H.T. checks in with an update on the most recent goings on of Blazers' draftee and noted salmon aficionado Petteri Koponen. Our man still is having trouble finding minutes at pointguard. Are we to start a free Koponen movement?
Things aren't looking too chipper for Petteri Koponen's Virtus Bologna right now. Despite winning the FIBA EuroChallenge championship just three weeks ago, Bologna hasn't been able to get a win in Italian Serie A competition after the first week of April. In the last week of Serie A regular season, Bologna lost an away game against Premiata Montegranaro (72-75) and then an overtime game at home against Benetton Treviso (85-90).
Virtus ended their regular season losing four Serie A games in a row and sliding from 2nd spot in standings to 5th spot, which means that they won't be having home court advantage for the 2009 Serie A Playoffs. Even more concerning is that Bologna will meet Benetton Treviso in the playoffs, a team that they haven't been able to beat during the 2008/2009 regular season. Treviso has been improving throughout the season and they are looking really strong now, and having home court advantage will definitely help them.
finished his first ever regular season as a professional averaging 3,0 points, 1,2 rebounds, 0,9 assists, 0,7 steals and 1,0 turnover in 15 minutes per game. Petteri played total of 29 games and was in Virtus Bologna's starting lineup 17 times. His field goal percentages (2pt 36,2% 3pt 24,4%) were notably lower than the ones he recorded in EuroChallenge play (2pt 56,7% 3pt 39,4%).
It has been much of a learning season for 21-year old Koponen. Because of strong presence of scoring-minded point guard , Koponen has been mostly playing off his natural point guard position. Petteri has never been very good without the ball, and that clearly shows in his field goal percentages; he hasn't been able to create his own shot and his catch and shoot technique needs improvement. But there have been moments of brilliance; Virtus Bologna's coaching staff has noticed that having Koponen on the court stabilizes the game while Boykins, despite being probably the best pure scorer in whole Serie A, can't really create opportunities for others. Koponen has also improved from good on-ball defender to an excellent one, regularly defending opponent's best scorer.
All the people around Finnish basketball haven't been too happy with Koponen's current situation. His biggest critic right now is his former coach, Mr. Mihailo Pavicevic, who stated in Finnish MTV3 (All Finnish music videos, all the time? -Ed) interview, that he is "indeed very sad for Petteri". Pavicevic stated in the interview that he "knew immediately, that signing with Virtus Bologna wasn't a good solution. Virtus coach Matteo Bonicinolli can't see Petteri as a point guard and he doesn't trust young players." Anyway, Pavicevic also said that there are difficult seasons for every player and that "now Petteri has to work hard, be positive and see what to do after the season is over."
(Courtesy of http://www.mtv3.fi/urheilu/muutlajit/uutiset.shtml/arkistot/muutlajit/2009/05/870334?koripallo)
Despite all the controversy, Virtus Bologna will now prepare for the first round playoff series against Benetton Treviso. The best-of-five series tip off this Thursday. Benetton's most notable players include Americans Gary Neal, Charles Judson Wallace and DaShaun Wood, Croatian pivot man Sandro Nicevic, Slovakian Radoslav Rancik, Italian national team players Matteo Soragna and , not to forget Iceland-born shooting guard , who had a brief stint with Dallas Mavericks a few years ago. That's a lot of firepower and a sure challenge for Boykins, Koponen, Keith Langford, Sharrod Ford and company.
Here's a statistical recap of Bologna's last two Serie A games:
Premiata Montegranaro - Virtus Bologna 75-72 (17-16, 37-37, 60-50)
Montegranaro: Dejan Ivanov 15/9, 13/11, Kiwane Garris 12/3/6ast.
Virtus: Keith Langford 17/5/3stl, Earl Boykins 17/1, Dusan Vukcevic 10/1.
Petteri Koponen: Min 10 2pt 1/2 Ft 1/1 Pts 3 Ast 1 Stl 1
Virtus Bologna - Benetton Treviso 85-90 (16-11, 41-27, 58-47, 72-72)
Virtus: Earl Boykins 23/2/4ast, Keith Langford 22/3/4stl, Guilherme Giovannoni 10/9.
Treviso: Ioannis Kalampokis 22/7, Charles Judson Wallace 20/8/4ast/5stl, Massimo Bulleri 16/1/3ast.
Petteri Koponen: Min 12 2pt 0/2 Reb 2 Ast 3 Stl 3 Pf 2, Start
prepares for the playoffs. + LOSING! + DRAMA!
These fine places have linked here, even after they read it:
- Agree to Disagree
- Alana G
- And One
- Ball Don't Lie
- Ball In Europe
- Be The Three
- Blaze of Love
- Bust a Bucket
- El CAI a la ACB
- El Ilusorio Blog de Rudy
- Give Me The Rock
- KNEE JERK NBA
- Life on Dumars
- NBA FanHouse
- OregonLive.com Blazers Blog
- Peninsula is Mightier
- Peter Robert Casey
- Rip City Forever
- Roundball Mining Company
- Rusty's Blog
- Sport Chit Chat
- Steven's Triathlon Station
- SunSpectrum: A Phoenix Suns Blog
- The AltRaps Blog
- THE WIZZNUTZZ
- Trailblazers Talk
- Tremendous Upside Potential
- What Would Oakley Do?
A sampling of other places I steal from:
- ► 2010 (29)
- A little Charles Barkley for your Sunday
- The IBL is easily worth the cost of admission
- The NBA is trying to ruin my summer. (Brought to y...
- In exchange for a chance to meet a basketball lege...
- The Blazers 2009 Draft. I'm confused.
- A Nation in Mourning: Akeem Scott a Playboy no lon...
- Tom Penn is staying
- Petteri Koponen Watch: He is a point guard, right?...
- Pritchard's new challenge: succession planning
- Weakened Non-Pondering: Phone it in edition
- Darius Miles...is still Darius Miles
- I did not see this coming: Roy gets second team, A...
- Presenting the best thing in the Universe: The Yam...
- Weakened Pondering: Stop the Rocket hating madness...
- Some NBA Coach really respects Przybilla
- Team USA is coming for our Blazers
- Rasheed Wallace to retire?
- Get your Zach Randolph Blazers jersey today!
- The Off-season is on! More Koponen. More Freeland....
- ▼ May (19)
- ► 2008 (261)