19 February 2010
Over the next couple weeks, Portland will keep a steady eye on the NBA waiver wire as they search for likely a point guard or two guard to round out their 15- man roster.
That’s one option.
Here’s the other: the Blazers could go the D-League route, which they’ve been accustomed to utilizing in the past (read – Anthony Tolliver earlier this season from the Idaho Stampede, Maurice Baker).
While management hasn’t shared the names of worthy guards possibly on Portland’s radar, a shortlist has been complied thanks to the help of Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside – easily the authority on everything minor league basketball thanks to his insight, analysis and educated staff.
With a March 1 deadline in place, one of these guards could be worthy of getting called-up to Portland.
They all posses NBA ability in the D-League and have made their rounds in the minors, Europe or both, with their rookie status long behind them. The common thread: they all share NBA experience.
Mustafa Shakur of the Tulsa 66ers (University of Arizona), Will Conroy, from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (University of Washington), former two-time Blazer Dan Dickau (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), former Seton Hall standout Andre Barrett (Idaho Stampede), Maurice Baker (Dakota), and both Coby Karl (Idaho Stampede) and Iowa’s Curtis Stinson fit the bill according to Schroeder.
Conroy already has a major in with the Blazers.
Aside from NBA stints – most recently with the Houston Rockets – Conroy is a former Huskies teammate of Brandon Roy and during their high school days in Seattle at Garfield. The two remain very close to this day with Conroy often taking in a Blazers game or two during the season.
The 6'2 point guard is the all-time assists leader in Washington Huskies school history with 515 and went undrafted out of college in 2005.
After two seasons in Tulsa of the NBADL, Conroy has played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, overseas with Virtus Bologna Olimpia Milano, back to the minors with Albuquerue (where he spent two seasons from 2007-09) and most recently the Rockets.
According to Schroeder, “Dickau probably wouldn't make sense right now - he looked kind of out of shape, but obviously the history is there.”
Perhaps the most talented, yet often overlooked of this group is Shakur. He is a steady offensive option, and could provide some scoring off the bench if he sees time in the regular or postseason.
Knowing the Idaho Stampede is Portland’s D-League affiliate, both Barrett and Karl shouldn’t be forgotten.
The next 11 days will detail more in this story.
Easily, it’s one worth following as the Blazers look to finalize their roster while in the thick of a playoff push out West.
According to Mike Born, Director of NBA scouting for the Blazers, Portland is currently compiling their list to fill their vacant 15th roster spot but don't feel the need to rush the process with Marcus Camby in the mix and Brandon Roy returning to the lineup.
That list could reach 30 players of best available for Portland’s positional needs (likely either a center or point guard), and should be closer to 10 to 15 guys they'll consider from the waiver wire to, NBA players currently not on a league roster, and D-league call ups (with Born saying Conroy is already on that list).
From there, Blazers will narrow down their list to 4 to 5 guys to really evaluate for the March 1 deadline.
Overall, Portland plans to be patient with the process of finalizing final roster spot.
I will have the complete interview in the coming days with insight from Born, his thoughts on available NBA players and possible D-League candidates the Blazers will consider.
By the way, here is the full feature story on Portland in the mix for either a "big" or point guard to fill their last roster spot.
Should be a busy week for the Blazers as the search goes on.
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