Jul 3, 2012 Center Updates
The Portland Trail Blazers selected center Meyers Leonard with the eleventh pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
Leonard’s career stats at Illinois:
65 Games, 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 56.7 FG%, 72.9 FT%
Fantasy Advice: The most important quality Leonard possesses is his size, 7’1, 245 pounds with just 5.7% body fat. He’s got a standing reach of 9’0 and a wingspan of 7’3. He’s actually ended up in a situation in Portland where he can get some early minutes and work his way into a starting job.
On the human side, Leonard lost his father at a young age and was raised by his mother, who has some fairly serious health problems herself. His only other close family is his older brother who’s done a couple tours of duty in Afghanistan with the Marines. Leonard grew up poor in a small town and might have a pretty serious drive to succeed in the pros.
Even though he’s got size, he’s also got some mobility and quickness, as well as a pretty decent jumpshot and incredible leaping ability. He’s got decent footwork which should provide a solid base to develop an offensive game. His most valuable fantasy asset early should be his shotblocking ability.
Leonard is one of those guys that I watch the highlight videos and wonder how he could have fallen so far in the draft. I think most of it might have simply been the fact that everyone else was looking for guard help rather than needing a center. Leonard could be one of those special cases of a big man that develops a well rounded game, and possibly does it quickly. I think he could be a decent draft day gamble and a must draft in keeper leagues.