Oct 11, 2013; Boise, ID, USA; Utah Jazz point guard Scott Machado (30) passes the ball around Portland Trail Blazers power forward Joel Freeland (19) during the second half at CenturyLink Arena. Portland beat Utah 96-86. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

LaMarcus Aldridge applauds Joel Freeland's defense

After the Portland Trail Blazers picked up their first win of the preseason against the Utah Jazz last Friday, all forward LaMarcus Aldridge could do was gush about the defense of Joel Freeland.

Here’s what Aldridge had to say:

I’m excited about what Joel Freeland did tonight. All of those blocks and all of those contested (shots) at the rim — that’s big time for me. I feel like if he can continue to do that all year, he’s going to make our team better. I keep telling him about it. It’s really, really good for us. I think he had at least four or five of those, where he went up and either blocked it or made the guy miss, and that’s big, because last year we were really bad at that (Oregon Live).

The Blazers desperately need someone who can be a big contributor on the defensive end, and Freeland took it upon himself after his disappointing rookie season to improve his rim protection. It sounds like the work is paying off, but Portland fans will have to wait until the regular season starts to see if this year’s version of the team will actually be improved. There’s hope, sure, but Portland fans should know better than to hope for things.

[Source: Oregon Live]

Tags: Joel Freeland LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Trail Blazers

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