Monday, February 18, 2013

Leslie Staying Humble, Working on his Game

Great attitude. 

Wish we'd had the privilege of seeing Travis in a Dawgs uniform one more season, but I certainly don't blame him for staying in the draft.  If you know you're going to be a lottery pick no matter what, then deciding when to come out is a matter of how much you enjoy the college game (and how comfortable you are with the risk of injury).  But if you're on the bubble for being drafted, you have to make the jump to the NBA whenever you can.  And so it was.

Leslie was drafted, but that's just the first step.  During his one year with the Clippers, he rarely saw the floor.  The issue now is whether he can get to the NBA and stay.

Well, Travis has certainly helped himself this week.  After being named the MVP of the D-League All-Star Game he is in a stronger position than ever before.  The Red and Black newspaper reported that out of the 20 players who competed in last year's D-League All-Star Game, 6 were later called up to the NBA.

Path to NBA

Leslie has the athleticism and the attitude, now he just has to keep working.  He averages less than 2 assists per game and he has generally needed someone to set him up for scores.  I'd like to see him distribute the ball effectively and gain more ability to create his own shots off the dribble.  At the same time, I realize that Leslie gets just 27 minutes per game.  If he were on the floor for 35 or more minutes like some of the other D-League leaders, his ppg (16), rebounds (7), assists (1.7) and other stats would no doubt go up. 

The key for Travis, as I've said before, is developing more side-to-side quickness.  He's great at leaping and running straight ahead, but the true elite guys mix in a strong left-handed move, spins, hesitations, pump fakes and the like to their repertoire.  If he learns to go around defenders just as easily as he goes over them, Leslie could have a long NBA career.

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