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Leon Powe NBA Draft Scouting Report
by:
June 29, 2006
Strengths
Powe has a complete floor game on both ends of the court. Powe's low-post game is strong as the constant double teams he has faced in his two years at Cal have refined his decision making. Powe keeps his head up at all times and hardly ever gets caught by the help defender. Powe prefers to go to his right both on the block and facing up, but mixes in a series of fakes, spins and drop-steps to get free for the score. Powe's hands are his greatest asset as he can finish his shot with deft touch even under heavy duress...Powe has solid athleticsim. He isn't super explosive, but has great secondary jumping quickness as well as above average fluidity and coordination....

...Powe has big hands and long, chisled arms that enable him to absorb contact well. Powe's standing reach is equivilant to a player much taller than himself and he uses it well as he shoots the ball with almost full arm extension-over 3/4 delivery. Powe has range out to the collegiate 3 point line and has solid ball handling skills for his size, although he must utilize his left hand more...Powe is also pretty vocal on the court. While he doesn't have a fiery personality, his calm and controlled demeanor helps to anchor his team and he gets his teammates into positon well. Powe is also extremely patient with his shot selection due to the continual double teams he faces on a nightly basis. It's rare to see Powe force a shot, instead he'll work off the ball to get in position for offensive rebounder, or will present himself on the cut for an easy assist. Powe patience is often rewarded with numerous trips to the free throw line where he's got a great stroke...

...Defensively, Powe is fundemental and solid. Powe uses his long frame well getting wide in his defensive stance and switching stances and distance well to make his opposition uncomfortable. Powe is a decent shot blocker, though he shows more potential than anything right now, both on the ball and off and has good instincts when going for steals. Powe makes sure to keep body seperation when going for the challenge, but is physical with his body on the man when their back is toward the basket. Powe has great lateral quickness for his size and positon which makes it tough to get around him...Powe's rebounding is by far his greatest skill. Powe anticipates rebounds before the shot hits the iron and works hard to get positon on his man. Powe is a great positional rebounder due to superior timing, but he also gets many rebounds outside his area because of his plus instincts and anticipation...

Weaknesses
The first major weakness is the fact that Powe had to miss the better part of the last year with two major knee surgeries. Although his mobility and athleticism haven't suffered noticably, teams will be very nervous about taking a chance on a player who has been under the knife...

..Another issue for Powe is his height as he's listed at only 6'8" and 245lbs. While his size is borderline "tweener", his long arms and legs help to compensate for that. Powe can easily add another 10-15lbs onto his lower body, which is something he'll have to do if he wants to battle in the post with NBA PF's. Powe is very strong, but he either doesn't have the lower body strength to hold his position or he gets lazy against larger opponents and relies on his superior athleticism and skill to beat the man on the face-up after the catch...

Powe also has a tendency to drive right on every face-up and doesn't seem completely comfortable with the ball in his left hand....while Powe's jumper is good to 18 feet, his release isn't extremely fast, so he'll need show a bit more on the catch and shoot with tighter defense on him. Powe needs alot of polish on his on court execution without the ball. While he moves well and to the right spots, he sets very weak picks, often letting the hold disolve without effecting the assignment. Powe also must continue to work on getting low when posting up as he stands too upright. While he has good athletic ability Powe is not an athletic freak so he must utilize the fundementals of the game to excel...

The largest hurtle Powe will have to overcome is his transition into a face-up offensive threat. Powe will have to use his jump shot to set up his solid driving ability and this was not an element of his game that he utilized frequently at Cal. Powe shoots the ball with nice arc and consistent release, but it was not his primary weapon in college. while he shoots with little wasted movement, he does tend to extend his arms forward instead of extending fully above his head. Much like David West coming out of school, Powe will have to practice setting himself up off of this shot as he will not get many low-post isolation oportunities at his size.

Competition
Powe played a high level of competition in the PAC-10. Powe was the co-player of the year his sophmore season just one year after having his second knee reconstruction. Highlighting a successful season were his 20 rebound game against USC, followed by a monster 41 point effort against Oregon helped propel Cal into the NCAA tournament.

Outlook
From everything that I've seen and heard from Powe I have to imagine he's got a tremendous work ethic and a desire to be great. What he's overcome already in life is a testament to how dedicated he is to what he does. He's got the physical tools to be a good player if he applies himself to maximizing his own ability...the biggest fear is that his knees won't be able to survive the rigors of being a big-minute starter and that he'll break down with extended court time.

While I don't know enough about the stability of the repaired knee, I'm sure it will be an area for concern for many NBA scouts when they watch him play...That being said, I think Powe has the frame to easily add the needed weight and leg strength necissary to put a legit power forward's body on the court. Once he fully develops it, Powe's face-up game will allow him to stretch defenses and get to the rack when he baits his opponent into rushing at his jump shot. His ability to handle the ball and go up quickly will help him to finsish or be rewarded with free throws, an area he is already adept at.


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