According to Hoops Report’s latest mock draft, the San Antonio Spurs could possibly pick Justin Harper in the first round and Travis Leslie at the 59th spot.
Both prospects present different styles and qualities that might intrigue the Spurs. Should San Antonio end up drafting them both, what can they bring to the table?
Justin Harper – Power Forward, 6-foot-10, 225 lbs.
Stats: 17.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.2 apg, 53.4% FG, 79.7% FT, 44.8% 3FG
At 6-foot-10, Harper has excellent size for the power forward position, but he could still stand to add strength to his 225-pound frame, particularly to his lower body. He is an above average athlete, as well, with decent quickness in the open floor and good explosiveness around the basket.
Harper has improved significantly on the offense end, where he averages 23.1 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He is most effective spotting up around the perimeter, where he finds over a quarter of his possessions, and shoots a blistering 50.8% on 4.2 attempts per game.
Though he does not get much elevation on his shot, he has a lightning quick release and a consistent, fluid shooting motion. His range extends well past the NBA three-point line, as well, and he shows very good potential as a pick-and-pop threat. Clearly this will be his calling card as an NBA prospect.
His scoring abilities around the basket have improved, as well, where he displays improving footwork and a developing arsenal of moves. Though he likely lacks the strength to carve out position at the next level, his touch around the basket is solid and he has become more comfortable attacking the rim as a senior.
He does have a tendency to shy away from contact, however, preferring to fall away from the basket instead of going straight up with the ball.
This lack of aggressiveness results in a sub par 3.2 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted, which is disappointing given his size, athleticism, and skill. His ball handling also limits his effectiveness as an inside scorer, as he rarely uses his left hand or exploits his above-average first step.
Harper shows a solid basketball IQ, and clearly knows his role as a senior. Even though he’s averaging slightly less touches than he did as a junior, he is putting up career highs in almost every category, and is doing so in an efficient manner at that.
Furthermore, he turns the ball over just 1.7 times per 40 minutes pace adjusted, a career low and indicative of his overall court awareness and passing ability. Harper is a savvy player, rarely playing outside of his strengths and seemingly knowing his limitations, looking more than capable of finding a role at the next level.
Travis Leslie – Shooting Guard, 6-foot-4, 205 lbs.
Stats: 14.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.9 apg, 49.2% FG, 80.1% FT, 30.2% 3FG
One of the more unique prospects around, Leslie could easily be called the best athlete in college basketball. He plays way above the rim whenever he has a chance to and does so effortlessly, despite standing just 6-foot-4.
Able to play significantly bigger than his height, Leslie’s most notable development lies in the way he’s able to score inside the arc. Often struggling to get all the way to the rim, but doing a much better job going up strong around the basket. The Georgia native has developed an improved comfort level and slightly better touch in the paint.
Away from the rim, Leslie is largely the same player that he was last season. He’s seeing fewer touches in transition this season and more in spot-up situations, which has limited his productivity to some degree. However, he is still extremely efficient in catch and finish situations resulting from cuts and offensive rebounds, which account for a large portion of his offense.
His ball-handling and shot-creating abilities both appear slightly improved, but remain limited. He is able to rely on his lightning quick first step at this level to get his shot off, but his perimeter shooting has not taken a sizeable step forward.
He is capable of knocking down some shots off the dribble from 17 feet, and has shown some flashes of potential pulling up driving left this season, but lacks ideal polish away from the rim. His mechanics seem a bit more consistent than they did in the past, and that has paid dividends from the foul line.
If Leslie can consistently knock down spot up jump shots from the wings, he instantly becomes an extremely intriguing prospect.
Defensively, Leslie has all the tools to be successful on the NBA level, even if he is undersized. He shows active hands and solid lateral quickness, making him quite a pest in the college game. At this juncture, he needs to gain experience guarding the perimeter full time.
With additional coaching, Leslie should become a very solid individual and team defender, only adding to his merits as a terrific rebounder for his size on both ends of the court.
A hard worker with a unique physical profile, Leslie remains a very likely future NBA player. If he improves his perimeter skill level and guard play, he’s going to have the full attention of NBA decision-makers.
What do you think? Should the Spurs pick both prospects? Share us your thoughts.