FanPost

Meyers Leonard Love

There has been a good deal of negativity on Blazersedge regarding Meyers Leonard.

He lost his backup role this off-season to Joel Freeland. This comes after what many here believe was a bust of a rookie season.

I strongly disagree with the narrative that Leonard has been a bust, and have been defending Meyers Leonard in some other threads. It appears that despite being on an 11 game winning streak, a vocal majority here believe the Blazers need to make a change, and acquire yet another 7 footer.

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I wanted to expand on a few of the comments that I've made in other threads.

Meyers Leonard is still just 21 years old. He just legally became able to drink booze.

Here are a few rookie season comparisons:

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B: 989 min, 229 points on 55.3% shooting, 50.3% ft shooting, 306 reb(112 off), 32 ast, 56 blks, 20 stls, 64 to, PER 11.8

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is Omer Asik

Asik(24) also had 4 extra years of body development to Meyers Leonard(20) when comparing their rookie seasons.

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B: 931 min, 334 points on 45.9% shooting, 65.5% ft shooting, 230 reb(68 off), 44 ast, 40 blks, 14 stls, 56 to, PER 11.6

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is Spencer Hawes

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B: 887 min, 359 points on 51.7% shooting, 76.3% ft shooting, 193 reb(90 off), 27 ast, 35 blks, 18 stls, 91 to, PER 11.2

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is Nikola Pekovic

Pekovic(25) also had 5 extra years of body development to Meyers Leonard(20) when comparing their rookie seasons.

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B:1389 min, 436 points on 49.7% shooting, 60.4% ft shooting, 343 reb(114 off), 54 ast, 93 blks, 28 stls, 99 to, PER 13.0

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is Tyson Chandler

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B: 1129 min, 345 points on 59.6% shooting, 57.7% ft shooting, 303 reb(109 off), 43 ast, 20 blks, 30 stls, 51 to, PER 15.0

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is David Lee

David Lee(22) also had 2 extra years of body development to Meyers Leonard(20) when comparing their rookie seasons.

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B: 1143 min, 489 points on 49.4% shooting, 66.0% ft shooting, 294 reb(120 off), 23 ast, 75 blks, 33 stls, 61 to, PER 17.0

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is JaVale McGee

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B: 1009 min, 494 points on 47.1% shooting, 66.7% ft shooting, 243 reb(115 off), 49 ast, 76 blks, 20 stls, 55 to, PER 16.1

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert(22) also had 2 extra years of body development to Meyers Leonard(20) when comparing their rookie seasons.

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B: 664 min, 194 points on 38.9% shooting, 64.4% ft shooting, 174 reb(69 off), 13 ast, 12 blks, 21 stls, 43 to, PER 10.8

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is Zaza Pachulia

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Rookie seasons:

Player A: 1206 min, 377 points on 54.5% shooting, 80.1% ft shooting, 255 reb(80 off), 33 ast, 38 blks, 11 stls, 49 to, PER 12.1
Player B: 1843 min, 499 points on 46.0% shooting, 69.7% ft shooting, 461 reb(126 off), 85 ast, 73 blks, 23 stls, 155 to, PER 9.6

Player A is Meyers Leonard
Player B is Chris Kaman

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(edit: from comments)

Timmay! asked about comparisons with players that aren't currently top centers(ie: the best case). The problem with that is that most bigs don't get the opportunity to play the first couple years, thus making comparisons extremely hard.

* Samuel Dalembert(aged 20-21) played a combined 177 min his first 2 seasons.

* Nazr Mohammed(aged 21/22) played a combined 311 min his first 2 seasons.

* Kendrick Perkins played a combined 583 min his first 2 seasons.

* Ian Mahinmi(aged 21-23) played a combined 188 min his first 3 seasons.

* Cole Aldrich(aged 22/23) played a combined 315 min his first 2 seasons.

* Kosta Koufos played a combined 737 min his first 2 seasons (having regressed his sophomore season and only getting 172 min).

* Byron Mullens played a combined 139 min his first 2 seasons.

* Marcin Gortat(aged 23) played 42 minutes his rookie season. His sophomore season(aged 24): 794 min, 286 points on 56% fg/56% ft, 286 reb(96 off), 14 ast, 53 blk, 18 stl, 25 to.

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I don't know the future, any more than you do.

What I do know is that it takes many players, especially bigs, several seasons to bulk up enough to become a physical presence.

Meyers Leonard is scrawny, and needs to bulk up: both in the legs and the upper body.

He's not far removed from playing guard in high school. Up until his Sophomore year of high school, he had always played the guard position.

However, due to a late growth spurt he's only recently started playing the center position(1 year of NBA, 2 year in college, 2 years in high school).

Lets remember that his rookie season in Illinois he averaged just 2.1 ppg and 1.2 rpg (his body wasn't ready to be a college center just 2 years ago). It will take time for him to grow into that body.

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Meyers Leonard is the still the Blazers Center of the future, despite the temporary demotion to Joel Freeland.

The good news is that he has retained the outside shooting touch of his guard days, both from the free throw line and from the outside(including the 3pt shot).

The bad news is that he needs to be a banger: someone that holds down the key, grabs rebounds, contests shots, etc.

The great news is that he is just 21 years old, and still has years to develop his body into that of an NBA center (also has time to develop his mental maturity).

He could easily be the best center in the league in 4 years.

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And, when looking at those rookie season comparisons, I don't see how you can consider Meyers Leonard' rookie season a bust.

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And with that, I'll leave you with this:


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