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Around The World: June 21

06/21/12
  1. Written by: DHawes22

    June 21



    Trail Blazers: Mock Draft Database

    Draft Express: Pre-Draft Measurements

    Trailblazers.tv: Video: Trail Blazers Draft Workouts

    DIME Dime Q&A: Damian Lillard Speaks On His Life & His Doubters
    "I gotta keep it because it’s what got me to this point. I have always had to prove myself. Right now, they’re giving me some respect. I’ll be a lottery pick, but I know it’s still a lot of people that probably don’t think I’m worthy of a lottery pick. Just the fact that I know people doubted me at every level and it’s always going to be those people. I’m always going to have that chip on my shoulder because I’ve always been the underdog. They’re probably expecting me not to do well. I know its people out there like that and I’m gonna keep working to show them that I belong. "

    Trail Blazers: Wesley Matthews' Offseason Shoe Game Workout
    "My mom was hip, so she always kept me with clean shoes," said Matthews. "It's funny, I never bought shoes growing up because my mom did. She worked her ass off to buy me shoes and now that I can buy myself shoes, I still don't buy 'em. I just get 'em."

    Trail Blazers: June 20 Workout: Video Interviews
    "Strong group of players at today's workout at the practice facility in Tualatin. Austin Rivers (Duke), Kendall Marshall (UNC), Terrence Ross (Washington/Jefferson HS), Tony Wroten Jr. (Washington), and Moe Harkless (St. John's) are all expected to go in the first round, making today's workout likely the most star-studded we'll see before the draft in June 28."

    Oregon Live: NBA High-5: If Blazers opt to draft point guard of future, adding veteran figures to follow
    "If Nash does not re-sign with Phoenix, the Suns could make a play at free agent Goran Dragic, the Sporting News reports. The Blazers are believed to covet Dragic, although that belief was fostered pre-Olshey. There's also a player Blazers fans know well, Andre Miller. The Nuggets, who got Miller from Portland in a trade for Raymond Felton, want to re-sign the 36-year-old Miller, the Denver Post reports. Other veterans who will be unrestricted free agents and are potential point guard mentors: Jason Kidd, Derek Fisher, Baron Davis and Kirk Hinrich."

    Columbian: Wroten unlikely fit for Trail Blazers
    "However, the chances of him landing here don't appear great given the picks the Blazers own right now. Wroten's stock has dropped in recent weeks as most mock drafts have him going in the late first round to the early second round (Portland owns picks 6, 11, 40 and 41). However, he dismissed the plummeting perception of his game Wednesday, saying "it is what it is. The people who say my stock is dropping -- they don't draft me. I'm just going to play my game and let it handle itself."

    Portland Tribune: The incredible shrinking Brian Wheeler
    "It's awesome," says Bob Medina, a close friend and the Blazers' strength/conditioning coach. "It has been a great lifestyle change for him. It's going to help him with the next 50 years of his life."

    Rip City Project 2012 NBA Draft: Why the Portland Trail Blazers Must Draft Austin Rivers
    "Austin Rivers would fill that hole, both on and off-court, of being that much needed locker room presence, as well as an offensive horsepower. His ability to score anywhere on the court just wreaks of B-Roy, and his confidence and tendency to spread it to his players are things that the Blazers desperately need to get them back into the Playoff picture."

    Blazersedge: 2012 NBA Draft: The Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard
    "The most impressive thing about Lillard's scoring is his efficiency. Normally when you see a guy putting up tons of points at a small school you're thinking he's dominating the offense, taking all the shots. Last year Lillard scored 24.5 ppg while taking only 15.5 shots. He drew 8 free throw attempts per game, shot 89% from the foul line, hit 41% of his three-point attempts. Extra points dangle all over him like rhinestones on an Elvis suit."

    ESPN: Ranking 20 years of No. 1 picks
    "Much like James, Oden attracted a cult following as a freshman in high school. By the time he reached Ohio State, it had reached a fever pitch. Oden's freshman season for the Buckeyes was just so-so thanks to a wrist injury, but by the end of the year he had Ohio State in the national championship game and NBA GMs were comparing him to the next Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain. Oden was so good that every single GM I spoke with before the draft said they'd take him over Texas scoring superstar Kevin Durant. Alas, Oden injured himself before he ever played a game in the NBA, ended up having three different surgeries and played a total of 82 games in his first five seasons in the NBA. While he's still trying to make a comeback, he is, for now, the highest-profile bust in the past two decades in the NBA."

    Ball Don't Lie: The Oklahoma City Thunder’s season is riding on James Harden’s return to James Harden-ish play
    "In his 34th minute and the final overall minute of Game 2, though, Harden gave an unnecessary foul on LeBron James that just about sealed the game in Miami's favor. It wasn't as obvious a mistake as Russell Westbrook's unfortunate intentional foul late in Game 4, but it was much-derided and the most significant thing many took from Harden's otherwise-spectacular Game 2 performance. Since then? He's been a wreck, typified by an embarrassing play late in Game 4 that even after a few viewings (and fantastic web breakdowns) of that particular Heat win I haven't been able to watch a second time — seriously, it makes me that uneasy to watch Harden flail like that. And this is from someone who likes his humor all British and cringe-y."

    Ball Don't Lie: Kevin Durant sued over ‘Durantula’ nickname by famous ’80s rock guitarist we have all heard of
    "Sorry, Oklahoma City Thunder fans. I know you were hoping that Kevin Durant, the league's reigning scoring champion and your team's best player, was going to be 100 percent focused on keeping the Thunder's season alive by winning Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, but that just doesn't seem to be in the cards. He will undoubtedly turn all his attention Thursday to mounting a legal defense against a guitarist who claims the Oklahoma City star is a trademark thief. Because that is happening now."

    The Basketball Jones: Don’t worry about the Heat cramping, they’ve got tricks
    "This is what home court advantage can afford you though. If the Heat’s arena being too hot contributed to LeBron James’ leg joints being mitered together, then they should definitely make it colder. That is just being smart. When you have three games in a row at home and your best player is unable to walk because the gym is scorching hot, turn up the air conditioning. Get every advantage you can from playing at home."

    The Basketball Jones: Wizards and Hornets swap pieces, show different rebuilding strategies
    "Any success derived from the trade, however, is ultimately contingent not on Ariza, but upon Okafor’s coexistence with Nene. Other than brief stretches — including at the start of this season — Nene has exclusively played the center spot in his NBA career, whereas Okafor has spent all his time there. Okafor has always been slightly undersized for the position, yet his skill set and lack of athleticism prevents him from playing anywhere else. Nene’s skill set rather straddles the two big positions, yet, with Okafor’s inability to play outside of the paint on either end, the two are either going to awkwardly try and make it work (Yao Ming/Kelvin Cato, 2004) or sub in for each other (Eddy Curry/Tyson Chandler, 2005). Since the latter isn’t going to happen, Randy Wittman has a summer’s worth of tape in his future. Considering the relative costs involved, it’s just going to have to work.

    The Basketball Jones: The Heat Love Hating On Mario Chalmers
    "And hey, if Mario can take it like LeBron says he can — “Rio’s one of the toughest guys. He’s got a hard shell, so he doesn’t let much get to him.” — then the Heat might as well keep yelling at him and making fun of him. I don’t want to overstep my bounds, but I’d offer up his terrible goatee as the next target on LeBron’s list. Seems like there’s potential for some good material there, and if it’s going to lead to another 25-point outburst in the NBA Finals, then they should definitely mention that he looks like a 14-year-old who just found out about peach fuzz."

    DIME: Dime Q&A: Kevin Love, Bill Walton Talk Olympics & NBA Finals
    "They’re not playing as a team, they’re not playing smart enough, and they’re not doing what the Galaxy S III does, which is make it a team game, and have an identity, having a style. The beautiful thing about the Galaxy S III is you put it in your hand and it feels perfect, like the ball. What Oklahoma City has to do is sit together and figure out a style and identity that is going to allow them to control their environment."

    SLAM: Fab Melo, No. 17 (Mock Draft)
    "The 7-0, 255-pounder’s Draft stock might have fallen because of his off-court, in-the-classroom problems, which saw Melo miss three games during the regular season and, of course, the entire NCAA Tournament. But don’t forget, Fab was the main peg in ‘Cuse’s defense this season, earning Big East Defensive Player of the Year en route to helping the Orange earn their best start to a season ever, 22-0. And seriously—could you imagine going from the heat of Brazil to the Syracuse cold? It would drive any sane man mad."

    SLAM via ESPN: Derrick Rose ‘Ahead of Schedule’ in Recovery from Knee Surgery
    "Rose traveled to Alabama to consult with famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews. But Cole, the head team physician for the Bulls, noted that it was actually a therapist in Andrews’ office with whom Rose is working. Cole said the trip to Alabama had been scheduled before Rose’s surgery. Andrews was not in the office nor will he meet with the 23-year-old All-Star, Cole said. ‘Derrick is ahead of schedule,’"

    ESPN Daily Dime
    "I'm sure Spo has said it 100,000 times, is staying in the moment," Chris Bosh said after Game 4. "That's what you always have to do. You have to stay in the moment, put everything in the past behind you, don't worry about the future."

    ESPN: What have we learned after four games of the Finals?
    "We've learned that as impressive as the Thunder's run through the West was, they've finally met a team that's as spry and as athletic as they are. We've also learned that Finals experience counts, not necessarily in terms of the level of play, but playing under the pressure of great expectations. On their journey to the Finals, the Thunder have failed one season, progressed the next. This Finals may be one Finals failure before greater success."

    ESPN: Legend mode: LeBron vs. Durant
    "I used to love it when Earvin would slide into the post to guard me," Bird said. "But it was never a heads-up battle. It was a lot different with Earvin. You don't see this very often."

    Sports Illustrated: Just one win from a title, LeBron, Heat take nothing for granted
    "I have a job to do, and my job is not done," said LeBron James as he looked ahead to Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, when -- at last -- he might become a champion. "You know I've been very focused, and I'm determined for us to play at a high level. So I will make sure my guys are ready for Game 5, and we will be prepared. I have no idea what I'll say before we go out there. It kind of just comes to me when I'm getting ready to go out there and stand on the floor. But hopefully whatever I say will inspire our guys to go out and give a good show."

           



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