Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
The NBA D-League is often considered a place of development and further opportunities for NBA prospects. However, Blazers' big man Joel Freeland's agent was less than enthusiastic about his client's recent assignment to the Idaho Stampede.
A bevy of NBA prospects have been sent down to the D-League so far this season in an effort to provide them with opportunities not yet available to them in The Association. Whether it be extra playing time, different competition, or special individual attention from a coaching staff, there are plenty of benefits to such assignments.
But even with all that considered, the NBADL still just isn't for everybody. And apparently, Blazers' big man Joel Freeland's agent doesn't believe the minors is the right place for his client.
According to our friends at SB Nation's own Blazers' Edge (via HoopsHype), Rafa Calvo was less than enthusiastic about the assignment. The agent cited the 2006 first-round draft selection's time in Europe as the reason for the NBADL not being the place of preference for his client. After spending so much time developing and honing his skills overseas, Calvo suggested that Freeland had already gone through the motions necessary to make the adjustment to the NBA game. The assignment, to him, "makes no sense."
Though Calvo believes Freeland's time spent in Europe is enough to make him readily available to start competing at the high NBA level, some league executives think otherwise. The fact of the matter is that the two regions feature different styles of play, different competition, and big men are often utilized in quite a different fashion. There are always adjustments to be made.
In the second part of RidiculousUpside.com's exclusive interview with Rockets Vice President of Basketball Operations (and D-League Vipers' General Manager) Gersson Rosas, the executive discussed the development of Houston' own resident European big man, Donatas Montiejunas. Though the big man is close to being able to make notable contributions for his squad, the Rockets are quite deep at his position. With that in mind, he's been sent to Rio Grande Valley on numerous occasions thus far to garner more experience in the meantime.
Such an opportunity could turn out to be a positive one for Freeland as well. He's already made strides with the Stampede early on during his assignment, averaging 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds through the first two contests.
It's simply a matter of just how much he embraces it. Clearly, after monitoring him closely since 2006 and finally bringing him in the fold, the Blazers are intrigued by the promise Freeland shows. The D-League may simply be the team's way of helping him finally begin realizing that potential.