Dime Q&A: Meyers Leonard On Portland’s Future And The Center Curse

Dime had a chance to catch up with a handful of NBA rookies at the NBA rookie photo shoot last Tuesday. On Thursday, we began unrolling our Q&A’s with these future NBA stars. So far we’ve brought you Bradley Beal and John Jenkins, and today you’ll hear from Meyers Leonard.

Meyers Leonard isn’t just a big body. Despite his elite physical stature, standing at 7-1 with a 7-3 wingspan and a nine-foot standing reach, Leonard showed in his sophomore season at Illinois that his skills aren’t far behind. Learning to become more assertive with his pure size and strength, he became a hot name in NBA circles and one of the top center prospects at this year’s NBA Draft. We had a chance to catch up with Leonard at the NBA rookie photo shoot, and he talked a bit about his Summer League performance and, most importantly, that deadly Portland center curse.

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Dime: How much contact have you had with Portland thus far?
Meyers Leonard: I’ve been out there a couple times. I mean I was out there for minicamp, before Summer League, and then all throughout Summer League, so it’s been good.

Dime: How do you think you played in Summer League?
ML: I thought I did fairly well. I averaged almost a double-double (10.5 points, 8.3 rebounds), but most importantly our team played well. Went out there and competed, especially Damian (Lillard) and I and Will (Barton). Three of the main rookies coming in, I feel like we have a good relationship starting to form.

Dime: Portland’s had a lot of trouble with drafting centers over the years. Are nervous at all about having to be the savior from all that injury trouble?
ML: Well the history doesn’t affect me at all. It is what it is. Whatever happens happens. But I’m just going to come every day and learn as much as I can and work as hard as I can.

Dime: Was there anywhere you hoping to get drafted, or were you just trying to go as high as possible?
ML: I’m just happy to be in the NBA.

Dime: What’s the first thing you bought with NBA money?
ML: I already got a Porsche Panamera. Otherwise I’m gonna save and invest my money.

Dime: How do you think Portland is going to do next season?
ML: I think we’re still in somewhat of a rebuilding mode, but even that, they took Damian, who is a very very good player, with the sixth pick, and myself with the 11th. Obviously we have an All-Star in LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews is a very good player, and the rest of the guys around them, I think we have some very good pieces to be able to put together some wins.

What do you think?

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