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A Statistical Look at the Blazers’ Training Camp Roster Invitees

The Blazers have a few young players in their training camp - but are any of them legitimate NBA prospects?

2019-20 Portland Trail Blazers Media Day Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have 14 roster spots and one two-way contract filled out for the coming 2020 NBA season, leaving one “regular” NBA deal and one two-way deal still available. Plenty of teams leave spots open during the season to improve their flexibility both in trades and on the buy-out market, and the Blazers could certainly be a team following that principle. However, if they do decide to add to their roster before then, they might look no further than the players they’ve already invited to training camp. While training camp invitations can be agent or even player favors, they’re usually because the team likes the player to some extent. Here’s a brief statistical look at the Blazers’ training camp invites from their days in college and how their production might or might not translate to the NBA.

Quickly, before diving into the stats, I want to explain my methodology. A more in-depth explanation can be found in this article, but at bottom I try to highlight actual production. Therefore, instead of utilizing “per 36” stats, I use players’ actual numbers. If a player isn’t good enough to get significant minutes in the NCAA regularly (barring an odd situation like Jaren Jackson Jr.), they’re probably not good enough to be in the NBA. Additionally, I also look at only the last two seasons of production, as I feel that upperclassmen are underrated in the draft and this is a way to highlight players who have improved over the years without their poor freshman numbers dragging them down. Without further ado, here’s what the Blazers training camp roster guys did in college.

Blazers Training Camp Roster Invites College Numbers

Name Age (at draft) PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TOPG 3PT TS%
Name Age (at draft) PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TOPG 3PT TS%
London Perrantes 22.6 11.9 3 4.1 0.9 0.1 1.8 2.1 0.577
Troy Caupain 21.5 11.8 4.2 4.6 1.1 0.4 1.6 1.6 0.497
Moses Brown 19.7 9.7 8.3 0.3 0.6 1.9 1.5 0 0.556
Keljin Blevins 23.5 10.8 5.9 1.3 0.7 0.3 2.1 0.5 0.489

To be quite honest, none of the players stand out too much. Moses Brown had the most pedigree in high school as a McDonald’s All-American, and was highly recruited. Unfortunately, he went undrafted after his freshman season at UCLA for a reason. My big man model values assists, rebounds, blocks, and efficiency. While Brown rebounded and blocked shots well, his assist rate was pitiful, especially when compared to his turnovers. Similarly, for a 7’1 player who didn’t take threes, his efficiency was pretty poor, weighed down by horrific free throw shooting. None of that promises well for his feel or shooting touch, which are both important in today’s NBA.

Blejins fares no better. In fact, he might come off worse. While Brown at least has age, size, and a couple statistical indicators on his side, there’s very little about Blejins that projects him as an NBA player. He’s quite old for a rookie and doesn’t stand out statistically in any way. He’s a decent rebounder, but scores at an extremely low efficiency, has a negative assist to turnover ratio, and doesn’t get steals. While he’s undoubtedly a very good basketball player in the grand scheme of things, my model would suggest odds of him panning out in the NBA are low.

The point guards look somewhat better here. Perrantes, in particular, has some strong statistical indicators which could posit an NBA career, which makes sense considering he had (by far) the most storied college career of the foursome as the starting point guard for some excellent Virginia teams. His steal rate is rather low, but he scored at a fantastic level of efficiency in college while hitting a decent number of threes. As I found shooting efficiency and three-point volume to be highly important for point guard prospects, these stats are promising. Caupain’s efficiency and outside shooting weren’t nearly as good, but he was also a bit younger than Perrantes and had a slightly better steal rate. Overall, while neither is a lights-out prospect, it would not surprise me if either of them had an NBA career that lasted more than a year or two.

The Blazers’ training camp invitees are not the most decorated group of players. London Perrantes had a phenomenal college career, but he wasn’t regarded as a true NBA prospect, nor were the other three players (at least upon the draft, as Brown certainly was going into college). Perrantes and Caupain, however, are statistically better bets to be NBA players than the other two, which works well for the Blazers considering they’re thin at point guard. Even if neither of the guards makes the Blazers roster out of training camp, it’s quite possible that they get a call back later in the year if the Blazers need a stopgap for a few minutes a game. Both should be decently qualified to do that, at the least.