The Portland Trail Blazers will sign former Indiana Pacers forward TJ Leaf to fill the team’s second two-way spot, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The 23-year-old UCLA product was taken with the Pacers’ 18th pick in the 2017 draft — eight spots behind Zach Collins.
Free agent F TJ Leaf is signing a two-way deal with Portland, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 5, 2021
Prior to the 2017 draft, 6’10 Leaf worked out with Portland. Blazer’s Edge contributor Steve Dewald highlighted his offensive skills and his defensive flaws in pre-draft coverage.
One-way players can be fine contributors in the regular season, but they are often marginalized in the postseason. That is the conundrum that Leaf faces at the next level, as his defensive deficiencies will keep him off the court when it matters the most. Barring a sudden leap, Leaf has a considerable amount of work to do before his defense catches up to his offense. If he can find the right situation, with the right coaching staff, he has the tools to become an impact player in the NBA.
In his three years with the Pacers, Leaf put up averages of 3.3 points on 34 percent three-point shooting as well as two rebounds.
Leaf joins wing Keljin Blevins in the Blazers’ two-way player brigade.