As the The Oregonian reported on Thursday, former UCLA star Dijon Thompson was in town to work out for the Blazers, who were exploring the possibility of signing him as a free agent.
Thompson, drafted by the Knicks in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft, is a smart, hardworking SF with an excellent offensive and rebounding skills and a terrific work ethic whose main knocks are his bulk (skinnier then a bean pole) and some MAJOR issues on defense. Basically, he's another Travis Outlaw with a brain but without the athleticism and potential. Normally, I'm all for signing a guy like this to the minimum to provide an offensive spark and some hustle off the bench every once and a while, but I'm questioning whether Dijon is really the type of player the Blazers shoudl be focusing on right now. As of now, we have a second-year SG capable of playing the 3, an injured head case, and a raw, athletic enigma with a lot of questions surrounding his game making up our depth chart at SF. We need a defensively-oriented veteran capable of playing some minutes at the 3 without taking too many shots away from our youngsters, and the "whispers" going around say that management wants that SF to come cheap, preferably off the waiver wire or as a free agent signed to the minimum. Jumaine Jones was our answer, but he signed with Pheonix and, for some unexplained reason, it doesn't even look like the Blazers were even giving him some serious consideration. Dijon isn't a veteran, and he doesn't play defense. We do have two open roster spots, so I wouldn't be opposed to signing Dijon as long as we find someone else who fits our needs better at SF to fill the other spot. At best, the inexpensive gamble on Dijon pays off and we've found another useful chip to help us build for the future (which will probably mean the end of TO). At worst, he rots on the bench and is gone next off-season.
Take the gamble, but, please, find a veteran first.