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Anthony Tolliver Called-up to Portland Trail Blazers

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Anthony Tolliver
Anthony Tolliver

Anthony Tolliver has been called-up, Gatorade style (I'm hoping for a sponsorship, kids) to the Portland Trail Blazers, as first reported by HoopsHype's Jorge Sierra. Tolliver, who plays for the Blazers D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, is expected to be in uniform tonight.

Since we debuted our call-up ranking's yesterday, I'd like to report that Tolliver was number one on two ballots (Steve and Jon L), number two on one ballot (mine, but behind a point guard), and number eight on Matt Moore' (of Hardwood Paroxysm fame) ballot, finishing second behind Dontell Jefferson. Just sayin'.

Obviously, the Blazers know what they're doing. They were given the "Hardship Exception" and, according to our good friends over at Blazersedge, they were looking for a big man or possibly a small forward. With Tolliver's outside-inside game, he can probably fill-in in both of these spots.

Tolliver is a stretch-four and played the Matt Bonner role in San Antonio at the beginning of last season, just to give you an idea of what you're getting Blazer fans. And, not to toot my own horn, but the last time I wrote about Tolliver, I said this:

Anthony Tolliver has got to be the next person to get a call-up (Note: If the NBA keeps going the Jonathan Bender route, replace AT with Chocolate Thunder Darryl Dawkins). The 6'9" Tolliver continued to be a sniper, hitting 6-of-10 from beyond the arc to finish with 28 points on the day. He picked up seven boards as well, but that was kind of negated by his five turnovers (which are more a result of the Idaho offense than anything). He can play inside and outside on offense, does the little things on defense and generally seems to care - which isn't, unfortunately, a given in the D-League.

Tolliver is averaging 20.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and shooting 47% from the field, inclunding an impressive 43% from beyond the arc. As Steve Weinman noted here, however, he's got more of an everywhere-effect:

I can't find a word more descriptive of Tolliver's performance than "everywhere." At 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds, Tolliver is a large man, even by basketball standards. But the threes he takes aren't typical of the 21st century pseudo-bigs who hang around the perimeter waiting for kickouts. To borrow the type of term Walt Frazier enjoys using, I can remember few other occasions when a player seems as omnipresent as AT - sprinting to the sideline to snare long rebounds from unsuspecting guards and fighting his way to loose balls amidst the pack inside as well. Defensively, more of the same. One second, Tolliver's jumping out to double a guard on a high screen-and-roll; the next, waiting at the rim to provide help on penetration or swat a shot out of vicinity of the basket.

UPDATE: In order to give the Blazer's fans a little more information about Tolliver, I penned this mini-report:

Tolliver's biggest knock seem to be no true position, stemming from Summer League last year. He prefers to play in the post, but San Antonio tried him out in what I'm calling a Matt Bonner role, AT got hot from 3-point land (not typically his specialty) and earned himself a few weeks in San Antonio in that role. Once his 3-point shot wasn't falling consistently, however, they let him go.

He's not a guy that can get the ball in the post and dominate, but he has enough low post game to be able to score with his back to the basket... in Idaho, they run a SSOL offense, which suits his game perfectly... He's too versatile to just sit him in the post and let him go to work with his back to the basket all game.

He's not strong enough to guard Dwight Howard, but he'll be able to hold his own down low. As far as the meshing goes, nobody really meshes in the D-League, simply because everyone is trying to get to the NBA, but I've never heard any issues as far as Tolliver being a problem in that regard.

He's active, athletic and only 24 years old. He's not going to set the world on fire, but he's willing do the little things, and do them well.