Today the Fear The Sword spotlight falls on Leon Powe, the 6' 8", 240-pound forward signed before last season by the Cavaliers from the Boston Celtics as part of a seeming highway of players moving between the two cities recently, what with Shaq and Delonte in Boston and Powe and the departed Sebastian Telfair having come to Cleveland.
Where Leon came from:
Leon Powe was born in Oakland, California, in 1984. His early life was one of difficulty and much sadness, but as this is not a soap-opera site, I will not get into details here. Suffice it to say that his life was featured in a special ESPN segment during the 2008 NBA Finals. Leon attended Oakland Technical High School and averaged over 27 ppg as a senior before moving on to play for the California Golden Bears of the Pac-10, missing his sophomore year due to a serious knee injury. Bouncing back from that injury with hard work, he became a force on the Cal team that won 20 games and made the NCAA tourney in 2006. He was drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the 49th pick of the 2006 draft, but was traded on draft day to the Boston Celtics for a future second-round pick.
Where Leon has been:
After playing in 189 games for the Celtics over the span of three seasons, including making a key contribution during Boston's win over the Lakers in the 2008 Finals, Leon injured his knee in the 2009 playoffs against Chicago but manned up and played on for several minutes with a torn meniscus and ACL. That injury required surgery and ended his Celtics' career. In August of 2009 Cleveland tendered an offer-sheet to Leon, and he signed a two-year deal with the Cavs on August 12, 2009.
What Leon has achieved:
Leon was named to the first-team of the Parade All-American team as a high school senior as well as being named the Gatorade California Player of the Year. His Oakland Tech team reached the CIF State Championships in 2002 and 2003. He was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American game and was the first player to ever have his number retired by his high school. He only played two seasons for Cal, being named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in his first season and leading the conference in rebounding and being named Cal's MVP before injuring his knee and missing his sophomore year. As a junior Powe bounced back to average 20.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game to become just the sixth player to lead the Pac-10 in both categories. As a senior he was picked as a second-team All-American and chosen for the All-Pac-10 team for the second time.
For the Celtics, Powe's brightest moment came in Game Two of the 2008 Finals, when he scored 21 points against the Lakers and shot more free throws than the entire Los Angeles team in a six-point Boston win. For his career Leon has averaged 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, including averaging four points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 20 contests with Cleveland during the regular season. In the playoffs in 2009-10 for the Cavs, Leon played a grand total of nine minutes in three games.
What we can expect to see from Leon in the coming season:
Leon put up ten points in about 17 minutes last night against the Wizards off the bench, adding two offensive rebounds after not playing against Charlotte. It is always dicey when you are talking about someone who has had serious knee issues to project anything more than a wish for continued good health, because, when healthy, Leon has shown that he can score and clean up the boards in a big way. But will he get the minutes in 2010-11 so we can see what he can do? In an up-tempo offense, can his knees keep up? What we can expect to see from Leon would have to be considered, at this stage -- unknown. Let's try to get him 15-20 minutes a game during the pre-season and see what numbers he can put up.