Posts Tagged ‘Drew Packham’

Early ROY Forecast Favors Lillard?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We don’t normally delve into matters concerning rookies, not with our main and rookie guru Drew Packham already on the case.

But it’s been brought to our attention, courtesy of Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk, that the No. 1 overall pick in the June Draft will not go into this season as everyone’s early favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors.

The player muddying up that distinction is Summer League Co-MVP and Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, whose grind from unheralded recruit to the sixth pick in the 2012 Draft is success story that resonates from his roots in his hometown of Oakland and all around the basketball world.

We left Las Vegas with the U.S. Senior Men’s National Team in July, so the only thing we saw of the rookies is what we learned from DP’s extensive reporting and what we could gather from the games on NBA TV. The one guy we did see up close, the aforementioned No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, looked pretty dang good in London in helping the U.S. win Olympic gold. So while Lillard will be the trendy pick for many, we’re going to stick with Davis as HT’s pick.

That said, Helin makes an interesting case for Lillard:

When I saw him at Summer League in Las Vegas he clearly was not. He was an explosive athlete. He can and did score and there were moments you pictured a Russell Westbrook like attacker. But he also showed way more polish as a rookie than scoring guards like Westbrook and Derrick Rose showed.

What is more, he goes on to a team with LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, as well as some other veterans. He’s got a guy on the wing and an All-Star in the post to play off. Guys he can feed for open looks, guys who create lanes for him because the defense can’t help. Yes, the talent he has to face (particularly at the point) is substantially better at the NBA level than Summer League, but he is in a position to succeed.

That is, if he is given the green light. If the goal of the Blazers coaching staff is to control him and not let a rookie make decisions, he will be limited.


Nuggets Rookie Faried Makes His Case

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Let the case of Nuggets big man Kenneth Faried be a lesson to all NBA rookies fortunate enough to be drafted by a playoff-caliber team that doesn’t need him in the starting lineup from the first day of training camp.

Faried was in the shadows at the start of this season, unsure of his role and whether or not he would spend his season with the Nuggets or with their D-League affiliate. If you weren’t careful, you’d have forgotten he was even on the roster the first few weeks of the season. Faried played in just three games through the end of January.

Since then, however, the man known as “Manimal” since his college days, has been one of the most consistently outstanding rookies in the league. (That would explain his lofty perch on my main man Drew Packham‘s Rookie Ladder.)

It’s obvious Faried didn’t fret when he wasn’t in the rotation. He kept his head down, kept working and earned the respect of Nuggets coach George Karl and his teammates with his non-stop energy and effort and a relentless approach that fans anywhere should appreciate.

Now he’s playing crucial, late-game minutes for the Nuggets, a team in thick of the playoff chase in the Western Conference.


Hang Time Podcast (Episode 71) With Jonathan Abrams And Drew Packham

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’re back from All-Star Weekend — sore knees, bruised egos, stuffed notebooks and all — with plenty of memories and stories to share.

In addition to watching the best basketball players on the planet showcase their skills on the biggest stage, the Hang Time Podcast crew played a little ball as well, at Sunday morning’s Jordan Brand open run attended by the likes of hip hop stars Wale, D.J. Clue and my new on-court nemesis Jadakiss as well as several friends of the program.

All in all, it was a splendid time had by all … well, for the most part. (One of us got Tebowed!)’s Jonathan Abrams was there and chronicled the The Best (Pickup) Game at All-Star Weekend. He also joins us on Episode 71 of the Hang Time Podcast to dissect the goings on at All-Star Weekend and his masterful work on An Oral History of the Malice at the Palace, the infamous brawl between the Pacers and Pistons’ fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004.’s Rookie Ladder guru Drew Packham also joins us on Episode 71 to break down the performances of Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio and the rest of the class at the halfway mark of their first season in the league. In his midseason report card, DP taps Irving as his choice for Rookie of the (half) Year, with MarShon Brooks as his biggest surprise and Jan Vesely as his biggest disappointment.

Check out all of that and so much more  on Episode 71 of the Hang Time PodcastThe All-Star Special:


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 49)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — There are only a few places on the planet you can go to talk candidly about March Madness, Jimmer Fredette, Derrick Rose, wild Las Vegas weekends, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin and John Wall, the NBA playoffs and much more without any interruption.

There is only one place you can carry on about all those topics, and more, free of charge. And that’s right here at the hideout with the Hang Time Podcast crew.

That’s why you need to dive into Episode 49 of the Hang Time Podcast to listen to what this week’s guests, two of’s finest, had to say about all of those subjects.

Our esteemed colleague Steve Aschburner, author of the weekly KIA Race To the MVP column, joined us to offer up his wisdom. And’s rookie guru and BYU alum Drew Packham — you already know about his work on the T-Mobile Rookie Ladder — shared his insights on the Rookie of the Year race and Jimmer-mania.


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of, as well as our super producer Micah Hart of’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 38)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Is the Rookie of the Year race over already?

Are the Dallas Mavericks’ title hopes in trouble now that Caron Butler could be lost for the season?

Like always, when there are pressing questions about anything dealing with the NBA, we have your answers here on Episode 38 of the Hang Time Podcast, which includes an appearance from our special guest co-host “3D” Dennis Scott of NBA TV.

(Sorry. The entire HTP crew is recovering from strep throat or some other holiday virus that causes all of our voices to sound stopped up, stuffed up or just plain messed up. We apologize in advance for sounding like Storm Troopers.)


We touched base with’s rookie guru Drew Packham, author of the T-Mobile Rookie Ladder, to talk about Griffin, John Wall and all the other players vying for All-Rookie honors.

We also caught up with our main man Earl K. Sneed of to talk about Butler, Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Carlisle, Mark Cuban and all things Mavericks.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine, our super producer Micah Hart of’s All Ball Blog and your host Sekou Smith on Twitter.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 30)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — First impressions don’t always mean everything in the NBA.

But they do go a long way here at the hideout in determining whether or not we’re going to take your team serious or not.

That’s why we reached out to a few friends on Episode 30 of the Hang Time Podcast. We wanted to gauge some other first impressions after the first (nearly full) week of games around the league.


My main man and NBA TV analyst Steve Smith (a wounded Michigan State Spartan these days) couldn’t believe what he saw from Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who opened the season with a 18-assist effort in a win over the Heat and then followed that up with a virtuoso, 24-assist performance in Saturday night’s win over the Knicks.’s Rookie guru Drew Packham was equally impressed with the regular season debuts of both Blake Griffin (by now you’ve seen this freak show) and John Wall (a physical marvel in his own right), the headliners of yet another bumper crop of first year stars set to take center stage this season.

My main man and AOL FanHouse Senior NBA Writer Sam Amick witnessed the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers kick off their three-peat bid and Phil Jackson’s “final” season in royal fashion, complete with their ring ceremony fit for a Hollywood backdrop.

We also discussed the bizarre fate of the “Lost Draft Class of 2007”Al Horford and Mike Conley joined Kevin Durant and Joakim Noah as the only lottery picks in the class to sign extensions before the Monday deadline, the latest on the collective bargaining agreement negotiations and the nasty fall from grace by both Smitty’s Spartans and the beloved Smyrna Spartans.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine (who was stuck on a train somewhere but called ahead of time to let us know he would be stuck), our super producer Micah Hart of’s new All Ball Blog and your host Sekou Smith on Twitter.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Storm Warnings

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Between the ominous words of both NBA Commissioner David Stern and Players’ Union chief Billy Hunter regarding the gulf separating the sides in the looming labor dispute and the knowledge that we’re still at least 48 hours (and counting) away from the start of the regular season, I’m not sure I can locate my motivation.

All this lockout talk is threatening to burn the edges on what is shaping up to be the most intriguing and dramatic regular season race we’ve seen in years.

Here at the hideout, we’d like to enjoy this one as best we can (just in case we have to go without for a little while after this season). We want to savor this first season of the this new era, the one that began the night LeBron James told the world he was “taking his talents to South Beach.”

We’ve already come up with our short list of things we’re looking forward to this season (feel free to add to our list below):


For months now everyone has been wondering how anyone will be able to deal with James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat this season. After seeing them (everyone but Wade) up close and personal Thursday in Atlanta, I’m suddenly more interested in how the Heat will deal with the heat (from the media and fans around the world) that will accompany throughout their historic journey?

There is really no blueprint for what they are doing. As much as people want to associate this crew with the Celtics’ Big 3, the dynamics are nothing alike. The Celtics were pressed together with a giant (imaginary) clock ticking on their respective career windows to win a title. Miami’s 3 are all in the primes of their careers. They have years to chase titles. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were all entering the final stage of their star-studded careers.

I was searching for some sense of urgency from the Heat, some of that “now-or-never” aura that all championship teams seem to posses. I found it in James, who finally appears to be operating with that chip on his shoulder that’s been missing. He’s always been motivated to win championships but it feels like all the drama surrounding his decision might have given him the extra incentive he needed to finally grasp the only that’s eluded him so far …

… that is if if injuries don’t derail the ride. Wade played just three preseason minutes and now comes word that Mike Miller could be out until January with that hand injury he suffered in practice.


In order for someone — like the Bulls, Bucks, Thunder and Grizzlies — to rise up the standings, someone — like the Hawks, Cavaliers, Nuggets and Trail Blazers — has to slide down. It’s all guesswork right now. There’s no way of telling what will happen. All we have to go on right now is a preseason stint that some teams take much more serious than others. But what we do know is that no teams can rise without the fall of another.

Take a look at the work the Timberwolves (6-2), Hang Time Grizzlies (8-0) and Jazz (8-0) did in the preseason and tell me they aren’t angling to take someone’s spot in the Western Conference pecking order. By the same token, it’s clear that Orlando (7-0) and Boston (7-1) have no intention of conceding anything to the Heat, not even the mythical preseason Eastern Conference title. Even the jilted Cavs (6-2) did their best to make a statement during the preseason.

Come Tuesday night, though, everything changes. The games are for real and the consequences of hesitating this season could last the entire season. Because when someone goes up, someone else inevitably comes down.


Hang Time Podcast (Episode 17)


Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Five days into life after “The Decision” we’re still talking about Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joining forces in Miami.

We can’t help it. The whole affair adds a new layer or two by the minute. So you know we had to dive in on all that and more on Episode 17 of the Hang Time Podcast, featuring special guest co-host Lang Whitaker, the executive editor of SLAM Magazine and’s super producer Micah Hart (who showed up from vacation to vent about the formation of the Heat’s super team).


We’re holding a contest here at the hideout for an official nickname for Miami’s new trio, so do share your suggestions (below).

We did talk about more than that, though.’s rookie guru Drew Packham is in Las Vegas for summer league, so he joined us to talk about John Wall’s debut and some of the other sights and sounds gleaned from Vegas.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast and your host, on Twitter.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

0:00–   Intro, LeBron’s move to Miami, Dan Gilbert’s reaction to LeBron,
risks vs. rewards in Miami and what does it take to win a title?

26:25– Special guest’s Drew Packham talks about Summer League
and Free Agency. John Wall’s performance, Summer League breakdown,
reaction to LeBron’s decision and predictions for the Heat.

40:35– What to look for in Summer League ball, banter about the Atlanta Hawks
and Josh Childress‘ overseas play.

47:55Udonis Haslem back to Miami, Derek Fisher stays with Lakers, Boozer with
the Bulls and are the Lakers still the favorite?

52:40– Wrap-up

Dialing Up The Draft


Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS  — Now that the NBA Finals is in the rear view, it’s time to turn our sole focus here at the hideout to generation next.

We’ve already heard the foolish labeling of this draft as “John Wall and a bunch of other guys,” by at least a half-dozen of the so-called experts. That would be the same group of experts that told you last year’s draft was “Blake Griffin and a bunch of other guys.”

All you have to do is go back and check my main man Drew Packham’s T-Mobile Rookie Report and Rankings from the 2009-10 season to find out just how wrong the pundits were about the last draft class. And the truth is, they are wrong on the regular.

That’s why we abandoned the traditional methods of reading the draft a long time ago.

Few people charged with grading these things can do it properly. Plus, there are so many variables involved with these players involved (Are they as hungry as they are talented? Can they survive the grind and themselves in a pressure-filled situation? Can they adapt quickly to the immediate uptick in competition? And do they possess the drive to be great?) that no one’s livelihood should depend on whether or not DeMarcus Cousins is the next Derrick Coleman.

We’ll give them Wall at the top. But this idea that everyone else can be tossed into the bucket of just “other guys?” We just can’t buy that. Can’t do it.

We’ve got our own in-house crew knocking out the draft in ways that make it easy to ignore the external experts. We’ll take their research, reporting and reputations over the “other guys” every time.


Hang Time Podcast (No. 4)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — From rookies to the Hall of Fame, the Hang Time Podcast has it all for you this week.

The conversation was so good we delivered a two-part show this time: rookie guru Drew Packham joined us to talk rookies and we did a retro-redraft of the lottery picks from 2009 armed with what we know now. Also, NBA TV analyst Steve Smith joined us from Indianapolis, site of the Final Four and NCAA Tournament title game and the Hall of Fame announcements.

Part 1:

Part 2:

My partner, Vince Thomas, is currently on location in his hometown of Buffalo, so his phone situation remains a bit sketchy (there is apparently spotty cell reception in his neighborhood).

But we welcome your feedback, as always. Follow the Hang Time Podcast on Twitter and you can also follow both Vince and myself.

– To download the podcast, click here:  part 1 | part 2. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.