Petteri Koponen Watch: It's a Wrap! Edition

Busta BucketCorrespondent IMay 31, 2010

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 29:  Brandon Roy #7 of the Portland Trail Blazers in action against Jason Richardson #23 of the Phoenix Suns during Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2010 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. The Suns defeated the Blazers 99-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images


Hippo's latest Petteri Koponen Watch installment just arrived in the mail. As always it was reeking of fish and soggy from being written in a sauna. Here you go:


Italian league season 2009/10 has been over for Trailblazers' draftee and Finnish national team point guard Petteri Koponen for over a month now.
After showing significant improvement in his second year with Italian league powerhouse Virtus Bologna , Koponen was diagnosed with a stress fracture in mid-April.

Now, the 2009/10 season is officially over after Virtus Bologna lost their Italian league first round playoff matchup against NGC Cantu 2-3.
Koponen returned to Bologna in the beginning of the playoffs after spending the first weeks of his rehab session in Helsinki, Finland.

It can be said that this season was Koponen's breakthrough party. After averaging 3,1 points in 15,0 minutes in his first season with Virtus, his averages skyrocketed to 11,3 points, 2,3 rebounds, 1,8 assists and 1,4 steals in 27,7 minutes a game while starting every one of Virtus' games.
Koponen was also among the league best in +/- stat category with average of +5,26 and his 2-point shooting (63,9%) and 3-point shooting (39,8%).

If the aforementioned numbers don't convince you of Koponen's importance to his team, it's also worth noticing that with Koponen running the point, Virtus won 15 out of 23 games, but after his injury, they only managed to win 2 out of 10.
After Koponen went down , Virtus lost five regular season and two playoff games in a row. Virtus managed to steal two next first-round playoff games against Cantu, but lost the decisive fifth game 65-72.

Koponen still has three years of contract left with Virtus Bologna. If Portland Trailblazers is willing to bring Koponen over to their team, the contract includes a reasonable buyout clause.
Because of his injury, Koponen won't be able to participate in the Las Vegas Summer League in July, but he should be back when the Finnish national team begin their quest for a Eurobasket tournament spot in August.

Finland will face Israel ( Omri Casspi ), Latvia ( Andris Biedrins ), Italy ( Andrea Bargnani & Marco Belinelli ) and Montenegro ( Omar Cook & Nikola Pekovic) in the Eurobasket qualifications Group A. Here's the qualification schedule:

Aug 5th Finland - Montenegro
Aug 8th Italy - Finland
Aug 11th Finland - Israel
Aug 14th Latvia - Finland
Aug 20th Montenegro - Finland
Aug 23rd Finland - Italy
Aug 26th Israel - Finland
Aug 29th Finland - Latvia


First of all, I love that Omar Cook plays for Montenegro. Second of all, thanks to Hippo I am indeed the proud owner of a Petteri Koponen Finnish National jersey.
However, the first round of pictures were not Facebook friendly. I have family on there.
Plus, I might want to run for State Representative of Yamhill County (The Fightin' 25th!) someday. Once I get the jersey back from the cleaners, we'll try again. Gross.