Much was made late in the year of the Portland Trail Blazers’ alleged interest in Goran Dragic.  For more insight, I reached out to Ben Golliver, contributor to CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball NBA Blog and author of Blazersedge.

Huq: Can you confirm the rumblings that Portland will make Goran Dragic their top priority this summer?  Is that what you’ve also heard?

Golliver: Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan has repeatedly stated that the starting point guard position is the team’s No.1 priority. All indications are that after a truly awful season incumbent Raymond Felton won’t be anything but an absolute last, last, last resort to fill that role, if that. Heading into a rebuilding cycle, Dragic would fit Portland’s plans better than a number of the free agents that are coming available this summer because of his age and his proven skill level. You can find the logic behind Portland’s interest by simple process of elimination. He’s not too old (Nash, he’s not a retread (Miller), he’s not a 2 trying to play 1 (Bayless), he’s not a midget (Augustin), he’s not totally out of their league (Williams), he’s not a Felton clone (Nelson). Dragic has stated he wants his own team, Portland has been desperately searching for someone capable of handling that role on a long-term basis for years, he’s unrestricted and Portland has substantial cap space.

The only caveat is that this all is acting under the current operating protocol which could change at any moment. A new GM would potentially bring a new philosophy.

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in conversations

There’s no way to embed but the clip can be viewed here; discussion of Hakeem starts at 3:31 but the entire clip is worth a view.

This kind of insight is why ‘Inside the NBA’ is the best show on television.

A note: I wish I hadn’t been so young when Hakeem was here because I’m just now making observations when seeing reruns of his.  One thing that just came to mind: aside from just how ridiculous his arsenal was in its entirety, what even made him think  to expand it in such ways?  As humans, we learn by imitation and attempt new things through emulation.  What made him think “I as a big man should put my soccer footwork to good and use these guard moves and cross people over and spin on them.”

Stepping aside from basketball, a big part of emulation is the knowledge that something can be done and the confidence/reassurance that brings just simply because someone else has done it with success.  So I think one of the big things about Hakeem that isn’t appreciated is the creativity and confidence to even reach that point of inventing post moves…

A final note on Hakeem: When news breaks of Hakeem’s tutelage of some superstar, the reaction almost always is, “Why haven’t the Rockets hired him as a coach?”  Think for a second.

You’re the greatest consultant in the world in a particular field.  Would you work in-house somewhere and handle low-profile, unspectacular clients?  Or instead, would you stay independent and only handle the best and as they sought you out?  The answer is fairly obvious.






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Hooplaw: Jordan Hill’s charge

Below is legal analysis of Jordan Hill’s predicament according to a local criminal defense attorney, Joel Hayter:

The charge that Jordan Hill faces, like any felony, is serious.  However, all we know thus far is the girlfriend’s accusations through the media.  It was a good move for Hill on his part for not commenting, other than to say he is saddened by the allegations and is cooperating with authorities.  Until more evidence is gathered, there are many questions a criminal defense lawyer might ask.  Are these pictures of her alleged bruises legitimate?  Did she see a doctor who can vouch for her alleged injuries?  Does she have a motive to falsely accuse Hill—perhaps not being happy with his response when asked about their future together?  Anyway, I will let Hill’s lawyers sort that out.

Interestingly, if the girlfriend did not claim that Hill choked her but only hit or kicked her, he would likely only be charged with a Class A misdemeanor assault and face a maximum jail sentence of one year.  In 2009, the Texas legislature made it a third degree felony to choke a family member or dating partner.  This recent change in the law is why Hill faces up to 10 years in prison rather than a maximum of one year in jail.

Joel Hayter, Criminal Defense Attorney, The Schaffer Firm, Houston Texas, joelhayterlaw@gmail.com






in essays

So you’ve been chugging Cheez Doodles and Mountain Dew Code Red for a week and a half since the Rockets’ freefall from playoff contention changed from a reason to avoid Sportscenter for the night to a reason to avoid anyone who knows that you follow the Rockets closely so as not to endure the barrage of “How bout them Rockets?” comments. It’s OK; we understand and promise not to totally freak out because of the weird cheese dust encrusted on your hands. All is well because the NBA Playoffs have finally come to save us all from the doom of watching the Charlotte Bobcats lose anymore, and this tournament’s first round can be cleanly dissected into three groups:

SERIES ABOUT WHICH PEOPLE ACTUALLY CARE

  • Los Angeles Clippers versus Memphis Grizzlies: The only series in which I genuinely feel silly picking either team and acting as if I can support such a claim with certainty, this one might collapse into itself as the nexis of all NBA diehard viewership in the first round. Blake Griffin has recently shown himself to not only be the Boy Prince of Dunkitude, posting a couple of high-efficiency scoring outbursts in a pair of losses to the Hawks and Clippers; while a 36 or a 29-point-night might not seem like much, the variety of ways (face-up jumpers, step-throughs in the post) in which he scored the points finally made him appear to be a worthy second option to the wizardry Chris Paul’s largely left in his pocket until fourth quarters this year. But I’m pretty sure the rest of the world will quickly forget about the Clippers’ highly efficient, if sometimes unwatchable, offense (ranked fourth leaguewide) once it’s vaulted into the rusted, gaping maw of the Grizzlies’ D, one that seems almost naturally made for the rigors (read: laxer rule enforcement by officials) of the postseason. Just a year ago, this same Grizzlies team sans its best perimeter threat in Rudy Gay took it to another high-powered offense without a lot of muscle in the middle, but that Spurs squad didn’t have one of the league’s best players or a couple of benchwarmers in Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans who would love to get equally as violent as the Grizzlies’ boys. I like both of these two teams too much to want to see this one in the first round, but someone must win, and despite home court advantage, I’m inclined to give this one to the Clippers in six games. [read more…]






in columns

Postgame interviews: 04.26.12

Goran Dragic, Greg Smith, and Patrick Patterson after the jump.

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in multimedia