Full Name: Joel Freeland
Date/Place of Birth: 2/7/1987-Farnham, Surrey, England
Height/Weight-6’ 11”, 225 lbs
Primary Position: C/PF
Projected Role: Starting C or Backup PF
NBA Draft: Drafted 30th overall by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2006 NBA draft.
11-12 Eurocup Averages-12.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, .6 APG, 2.3 TOPG, .1 BPG. PER N/A
Six years ago the Blazers drafted Freeland believing that his potential would someday translate into something great, or at least very good. They were right. Freeland has seemingly been on a straight upward trajectory since, rocketing to the top of most lists of European big men. A strong physical specimen, Freeland is quick, explosive and agile on the court. On offense he is deadly off the pick and roll, efficient and dunks with authority. Freeland possesses good rebounding instincts on both the offensive and defensive glass, and can be counted on to give Portland solid contributions there. On defense, Freeland is a smart player with good instincts on where to position himself, even if he can be a bit overmatched by larger players at times. In short, Freeland is not only NBA ready, he’s starter ready and can only be expected to grow as he continues to play.
Freeland admits that he needs to bulk up a little if he wants to play center in the NBA and he’s right. He might be fast but he’s also lacking the size he needs, at this point, to bang down low with true centers. As a general rule Freeland is still a very raw player. While smart on defense, for example, he has a tendency to commit some silly fouls because he isn’t quite all the way there physically. His shot blocking should be better than it is and can be counted on to improve with time as he has shown the ability but not the consistency to block shots. Freeland is not going to create his own offense, and will need a good team to do so for him. He also needs to get to the line more often, shooting less than 3 FTs a game last year, which would be fine for a wing player but for an inside player, especially one with his rebounding skills, is low. Still, given that Freeland had only been playing basketball for three years when he was drafted in 2006 and has shown tremendous growth since, it can be expected that these problems will work themselves out given time.
Did You Know?:
Freeland only started playing basketball in his late teens after being persuaded to switch from soccer by local coaches.
Freeland is the first British player to ever play for the Blazers.
While on his first professional team in England, Freeland worked as a stacker at a local grocery store.