- National Teams
Joel Freeland officially became the second British player in the NBA on Friday, signing what is rumoured to be a 3 year, $9 million deal with Portland Trailblazers, and GB head coach Chris Finch says he has no doubt he is ready.
“(I’m) really, really happy for him,” said the GB play caller, talking after practice in Sheffield on Friday. “For me it was a matter of time. The last 2/3 years, Joel has been an NBA player, he has got NBA size, NBA ability, he’s got NBA athleticism.”
Freeland was a late bloomer, taking up the game in his late teens before moving to Spain to play for Gran Canaria. His ascension was rapid, and with the 30th pick in the 2006 draft Portland selected the now 25 year old, opting to keep him in Europe where he signed a multi-year contract with Unicaja Malaga in 2009.
“He’s young, he’s learned the game late, he’s developed an excellent feel for the game in a short amount of time which is unusual,” Finch, who is also an assistant coach with Houston Rockets, continued. “It was just really about the right time, I told him the very first day I saw him in in Houston, my personal opinion, having seen it up close, was it’s time for him to go, he needs to make the move to the NBA.
“And he’ll be fine, like everybody he’ll have an adjustment period but he’ll do well there.”
How do you think Joel will do in the NBA? Any new Portland fans in the building?!