by Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes)
An undrafted free agent, that is.
CSNNW.com has learned that the 6-10, 253 pound center out of Fresno State, Greg Smith, is scheduled to be in Portland early this week to meet with Blazers management and work out at the practice facility.
CSNNW.com reached Smith as he confirmed and said hell be arriving either Monday or Tuesday to chat and get a workout in. Hes drawing interest from Portland, Miami, New York, Indiana, Oklahoma City, Denver, and Houston.
Having spoken with Chad Buchanan during one of the Blazers pre-draft workouts and at the time, he said he could see Smith going early in the second or late second round. He also said that if Smith was available at 51 that they would seriously think about snatching him.
Smith, 20, went undrafted in the 2011 NBA draft after leaving school following his sophomore season. He was considered by some to be a guy who could have squeezed into the tail end of the first round because of his NBA-ready body, but that wasnt enough to entice a team to give him a shot.
Smith had a lackluster sophomore year averaging merely 11.7 points per game and 8.1 rebounds in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play. During Smiths freshman season, he shared the spotlight with Paul George, whos now the Indiana Pacers starting two-guard. Losing George turned the team over to Smith but he never had any long stretches of dominant performances.
To be fair, Smiths supporting cast lacked a true outside shooter and opposing defenses packed it in, not allowing Smith any room to maneuver in the paint. Even with constant double-teams, he still managed to shoot 57 percent from the field.
Blazers guard Armon Johnson remembers Smith from his days competing in the WAC while at Nevada. He says Smith is a huge physical specimen with a lot of upside.
Hes a physical brute down low, Johnson said to CSNNW.com. Hes a very smart player who is a force down on the block. He definitely will cause some problems in the league.
The Blazers are attempting to address their need for big men and a cheap investment in a youngster such as Smith might end up being the Blazers plan of attack during this free-agency period.
News and notes:
As of today, NBA executives and coaches are allowed to have contact with players and free agents. Theyll also be able to have contact at practice facilities but cant observe workouts until training camp starts on Friday.