If there's been one player that has made the Warriors offense flow, it has been the 6 feet 5 inches guard Travis Leslie. Despite missing eight games this year, Leslie still ranks in the top ten overall players in the D-League according to the nba.com.
However, of these top ten players in the D-League only one player has played less minutes per game than Travis Leslie. Leslie has averaged just 27.8 minutes per game in his 21 games this season. In that allotted playing time Leslie has still been as efficient as ever scoring 16.2 points per game.
If we compare his numbers to those of Erie BayHawks Guard D.J. Kennedy, another top ten player who leads the league in minutes per game with 40.1, Leslie is just 2.6 points per game behind Kennedy. Leslie's shooting percentage is also higher than Kennedy's at 50 percent compared to Kennedy's 44 percent.
So why are Leslie's minutes down? Well, there have different factors throughout the season, but the main factor has been the play of the Warriors' bench. They are absolutely stacked at the guard spot with Cameron Jones and new comers Edwin Ubiles and Darington Hobson.
While Leslie was out Jones stepped up and was averaging the exact same number of minutes as Leslie, 27.8 minutes per game. In those eight games the Warriors went 6-2. Early in the season Leslie played over 30 minutes in three of the first four games. Now with the success of the bench some of the weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
So are more minutes for Leslie better for the Warriors?
The short answer, yes. The Warriors are 4-3 since his return from injury and 1-2 since he's made his way back to the starting five. Yet, those losses have not been because of Leslie's play.
In the month of February, Leslie's minutes have gone up from his average and are close to those of the start of the season. He's averaged 31.4 minutes and 21.4 points per game. During this streak he's had two 30+ point performances and in those performances he played 34 and 35 minutes. Overall, the Warriors are 8-2 when Leslie has played 30 or more minutes this season.
The way things have been trending expect Leslie to see more minutes when they make their return to Kaiser Permanente Arena on February 20.