One of the key contributors in the Santa Cruz Warriors' ongoing success this season, former Clippers' guard Travis Leslie is making progress and angling himself for an NBA call-up sooner than later.
Santa Cruz Warriors guard Travis Leslie was the last player waived by the Los Angeles Clippers out of training camp in late October. The Clippers elected to carry just 14 players, allowing themselves room to sign a free agent, but also denying the 22-year-old Leslie the 15th and final roster spot.
Leslie was drafted by Santa Cruz in November's D-League Draft and has been the club's most efficient player. The 11th ranked D-League prospect by NBA.com is averaging 15.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game in 27.4 minutes per contest. The 6-foot, 4-inch Leslie is shooting 50% from the field, while connecting on 42% of three-point attempts and 70% from the free throw line.
Seeing the young gun in person, it's easy to compare Leslie physically to Tony Allen. Leslie is a streaky shooter with a lot of confidence. He uses both hands when finishing in the paint and was able to finish through contact. Leslie also has the ability to "read" defenses and make basket cuts when overplayed, along with providing a good post-up presence against similarly sized guards. The guard must improve, however, on his ball handling and his rebounding consistency, especially on the defensive end.
Drafted by the Clippers in the second round (47th overall pick) of the 2011 NBA Draft out of the University of Georgia, Leslie split the 2011-2012 season between the Clippers and their D-League affiliate Bakersfield. Leslie averaged 10.2 points on 51% shooting in 10 games with Bakersfield last season. In 10 games with the Clippers last season, he averaged 1.4 points in 4.5 minutes per game.
One of the top shooting guards in the D-League, Leslie will likely be considered by NBA clubs as a potential "call up" as the season progresses. His shooting abilities and efficient play would make him an attractive option to clubs.