Apr 29, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill (27) and Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee (34) go for a rebound in the second half of game one of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. Lakers won 103-88. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
The happy vibes from the Lakers' Game One blowout of the Nuggets lasted about 18 hours. Interrupting them this morning, and reminding us of the Lakers' best-in-class flair for off-court drama, was the news that prosecutors in Houston have charged forward Jordan Hill with third-degree felony assault for allegedly choking a family member when he was still with the Rockets. At time the story broke, a warrant for Hill's arrest had not yet been issued, but it will be if it hasn't already.
A few quick thoughts and reactions....
- It's worth keeping in mind that none of us have any clue what the underlying facts of the case are. The whole thing could be bullshit, or Jordan could be guilty as hell.
- A criminal charge is just an accusation. It's a very serious accusation, but that's all it is. The Lakers' front office should collect as many facts as it can about what's going on with this case. The rest of us should cool off and wait to see how it plays out.
- Jordan will have to make an appearance with authorities in Houston to submit to arrest and post bail. And unless the charges are immediately dismissed, which seems very unlikely, there could be other court dates that interfere with his ability to be with the team. Again, just wait and see.
Obviously this would be a troubling story at any time of the year, but thinking solely in terms of the Lakers' playoff trajectory, the timing is just awful. The suspension of Metta World Peace has already dealt a blow to front-court depth, and Jordan was in the midst of a breakout stretch in which he's been adding much-needed energy and hops off the bench. If he has to miss any games or if his play suffers from the distraction, look for the return of Troy Murphy to the second unit.
UPDATE (11:45 a.m.) - The LA Times has obtained the relevant court documents, which set forth in more detail the accusations against Hill. First, one clarification: the accuser isn't a family member but a woman he was dating. As for the rest, it's pretty ugly:
Hill, who was with the Houston Rockets at the time, got into a dispute with the woman on Feb. 29 while they were discussing their future at his apartment in Houston, according to court documents.
The woman, Darlene Luna, threw his two cellphones to the floor and was hit in the legs by Hill, who pulled her off a sofa and dragged her toward the cellphones before throwing her against a wall. Hill then put her in a chokehold, which caused her to gasp for air, according to the complaint.
The woman flew back to her residence in Orlando and called police in Houston about four weeks later, on March 29. Luna emailed pictures of bruises on her legs and upper body and also copies of plane tickets to and from Houston. She had been in a relationship with Hill for about two years.