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July 12, 2013

N.C. State's C.J. Leslie talks about going undrafted, 2nd chance with Knicks

            LAS VEGAS – Former N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie knew not working out for NBA teams due to injury might be bad.

            Just not slide-all-the-way-through-the draft bad. But that’s what happened the night of June 27, when he never heard his name called among the 60 picks.

            That called into question whether Leslie should have left the Wolfpack with college eligibility remaining. Then the New York Knicks called. Their generous offer – his contract is reportedly guaranteed for all of next season – put his pro career back on track.

    “They called before the draft was even over. They called somewhere in the second round,’’ Leslie recalled of the Knicks, after a 77-72 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in the Las Vegas summer league.

    There were always questions about how Leslie fit as an NBA player. At 6-9 and 200 pounds he doesn’t have the ideal bulk to play power forward, and his skill set isn’t a great match to small forward.

    He struggled Friday, shooting 2-of-9 from the field for seven points and totaling two rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes. He’s still recovering from a hip injury that limited his ability to audition for teams.

            “The only thing I can think of is me not working out for teams. I think that was critical,’’ Leslie said. “Do I think I should have went undrafted because of that? Nah. But that’s just the way it works. This is the situation God put me in. It will all work out in the end.’’

            Leslie seemed unconcerned by how he played Friday.

    “Nothing surprised me. Just me getting used to the game,’’ Leslie said. “Getting back on the court playing 5-on-5, this is my first time – I haven’t really played pick-up. Just working out.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on July 12, 2013 at 06:45 PM | Permalink


taylor looked great tonight.....i'm sure the bandwagon will grow and want henderson gone so that taylor can start. keep in mind henderson has had big games in the real games and has hit real game winners, not almost game winners in summer league. posterizing dwight howard, not aron baynes. seriously....have perspective.

biyombo 11 boards? they robbed him of a few. I counted 8 in the 3rd quarter alone.

zeller is soooooooooo much better than his brother. i knew that before today, but watching he and tyler back to back just highlighted it. absolute elite athlete. looking at he, biz, and taylor........wow. those guys just ooooze athleticism. what a great fit.

gotta say that clifford didn't have the same impressive immediate energy level out of the team that dunlap brought with him last year. dude had the 4 man taking the ball out EVERY PLAY regardless of scenario. that's crazy juvenille. zeller contested a 3 pointer and anybody who knows anything knows you leak out after contesting a 3 at the top like that. zeller is all the way down the floor and had to come all the way back to inbounds the ball instead of the 5 man. it was bizarre to say the least.

Posted by: charlottean | Jul 13, 2013 12:44:16 AM

Great game to watch.

I actually thought MKG's stroke showed improvement early on, but regressed with fatigue.

Biyombo is still Biyombo. But he showed again why he can be a classic energy guy off the bench. Should do great now that we have Al Jefferson in the starting rotation.

Zeller looked a bit lost in general, probably due to transitioning from a 5 to a stretch 4, but the more I watched him the more he reminded me of another stretch 4. Chris Bosh. Same body type, same athleticism, same body control, same speed up the floor, same offensive versatility. Like Bosh, lacks strength to be a true 5, but shows great inside moves against 4's.

Sure Dunlap was more intense. He would have called a timeout and gone for the win. But it's a long season for that intensity.

Taylor. Wow. Looked exactly like Henderson out there. Forget the points and results and who Henderson has done it against. The assortment of moves was textbook Henderson, finishing on the baseline, the turnaround jump shot, the posterizing dunk. Seems like this guy is knocking on the door for starter minutes. When you factor in his shooting range, he will likely start over MKG eventually at 3 or takes Henderson's place at 2.

I'm not saying they won't sign a multi year for Henderson, but the Cats just got flexibility and bargaining power.

We'll see what they do with it shortly, but there is no reason to doubt Taylor has a future as a starting wing in this league.

Posted by: Jeff | Jul 13, 2013 1:00:52 AM

i would love moving henderson to the 6th man role. our bench was the weakest part last year. our starters were in every game but our second unit couldn't score at all. if our 2nd unit is sessions/henderson/ x / mcroberts/biyombo we're going to win more games this year (not necessarily a good thing).

clifford called a timeout all the same. the team was excited top to bottom last year. i know the season is long and that wears off when you're losing, but that energy carried on to great starts by kemba and mkg. we could stand to get a bit infused with some intensity at this point. taylor had it, biz is always biz, but just in general, you didn't feel like it was as impressive.

i did love the isolated post ups for biz and taylor though. that's a need addition. guys can't get better at it without the opportunities.

keep in mind that augustin and morrison both dominated summer league a time or 2. not saying that to discount taylor. i'm saying that to remind people how good those 2 were and how good they should have been if we hadn't ruined them. hopefully we handle taylor (and mkg and biz and zeller) with more patience and care.

Posted by: charlottean | Jul 13, 2013 9:50:14 AM

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