T.J. Leaf discusses getting drafted by the Pacers

T.J. Leaf spoke with reporters inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after he was selected by the Pacers with the 18th overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.

Read his first comments below.

Opening statement:

I’m super excited first of all. I just want to thank the Lord. Without Him I wouldn’t be here. Yeah, I’m super excited. I just think my ability to stretch the floor and pass, I think will be really good complement to Myles (Turner) in the post. And just everything they’re doing there I’m super excited to get out there and start working with the team.

TJ, Indianapolis a little chillier in the winter than what you’re used to in Southern California. I was just curious if that crossed your mind. Have you spent some time in cold climates?

Most of family is from the Indiana area. I spent a lot of time in the summers and whatnot. My dad was from Indianapolis, my mom was from Evansville.

So this is great then.

Yeah, I spent a lot of time there in the summer, so I’m really familiar with it.

TJ, seems the Pacers may be going in a very different direction. Do you feel like you’re a building block type player that can help?

I definitely think so. I think I’m extremely talented. I think I’m going to come in and get to work right away. That’s the thing with me. I’m going to work. And I think I’m going to become a very good player.

I’m just excited to get out there and start working with all the guys and develop relationships with them, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.

I know Larry Bird was part of some of your workouts there. What was it like being an Indiana kid to have him around?

Absolutely. He’s one of my favorite players of all time, if not my favorite. It was great seeing him and talking with him a little bit. Obviously he has so much knowledge of the game and he was so talented himself. So it was great hearing from him and hearing what he has to say.

TJ, you mentioned Myles. I believe he’s here tonight. Have you had a chance to talk to him?

Yeah, I just had an interview with him actually. So both really excited. I’ve known Myles for a little bit, so it’s just really exciting. He’s so talented, so young. So it’s going to be a lot of fun playing with him, a guy who’s already got his foot in the door pretty deep for a guy who’s only about to be his third year. So I’m really excited to play with him.

TJ, the Pacers are coming off a disappointing season where they should have been a lot better. What qualities do you bring that could bring the Pacers back in the right direction?

Yeah, I mean, I think I bring a lot. Just my ability to score, my ability to stretch the floor, and I’m a winner. I’m really competitive. I love to win, and I’m going to bring that to the team, and then just unselfishness. I like to be unselfish, so I’m going to bring that and hopefully get the ball moving a little bit more.

Your old partner at Lonzo has got his shoe company, Big Baller. Have you already settled on your sneaker deal?

Haven’t settled yet. We talked about it kind of in joking, but obviously him and his family got little thing going with Triple B. So hopefully it works out for them, but I don’t know what I’m doing yet.

And you’re one of the consumers that can actually afford the brand?
I guess so. I hope he gives me a free pair of shoes at least.

TJ, what aspects in your game are you looking forward to improving? And are we going to see you back in Israel playing for the national team?

Yeah, I think I need to prove in every single area. My game has a long way to go, as all of us do. Defensively my strength, a little bit of consistency.

And I mean, as for Israel, I love it there. I enjoyed my time tremendously when I was there, so I mean, if it works out in the future, I would love to go back.

Can I ask you about your suit? It’s very blue.

It is.

Tell me who made it and how you went about choosing it.

Yeah, shoutout to Bouchra from L of A. We wanted to go a little bit more bold, and I think the color just complemented me really well, so he went with it and stuck with it. I’m really happy with how it came out. We just wanted to go a little bit more bold and not as basic as everyone.

Do you think it’s going to stand up to draft day fashion 10 years, 20 years, that sort of thing?

I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s that crazy. I like Dennis’s the most probably, Dennis’s jacket, but I definitely like it.

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