NBA Draft 2017 Prospect Watch: T.J. Leaf

Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Scobel Wiggins-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Scobel Wiggins-USA TODAY Sports /


There are a number of concerns about Leaf’s game. For a stretch four, he’ll struggle to consistently shoot at a high mark from three with his form. Leaf’s elbow torques in an odd fashion, hurting his extension, and possibly his vision of the rim. His off arm also could effect his shot, as it bends in a way that makes my arm very uncomfortable as I try to recreate it.

Perhaps more concerning, Leaf lets the ball rest deep in his palm. Keeping the ball on the tips of your fingers may seem like you don’t have an acceptable grip on the ball, but it allows the shooter to have far more accuracy.

Shooting from your palm makes the ball come off in different directions. It can also influence the depth perception and arc. Shooting from your fingertips allows you to hit your target at a much higher clip. As an example, Kyle Korver rarely misses badly, and that can be attributed to his incredible form.

All that being said, Leaf has been known to have an impressive work ethic. The more shots he puts up, the more lethal of a shooter he could become, simple as that. His form may always impact his consistency, but his work ethic can make him a threat.

Another concern with Leaf’s game is his ability to hold up defensively in the paint. The NBA is full of big dudes, and that was a problem for the potential lottery pick during his freshman season.

Bucks fans may remember Mirza Teletovic trying to guard Anthony Davis in the paint multiple times this season. Well, T.J. Leaf may fare similarly. Once again, his work ethic will hopefully limit disadvantages in the post as he enters the NBA training system. Bulking up could make a world of difference.

Although he is a plus playmaker for his position, he looks uncomfortable with the ball in his hands. He can get too straight up while dribbling the ball, and questions exactly what to do with it. Leaf usually makes the correct decision, but it feels like he overthinks every movement on the floor.