Meyers Leonard
Meyers Leonard
27-Year-Old CenterC
Miami Heat
2019 Fantasy Outlook
A July 1st trade to the Heat ended a seven-year, career-opening tenure in Portland for Leonard, but it arguably leaves the floor-stretching seven-footer in a relatively similar situation as the one he was mired in previously. While Miami shipped Hassan Whiteside to the Trail Blazers as part of the deal, that simply elevated 2017 first-round pick Bam Adebayo to the starting center role. Leonard has averaged 16.5 minutes or less in each of his last three seasons, even as he's encouragingly boosted his three-point success rate over the prior year in each of the last two campaigns. Leonard topped out at an impressive 45.0 percent success rate from behind the arc last season, and he closed out his Blazers career with a 30-point, 12-rebound double-double versus the Warriors the conference finals. The big man has proven capable of similarly impressive intermittent scoring spurts over the course of his career, but playing time limitations figure to keep his value primarily limited to deeper formats yet again this coming season. Leonard does boast superior size to Adebayo, but he only boasts a one-inch height advantage on a player with a similar offensive profile to him in Kelly Olynyk. The latter also has a two-year head start in the Heat's system on Leonard and has a more accomplished NBA track record, lending further credence to the notion Leonard could once again fill only a modest role in the center rotation despite the change in locale. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $41 million contract with the Trail Blazers in July of 2016. Traded to the Heat in July of 2019.
Starting Tuesday
CMiami Heat
October 8, 2019
Leonard will get the start at power forward in Tuesday's exhibition tilt against the Spurs, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel
ANALYSIS
Leonard will start alongside Bam Adebayo in the frontcourt. Kelly Olynyk (knee) or James Johnson (coach's decision) are the strongest candidates to start at power forward once the regular season commences.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2015
2014
2012
Leonard’s playing time disappointingly took a dip last season, his sixth, and he suited up for only 33 games while dealing with ankle and back injuries. The veteran had averaged double-digit minutes the three prior seasons as a member of the frontcourt rotation, but logged just 7.7 minutes per contest during the 2017-18 campaign. As expected with the reduced opportunity, Leonard’s shot attempts were down as well, and any hope for an eventual breakout as a starting-quality, floor-spacing seven-footer seem to be dashed at this point of his career. Leonard may manage to latch on to a roster spot again this season, but 2017 first-rounders Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan appear much likelier to see minutes ahead of him.
Leonard came into last season with high hopes after securing a four-year, $42 million contract, but saw a fairly volatile workload throughout the year, which ultimately restricted his overall Fantasy impact. He ended up averaging just 16.5 minutes across 74 games, down from 21.9 minutes a season prior. Much of that can be attributed to added depth in the frontcourt, with the addition of Jusuf Nurkic at the trade deadline and guys like Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu stepping up at power forward. However, Leonard didn't do much to help himself either, as he shot just 38.6 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from the three-point line, both of which declined from 2016-17. Overall, Leonard ended up lingering in a minor bench role with averages of 5.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 three-pointer. Looking ahead to the upcoming campaign, Leonard's quest for playing time doesn't look promising. The Trail Blazers added Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan in the 2017 NBA Draft, which will likely come at the expense of Leonard. With more bodies and less minutes available, Leonard's value should be on the decline
When the Blazers faced the Thunder on Opening Night last season, the starting five was embarking upon its third year together, and Chris Kaman and Joel Freeland were present to provide support to mainstays LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez. Leonard was thus contained to spot duty for the first two months, and another period post-All-Star break, but he really came into his own in the playoffs. Playing alongside Aldridge for significant stretches, Leonard finished Portland's first-round series defeat to the Grizzlies with one double-double and 10 three-pointers made across five games. Prior to losing Aldridge and Lopez in free agency, the Blazers, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, acquired Mason Plumlee in a draft-day deal and inked Ed Davis to a three-year contract. The additions placed a cloud over Leonard's potential to transfer from bench fodder to a consistent member of the frontcourt rotation. However, as the offseason continued, general manager Neil Olshey intimated that Leonard is expected to start at power forward next to Plumlee, making him the seeming heir apparent to Aldridge. Leonard's ability to stretch the floor lends credence to that thought process, as he can coexist with paint dwellers Plumlee and Davis without clogging up driving lanes for guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. As a result, Leonard's per-36 production (13.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.0 three-pointers, and 1.4 assists) and rare shooting touch (he shot 51 percent from the field, 42 percent from three-point land, and 94 percent at the free-throw line) are a recipe for success, as long as he sidesteps foul trouble (5.3 per 36 minutes in his career).
Whether it was the lack of playing time or his inability to make any strides as a defender, Meyers Leonard took a sizable step backward in his second year in the league, averaging 2.5 points (on 45-percent shooting) and 2.8 boards in nine minutes per game. Even when he garnered more consistent run after the All-Star break, the 11th selection of the 2012 NBA Draft experienced a reduction in overall production - 2.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in nine minutes per outing - while appearing in 19 of a possible 29 games on the way to 40 games played. One would think facing lesser competition, as the 22-year-old did at the Las Vegas Summer League, would improve his prospects, but an shoulder injury resulted in merely 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist, and 1.0 block in 28 minutes per contest. In actuality, the bane of his existence, and his biggest hurdle to NBA success, is an inability to give out contact while avoiding a foul. Until his career mark of 5.6 fouls per 36 minutes turns around, Leonard will find it nearly impossible to be handed playing time with Chris Kaman and Joel Freeland in the picture.
While not set in stone, the 11th pick in the 2012 draft seems to be the frontrunner for Portland’s starting center this season. The 7-foot-1 Leonard may be pushed around at times as a rookie, like he was during Summer League, when he averaged 10.5 points (on 56 percent shooting), 8.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks over four contests. He should contribute boards, swats, an above average field goal percentage, fair free throw shooting, and the occasional double-double.
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Dealt to Heat
CMiami Heat
July 1, 2019
Leonard was traded to the Heat on Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.
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Racks up career-high point total
CPortland Trail Blazers
May 21, 2019
Leonard registered 30 points (12-16 FG, 5-8 3Pt, 1-2 FT), 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block across 40 minutes during the Trail Blazers' 119-117 overtime loss to the Warriors in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Monday.
ANALYSIS
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Shines in starting lineup
CPortland Trail Blazers
May 18, 2019
Leonard finished with 16 points (6-12 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 1-1 FT), four assists and three rebounds over 31 minutes in the Trail Blazers' loss to the Warriors on Saturday.
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Starting for Game 3
CPortland Trail Blazers
May 18, 2019
Leonard will start during Saturday's Game 3 against the Warriors, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports.
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Double-doubles in spot start
CPortland Trail Blazers
April 11, 2019
Leonard delivered 19 points (8-13 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds and three assists across 42 minutes in the Trail Blazers' 136-131 win over the Kings on Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
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