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Old 06-13-2006, 02:56 PM   #1
NBA sixth man of the year
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 7,196
Default This Year's Draft Sleeper

From's Chad Ford:
2. Joel Freeland, F, 6-10, 225, England
Who says there aren't any secrets in scouting anymore? Freeland is definitely the sleeper of the camp -- maybe of the draft. Freeland's name wasn't even on the NBA's early entry list when it was released a few weeks ago. Apparently Freeland applied after the deadline, but was able to show the NBA that he intended to apply in time, so they granted an exception to his agent, Arn Tellem. Not sure exactly what that means, but that's the NBA's story.

What makes Freeland interesting is that almost everyone here believes the reason he snuck into the draft was because he's gotten a second-round promise. But from whom? Speculation centers on the Clippers, the Timberwolves and the Blazers. The Clips have two first-round picks and have been listening closely to their international scout Fabricio Besnati the past few years. The Wolves also have two first-round picks, and Reebok Eurocamp director Pete Philo also happens to be on the staff. The Blazers have picks No. 30 and No. 31 and are also said to be fans.

Why? The kid can play. I couldn't find more than one NBA scout who knew about him when I added him to our Top 100 three weeks ago. Now? They are all in love.

The 19-year-old, slender 6-10 forward from Aldershot, England played in the Spanish "B" league this year for Gran Canaria. He averaged 14.8 ppg and 7.8 rpg in 26 mpg this season.

Freeland reminds me a lot of the Knicks' David Lee. He's actually a little taller and a little longer but plays with the same energy and athleticism. He flies up and down the court and has excellent hops. He's very active defensively and has great shot-blocking timing.

Offensively he has skills. He's got a nice 12-foot jumper, and in drills, he was even sinking the international 3, though not consistently. He's got a pretty good handle and will put the ball on the floor and take his man off the dribble. He gets great elevation on his jump shot, though the form still needs a little work.

But a team is going to draft him for his motor, defense and athleticism. While most of the talk about him centers on the second round, I wouldn't be shocked to see him slip into the late first. A team could draft him and leave him overseas for a year or two to develop. A little more muscle and a little more polish and he could be a big prospect.
The article says that the Wolves have two first rounders, but I think it is supposed to say two second rounders.

A couple of years ago, the sleeper (in terms of buzz) was Viktor Sanikidze and last year it was Ian Mahinmi. Both ended up with the Spurs.

Looks like this could be the guy this year that no one really knows about that goes much higher than expected.

Last edited by fatboy11 : 06-13-2006 at 02:58 PM.
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