Leonard will probably need plenty of instruction before he makes a major impact in the NBA.
JS: Bucks ponder big options
Charles Gardner serves up some combine quotes from late-lottery big men Tyler Zeller and Meyers Leonard, both of whom figure to be in the mix when (if?) the Bucks pick 12th on June 28. Both players cracked the seven-foot mark and tipped the scales around 250 pounds in Chicago, but they'e not exactly interchangeable. Leonard is younger (by two years) and longer (7'3" wingspan vs. 7'0"), but Zeller is clearly the more polished option after a stellar four-year career at North Carolina.
"It was good," Zeller said of his interview with the Bucks. "It was conversational. I just sat down and talked to them about a lot of different things.
"I've watched them (the Bucks) play and they're a fine group to be around. I really enjoyed it."
I'm going to go ahead and say that referring to the Bucks as a "fine group to be around" was probably the whitest thing said in Chicago. Be you, Tyler.
Choosing between the two probably comes down to what you think Zeller is versus what you expect Leonard willbecome. Both were non-factors as freshmen before finding their bearings as sophomores, but Zeller continued to make major strides as a junior and senior for one of the country's best teams. And while many top college players hit their peak by their sophomore or junior years, virtually all of Zeller's metrics continued to get better and better each season.
As for Leonard, he figures to continue improving as he matures and grows into his impressive frame, but the question is how much. Though still productive on both ends, Leonard was inconsistent for a so-so Illinois team last season, and in general he's just young. He looks mechanical at times even in his highlight reels, and in his interviews (see above) he comes off as a nice, hard-working kid who's still getting used to the idea of being a potential lottery pick. Whichever team drafts him likely won't expect an immediate impact player, which makes him an interesting prospect for a Bucks team that needs a center now.
In the DX interview above he mentions interviewing with the Bucks in Chicago and expecting to work out in Milwaukee soon, and in a separate interview he lists the Bucks first when discussing teams that might be looking at him to fill a need in the middle.
Latest roundup of players expected to workout with Bucks:
- Terrence Ross, Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller are all expected to visit Milwaukee in the coming weeks (via Gery Woelfel and Dennis Krause). Leonard also figures to work out in Milwaukee based on his comments in Chicago. Interestingly, Ross said he expected his range to be "14 to 25" during his media availability in Chicago and wasn't sure if the Bucks were interested, then two minutes later said he would work out in Milwaukee after the combine (you can hear Woelfel asking the question).
- I have not seen anything one way or the other on Zeller or Terrence Jones, while Jared Sullinger played it coy in Chicago, claiming he hadn't even seen his list of workouts. Jeremy Lamb said during the Chicago media day he hadn't spoken to the Bucks but might still do that (he also yawned while answering the question). You'd imagine the Bucks would like to see all of them at the Cousins Center if possible, though fit and draft position politics inevitably impact how many guys a team can actually bring in.
- Via Charles Gardner, Austin Rivers did not list the Bucks among teams he would be working out for, though the Bucks did interview him in Chicago. It's certainly possible that agent David Falk is wary of seeing Rivers go to a team with two clear starters in the backcourt, though it's probably not wise to bet on both Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings being long-term solutions in Milwaukee. Marc Spears writes that Rivers reportedly has a promise from a late lottery team, though unlike Dion Waiters he is still working out for a number of teams picking between #3 and #14.
- Woelfel tweets that Iowa State forward Royce White was not interviewed by the Bucks in Chicago, nor will he work out with them. White drew praise for his candor in Chicago, addressing concerns about his anxiety issues and checkered past, but apparently those question marks and perhaps his positional overlap with Tobias Harris limited the Bucks' interest. The fact that White is considered at best a mid to late first rounder also likely had something to do with it.
RealGM: Warriors Ellis Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
I honestly hadn't heard anything about this story until the settlement was reached (note: it's not new), so I won't pretend to know any more than what's just come out. Whatever the case, not a good look for anyone, much less a married father.
ESPN: The story behind Baylor Bears star Perry Jones III
Jason King wrote a fascinating profile of Jones last season; it may not change your perception of Jones the player, but it should change your perspective on Jones the person.
Everyone thinks they know PJ3, as he's called by his friends, but the perceptions are far from true. The people who believe he was getting money from Baylor during high school might feel differently if they knew Jones was homeless -- bouncing from one $95-a-week hotel room to another -- throughout much of his final prep season.
Those who wonder why he picked the Bears over a national power such as North Carolina or Kansas might understand if they knew that Jones' 40-year-old mother, Terri, was battling a severe heart condition -- she may need a transplant -- 90 minutes away near Dallas.
And anyone who questions Jones' mettle obviously forgets that he passed up an opportunity to be a top-5 NBA draft pick last summer because he didn't feel he was ready. If it isn't tough to know who you are and turn down millions, what is?