According to reports from credible sources, Blazer rookie Jon Diebler is the latest to head overseas, signing a one-year deal with Panionios of A1 Greek Basketball League. This is Greece’s top league, and of all the abroad moves so far, this is the one we all saw coming.
Diebler was picked 51st, and although he is something of a dead-eye shooter, as a second-rounder his spot on the roster is in question. Diebler will have to earn his place on the team, and without a Summer League or Pre-Season, should the lockout extend that far, in his first time out as a pro he might not get that many chances to show what he can do. Add to that the fact that there is already one stand-up three-point shooter on the Blazer roster that might to better in some other type of professional league, Luke Babbitt, and it’s very clear that Diebler has his work cut out for him if he wants to stay a Blazer.
An overseas bounce will do him good. He’ll get the chance to play professional ball, and understand what that’s all about. And if he shows that he’s ready, there’s no doubt that Portland will be falling over themselves to get him in a Blazer jersey. That being said, Blazer management has a less than stellar history of bringing guys over from Europe. Rudy and Sergio flamed out as Blazers, and they’re the ones that actually made it over. Joel Freeland, Petteri Koponen, and Victor Claver are all guys that have been stashed in Europe and there they stay.
Diebler has the advantage of being from the States, meaning that he’s motivated by the idea of coming home to play, but until Portland proves they can have a rookie overseas then bring them back to the NBA and make it stick, there’s a chance that he becomes just another name on the list of Portland draft picks to never throw on the Black and Red.
Keep an eye on this, because there’s a chance it will be awhile before we see Jon Diebler.