In this slow time between Summer League and Training Camp, I am hoping to take a look at the current Celtics and what they may bring to the team.
First up is Leon Powe. This kid has had a rough life and has come through it a strong person and a gritty basketball player. By now, you probably know his story. His dad left the family when he was only 2. At seven, Powe's younger brother, Timothy, accidentally burnt down the family's duplex after getting a hold of matches. Shortly after the fire Landry lost custody of her five kids, who were put into foster care. His mom died of unknown causes in a hotel room just 4 days prior to the California State Championship. With his mother's death less than a week behind him, Powe poured in nineteen points and grabbed ten rebounds against No. 1-ranked Westchester High School of Los Angeles. He was forced to sit out
In his freshman year, his gpa dipped below 2.0 and he was forced to sit out several games. Showing just what kind of determination he has, he improved his gpa to a 3.5 by his junior year.
In Powe's freshman year, he was named PAC 10 freshman of the year and lead the conference in rebounding. He didn't play his sophomore season due to a serious knee injury. After 2 major knee surgeries, he returned to Cal and became a dominant force, averaging 20.5 point per game and 10.1 rebounds per game, becoming only the 6th player ever to lead the conference in both categories and was named a second team All American.
" Very talented offensive player with the ability to play back to the basket or face up ... Explosive leaping ability despite the knee injuries ... Has great quickness, and crafty at getting around defenders to the basket ... Has a nose for the basket ... Very competitive and talented player, a real difference maker on the college level ... Ball handling is very good for a big forward ... Shooting ability out to 18 feet is good ... Has great upper body strength ... Super long arms and big hands make him like a magnet grabbing loose balls ... Great motor, competes hard ... " His weaknesses boil down to the knee injuries and the concerns of another injury along with his size. He is a bit undersized for a PF but his long arms and strength tend to make up for that.
His nickname in high school and college was "The Show." That is a great nickname, but the players on the Celtics' Summer League team gave him a new nickname: "The Grown Man" because he is built like a Mack truck and is very mature for his age. I guess going through all the adversity has made him wise beyond his years as well as a very strong and gritty player. You have to pull for a kid who has gone through so much and yet has seemed to rise above it all. He could be a steal at #49 in the draft as long as his knees stay healthy. And what's more, he is determined to make teams pay for passing on him in the draft.... Somehow I believe he will.
I think Leon Powe is very intriguing. He has a terrific spin move in the post as he is driving to the basket and he has a nice finishing touch. But being that he is a bit undersized, he has to learn how to incorporate pump fakes or up and under moves. He was blocked left and right against the Detroit Pistons (Samb and Maxiel). The moves are there, but he has to refine getting off his shot against taller and physical players.
He has good quickness, but not explosive in traffic. When he is open, he can flush it down emphatically. But he seems to be the type of player who has to wind up in order to throw it down. His reconstructive knee surgeries may have something to do with this. When he doesn't have the room to wind up for a slam, he doesn't get off the ground quite as quickly, and this left him in trouble during the SL.
But I think we got some talent to work with here. I'm hoping Clifford Ray can make this guy into a player.