesn’t have the 1st step to beat guys off the dribble regularly, and although he’s a solid ball-handler he’s not good enough to get high percentage shots off the bounce consistently. Can score without the ball, by filling lanes excellently in transition where he can play well above the rim with his good leaping skills on a running start. Leonard also does a good job cutting to the rim for baskets, and getting offensive rebounds for easy points. Not as efficient a finisher as you’d expect, but he likely will improve on that. Hustles for baskets. Possesses good passing skills and isn’t particularly turnover prone.
Leonard’s value on D comes from his versatility and hustling, much like on offense. Will be able to switch and hedge everything in pick and roll D, as he uses his length and smooth lateral movements to defend SG,SF, and a lot of PF’s. Will generally move his feet and stay active more than other players on the floor. Very good defensive rebounder.
Leonard has the value of a lotto pick in this weak draft, but generally he’d be a late teens or 20’s pick. That’s not to say he’s a bad prospect or player, because he’s not, but hustle players in his mold usually don’t have to be taken in the top 10 like he’s projected to be. He is a lot like Gerald Wallace, but he’s not as athletic and definitely won’t be as good a finisher as Wallace has proven to be. He will fit into a rotation and be a good player sooner or later, but in any other year he’s a true reach in the top 10.
13: Donatas Motiejunas, 7’0 215, PF, Benetton Treviso (Italy), 20 years old
Motiejunas is a guy who surprised many by pulling his name out of the 2010 draft despite being a probable top 15 pick, but he got more productive and had a solid season all things considered. He didn’t do anything to disprove some thoughts about him that were generated in prior seasons, and he struggled a bit against some of the better teams he faced. Physically, Motiejunas is a tall player as a true 7 footer. His length appears to be very mediocre or even below average, and he’s certainly pretty thin as a 7’ guy. He’ll need to get stronger to deal with NBA PF’s and C’s. Athletically, he shows pretty good quickness and agility, and possesses the standard leaping skills or a 7’.
Motiejunas shows good ability offensively, and has the intrigue of an inside-outside threat. As a post player, Motiejunas made some noticeable improvements in his strength that allowed him to show off his low post game more than he had been able to. He’s still likely not strong or tough enough to be a consistent low post threat in the NBA, but he shows some nice skills. Likes to use the turnaround jumper as his go-tomove. Able to use shoulder fakes to free himself and make him a hard matchup for post defenders due to unpredictability. Will catch his man napping from time to time, using a quick spin to counter against overly relaxed or aggressive post D. Also uses hook shots and flashes the ability to go in either direction, on the move, and make runners. Can already score some with both hands,though he’s clearly more right-handed than left. Struggles with the more physical and strong defenders, and will turn into a jump shooter or shy away from contact. Facing up, Motiejunas has the raw potential and ability to be a great threat, but he’s not polished or efficient as a shooter yet. His touch is great and his release is pretty quick, and he’s solid when open, but he doesn’t yet show consistent 3-point range and isn’t nearly as good when contested. Is a nice pick and pop threat from 18 feet. Likes to use his great 1st step and solid handle for his size to create offense off the bounce. Sometimes settles for jump shots when better shots are available. Doesn’t pass the ball very much, and isn’t known for being mistake-free in his decisions with the ball.
Motiejunas still struggles on defense. Doesn’t show much in terms of instincts, toughness, physicality, or sense of urgency on D. Not very tough or strong, and it shows in how bigs can get position on him and he’s a bit foul prone too. Is a very bad rebounder, and doesn’t show the willingness to box out much and has very improvable awareness. Simply doesn’t play much D or factor much on the glass.
Motiejunas has some intriguing tools offensively, and could be a nice weapon if the right coach develops him and he gets stronger. He has a nice post game, but he’s not strong enough to use it against NBA type bigs yet, and he has a naturally nice shooting stroke, but he’s effected by contests and lacks consistent range. And then you know the deal about his D and rebounding. He has potential, but he’s gotta get stronger and tougher to not just be another talented guy.
I am shocked to see you have K. Leonard at 14.
Too low or high?
If you put Jimmer ahead of Kawhi Leonard then I will no longer trust your opinion on Ranking NBA talent.
Then You Would Be Foolish^
Well I can live with being foolish, but I would still be willing to bet that Jimmer will not be as good as Leonard.
Wow gotta say I disagree with those pretty strong opinions. I totally agree with Iggy 9. Leonard is easily a late teens/early 20s pick in any other draft. People says he'll definitely be solid, but he has disturbingly little offensive polish for a SF and his "defensive tenacity" is more a product of his size and length than what he's actually proved, which isn't anything special. He's a very good rebound at 10 per game, and while the MWC is definitely very competitive, one thing that you can say about it for sure is that it doesn't have the size of the power conferences. Jimmer, on the other hand, you know will be a knock-down shooter at the next level, can give you that punch you need, is a PG and isn't the unathletic stiff people are making him out to be. And I don't even care if Jimmer starts...Jason Terry is a mediocre defender at best; even if Jimmer is as poor a defender as they say, what's to stop him from being the next great 6th man, with Terry and Ginobili having only a few years left?
I think it's too low to put him. I also don't think he will be any thing special, i think he will be a solid defensive player that averages 10 points his career with mainly offensive put backs and broken plays. He wont kill you on offense but will get playing time due to his defense.
J-Nixon, I really appreciate your in-depth coverage about all these players. You're one of the best posters on the site.
"If you put Jimmer ahead of Kawhi Leonard then I will no longer trust your opinion on Ranking NBA talent."
And then I will die. Your lack of trust in me will cut deeper than a 2-inch sword.
"J-Nixon, I really appreciate your in-depth coverage about all these players. You're one of the best posters on the site."
I definitely appreciate that. Thanks alot!
Even if all leonard is, is a Defensive player he'll still be more valuable than Jimmer. Jimmers best case scenerio is a great 6th man his worst case is out of the league after his rookie contract which I find far more likely(I can't think of one 6' tall SG thats not athletic make it in the NBA) With Leonard his best case scenerio is a fringe All-Star type player like Gerald Wallace his worst case is a valuable defensive player for a contender.
He's THE best poster on the site by far.
I think Jimmer Fredette's best case scenario is a pre-ACL injury, Washington Wizards version of Gibert Arenas IMO. But more likely similar to a Dallas Mavs version of Steve Nash. Him being a 6th man off the pine as a scorer is a worst case scenario.
Kawhi Leonard best case scenario is similar to a less athletic Gerald Wallace. Which means he most block as many shots or score as well around the rim.
Thanks RIP Tractor. I appreciate it!
I'm glad you think so RIP. I think he's a good poster also.
Truly appreciate these threads, they make draft day come a little quicker.
P.S How do you watch all the euro guys? I've tried watching a few games online but it's hard to find a good site for it.
I don't see Nash in him but if you serious about that than I hope you put him in the top three, but I don't believe that you really believe that, but if you really do there is no way you can keep him out of the top three, unless you think there a lot of players better than Steve Nash or Gilbert Arenas(Which would make this one of the best drafts in history) in this draft.
Motiejunas is an Andrea Bargnani CLONE.
I watched some games on espn3.com during the season, some games on NBATV, and I watched a few games (like Enes Kanter and Biyombo) during Hoop Summit when they played against the incoming freshmen. I had only seen Biyombo really just 2, and one of them was the Hoop Summit game, so there are guys I haven't seen enough or much. It really hurt me alot when athdhe.net when down. I only have a very limited chance to watch the Euro guys now, since I don't get film on them like the scouts to see on TV or Aran, and stuff like that.
Very nice reports on Leonard and Motie. I think you hit Motie right on, but I've got Leonard a little higher in my estimation.
What you guys may not realize is that there are BYU haters in Utah, rabid BYU haters in SLC who are U of U fans, and wouldn't give Jimmer credit if he scored 40 a game, saved world peace and sold refreshments during half time. They'd just say Jimmer played poor quality teams, and praise the same teams that played the U.
I'm a U. grad by the way, and a long time Utah U. basketball fan. It's been a long dry spell for the U. Take the blinders off SLC. No, he may not be an instant All-Star, or set the league on fire, but he'll be in the league for at least ten years if he stays healthy, and maybe make an all-star team or two as a fringe all-star.
I've got Irving, Knight and Walker(just a little) ahead of Jimmer, but this is a pretty good PG crop. All these guys will probably be starting PG's in the league for quite a while, how they do depends on their team situation. Jimmer would be terrific in Phoenix and NY. and do well in Utah. BTW, he's a very good athlete, maybe the best of the four. Jimmer was an All-State running back in his junior season at Glen Falls High with terrific speed and moves, and would probably have played minor league ball(don't know about the majors) professionally. He hit a 375 foot home run when he was 12 years old. So yeah, he's a pretty good athlete.
JNixon, it ticked me off too when I couldn't see the Euro games on ATDHE. You might be one of the few guys who actually watched more games than I do scouting these guys.
I actually think Motiejunas is a brilliant passer. In every game I've watched him play in (not too many to be honest) he's blown me away with his natural court-vision, creativity and willingness to pass. He definitely makes mistakes, but I'd chalk "passing" up as one of his strengths.
His toughness is improving. He's willing to mix it up and he's not afraid of contact. That being said, it is not improving his rebounding ability. I can't explain it. He boxes out (sometimes just shoving his man out of the way) yet he just doesn't collect the board. Rebounding instincts are horrible for a 7-footer.
I think he's making a lot of progress defensively as well. He's very active and he moves his feet well. He's not a shot-blocker, but he's not that easy to beat off the dribble anymore. Still needs to add weight, like you said, but his progress defensively is promising.
Great write-up as always.
Mark my word,Montiejunas will be 1 of the best players out of this draft class in a few years...He has great court vision for a 7 footer and a decent passer..He might not be that strong,but he plays with a mean streak...Having that nastiness cans sometimes make up for not being that physical...
A few years ago alot of people had him in the top 5..He's slipped in the eyes of alot of scouts..
But i still think he's going in the 8 to 15 range..
Ok, RUDEBOY, Motiejunas will be one of the best players in this draft
And Biyombo will slip to the second round.
Any other thoughts I might've missed?
Leonard scares me a bit, he's measures great, but he kinda reminds me a little too much of a defensive minded Julian Wright which is a little unsettling. I don't feel he'll drop to 15 like Iggy's last mock, but I think he'll end up falling out of the top7. I think Detroit will bite though, and if not Charlotte.
"Any other thoughts I might've missed?"
Yesterday he said Norris Cole will be playing in the Rookie vs. Sophomore game as well.
What exactly happened to Royce White? I've been pretty lost on him as I just forgot about the dude
Royce White transferred to Iowa State, and is eligible to play next season after sitting out. Although ISU loses Diante Garrett who was good and experiences, they add Korie Lucious and Chris Allen from MSU and Royce White of course from Minnesota. And they return sharpshooter Scott Christopherson. They should have a relatively good year next year in the Big 12, which is rebuilding.
What exactly are you expecting him to produce? Not just statistically but winning/losing and will he be a legit NBA prospect?
He'll be a prospect because of his physical tools, but he'll be at Iowa State until he's a Sr. I expect like 9 ppg and 6 rpg next year.
Appreciate your analysis.
Do you think Leonard will be closer to Aminu than Gerald Wallace ?
I dont know that I can say, because Aminu is so early in development.
MagikKnick here's another 1 U Missed....
Jimmer Fredette WILL BE Selected by the Kings at number 7.....