It's good to hear some commentary from some of the Finnish guys here. I've been on board with this kid since I started doing some research on him after the draft last year and I really think he stands a better than average chance of being a good player in the league. One of the reasons is mainly that he's impressed every NBA scout he's come across and he's held his own (or often times played better than) a good number of the guard prospects coming out this year in these workouts. I am a little worried about his latteral quickness in defense (and I think there needs to be a better example than Chris Paul, considering that no one can stay in front of him), but it shouldn't be too big of a problem to compensate for that if Greg Oden plays like he should. And I wouldn't worry too much about upper body strength, that being one of the easiest things to take of (plus it develops reasonably well strictly with age). Anyway, I'm excited.
He looked very good in the second half and decent in the first half. My fear is his lateral defense when he has to guard guys that aren't D-leaguers. But yeah, I was very pleased and am now completely convinced that he is a better guy to have as a project player than Sergio.
Ok, this seems like a Finnish reunion, cause I'm also. Here comes the reality. It's time for Koponen to enter the NBA this season, cause otherwise it seems like the time is up for him. There is no reason to play in Finland anymore and even if Portland won't use him as a backup it's very important to use the knowledge what you get from veteran players in Portland practise.
Yeah I agree, itīs time to sign that contract. Coming back to europe, not to mention Finland, would propably dwarf his developement... and yeah, thanks for the heads up on the summerleague games,
So what do you all think is going to happen? Sign him for the last spot and send him to D-League? Send him back to europe? Trade him for a veteran?
Its hard to say what is going to happen, but I can tell you what I'd like to happen. Sign him and try to develop him. D-League would be good for him. I have a feeling Sergio was asked to go to the D-League and refused just like he didn't want to do Summer League. If a veteran wants to sign with us in the next year, we would have to waive or trade somebody. I say if that happens, try to trade Sergio for a future draft pick, or wave him if not to make the necessary room. All we would have to do is eat the rest of his $1M contract that would expire at the end of the year.
As for trading for a veteran, he would only be a throw in for a bigger trade. I wouldn't find be too heart broken if we had to given him up in order to get a more ready piece.
He's biggest weakness is on the defensive end. As stated before, he's tall for his position, but has a weak upper body and there is no way his lateral quickness is good enough to keep up with Pauls and other quick point guards.
On a positive note, I believe his biggest strength is his passion for the game and his heart. This season in Finland he injured his thumb during the playoffs and missed the first three games of the finals. He checked in to the game for first time in the fourth quater of the game 4 (best of 5 here) and completely changed the game. His team had played out contorl for the whole finals, but when Petteri checked in he just took ball and their offense started to click immediately. He could have very well just sit and not to further risk his injury, but he played and thats something I personally value very high.
every non-usa player has to adjust at the defensive end. those who improve have heart -- which you mentioned as his strength
you cannot teach heart as exemplified as a will to play through injuries
i have seen many talented players fail in the nba because they had decent game before the nba-- but had no heart
and the best of role players have been less talented guys-- who have heart and passion and arent looking to play beyond their ability and arent primarily looking for the huge contract
Can someone explain what happens if Portland doesn't sign him? Is he free to go to any team and does that have to give something back to Blazers?
The Blazers have the rights to him, so he can't sign with another NBA team unless we trade those rights to that team. He can sign with whoever he wants in other leagues. He is being offered large contracts that last no shorter than 4 years, so if he is not signed this year, he'll likely go over seas for a minimum of 4 years. We could pay the overseas team to release him, but that would just be a ton of unnecessary money.
So, pretty much the options are sign him now, trade his rights now, or let him go overseas (which I believe we would lose his rights in a year). The reason we could only trade his rights now is because we only have his rights for another year, but that would be worthless if we pass now and he signs overseas.