Santa Cruz Warriors guard Travis Leslie has been named D-League Player of the Month(s) for games played in November and December, the first such award of the season.
Leslie averaged 16.4 points on 55% shooting and 7.9 rebounds, which is one of the things that has stood out most for Santa Cruz coach Nate Bjorkgren.
"Just how efficient he is, how well he rebounds the ball as a guard," said Bjorkgren after the Warriors' win at home on New Year's Day against the Sioux Falls Skyforce. "He's a great offensive rebounder. He's near 9 rebounds a game, his shooting percentage is great, he takes good shots, he's doing a really nice job."
The combination of his efficient scoring and strong rebounding numbers have helped Leslie to a PER of 23.1, which is the highest of any non-assignee D-League player as of yesterday and a strong indicator for getting a NBA Call-Up, according to the guys at Ridiculous Upside.
In addition to Leslie's efficiency that has been noted repeatedly by the guys at SB Nation's Ridiculous Upside, his athleticism has stood out game-to-game both in terms of his ability to get offensive rebounds and some rather spectacular dunks. My personal favorite was the alley oop from point guard Stefhon Hannah against the Skyforce (which occurs at about the 16 second mark in the video above) and Golden State Warriors assignee Kent Bazemore said after that game that he's used to seeing the 6'4" Leslie get up like he did a couple of times in that game.
"Man, that kid can flat out jump," Bazemore said. "I'd put him up there with anybody, anybody in the NBA. You see him in warm-ups just throw the ball up, catch it, go between the legs, just easy. Just running out there, running around. That dunk tonight he got on Pittman was nuts - he was just trotting down the lane, catches it, and gets off the floor so easy; I don't even think he bent his knees. He just gets off the floor so easily."
Leslie's dunking ability has hardly gone unnoticed around the league as he has been selected for the slam dunk contest at the D-League Showcase in Reno. Also participating in the dunk showcase will be Dar Tucker (Reno Bighorns), Dominique Sutton (Tulsa 66ers) and Tony Mitchell (Fort Wayne Mad Ants).
The dunk contest, as well as a 3-point contest, will be televised tomorrow night on CBS Sports Network following the last game of the day in the D-League Showcase (L.A. Defenders vs. Iowa Energy, which tips off at 7 p.m. PST).
For more on the D-League Showcase, check out Ridiculous Upside which has previews for every game in the four-day 16-team event, as follows:
Showcase - Day 2 (Austin Toros vs. Santa Cruz Warriors at 10 a.m. PST on NBA TV)
Showcase - Day 4 (Santa Cruz Warriors vs. Canton Charge at 12:45 p.m. PST on NBA TV)
For more on the Santa Cruz Warriors, check out our Santa Cruz Warriors section.