NBA Combine Notebook

Wolfpack’s Leslie works the hard sell

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.comMay 16, 2013 

— Former N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie knows he needs to make a big impression on NBA executives between now and late June to be a first-round pick.

His only chance of doing that at this week’s Draft Combine is verbally. A wrist injury suffered about a week ago means Leslie can’t participate in any of the drills the league is running here.

“It happened working out – just dunking in a workout. My hand swelled up so my agent felt it best I sit this out,” Leslie said Thursday.

Leslie said there’s no set timetable for the wrist to recover, but he anticipates being healthy for individual-team auditions.

“We’re playing it by ear. When the swelling goes down, I should be fine,” Leslie said.

At 6-foot-9 and 200 pounds, Leslie doesn’t really have the bulk to be an NBA power forward, nor the perimeter skill to be a true small forward. He said he aspires to be like Indiana’s Paul George or Toronto’s Rudy Gay – something in-between.

“I see myself playing both” positions, Leslie said. “Right now I’m just trying to be sure I stay a basketball player. I’m trying to build myself a position.”

Trade-down preparation? Maybe it’s just being meticulous, but the Charlotte Bobcats seem to be interviewing players in Chicago who wouldn’t fit a top-five draft pick.

The Bobcats finished 21-61 last season, second-worst record in the NBA. That means they can do no worse than the fifth pick in Tuesday night’s draft lottery.

However, they spent time in Chicago interviewing at least two players – Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams and Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk – who don’t figure to go before the early- to mid-teens.

Carter-Williams, who models himself after New York Knicks veteran Jason Kidd, is interesting, in that he’s a 6-6 point guard who could offer both a contrast and a complement to 6-1 Bobcats playmaker Kemba Walker.

The Bobcats played a lot of sets with two point guards last season, pairing Walker with Ramon Sessions and later Jannero Pargo.

“I expect to play off the ball some and guard off the ball – defend a two guard. I think that’s a good thing,” said Carter-Williams.

The issues with Carter-Williams are a shaky jump shot and some body language that detracted from his effectiveness as a leader. Carter-Williams acknowledged he needs to better control his expressions, but doesn’t see that as a big deal.

“My body language is something I definitely need to work on,” he said. “That is something I can fix, not a great problem.”

Carter-Williams said he interviewed with the Bobcats, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Minnesota and Portland.

Seth Curry in attendance: Charlottean Seth Curry can’t work out here while recovering from surgery to correct a stress fracture he played with all season at Duke.

An aluminum rod was inserted to permanently stabilize his right shin. Curry’s recovery is ahead of schedule, but he’s still more than a month away from regular on-court activity.

“They initially were thinking three months tops. Then they said 2 1/2 and I feel like it will be two. Probably a week after (the operation) my shin felt perfectly fine. Now it’s the knee movement I need to get through.”

Curry is taking physicals here and doing job interviews with NBA teams. His first three were scheduled with the Lakers, Rockets and Knicks.

And of course he’s up late every other night, watching brother Stephen – Golden State’s star point guard – play the late game in the playoff rotation. Sleep-deprived?

“The 10:30 games are killing me,” Seth said, “particularly on the East Coast.”

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