2009 NBA Summer League round-up: Portland Trail Blazers
July 24th, 2009

Deji Akindele: By being in this list, Akindele shows himself to once again be on the fringes of the minds of NBA executives, somewhere where he’s been for about five years now. Last year in Italy, Akindele averaged 11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.6 blocks. He even hit a three. The offence gets slightly better every year. However, the age keeps creeping up too.


Jerryd Bayless: Rumour has it that my Bulls are pursuing – if not insistent upon – Bayless’ inclusion in any potential three-way trade that also sees them acquire Carlos Boozer. Not entirely sure of why, to be honest. Isn’t the team with Derrick Rose the last team that needs to be looking to acquire a player whose strength is slashing to the rim, but who has a weak jump shot, can’t defend off-guards and who isn’t really a pass-first player? The two can’t easily pair up, and there aren’t going to be many minutes behind Rose. So I’m not sure I understand this insistence. (Portland fans will probably speculate that trying to trade for Bayless means the Bulls can now trade Rose, since Jerryd will be better. They’re like that.)


Dante Cunningham: Cunningham once tried out for the British national team, but hasn’t been heard from since; presumably, he didn’t get a passport in the end. I have no idea what his claim on one was anyway, since he was born in Maryland to American parents, but it’s a shame if he’s never going to join us. Pops Mensah-Bonsu needs a backup, after all. Cunningham demonstrated a fine mid-range jump shot last season out of roughly nowhere, which is what turned him from an undrafted talent into a high 30s pick. It serves as a nice compliment to the rest of his game, which is solid if not spectacular. He’ll probably make the team after Portland’s pursuit of Paul Millsap went awry, but even if he does, I can’t imagine he’ll play much next year.


Uche Echefu: A player who rebounds and defends fairly well, but whose offence is unspecific. I realise that this is a really dumb criticism to levy against a player, and thus I should explain; by “unspecific”, I mean “I never quite figured out where he was best at. He’d sometimes play in the paint, sometimes from the mid-range and sometimes shoot some threes, yet wasn’t a stand-out at any of the three.”


Matt Freije: Last season, Matt Freije played in the Lebanon for about two weeks, in China for about two months, and in Puerto Rico for two more. He averaged 20/8 in China, and 20/7 in Puerto Rico. Yet strangely it was the stop in the Lebanon that made the biggest impression, as last month Freije received a Lebanese passport and agreed to join their national team. – news that matters.


Thomas Gardner: Many of my fellow Bulls fans fell in love Thomas Gardner after a garbage-time outing that saw him jack up outside shots relentlessly, shooting 6-16 overall for a sweltering 14 points. My fellow Bulls fans are an easily-led bunch


Pooh Jeter: Jeter played four years at the University of Portland, and his hometown ties probably factor in his appearance here. Of course, the 16.3 points that he averaged in Spain last year will also help. Jeter is clearly beasting it up in Europe and will probably do so for quite some time. But he’s also small even for a point guard, and once the NBA tars you with that brush (often correctly), you’re never getting rid of it. So he should probably stay in Europe. It’s not a bad continent, after all. As long as you stay out of France.


Bobby Jones: In a 14-month period from September 2007 to October 2008, Bobby Jones moved ten times between NBA franchises, including two of them three times. Since then, though, he’s not made one single stop. And he’s not going to do so this summer, either, having already agreed to sign with Banca Teramo in Italy for next season. Has his whistle-stop tour stopped so soon? That would be a shame. Especially since Quentin Richardson’s about to break his record.


Joe Krabbenhoft: Krabbenhoft is ideally suited to the NCAA game. He doesn’t score much, and is only about 6’7, which is undersized for the scrappy paint game that he plays, but he’s strong, physical, likes to elbow people in the face and punch them in the balls. He’s a decent rebounder and good passer, but with little offensive talent, size concerns and mediocre athleticism. In the NCAA, you can start at centre for four years with that, and have yourself a lot of fun and playing time in doing so. But you need more than that for the NBA.


Patrick Mills: Mills broke his foot in his first day with the team, after falling about 15 places too far down the draft. It’s not been a good month for him. I’d like to say that he’s going to make the Portland team, but Christ knows what their roster’s going to look like come opening night. If Kevin Pritchard gets his way, it won’t be anything like this one.


Dwayne Mitchell: Mitchell signed with the L.A. Lakers last training camp, didn’t make the team, went to the D-League, and was assigned to the Lakers’ affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders. There, he averaged 18.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, shooting 51% from the field, and upping his assist/turnover ratio from 1:1.37 to 1.58:1. He still can’t shoot consistently from outside, though, shooting only 23% from three-point range and 68% from the line. The turnover numbers are better, so he’s getting there. Unfortunately, he’s 27 next month.


David Moss: Moss is a former Indiana State player player who rebounds very well for a 6’5 guy and who has a solid all-around game, but no other stand-out characteristics. In the Lakers post, when I mentioned that David Monds had already signed elsewhere….he hadn’t. I was thinking of David Moss instead, who has already landed a plush gig with last year’s Serie A champions Montepaschi Siena. He signed for three years, too, which means he’ll be nearly 29 before he’s back on the market again. So that’s probably the end of his NBA dream.


Drew Neitzel: Neitzel is still trying to rework himself into a pass-first guard, and it’s going fairly well. But he also only averaged 5/3 in Germany last year. And that’s not a lot.


David Padgett: See this.


Jeff Pendergraph: Pendergraph’s going to make the team. Channing Frye, Shavlik Randolph and Michael Ruffin are not. That trio combined for 818 minutes last year. Those minutes look like they’re Pendergraph’s.

Posted by at 1:45 AM

1 Comment about 2009 NBA Summer League round-up: Portland Trail Blazers

  1. your favourite sun24 July, 2009, 2:02 am

    Krabbenhoft is another former Wisconsin player that I'm surprised impressed anybody enough to get a summer league invite. Sure they're coming from a program that churns out 20+ win seasons with the best of them, but it's largely because their system is geared toward hiding the flaws of role players rather than correcting them…so these same role players are bound to be exploited at the next level of competition. (The remaining Badger on a summer league roster, Marcus Landry, does not surprise me. Not that he's NBA material either but he's worth a summer league invite, and not just because his bro's in the league.)