Monday, April 09, 2007

Joel Freeland : Career stagnating

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Remember Joel Freeland?

Portland selected him with the 30th and final pick of the 1st Round of the 2006 NBA Draft. The athletic 6'11" F/C's game has been compared to Keon Clark by The Blazers then told him to return to Europe, add some bulk and more importantly gain valuable experience at the senior level (the big man is only 20 years old).

It turns out that his Spanish team, ACB Gran Canaria has only been giving him 7 mpg in 10 of their 25 games to date. It should be noted that Freeland is stuck behind former NBAers Jackson Vroman and Kornel David. Despite this, his career could be somewhat stagnated, should he not get some burn at the Vegas Summer League this coming off-season.

There is an interesting article here in British newspaper The Times, on the scenario which Freeland is in. Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard said, "I'm not concerned about him, but I am concerned about the situation."

“He is practising, probably getting stronger, but is he getting better? Is he ready to make that quantum leap from Gran Canaria to the NBA? We want to make sure he has all the chances in the world to be successful in the NBA, but I can’t tell you right now whether those chances have increased or decreased,” comments Pritchard.

Basketball players from the United Kingdom are few and far between. The rise to prominence of Freeland could help to promote the sport in the UK. Sure there has been Luol Deng, however he only moved to England after his Dinka tribesman father gained political asylum in '93. Ben Gordon was born in London, however moved to the States shortly after his birth.

To state the obvious, the Blazers would love to see Freeland show some development and add to the stable of young potential stars already on hand. When you bare in mind his age and the fact that he had only played 3 years of organised ball prior to his drafting, the upside is huge.

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