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Archive for October 27th, 2008

Scouting Batum

I have a confession: I wasn’t that impressed by Nicolas Batum as I watched him at the Las Vegas Summer League for the first time – I’ve told that story before. But the kid has proved me wrong during the preseason and I hope during the regular season too (as it’s just been reported he will start Tuesday night against the Lakers).

Peep the posting over at HOOPSWORLD which is running today on Batum’s story, just more proof that Portland values the person as much as the player.

Speaking of which, Jason Filippi, the Blazers international scout whom helped discover Nicolas (and Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez as well) is a solid guy who was kind enough to share some insight on the whole scouting mentality.

Based out of Italy- where the Michigan native moved when he was 10 – Filippi and I spoke by phone as he was on a scouting trip in Slovenia. It was just before midnight there – 3 in the afternoon here in Portland. The 38-year-old has been in the scouting game for nine years, five of those with the Blazers. As we talked about Nicolas – who he is on the court and off and the story of his late father– we drifted to some particulars about searching for talent as a professional scout.

Filippi considers himself a veteran of the business, but he admitted the Blazers – particularly their front office and scouting directors – are different than his past clients. Different in a good way. Different in a great way.

Before, he said he was just going to games, tracking players, shooting video and taking notes. But since scouting for Portland, the focus has become finding out as much about the guys off the court as people. He credits Kevin Pritchard with enforcing that motto – a guy may be a good guy but if he doesn’t fit the Blazers mentality, it’s not going to work.  If he’s a little bit selfish and only cares about numbers, it’s not going to work.

Filippi confessed he gets almost scared because everyone can see “this kid” is talented, but he can’t leave any stones unturned. He said it’s been a learning experience. Before it was about how a player played and what he did on the court.

Now it’s about so much more.

pic via: portland tribune

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