Joel Freeland Continues to Receive Praise for Doing the Dirty Work -

Joel Freeland Continues to Receive Praise for Doing the Dirty Work

Joel Freeland appears to have finally found his feet with Portland, with the Oregonian reporting he might just have the leg up over Thomas Robinson and Meyers Leonard in the rotation, as he heads into the final year of his three year contract.

Already playing behind LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Chris Kaman, the battle for minutes in Portland’s front court is fierce, but thanks to his consistency and willingness to do the dirty work, The Oregonian believes Freeland might just have the edge:

“Blazers coach Terry Stotts has been noncommittal about his rotation plans throughout the preseason, saying repeatedly that he intends to use the seven-game exhibition schedule and month’s worth of practice to make up his mind.

But speaking generically about Freeland, when asked before Tuesday’s night’s exhibition win over the Denver Nuggets, Stotts wasn’t shy about admitting he possesses a level of comfort with the dependable, if not flashy, 6-foot-11 British big man.

“Obviously you want to have the best players out there,” Stotts said. “But there’s a lot of comfort in knowing what you’re going to get every night. Certainly, if you can have a great night every once in a while, that’s a bonus. But consistency in this league is a difficult thing to have.”

Freeland doesn’t have the hops and hype of Robinson. He doesn’t have the potential of Leonard. But he does have one thing over his younger teammates: Consistency. With Freeland, you know what you’re going to get — a guy who will be in the right place at the right time, play hard-nosed defense every possession and relish doing the dirty work of rebounding, setting screens and contesting shots at the rim.

It’s not glitzy, but it certainly was effective — and important — last season. And when it comes time for Stotts to make his rotation decisions, don’t think for a second that Freeland’s contributions to the Blazers’ sizzling first half of the 2013-14 season won’t play a factor. Freeland was an instrumental, if understated, part of the Blazers’ 31-9 start.

When he went down with a sprained right MCL injury on Feb. 11 last season, the Blazers were 36-16. They went 18-12 the rest of the season.”

Freeland saw his numbers increase in the 2013-14 with NBA-highs in minutes (13.9), points (3.3) and rebounds (4.0) and the Farnham-born 27-year-old has received a lot of praise from teammates his work ethic

Even newcomers such as Kaman – who joined as a free agent from the Lakers this summer – already have an appreciation for Freeland.

“He’s a guy who’s going to get his nose dirty every play. And you need guys like that,” he said.

“His teammates appreciate what he does and I think he realises what he does is important for us,” added Stotts. “When he got hurt last year, it certainly affected the dynamics of our team. I’m just glad, personally, that he’s back to being healthy and playing at the level he was at last year.”

So far this pre-season, Freeland is averaging 11.3 minutes per game with a best of 18 minutes against the Clippers scoring six points and four rebounds. In their most recent loss against the Lakers, Leonard was given a lengthy 28 minute stint with Robinson playing 27 minutes compared to Freeland’s six.

Meanwhile Freeland says this year is no different to last.

“This is no different than last year,” he said. “I made a base of what I was going to do last year and I’m trying to stick to that. I’m ready to play any position, whether it’s the four or the five. I’m just going to wait and be ready. I don’t want to do anything out of my means. I don’t want to try to do anything I know I can’t do. I’m just focusing on doing the things that I need to do to help the team win.

“I figured out after the first year what I needed to do, what I needed to be, to help this team. And I can’t divert from that, no matter how much anyone wants me to or how much I want to.”

Read the full article here.

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  1. Pingback: Freeland Aiming to Remain Level Headed in Portland Contract Year —

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