Apr 14

Neil Olshey Looks For Draft Talent At Portsmouth Invitational

By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers, Nuggets

Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey has been in Virginia the past few days at the Portsmouth Invitational, a pre-draft tournament that offers college seniors a chance to be seen by NBA front office decision makers. Portsmouth is usually draws second-rounders to undrafted guys hoping to make a summer league roster, though players such as Wesley Matthews, Jeremy Lin, Carl Landry and Jimmy Butler all played at the event, so there's starting-caliber NBA talent to be found. Attendance has at the event has waned a bit recently, but it's still a valuable opportunity for NBA staffs looking for value later in the draft.

Olshey talked to HoopsWorld's Joel Bringham about the event and what he's hoping to take away from it as the team prepares for the NBA Draft in June.
“You focus on the guys that chose to come. If guys want to compete, they’ll find an environment to compete in,” Olshey said. “We’ve been given a chance to see some guys who have maybe been over-scouted, but we’ve got to see them play a different position. And then you see some guys who are under-scouted from smaller schools, and I think that’s where the value is.”

According to Olshey, Portsmouth is a good way to gauge work ethic. Only seriously hard-working seniors find their way to this event, and that’s something NBA scouts watch out for.

“They’ve been through a long college season, so one of the indicators here is that the guys who are playing are guys that really love basketball,” Olshey said. “These are guys that are fringe draftable players, so this is a first step. Are they committed to the game? Do they play because they love it? Do they want to compete no matter what the environment is, or just when the popcorn is popping on ESPN that they bring their game?”
Olshey also briefly discusses the improved play of the rookies and repeat the promise that the Trail Blazers will be "aggressive" in free agency this summer.

(Hat tip to the fine folks at BlazersEdge)


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