Clipperblog.com, the official blog of the Los Angeles Clippers, offered its perspective on the team’s second round selections of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie.
The author had some nice things to say about Thompkins’ upside (not so much about Leslie), however, he does hint that there is “not a high probability that both will make the opening day roster”.
ESPN’s Andy Katz, who was a big promoter of the Georgia Bulldogs last off-season, mentioned both of the former Dawgs in his recent article “Draft decision not looking good for some”. He too eludes to the fact that Thompkins and Leslie will have to “earn roster spots”.
In grading the Los Angeles Clippers’ draft, Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated gave them a “B-“, while CBS Sportsline’s Jeff Goodman could only afford the Clips a “C”.
And on a positive note, with the addition of Thompkins and Leslie to the NBA, Georgia’s representation in the league has now doubled (the other two being Sundiata Gaines and Damien Wilkins)!
After Georgia was eliminated from the NCAA tournament by Washington last March, it appeared that Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie had played their last game together as teammates.
Apparently the Los Angeles Clippers couldn’t bear the thought of these two young men being separated, as they used both of their second round draft picks to reunite the former pair of Bulldogs (Thompkins at #37 and Leslie at #47).
A congratulations is in order for both Thompkins and Leslie on being drafted, but in what several experts deemed a “weak draft” (maybe because four foreign players went in the lottery round?), you have to wonder how excited they were about going in the second round (Travis Leslie’s twitter account, which is usually very active, has not tweeted anything in 11 hours).
I believe that both players chose to forgo their senior seasons at Georgia because they anticipated that they would be selected in the first round. If not, why leave? The NBA gives players selected in the first round a guaranteed two-year contract. Players that are taken in the second round either get a roster spot, or a second-class ticket to the NBADL (or Europe).
In researching the last two NBA drafts (2009 and 2010), I learned that just 18 (60%) of the 30 players selected in round two of the 2010 NBA Draft are still in the league. For the 2009 second-round draft class, only 15 guys are still on NBA rosters.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas commented that both Thompkins and Leslie could have benefited from an extra year of college basketball. Bilas raised some questions about Trey’s toughness and conditioning, saying that Thompkins’ body fat percentage “was pretty good if you’re a sea lion”.
Hopefully Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie both have lucrative NBA careers, but you have to think that a small part of them will always wonder if they could have been better-served by staying for another year in Athens.