Meyers Leonard RumorsAll NBA Players
Height: 7-1 / 2.16
Weight:244 lbs. / 111.1 kg.
Height: 7-1 / 2.16
Weight:244 lbs. / 111.1 kg.
Meyers Leonard: Interesting to see how much better Memphis has been with Mike Conley in game 2. Guy has been really good all night.
The first thing I learned about Leonard came during his flight to Portland to be introduced as a draft pick in the summer of 2012. The Blazers bought their lottery pick a first-class ticket. Leonard bought his girlfriend a coach-class ticket, then traded seats with the woman seated beside her, sending a stranger to first class so he could sit with his girl. The 6-foot-11 Leonard, knees against the seat in front of him, is no dummy. “We’re getting married this summer,” he said.
Meyers Leonard: RIP Jerome Kersey. Gone too soon. Great basketball player but even better person. Was lucky enough to work with him in community events.
The Portland Trail Blazers opened their season on Wednesday night with a 106-89 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, but reserve big man Meyers Leonard is still waiting to start his 2014-15 campaign. Leonard, who missed Wednesday night’s game with an upper respiratory illness, did not practice with the team on Thursday and will not travel with the Blazers for Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings Portland head coach Terry Stotts said.
Erik Gundersen: Blazers have picked up options on CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard, the team announces. Both have had good preseasons.
Leonard is part of a three-way October battle for a rotation spot in the frontcourt, so his play during the exhibition season — which starts tonight with a 6 p.m. matchup at the Utah Jazz — will be important. It’s far too early to tell how much — if at all — Leonard will play this season. It’s too early to say whether he’ll earn a rotation spot. But when he does see the floor, if he does carve out a role, it likely will be one you didn’t envision when he was drafted. “I feel like I’m more of a hybrid — I feel like I could grow into playing both (power forward and center),” Leonard said. “Right now, I feel more comfortable picking and popping and spacing the floor. And, certainly, I think that spacing the floor fits with the way the game is changing. That’s the direction the game is going and, at least on the offensive end, I feel like I’m kind of molding into what the game is changing into.”
Big man Meyers Leonard will sit out when the Blazers play Houston, the second consecutive game he will miss because of a strained left shoulder. “He’s not going to play tonight, but he’s fine, and he’ll be back before you know it,” said David Vanterpool, one of the summer league team co-head coaches who will run tonight’s game. Leonard injured the shoulder during a practice last week. He will test the shoulder in practice Monday before the team decides if he will play Tuesday in the Blazers’ 1 p.m. game against Atlanta.
But a handful of Blazers players already are gearing up for next season. Will Barton, Meyers Leonard, CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe returned to Portland on Monday to participate in offseason conditioning and basketball workouts at the Blazers’ practice facility in Tualatin. It was the first in a series of workouts that will stretch off and on through June.
Six players on the NBA roster — McCollum, Crabbe, Barton, Leonard, Freeland and Thomas Robinson — are expected to play in Las Vegas this summer. It’s likely Robinson and Freeland will take part in the volunteer workouts at some point this month.
Leonard doesn’t want to sound as if he has a thin skin. He admits, though, that he resents some of the implications of his critics. “It’s only been two years (in the NBA),” he says. “I really only played one year of college. I played some as a rookie but very little this year. What do people really know about me? “It’s tough to really say what I want to say, because I still respect people’s opinion and what they have to say. But they don’t know me. They don’t where I come from. They don’t know what I’ve been through. They have no idea how hard this game is. I just want to remain confident, and in a good way, prove those people wrong.”
“I’ve shut down social media for a reason,” he says. Before he did that, “I heard it all (on Twitter). I’ve heard, ‘F you, I hope you tear your ACL.’ I’ve heard, ‘You’re a bust.’ That’s the reason I don’t look at that stuff anymore, and I probably won’t during a season. It’s just not worth it. I don’t ever listen to that stuff or buy into it, because mentally I have to stay locked in and confident in myself, or that will just kill me.” Leonard deleted the Twitter app on his phone and says he doesn’t get on his computer to see what’s out there. “I don’t read any more articles, either,” he says. “I don’t listen to talk radio. You should never get too high or too low. Social media and people talking about you will do it.”