- There's bias here on my part, and inevitably so. Nonetheless, no amount of bias on my part can cloud the reality - Joel Freeland has matured into a damn fine player. The boy that was drafted in 2006 has become a man, averaging 13.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in the Euroleague this season for Unicaja Malaga, one of the best players in it. Freeland ticks every NBA box; he has size, great athleticism, tries hard, has plenty of skill, polish and finesse, runs the court, can shoot and post, and does OK defensively, particularly on opposing perimeter orientated big men. He has grown as a player by not joining the NBA, and has thus grown into an NBA player. It's high time the two united. In both the long and short terms, Portland needs a backup power forward that is actually a power forward, and Joel Freeland is better than Jeff Pendergraph. Freeland should be that player.
Chances of making the NBA expressed as an arbitrary percentage: Couldn't tell you, but I know what it should be.
Despite coming from the unpleasant town of Aldershot, Joel Freeland has turned into a fine player. Still in Spain, Freeland has moved from Gran Canaria to Unicaja Malaga, lured by the promise of Euroleague ball. Freeland is averaging 9.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 19 minutes per game in the Euroleague, alongside 11.5/4.5 in 20mpg in the ACB.
It's not just my national bias talking - although that inevitably factors - but Joel Freeland is awesome. He has size, athleticism and skill; decent offense, decent rebounding and decent defense. He's not a star player, but he's a rotation calibre NBA player and all around superhero. Taking him 30th in 2006 was an Eyenga-level gamble by the Blazers, but it's worked, and while his selection is not enough to justify trading down from 3rd to 6th in 2005 (thus going from Chris Paul to Martell Webster), it certainly helps.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.