Portland Trail Blazers: New additions strengths and weaknesses

What do the new guys bring to the table?

This summer has seen the Portland Trail Blazers bring on a number of new faces who will join the team for the 2012-13 NBA season.

The team’s roster has six new names on it since June’s NBA draft.

Here’s a look at what each new player will bring to the team next year:

Sasha Pavlovic

Sasha Pavlovic is the most recent addition to the Trail Blazers’ roster. He was acquired—as well as two future draft picks— in a three-team trade that was centered around Courtney Lee going to the Boston Celtics.


Sasha Pavlovic has been quiet throughout the past few seasons, but he had a couple of solid years in the mid-2000s with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

When Pavlovic is at his best is when he is hitting shots from behind the three-point line.

In the 2006-07 season, Pavlovic shot 40.5 percent from deep. That number has fluctuated throughout the years, but having shot around 35 percent for his career, he is a player who can jump in and find a role for himself on a team that needs shooting.

Sasha Pavlovic, Portland Trail Blazers

Pavlovic was acquired in an offseason deal with Boston.


Pavlovic has good size for his position, but he is not going to be an impact player on the boards or on the defensive end of the floor.

Having never averaged more than 2.5 rebounds per game, the nine-year veteran struggles on defense whether it be in the paint or out on the perimeter.

Ronnie Price

The Trail Blazers have brought in Ronnie Price as veteran leadership to the team’s newest point guard, Damian Lillard. The fact that the team went with Price over a higher-caliber option could be an indication that Damian Lillard will be expected to have a big-time role in Portland’s offense next year.


Price has never been an ultra-productive player, but he’s certainly had his moments on defense.

As a 6’2”, 190-pound point guard, Price can put pressure on opposing guards and can defend either the point or shooting guard positions out on the perimeter.


Offensively, Price has proven to be a liability throughout his seven-year NBA career.

Price is a career 30.4 percent three-point shooter, and his field-goal percentage is also sub-par, hanging around 39 percent.

He’s also been known to make poor decisions when driving the ball, causing his assist-to-turnover ratio to be near 1:1.

Jared Jeffries

Jared Jeffries was acquired in the trade that sent Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas to the New York Knicks.

Jared Jeffries, Portland Trail Blazers

Jared Jeffries came over in the Raymond Felton/Kurt Thomas deal to the Knicks.


Jeffries’ impact is going to be felt on the defensive end of the floor.

His length is a huge asset, as his 6’11”, 240-pound frame allows him to interrupt passing lanes and trap defenders in double-team situations.

His .7 steals and .5 blocks per game don’t scream out to anybody, but his presence can be felt in limited minutes off the bench.


Offensively, Jeffries is a horrible three-point shooter.

His 25.2 career shooting percentage from beyond the arch is honestly high for most of his seasons, as last year he shot below 19 percent—he shot eight percent from the three-point line in 2008.

He’s not a go-to option anywhere on offense, but if he tries to make a name for himself on the perimeter, it’s only going to hurt the team next season.

Dan Gadzuric

Dan Gadzuric is another piece that was sent over in the trade with the New York Knicks.


At 6’11”, 240 pounds, Gadzuric is going to give the Trail Blazers the much needed size they’ve been looking for.

His production has slowed down as he’s continued to age—he turned 34 in February—but having averaged nearly a block per game for his entire career, he can certainly affect a shot when it comes his way in the paint.


Gadzuric suffers from a classic flaw when it comes to NBA big men.

Free-throw shooting.

The 6’11” center has shot just under 50 percent on his career from the charity stripe, and shot below 40 percent for the 2010-11 season.

Joel Freeland

The Trail Blazers drafted Joel Freeland—a 6’10”, 250-pound English center—with a first round pick in 2006.


Freeland is going to bring an extremely diverse skill set to the NBA.

In some senses, he is your classic Euro big man, as he can step out and shoot the perimeter jumper and score in pick-and-pop situations.

He’s much more than that, however, as he has a grittiness around the rim that allows him to be physical and dunk over virtually anybody in his way.

Victor Claver, Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers drafted Victor Claver in 2009. They hope he’s ready to go this season.


The Portland Trail Blazers desperately need size next season, and while Freeland will give them just that, you have to wonder if he won’t be a bit undersized compared to the NBA competition.

At 6’10”, Freeland has a decent amount of athleticism, but as an NBA center, he may find himself struggling against true seven-footers night in and night out.

Victor Claver

Victor Claver, the up-and-coming forward from Spain, was originally drafted by the Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft.


Despite being 6’10”, the Spanish prospect runs the floor like a guard and will likely come in as a small forward next season.

His athleticism is great for someone his size, giving him the ultimate ability to finish around the rim on the fast break.


Claver has been known as a turnover-prone player throughout his time in Europe, and his inability to hang on to the ball and create his own shot could make it difficult to play on the perimeter.

Being somewhat between a 3 and a 4, you have to wonder if he’ll transition to the NBA level as smoothly as his talent suggests he should.


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About Bryant Knox

NWSB Editor. Portland native and Oregon graduate, On a non-stop mission to consume as much Ducks+Trail Blazers content as humanly possible. His love of sports is what attracts him to the game, passion for writing drives him to uncover the stories. Connect w/ Bryant today!
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  • NWSportsBeat

    I wonder how many of these guys stick come Game 1? Your thoughts on that question?

    • Bryant

      Claver and Freeland will be around this season. So will Price, although in limited playing time—Nolan Smith may get the nod off the bench. Jeffries, Gadzuric and Pavlovic I wouldn’t bet on. Jeffries may stick, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see those three never suit up in Portland.

      • CoQ102k

        I agree, for the most part. I’d say with more conviction that the last three will see no time in PDX—unless Leonard can’t cut at all (yet) come training camp, we miss out on Przybilla, and must use, say, Jeffries as an extra body. And that’s assuming Freeland can play useful minutes at the five.

        Oh, and I’d hazard that Smith may indeed come off the bench as Lillard’s principal backup, or at worst share the role with Price.

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