Petteri Koponen has been an obvious favorite around here. H.T. has has kept us well informed on his development in Italy. The most notable achievement of Koponen's season has been the role he has created for himself as a willing and able perimeter defender. He has not gotten much time at his natural point-guard position, but his defensive prowess has at least kept him on the court. While his opportunities for development have not been optimal his growing rep for bringing the D is notable when you consider what the scouts from DraftExpress observed last summer:
He knows how to control tempo relatively well for a young guard and possesses above average court vision. The young guard's ability to run the point at his size and age is pretty impressive, but his defense still has a ways to go.All indications are that Koponen is working hard on improving his game, managing to make noticeable strides despite inconsistent minutes and limited run at the point. Please please please let this guy come to Vegas.
A Blazers' draftee we haven't heard much from in a while is power forward Joel Freeland. As you likely know, Joel impressed a lot of people this season with Gran Canaria. DraftExpress has him ranked seventh on their NBA Rights Held list. The Blazers are sounding like they think he will be able to join the summer team in Vegas, but I'm holding off for more news before getting too excited. Last summer Gran Canaria decided not to let him come over for the rat-ball romp in the desert, and I don't want my heart broken again. In any event Freeland seems to be quite a bit closer to joining the Trailblazers than Koponen.
It is worth reminding that the Blazers have a spectacular FOUR second-round picks in this year's NBA Draft. Will we see Kevin Pritchard use some of these on some more potential-types from abroad? You never know with KP, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him try and use some his team's assets to stock up on picks for the sexier looking 2010 Draft.