Meyers Leonard to Trail Blazers: Scouting Report, Video Highlights and Analysis

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2012

CHAMPAIGN, IL - JANUARY 10: Meyers Leonard #12 of the Illinois Fighting Illini celebrates late in the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Assembly Hall on January 10, 2012 in Champaign, Illinois. The Illini defeated the Buckeyes 79-74. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Meyers Leonard is the typical pro prospect, with loads of talent, good size and plenty of questions surrounding his inconsistent production on the collegiate level.

With Illinois for only two seasons, Leonard averaged 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game this past year. 

The seven-footer garnered a great deal of hype before the draft, and now it will be very exciting to see what type of player he ends up being in the NBA

That being said, here's a breakdown of Leonard's skills and future in the NBA. 


What Leonard Brings to the Team 

First and foremost, Leonard is going to give his new team a great size advantage. The seven-footer is a superb defender, and that was one of the big reasons he was such an enticing prospect. 

The long and athletic big man has excellent potential, but he will need time to develop and transition into the league. 

Still, Leonard adds tremendous depth to the roster, and within a few years, who knows, he could turn into an elite stud. 

For now, though, he brings his great rebounding and defending skills to the bench and will fight hard to hone his craft and be a better overall player. 


What Experts Are Saying 

Prior to the draft, Chad Ford" href="" target="_blank">Chad Ford of ESPN ranked Leonard as his No. 19 overall prospect. 

Ford evaluates all the potential NBA picks leading up to the draft, and this was his analysis on the big man from Illinois:

He's got the size, athleticism, rebounding and shot-blocking ability to succeed in the NBA. But he's a project -- he's pretty raw offensively and at times, he loses focus. But as one of the few true 7-footers in the draft, teams will be willing to gamble in the late lottery to mid-first round.

It will definitely be interesting to see if Leonard is able to reach his potential and make everyone forget he was a project prospect entering the league. 


Rookie Impact 

Don't expect Leonard to contend for the Rookie of the Year award next season, but that doesn't mean he won't contribute. 

Leonard will get chances to start and will also come off the bench to do his best to help the team win.

They'll focus on using his defense in key situations, as Leonard will have to challenge some excellent NBA stars in his rookie campaign. 

He'll make an impact, but it won't be a monster one, as Leonard will do enough in his first NBA season to shed the possible label of being a bust draft pick.  


Pick Analysis

Just 11 picks into the 2012 NBA Draft, the Blazers have satisfied two needs. Even though he's raw, Leonard's length and athleticism alone will give Portland some of the little things their roster was previously lacking. 

He's a bit of a project, but once he adds some polish, the Blazers should be more than content with what they have. It will be a few years until we can fairly judge the success of this pick, but look for him to constitute part of a formidable front court for years to come.


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