T. J. Leaf

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

T. J. Leaf
T.J. Leaf (40162969724) (cropped).jpg
Leaf with the Indiana Pacers in 2018
No. 22 – Guangzhou Long-Lions
PositionPower forward
LeagueCBA
Personal information
Born (1997-04-30) April 30, 1997 (age 25)
Tel Aviv, Israel
NationalityIsraeli / American
Listed height6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight222 lb (101 kg)
Career information
High schoolFoothills Christian
(El Cajon, California)
CollegeUCLA (2016–2017)
NBA draft2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 18th overall
Selected by the Indiana Pacers
Playing career2017–present
Career history
20172020Indiana Pacers
2017Fort Wayne Mad Ants
2021Portland Trail Blazers
2022–presentGuangzhou Loong Lions
Career highlights and awards
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com

Ty Jacob Leaf (Hebrew: טיי ג'ייקוב ליף; born April 30, 1997)[1] is an Israeli-American professional basketball player for the Guangzhou Loong Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). After playing one season of college basketball for the UCLA Bruins, he was selected by the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft with the 18th overall pick.

Leaf was named an All-American as a high school senior in 2016. As a UCLA freshman in 2016–17, he earned first-team all-conference honors in the Pac-12. He began his NBA career with three seasons in Indiana, but was unable to carry over his college success.[2] He joined the Portland Trail Blazers as a free agent in 2021. Leaf also played for Israel's Under-18 junior national team at the 2015 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship B Division.[3]

Early life

Leaf was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, to Karen and Brad Leaf.[1] His father was playing professional basketball in Israel at the time,[4] and he enjoyed a 17-year career in the country.[5] Leaf lived his first 2+12 years in Tel Aviv before growing up in Lakeside, California, in San Diego County.[1] His father coached him in summer leagues prior to high school. Despite possessing the height of a power forward—he stood 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) in junior high—Leaf played on the perimeter to develop guard skills. His father wanted him to be versatile like the big men that he had competed against as a pro in Europe.[6]

Leaf attended Foothills Christian High School in El Cajon, California, where he also played under his father.[7] As a junior, Leaf averaged 27.4 points, 14.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.7 blocks per game, leading Foothills Christian to the San Diego Section Division II championship.[8] Cal-Hi Sports named him their Division II State Player of the Year.[9]

In his senior year, Leaf led the team to a No. 3 state ranking after averaging 28.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. He scored a season-high 44 points in a loss to Chino Hills, who were led by future teammate Lonzo Ball.[10] Leaf earned McDonald's and Ballislife All-American honors, and USA Today named him second-team All-USA.[11][12] He was a runner-up to Ball for California Mr. Basketball.[13] Leaf finished his high school career second all-time in the San Diego Section in both points (3,022) and rebounds (1,476). He trailed only his brother, Troy, in points (3,318 for Foothills Christian from 2007 to 2010) and Angelo Chol in rebounds (1,732 with Hoover from 2008 to 2011).[14][15]

College career

Leaf originally committed in 2014 to play for Arizona under coach Sean Miller.[16] He tried out for the United States under-19 national team, also coached by Miller, but was cut in training camp in June 2015.[17] In August, Leaf decommitted from Arizona, leading to speculation that the cut by Miller was a motivating factor.[18] He signed with UCLA three months later, choosing them over Oregon and San Diego State.[8][18] A consensus five-star and overall top-20 recruit,[19][20] he joined his Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teammates from the Compton Magic, Ike Anigbogu and Kobe Paras, who also committed to UCLA.[21] The Bruins recruiting class also included Ball, who along with Leaf were both expected to lead a UCLA turnaround in 2016–17 after the Bruins finished just 15–17 the year before.[22]

On December 5, 2016, Leaf was named Pac-12 Player of the Week following his performance at Kentucky, where he registered 17 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists.[23] He and Ball were named to the mid-season watch list for the John R. Wooden Award, given annually to the top college player in the nation; UCLA was one of just five schools with two candidates on the list.[24] The two were also among 30 on the midseason watch list for the Naismith College Player of the Year.[25] On February 1, 2017, Leaf scored a career-high 32 points on 14-for-18 shooting and added 14 rebounds in a 95–79 win over Washington State, which ended a two-game losing streak for No. 11 UCLA.[26] He missed the regular season finale with a sprained left ankle, which he suffered five minutes into the prior game against Washington.[25][27]

Leaf finished the season as UCLA's leading scorer with 16.3 points per game. He also averaged 8.2 rebounds and ranked third in field goal percentage (61.7) among Power Five conference players.[28][29] He received honorable mention from the Associated Press (AP) for their All-American team,[29] and was named first-team All-Pac-12 along with teammates Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford.[30] Leaf and Ball were also placed on the Pac-12 All-Freshman team.[30] On March 30, Leaf announced that he would be leaving UCLA to declare for the 2017 NBA draft.[31]

Professional career

Indiana Pacers (2017–2020)

Leaf was selected by the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft with the 18th overall pick, and he signed a three-year contract worth $7,249,200.[32] He was joined in Indiana by Anigbogu, who was selected by the Pacers in the second round.[33] Leaf began 2017–18 as a fixture in the Pacers' rotation, averaging 16.2 minutes and five shots per contest through the first eight games. However, he struggled on defense, and his playing time fell as Indiana coach Nate McMillan tightened his rotation. In December 2017, Leaf was assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League and averaged 23.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in a three-game stint before returning to the Pacers.[34] He finished with 52 games played during the regular season, but saw limited playing time towards the end as the Pacers qualified for the playoffs.[35]

In 2018–19, Leaf's minutes were limited playing behind big men Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Thaddeus Young and Kyle O'Quinn. On February 28, 2019, he had a career-high 18 points in a season-high 22 minutes in a 122–115 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Leaf was forced into the game early after Turner and O'Quinn got into foul trouble guarding the Wolves' Karl-Anthony Towns, and held his own defensively against the All-Star center.[36] In the regular-season finale, Leaf had career highs of 28 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double in a 135–134 win over the Atlanta Hawks.[37][38]

Leaf worked on his jump shot during the offseason leading up to the 2019–20 season.[39] Indiana exercised their contract option on his fourth year, guaranteeing him $4.3 million for 2020–21.[40] On November 3, 2019, Leaf had 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds while getting extra time as a backup center in a 108–95 win over the Chicago Bulls.[41][42] However, he fell out of the rotation by the end of the month.[43][44] He played in just 28 games during the season after appearing in over 50 in each of his first two seasons.[45] Leaf did not develop into his projected role as a stretch four, making just 26.5% of his three-point field goals in his last two years with Indiana. In three seasons with the Pacers, he averaged 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.[46]

On November 25, 2020, Leaf was traded along with a 2027 second-round draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for guard Jalen Lecque.[47] On December 18, Leaf was waived by the Thunder after their final preseason game.[48][49]

Portland Trail Blazers (2021)

On April 13, 2021, Leaf signed a two-way contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.[50]

Guangzhou Loong Lions (2022–present)

Leaf signed with the Guangzhou Loong Lions for the 2021–22 season.[51]

National team career

After being cut by coach Miller from the U.S. Under-19 junior national team in 2015, Leaf joined Israel's under-18 junior national team the following month in July, to play in the 2015 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship Division B in Austria.[5][17] Although Israel lost 73–72 in the Division B final, Leaf was named tournament's MVP, after averaging 16.1 points per game, on 55 percent shooting, to go along with 8.4 rebounds per game in nine games played.[17][52] In 2018 he said "Playing for the senior [Israel] national team and helping the guys is one goal of my career."[53]

Career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2017–18 Indiana 53 0 8.7 .471 .429 .625 1.5 .2 .1 .1 2.9
2018–19 Indiana 58 1 9.0 .541 .258 .613 2.2 .4 .2 .3 3.9
2019–20 Indiana 28 1 7.9 .419 .278 .438 2.5 .3 .4 .1 3.0
2020–21 Portland 7 0 5.0 .500 1.000 .7 .1 .3 .1 1.7
Career 146 2 8.5 .492 .341 .585 1.9 .3 .2 .2 3.3

Source:[54]

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2018 Indiana 1 0 4.0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0
2019 Indiana 1 0 10.0 .000 .000 1.000 3.0 .0 .0 .0 2.0
2021 Portland 3 0 2.3 .750 1.0 .0 .0 .0 2.0
Career 5 0 4.2 .429 .000 1.000 1.2 .0 .0 .0 1.6

Source:[54]

College

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2016–17 UCLA 35 35 29.9 .617 .466 .679 8.2 2.4 .6 1.1 16.3

China

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2021–22 Guangzhou 15 11 32.1 .569 .300 .804 11.7 2.9 2.1 1.9 25.0

Source: basketball-stats.de (Date: 01. April 2022)[55]

Accomplishments and awards

College
High school

See also

References

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  2. ^ Hudson, Jamie (April 6, 2021). "Trail Blazers to sign power forward TJ Leaf to a two-way deal". NBCSports.com. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "archive.fiba.com: Players". archive.FIBA.com. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Zeigler, Mark (November 10, 2015). "Decision day looms for Foothills' T.J. Leaf". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Goodman, Jeff (July 8, 2015). "Arizona commit T.J. Leaf to play for Israeli national team". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on May 2, 2016.
  6. ^ Tracy, Marc (February 17, 2017). "In T. J. Leaf, U.C.L.A. Finds a Supersize Swiss Army Knife". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 21, 2022.
  7. ^ Brand, Steve (February 4, 2014). "Family ties extend to basketball court". The San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Nemec, Andrew (November 9, 2015). "T.J. Leaf, 5-star PF, set to announce decision Thursday on ESPNU; Oregon Ducks in final 3". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on March 17, 2016.
  9. ^ Tennis, Mark (May 1, 2015). "All-State Boys BB: By Divisions". CalHiSports.com. Archived from the original on January 21, 2016.
  10. ^ Tennis, Mark (March 30, 2016). "State Player of Year Finalists". CalHiSports.com. Archived from the original on August 20, 2016.
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  13. ^ Flores, Ronnie (April 25, 2016). "Mr. Basketball 2016: Lonzo Ball". CalHiSports.com. Archived from the original on June 1, 2016.
  14. ^ Maffei, John (March 14, 2016). "Foothills to face No. 1 Chino Hills". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on June 1, 2016.
  15. ^ Maffei, John (March 15, 2016). "Unbeaten Chino Hills halts Leaf's Knights". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016.
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  25. ^ a b Fowler, Clay (March 2, 2017). "UCLA's TJ Leaf sprains ankle against Washington". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on March 5, 2017.
  26. ^ Bolch, Ben (February 3, 2017). "Leaf scores 32 as No. 11 UCLA beats Washington State, 95-79". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017.
  27. ^ Bolch, Ben (March 4, 2017). "Bryce Alford gets emotional in sendoff before UCLA's win over Washington State, 77-68". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 5, 2017.
  28. ^ Fowler, Clay (March 25, 2017). "Thrilling ride made UCLA basketball's season-ending loss sting". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017.
  29. ^ a b "Ball Earns First-Team AP All-America Acclaim". UCLABruins.com. March 28, 2017. Archived from the original on April 23, 2017.
  30. ^ a b c Bolch, Ben (March 6, 2017). "UCLA's Lonzo Ball is Pac-12 freshman of the year and one of three Bruins on first team". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 8, 2017.
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  32. ^ "Indiana Pacers pick up fourth-year option on forward TJ Leaf". October 10, 2019.
  33. ^ Botemps, Tim (June 23, 2017). "The biggest winners and losers from the 2017 NBA draft". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 11, 2017.
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  35. ^ Crawford, Dakota (April 9, 2018). "How Kevin Pritchard stacks up for NBA Executive of the Year". Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on April 23, 2018.
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  37. ^ Suggs, Donnell (April 11, 2019). "Indiana Pacers bench mob produces in regular-season finale". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  38. ^ "Sumner's last-second FTs lift Pacers over Hawks". Reuters.com. Field Level Media. April 11, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
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  40. ^ Michael, J. (October 10, 2019). "Pacers exercise contract options for 2020-21 on Aaron Holiday, T.J. Leaf". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
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  43. ^ Michael, J (January 18, 2020). "Insider: Unlike last season's team, Pacers venture out West from a position of strength". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  44. ^ Agness, Scott (December 5, 2019). "Doug McDermott is more comfortable and productive this season, creating intriguing options for the Pacers". The Athletic. Retrieved February 2, 2020. TJ Leaf has fallen out of the rotation and more minutes for Sabonis and Holiday has resulted in rookie center Goga Bitadze also not leaving the bench.
  45. ^ Newman, Logan (November 23, 2020). "Report: Thunder acquire T.J. Leaf, second-round pick for Jalen Lecque". USA Today. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
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  49. ^ "Thunder Waives TJ Leaf and Admiral Schofield" (Press release). Oklahoma City Thunder. December 18, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  50. ^ "TRAIL BLAZERS SIGN TJ LEAF TO TWO-WAY CONTRACT". NBA.com. April 13, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
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  52. ^ "SWEDEN SNATCH GOLD, SLOVENIA PROMOTED". FIBAEurope.com. August 3, 2015. Archived from the original on June 9, 2016.
  53. ^ "Leaf ready to answer the call of duty for Israel's senior team".
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  56. ^ Chavers, Kyle (March 8, 2016). "Naismith Trophy Boy's High School All-America Team presented by Hilton Worldwide" (Press release). Naismith Trophy. Archived from the original on May 14, 2016.
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External links

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