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News » Portland Trail Blazers Roster Report 2008-06-30


Portland Trail Blazers Roster Report 2008-06-30


Portland Trail Blazers Roster Report 2008-06-30
DRAFT PICKS:

Jarryd Bayless, G, 6-3, Arizona -- Quick, athletic, offensive-minded combo guard whom the Blazers will try to convert to a point guard.

Nicolas Batum, F, 6-8, France -- Won't turn 20 until December. Athletic small forward is likely to remain in Europe for at least another season.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: After he won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2006-07, the Blazers knew what they had with Brandon Roy. But the 6-6 guard from Washington exceeded expectations in his second season, becoming the first Blazer since Rasheed Wallace in 2000-01 to make the All-Star team.

With the departure of Zach Randolph to New York, Roy took over as the Blazers unquestioned leader, on the court and off.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: The letdown to Blazer fans was tremendous when Greg Oden's season-ending microfracture surgery was announced before training camp began. The team had set up an extensive marketing program involving Oden, and the 18-year-old told general manager Kevin Pritchard that he felt like he'd let the team down. But Oden was a familiar presence around the team all season, doing his rehab at the team practice facility and attending almost every game, home and away. Oden dealt with the boredom of rehab by buying a dog named Charles Barkley McLovin', getting a Mohawk haircut and taking part in several team community events.

BIGGEST NEEDS: The Blazers need to help themselves on offense after finishing tied for 27th in the NBA in scoring (95.4 points per game), 20th in field-goal percentage (.448) and last in both points in the paint and fast-break points. Specifically, they are looking for shooters and feel their biggest needs are at the point guard and small forward positions.

FREE AGENT FOCUS: James Jones has a player option for $3.16 million for 2008-09 that the team expects him to exercise, although Jones has said he isn't sure yet what he wants to do. Jarrett Jack is due a qualifying offer of $2.9 million for 2008-09.

Don't expect the Blazers to be big players on the free agent market in 2008. Pritchard's master plan has been to wait until the summer of 2009 to go after free agents, when he could have as much as $25 million to $30 million of cap room to burn.

PLAYER NOTES:

--Unlike Jerryd Bayless, Nicolas Batum worked out in Portland, and the Blazers like his potential. There was a scare a week before the draft when he had to stop a workout in Toronto because of a concern about a heart problem, but the Blazers checked out his medical records and found nothing to worry about.

--2007 first-round draft pick G Petteri Koponen has been practicing at the Blazers' Tualatin, Ore., facility after arriving from his native Finland earlier this month. The 6-4, 195-pound point guard was taken with the 30th and final choice of last year's draft, making him the first player in his country's history to be taken in the first round. Koponen averaged 18.4 points and 4.1 assists while shooting .565 from the field and .434 from 3-point range in leading the Honka Playboys to the Finland Pro League title for the second consecutive year, earning most valuable player honors.

--Don't expect F James Jones, who opted out of the final year of his contract with Portland on Wednesday, to return to the team next year. The veteran small forward says chances are "50-50" and that he wants to stay with the Blazers, but one source says he has a five-year, $25 million offer from another team. Jones was to make $3.16 million with Portland next season.

--G Brandon Roy filled in for Paul Pierce as featured counselor at Pierce's Skill Academy camp last week in Los Angeles. Seems that Pierce was preoccupied with some sort of competition: The NBA Finals.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 30, 2008

 

 
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