On Saturday, Portland Trail Blazers director of NBA scouting Mike Born took a few minutes after his team's 2012 Las Vegas Summer League finale to discuss the team's European additions -- Joel Freeland and Victor Claver -- as well as the two overseas prospects acquired from the New York Knicks in the Raymond Felton blockbuster trade: Georgios Printezis and Kostas Papanikolaou.
On Monday, Blazers director of college scouting Chad Buchanan broke down this year's class of rookies: Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard and Will Barton.
As always, transcripts are left in full.
Joel Freeland's game?
I think Joel is a four that can play some five in the NBA. In Europe, they sort of used him as a combination of a center and a power forward. In our league, he will be more of a four that can play some smaller fives. Skillset is pretty good, he plays really hard, because he's been in the Euroleague and he's 25 he's going to play hard and he's going to play physical. He definitely isn't afraid of contact. He's kind of a physical, rugged post who also has some offense. How that offense will be in the NBA, that's probably still to be determined a little bit.
He averaged pretty good numbers as a feature guy, which is always tough. He's not going to be one of those guys who is going to be on the floor and only defend and rebound. We're hoping he does that but also that we can throw it down to him on the box and he can make some jump hooks, face you up. He's got to become a better shooter but he can shoot the international three. He's got some offensive versatility. It's just: Can he do it and be real efficient in the NBA? We're hoping he can.
Joel Freeland comparison?
People talk about Tiago Splitter as sort of a comp. I think they're comparable players but they are different. Tiago is a really good defensive player, physical, rugged. He's an OK offensive player. I think Joel is probably not quite as good defensively but he's going to be a better offensive player. If you're comping those two guys out, they're probably pretty close. Some of it comes from being European, about the same size, kind of a 4/5.
We'll just see. If he can end up evolving into a Nick Collison type of player. I think Nick is a really good player, really smart. It might take Joel some time to develop that basketball IQ. I'm not sure if he'll have that level. If he could end up being that type of player we would be pretty happy.
Victor Claver's game?
He's coming over [thinking] not necessarily that he's going to have minutes but that he's going to have to work for those minutes. Victor is 23 -- he's 6-foot-10. They used him as a 4/3 and I think he's evolved into basically a 6-foot-10 three. How he thinks, how he moves, how he defends. He's a pretty good handler, a decent athlete. Pretty good feel for how to play. He works on defense, he's very engaged as a defender. Are there going to be some threes that get around him? Yeah, the high level ones. He's very engaged.
I think the thing with Victor is the better team that Victor plays with, the better he's going to play. If he plays with the Spanish National Team, he's a really good fit with that team because they have high level players. If you put him out in Summer League and feature him, he's going to struggle. He's been a role guy, even on some of the junior teams. He's not the type of guy to go for 25 a night just because he's going to play the right way, make the extra pass. He's going to work on defense.
We drafted him to be a role playing small forward who can play some four. Could he go beyond that? You're always hopeful of that but some of that is to be determined.
Victor Claver comparison
We first saw him with how Nic [Batum] came into the league, we thought him and Nic were comparable because Nic probably had pretty similar numbers. A little different players but Nic was a guy we wanted to defend and rebound, make open shots, play off of the marquee guys. I think Victor has a lot of similarities to Nic in that way. Nic is evolved into a better player because he's become a really good shooter, some of those other facets of his game are improving. If Victor comes in and he's similar to how Nic played, that would be a pretty good comp. Obviously, if he could continue to improve and be the type of player Nic is, that would be great.
Kostas Papanikolaou -- No. 48 pick in 2012, he can play?
He's 21 going to be 22. I've seen him play a couple different times. I saw him last September and then I watched the Euroleague Final Four, where both he and Printezis both played well.
He's a little bit like Claver in that he's kind of a role-playing small forward. In the Final Four, he played outside the box a little bit. He's a good team guy, his overall skillset is pretty solid, he's really tough, a Greek kid who will compete and tough. He played really well against Kirilenko in the Final Four and I think he had 18 points in the finals. He's just a nice asset for us to have. We liked him in the Draft but to be able to get him in a trade is great.
Georgios Printezis -- second round pick in 2007
He's 26 or 27 now, drafted by Toronto. I had actually seen him play in the Adidas camp at Treviso like six or seven years ago. I've seen him some other times, with the Greek national team or seeing a Euroleague game or whatever.
Another really tough kid. In Europe, people ask: What is his NBA position? He's a 4/3 but not really either. He's good at having the combination of positions over there. He'll play as a four and back guys down and he's got little jump hooks, he's a decent shooter. Has a good feel for how to play, very confident player because he's a little bit older. He's played at a very high level, hit a game-winner in the Euroleague Final Four. As far as a 'prospect' he's probably not as good of a prospect because he's a little bit older.
Likelihood of Kostas Papanikolaou and Georgios Printezis coming to the NBA?
I don't even know the contract statuses on those guys. I don't have a good enough feel. We just did the trade. I don't have a good enough feel for where he's at or where his agent is. They're both nice assets to have.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter