Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.
• So over at the ESPN main page, Chad Ford’s mock draft has Portland taking Kenneth Faried with the 22nd pick. Who the hell is Kenneth Faried, you ask? He’s a 6’8” and skinny rebounding machine from a mid-major with some awesome dreads. Check his Draft Express profile for a deeper look and if you’ve got a minute, Faried did a podcast with Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.
• Here is my take on Faried as an NBA player. Rebounding is one of the skills that translate best from NCAA basketball to NBA basketball. The best college rebounders end up being great rebounders in the pros even if they have a size disadvantage. Paul Millsap, DeJuan Blair, and Kevin Love are just a few players who put up big numbers in college and have managed to do so in the NBA despite being “undersized” at the professional level. So if you pick up Faried, you know this guy is a hustle player and you know he will rebound. He’ll get some points off putbacks, and the team will score off the second chance opportunities he creates. Like Reggie Evans, there is always a place for a guy who can clean the glass.
The problem with Faried is that he’s skinny and doesn’t have any perimeter skills. Carlos Boozer would likely eat him alive in the post just by virtue of mass, and Faried hasn’t shown much indication that he has the skills to play the small forward position. Additionally, for Portland, Faried’s rebounding might have diminishing returns. With Greg Oden, Marcus Camby, and possibly a healthy Joel Przybilla in the lineup, how much more rebounding do the Blazers need? There are only so many boards in any given game, so having another great rebounder won’t really increase your final tally. On the other hand, I do like the idea of only letting the other team have the ball after a made basket. (P.S. Dave Berri is going to love this guy.)
• Speaking of Summer League, does anyone remember how badly Nicolas Batum sucked in Las Vegas? Well, Dave Deckard of BlazersEdge is happy to report on the progress of the flying Frenchman while Ben Golliver crowns Batum the Prince of the Chase Down Block.
• Travis Heath, a writer for HoopsWorld reported via twitter that Portland may be preparing to pursue Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien. Take that for what it’s worth. I don’t know Heath personally and I don’t know who his sources are or what their agendas might be, so I’m not sure what to make of it yet.