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Around The World: June 18

  1. Written by: DHawes22

    June 18

    Trail Blazers: Mock Draft Database

    Draft Express: Pre-Draft Measurements Video: June 18 Pre-Draft Workouts Video: Andre Drummond One-On-One Interview Video: Andre Drummond Addresses The Media Video: June 13 Pre-Draft Workouts

    ESPN Playbook: Clyde Drexler runs the break with Playbook
    "And going to the Portland Trail Blazers, who actually took the time to invest in me, was perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me in my career. I got to a small market where I could focus on basketball, basketball, basketball. No distractions. If I go to New York or L.A. first, there’s no telling what would’ve happened to the Glide. There might not have been a Glide. "

    Trail Blazers: Ford: Portland Can Do Anything
    "Sources continue to insist that the Charlotte Bobcats (2), Sacramento Kings (5), Portland Trail Blazers (6, 11) and Toronto Raptors (8) are all still open to moving the pick. Some of those trades could be with each other, but from what I can gather, none of the four teams I just mentioned are sold with the players that are available to them. In the case of the Bobcats, the team is looking to turn a high pick into multiple assets. The Raptors and Kings, as we've mentioned previously, are looking for veterans to anchor an already young roster. The Blazers? From what I can gather, they're open to anything and everything."

    Trail Blazers: Brian Wheeler's Mock Draft
    "This might turn out to be a case of “best player available” meets “addressing a team need” as the Blazers clearly want to upgrade the point guard position, and there are many who think Lillard is the best prospect out there at that spot. He’s clearly a better scorer right now than he is a distributor, but has an outstanding work ethic. He also impressed everyone by participating in every one of the drills at the Chicago combine, while many other top prospects sat on the sidelines on the advice of their agents. Lillard’s stock is definitely on the rise. If the Blazers do indeed take him, you can bet they feel he’ll be their point guard for a long time to come!"

    Trail Blazers: When the NBA Draft Came to Portland: 20 Years Later
    "20 years later, we can say that the significance of these players in Blazers' history is that they were packaged for players like Smith and Pippen who would play big roles on contending teams in the early 2000's, whose archenemy was the Los Angeles Lakers and the #1 overall pick in '92, Shaquille O'Neal."

    Oregon Live: Blazers Insider: GM Neil Olshey says he has not made any promises
    "I got the job on a Tuesday, and by the time I landed in Chicago the next day (for the predraft camp), I had convinced an owner (to pick a prospect), a player to shut down his workouts ... I mean, I hadn't even talked to my scouts yet."

    Oregon Live: Blazers target second-round picks in Monday workout; higher-profile session coming Wednesday
    “It was a good group, a competitive group, a lot of good guys,” Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said. “They’re four-year guys, and we’ve scouted them a ton. But just getting them in the gym, there are some guys here that have the ability to do more than you would find based on their role with their teams.”

    Oregon Live: Win-win for the Blazers, Jamal Crawford on deadline extension
    "It was a win-win situation for the Trail Blazers and veteran guard Jamal Crawford on Friday when the sides agreed to extend his deadline to opt in to his 2012-13 contract from June 15 to June 29. The move allows the Blazers to use Crawford in a potential trade on draft night, which in turn, would award Crawford his Bird Rights, which will help him in his next contract. "

    Oregon Live: 2012 NBA draft: Should the Trail Blazers draft Tyler Zeller? (poll)
    "He can face up and shoot the ball," Blazers director of college scouting Chad Buchanan said of Zeller. "Very good runner. Soft hands. Good touch around the basket. Not the defensive presence that Meyers (Leonard) is, but he’s probably more polished offensively than Meyers is right now. Very, very high character kid, too."

    Columbian: Drummond has all the answers at Blazers workout
    "Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, I just feel like when I get on the floor, I play my hardest. You can't please everybody," said Drummond, who also averaged 2.7 blocks but shot .295 from the free-throw line. "I'm just gonna play the game that I love."

    Portland Tribune: Neil Olshey's strategy for Blazers (plus other team news)
    “If we had 13 players under contract and it was an established roster, you’d say, let’s hire a coach first. But right now, there is so much uncertainty. We’re returning only three starters (if restricted free agent Nicolas Batum is signed). We don’t know what our roster is yet. It’s hard to say exactly what you’re looking for in a coach. And coaches are going to want to know what it is they’re dealing with, too. If you can’t give them an answer ... they’ll say, ‘I didn’t sign up for this.’ They want to make sure it’s the right situation if they’re going to jump."

    CSNNW: Nolan Smith on being compared to Kenneth Faried, welcomes point guard competition
    "I don't listen to all of that stuff," Smith told "I'm proud of what Kenneth accomplished, but you can't look at his situation and compare it to mine. If he was drafted here (in Portland), he probably wouldn't have got the opportunity to play behind our big man right away. I'm one of his biggest supporters and I couldn't be happier for him."

    Blazersedge: 2012 NBA Draft: Portland Trail Blazers Draft Andre Drummond?
    "You only have to spend two seconds looking at Andre Drummond move to see what entices NBA scouts. Watching him get up and down the court, or even cross the lane side to side, forces you to double-check his vital statistics. "He looks pretty big, but he can't be that big, right? Not the way he's moving." Then you look it up. Yes, he's 7'0", or close enough. Yes, he's 260+ lbs. He's got the agility of a guy three inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter. He can jump too. If you're used to thinking of centers as plodding, space-eating hulks, this guy is going to open your eyes. No battleship, he. He's a cruiser all the way."

    Pro Basketball Talk: Berri’s 10 most overpaid players list has hits, misses
    "He made $17.3 million last season and he’s on Berri’s list but not mine. Granted, Nowitzki was not as efficient this season as the title year but still 21.6 points per game and a guy who can knock down threes. No, not a lot of rebounds or much else, but is that why anyone signs him. A PER of 21.8, I can live with that. Plus, like Kobe, his value to the franchise far exceeds his salary."

    NBA: Even in Finals, these Thunder still growing into themselves
    "The new GM, Neil Olshey, has been on the job for, what, 10 minutes? Why try to shoehorn a new coach in before the Draft, when it's going to take months for Olshey to begin re-shaping the roster? And who is going to come off of the coaching board before Olshey's ready to hire? All of the assistants of note, from the Warriors' Mike Malone to the Pacers' Brian Shaw, will still be there when Olshey is ready to talk turkey in a few weeks. (Shaw is up for the Charlotte job, but I suspect even if the Bobcats offer him the gig, they won't be prepared to give him the money he'd require to take all those Ls in the next couple of years.)"

    Ball Don't Lie: Rumors of Luol Deng being traded for a draft pick means business as usual for the Chicago Bulls
    "So are the Bulls. And while spending endless amounts of money on personnel doesn't guarantee anything in the win/loss column, the team's fans are just fine to wonder if the team will ever be "great" again as long as Reinsdorf is mindful of that tax. And constantly tossing out giant deals (to Ben Wallace, to Boozer, to Chandler, to Deng) to players just to leave himself free of any "he doesn't spend!" criticism. Damn, he's good."

    Ball Don't Lie: Scott Brooks has a lot of explaining to do after his work in Game 3
    "Sitting a guy so you don't have to sit him is straight from the Larry Brown Book of Things You Just Do So Shut Up, and it destroyed the Thunder's momentum (for you intangible types) and spacing and scoring opportunities (for you pragmatic, turtleneck-wearers). Once Dwyane Wade put Durant into the popcorn machine and picked up Kevin's fourth foul (and it was barely a foul, so you know the refs had a few make-up calls on their mind), the damage should have been done — at some point, Durant would probably have to sit following his fifth foul."

    Ball Don't Lie: Miami Heat fan cannot wait to wear LeBron James’ sweat-soaked headband after Game 3 (VIDEO)
    "I feel fairly certain that as soon as the cotton touched (and basically eclipsed) this young lady's forehead, she instantly regretted her decision. But still: Pretty cool token of the MVP's appreciation. Just make sure you get some extra face wash up there this morning. (And this afternoon. And tonight.)"

    SLAM: Perry Jones, No. 13 (Mock Draft)
    "Capable of playing both the small forward and power forward positions, the Dallas native gives Phoenix the flexibility to move him all over the court. If you want to use him as a pick-and-pop big (where I think he fits best), he’s definitely going to be an upgrade from last year’s lottery pick, Markieff Morris. Some feel that he has Paul George potential on the perimeter but while the physical attributes are present, there’s definite room for refinement before he’s going to be playing swingman full-time."

    SLAM via Spurs Nation: Report: Patty Mills to Opt Out of Contract, Become Free Agent
    “‘I feel like I need to do my due diligence and really go and see what there is to make sure I explore every option,’ Mills said. Mills is set to make slightly less than a million dollars on the second year of his contract with the Spurs, but would become an unrestricted free agent July 1 if he chooses to exercise his player option. He hopes to settle his contract uncertainty before playing for the Australian Boomers National Team under Spurs assistant Brett Brown at the London Olympics next month. ‘But in saying that, I really enjoy being in San Antonio and being part of that program,’ Mills said."

    ESPN: Young Thunder regress in Game 3
    "Maybe the whistle doesn't blow as often when a superstar is involved (see the no-call on James on Durant's final shot attempt of Game 2), but it's also a superstar's responsibility to take the choice out of the official's mind. Durant bit on a pump fake by Dwyane Wade, who drew a questionable fourth foul on Durant. Then he didn't stay set while trying to take a charge from LeBron and was called for the block with 3:47 remaining (worst of all, James made the basket for a three-point play to give Miami a seven-point lead)."

    ESPN: Daily Dime
    "That would be the fire James showed in chasing rebounds, he had 14 of them, including five offensive, and his defense on Durant in the fourth quarter. Durant had been a dynamo late in Games 1 and 2, racking 33 points in those fourth quarters and rewriting the record books for scoring by a player in his first two Finals games. But in Game 3 Durant was just 1-of-5 shooting with James guarding him in the fourth quarter and 2-of-6 overall. He finished with 25 points but this time the fourth quarter, where the game was sitting there for the Thunder to take, did not belong to him."

    ESPN: Heat-Thunder: Game 3 analysis
    "James Harden went wrong. Remember, this is a guy who had a higher PER this postseason than Dwyane Wade and was playing like he was ready to take over as the league's top shooting guard. And then he was throwing the ball away at the most critical moments and looking completely gassed. Maybe the Thunder didn't need Harden in Game 1, but they desperately need him now."

    Sports Illustrated via New York Daily News: Report: Los Angeles Lakers shopping Pau Gasol again
    "The Lakers are committed to moving Pau Gasol — the fall guy for their second-round ouster against the Thunder and previous playoff failures — even if they have to take back less talent. As long as Heisley retains the Grizzlies, Memphis will always have interest. Heisley has always wanted to bring Gasol back, pairing him with his brother, Marc."

    Sports Illustrated: Heat defense up to the task in Game 3
    "The answer to the first question is pretty easy: The Heat are just better, faster and smarter defensively than Oklahoma City’s other playoff opponents. That begins with LeBron James’ defense on Kevin Durant, especially on plays in which the scoring champion comes off picks for catch-and-shoot chances. After Game 1, when James largely guarded other players, Henry Abbott of wrote of how little time Durant requires in order to score. That isn’t the case anymore. The Heat are making Durant hesitate, hold the ball and go to work against a defense loaded up against him. The stagnancy of those plays has infected the rest of Oklahoma City’s offense, which also is struggling to rediscover the pick-and-roll attack on which it thrived in the regular season."


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