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News » Portland Trail Blazers Notes, Quotes 2009-07-02

Portland Trail Blazers Notes, Quotes 2009-07-02

Portland Trail Blazers Notes, Quotes 2009-07-02
--Victor Clavert (pronounced "Clu-VAIR") is a 6-9, 225-pound combo forward who won't turn 21 until Aug. 30. He had declared for the draft a year ago and worked out for the Blazers in Portland, then pulled his name off the list and played professionally in Spain last season.

"Victor is a guy we've targeted for a long time," GM Kevin Pritchard said. "He's an athletic swing (forward) who can really shoot. He's very skilled, a high-talent guy. And we like size. We think that makes a difference in this league."

Clavert averaged 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 15 games for Pamesa Valencia in Spain last season and also played sparingly in four Eurocup contests. He missed part of the season with a broken foot.

"For him, it's the long-term plan with us," Pritchard said. "If it was him coming over right away, then (the injury) would have been more of an issue."

Pritchard compared Clavert to Blazers Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum, both recent draft picks.

"Victor fits in as the best European player we can draft at the time," Pritchard said. "When you're drafting at (No. 22), it's who can have an upside and show improvement over the next few years. We think he can."

Pritchard said Clavert will play professionally in Spain for at one more season.

"I'm not going to put a timetable on it, but I expect Victor to stay overseas for a couple of years," he said.

--Portland chose Arizona State power forward Jeff Pendergraph with the first pick of the second round, No. 31. The 6-9, 240-pound Pendergraph played in the shadows of guard James Harden the last two seasons at ASU, but was a first-team All-Pac-10 choice as a senior last season, averaging 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. He led the nation with a .660 field-goal percentage, but wasn't known as a shooter from the perimeter.

During his workout in Portland, Pendergraph displayed a soft shooting touch. In one drill, he nailed 12 of 12 jumpers from 17 feet.

"It might have been an out-of-body experience," he laughed. "But I have definitely improved my shooting. I had my best workout in Portland."

Portland coach Nate McMillan's son, Jamelle, was a teammate of Pendergraph the last two seasons at ASU. Coach McMillan said he watched the Sun Devils play live three times and on TV countless times last season, "but our scouts were on him," he said. "He was one of the guys we targeted. We thought he could have been a first-round pick."

As for the strong shooting performance in Pendergraph's Portland workout, "we didn't see that from him at ASU," McMillan said. "He played out of position in the center spot. Rumors were he can face up and shoot the ball. I'd never really seen it, but my son said that he could, and the scouts said that he could.

"He didn't get a lot of touches, didn't get a lot of things run through him, but he continued to play, which I respected from a guy who considered coming out (after his junior campaign) but returned for his senior year," McMillan said. "Normally those guys want a bigger role. They turn selfish. He didn't do that. He played hard, played within the system. He's a sound player."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's always an arms race. It feels like now (the balance of power) has moved a little to the east. Hopefully it continues that way. We know what we have. We know we need to make some improvements." -- Portland GM Kevin Pritchard, on various trades that have strengthened NBA title contenders this week, and the Blazers' plan to answer them.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: July 2, 2009


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