Von Wafer Scores a Career High!
Don’t get too excited. He only scored 11 points, but for the newest Blazer who has not seen too much action in the NBA, this was a huge step in becoming a legitimate player in the league. It’s been hard to question the moves the Trailblazers have made since KP took the reigns. This trade that landed Taurean to Denver and Von Wafer to the best city in the world (God, Portland is amazing!) got us thinking about what this young man from Louisiana can do. Hell, if KP bothered getting him here, he must have something special about him. Reading other sports columns about Von Wafer, he seems like an instant offense guy, specializing in 3-pointers. Now, fans, we cannot compare him to James Jones. That would be unfair. In his two years in Florida State, he averaged about 10 points per game (8 points his Freshman year and 12 points during his sophomore year) and led the team in three points made. In 2005, Von Wafer decided to enter the draft and was chosen by the Purple and Gold 9th in the second round. Unfortunately for him, his playing time was close to nil. He was waived by the Lakers and spent time in the NBDL where he faired better than most. While playing for the Colorado 14ers he averaged 21 points per game. The Clippers then picked him up, dropped him, and the Nuggets scooped him right back. His offensive skills have not really been seen in the big leagues, except for this year’s summer league where he was recognized as one of the better players. Wafer averaged 24.2 points while shooting 53 percent from the floor and 44 percent from the three-point range. He even dropped 42 points on the Knicks. One other thing about Von Wafer is that he can play above the rim. This man can dunk. He finished second to LeBron James at the McDonald’s All American High School dunk competition. We don’t see Blazers with skills like these; even Travis Outlaw who can jump practically over anything does not have the creativity this young man possesses. Last night, Von Wafer showed some aggressive moves to the basket, but made some bad decisions with the ball (one instant he forced a shot that could have easily been passed to one of the guards up top resetting the play). His defense is not bad. During a defensive play he swatted the ball 5 rows up with a blocked shot of Vancouver native Dan Dickau. According to the Oregonian’s Joe Freeman, the man wants to work on his D more than anything else. So based on his first game as a Blazer, we could see Coach Nate using him for that instant offense for the white unit. It surely wouldn’t hurt this team to have another perimeter player that can drop the three, opening up space in the middle. This team plays soooooo much better when James Jones is on one corner, Martell on the other and Blake up top playing pass and shoot. That’s not even mentioning Brandon Roy and Travis Outlaw. We would like to see Von Wafer get those minutes that could harness his potential this year and either be a great bench guy for us or a great trading piece. Let’s also keep our fingers crossed that Taurean Green does not turn Chauncey Billups or Steve Nash on us.