Portland Trail Blazers reserve forward Joel Freeland has been one of the NBA's biggest disappointments so far this season.
Well, here's the flipside of the coin.
On Monday, Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus wrote that Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard was outplaying his preseason statistical projection by more than everyone in the league except Detroit Pistons rookie center Andre Drummond.
On Tuesday, Pelton lists the NBA's biggest disappointments -- guys who are falling short of their preseason projections -- and Blazers rookie forward Joel Freeland checks in at No. 5.
Based on his translated Euroleague statistics, Freeland looked capable of helping the Blazers right away. Nothing in his stat line, even last year's down effort, suggested he would miss 17 of his first 18 shot attempts in the NBA. Freeland will obviously shoot better than this eventually. For now, he's also squeezed out of the Portland rotation by solid play from Jared Jeffries and the potential of Meyers Leonard. It may take an injury up front to get Freeland regular minutes.
Freeland is averaging 0.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 8.9 minutes over seven appearances. Freeland averaged 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in his last three seasons with Unicaja Malaga in Spain's ACB league, shooting 55.3 percent from the field. He averaged 14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds playing for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.
Update: Joe Freeman of The Oregonian with quotes from Freeland on his start.
"It's been slow," Freeland said, describing his progress. "And to be honest, I've been frustrated with myself, because I hold high expectations for myself and I know what I've done in the past and what I'm capable of doing. I kind of expected to continue what I was doing in Spain."
The other day, as the Blazers were walking to the team bus after landing in Brooklyn to start their season-long seven-game trip, Stotts quipped to Freeland: "They don't have players like Jermaine O'Neal in Europe, do they?" When Freeland had last played, against the Suns, the aging O'Neal had partied like it was 1999, scorching Freeland and the Blazers with 17 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes.
"I just laughed and I said, ‘No,'" Freeland said, revealing his reply to Stotts. "In Europe you don't have players like that. And, pretty much, the NBA is full of players like that - and better. Like I said to Coach, when I came over here, I expected to be doing more than I've been doing. But now I know that this is a tough, tough league and, basically, I'm having to learn everything over again."
Former Blazers guard Patty Mills also makes Pelton's list at No. 4.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter