Las Vegas Summer League begins July 12th and the Trail Blazers are ready to compete. In fact, they have finalized their roster and it looks solid. This is the first year that Summer League will be conducted as a tournament with a champion and everything, so it’s not entirely surprising that Damian Lillard will headline the team:
|PG||Damian Lillard||6’3”||195 lbs|
|PG||CJ McCollum||6’3”||197 lbs|
|PG||Cedric Jackson||6’3”||190 lbs|
|PG/SG||Dexter Strickland||6’3”||177 lbs|
|SG||Will Barton||6’6”||177 lbs|
|SG||Allen Crabbe||6’6”||197 lbs|
|SF||Victor Claver||6’9”||224 lbs|
|SF/PF||Olek Czyz||6’8”||237 lbs|
|PF/C||Joel Freeland||6’10”||225 lbs|
|C||Meyers Leonard||7’1”||250 lbs|
|C||Dallas Lauderdale||6’9”||260 lbs|
More than likely, a few of these names are unfamiliar. Cedric Jackson, Dexter Strickland, Olek Czyz,and Dallas Lauderdale were not on the Blazer roster last year, nor were they among the Blazers’ draft picks this year. They are all players that went undrafted at some time or another, and are getting their shot to make the team this season (however unlikely).
If you’re like me, you’re hungry to see them play anyway. Every now and then there are no-names that flash potential in Summer League. Last year, Demarquis “Dee” Bost showed his potential chemistry with Will Barton before signing with the Montenegrin team he plays with currently. Even if they don’t make the cut, it’s fun to root for players that have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Here’s a quick rundown to get you acquainted with each of these four players:
- Cedric Jackson – Point guard for Cleveland State that went undrafted in 2009. He played for the Cavaliers, Spurs, and Wizards on 10 day contracts in 2010. Now he’s playing for the Heat in Orlando Summer League before he joins the Blazers’ squad later this week.
- Dexter Strickland – No relation to former Blazer, Rod Strickland. Dexter played shooting guard at UNC for 3 years and wasn’t half bad. However; he wasn’t half good either and went undrafted this year. He may have demonstrated more value had he not torn his ACL after 19 games in the 2012 season.
- Olek Czyz – Played for the University of Nevada in 2012. Olek hails from Poland and boasts impressive leaping abilities. He has a 44.5” vertical at 6’8”. After participating in Summer League with the Bulls last offseason, Olek played 1 year for the Italian team, Virtus Roma.
- Dallas Lauderdale – Went undrafted in 2011 after playing center for Ohio State. His time at OSU intersected with Grizzlies center, Kosta Koufos. Lauderdale nearly played for Portland last year, but his non-guaranteed contract was waived 4 days before the Blazers’ first game.
Between the bigger names and the scrappers, the Blazers should be a lot of fun to watch in the coming week. Keep in mind, offseason transactions are not officially official until July 10th, so there is a possibility that Thomas Robinson will be joining the Summer League Roster. It would be great to see how he meshes with Lillard and McCollum before the regular season begins.
|July 13th||Phoenix Suns||5:30 p.m. PST|
|July 14th||Los Angeles Lakers||3:30 p.m. PST|
|July 16th||Chicago Bulls||5:00 p.m. PST|
These games will help decide Portland’s seeding for the tournament. Summer League coverage will air on NBA TV.