30 May 2009

Kobe and LeBron babysit

Puppets are funny. This one is the best so far.

Why the Gasol trade should be talked about more

In February of 2008, the Lakers traded Kwame Brown and some crumbs to the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol. I've ranted about that move several times since, and if you read my blog, you're familiar with my arguments.

But apparently there are those who don't see the Gasol trade as being any worse than say, the Billups for Iverson move or how Portland traded the pick that was Deron Williams to Utah.

Let me outline why this was a horrendous trade that, in my mind, completely invalidates this Laker team. Without Pau, there is no way they beat Houston or Denver. And as a disclaimer, as much as I disliked the Shaq and Kobe Lakers, I didn't see that team as illegitimate.

What makes the Kwame for Pau trade egregiously inequitable?

The key here is that both players were proven commodities. Pau is an All-Star level forward. Kwame is a major, major bust who contributes little to nothing to whatever team he is on.

That's what bugs me. LA gave away nothing in exchange for a player who has proven he can play extremely well for an extended period of time at the highest level of basketball.

People play the Deron card, but Deron was an unknown commodity coming out of college. There was little to no proof that he could succeed at the professional level. The Jazz took a risk trading up to pick him, just like the Blazers took a risk trading that pick away. It worked out for the Jazz.

In the same way, I do not begrudge the Lakers for having Bynum. Putting aside how ineffectual he's been in the playoffs, that kid has a bright future ahead of him, and I hate that he'll probably be making the Lakers good for another 10 years or so.

But you know what? The Lakers took a chance on an unproven kid coming out of high school. Plenty of bigs cannot take their size and translate it into NBA excellence. LA risked it with Bynum, added a lot of good coaching, and now it's paying off. That's how the game is played.

The Allen Iverson for Chauncy trade was also fine. Detroit made no bones about the fact that they were blowing up the team in order to have cap space this summer. They tanked the season. As they won two championships in the last decade, I think they probably have the right to do so. And in the end, Iverson is a proven commodity in the league... he's a scorer with decent passing skills who can get you 20 points plus per game if you let him have shots.

Chauncy is also a known commodity: a point guard who can score and run an offense well. Denver thought he could help their team, so they took a chance on trading for him.

Was the trade 100% equitable for both teams? Not really, no. Iverson has proved to be more of a problem that Detroit probably imagined, and Chauncy has been better for Denver than I think anyone expected. This is fine.

But when teams are able to give up what amounts to a pile of garbage in exchange for a great player, I don't think that's fair.

And there you have it. Find me another trade in NBA history that is egregiously inequitable as this one was.

29 May 2009

Most spoiler-iffic trailer ever

Warning: if you are interested in the upcoming TV miniseries (TV show? Made-for-TV movie?) V on ABC, then you probably shouldn't watch this. I realize it's a remake from a 1983 two-part miniseries on NBC, but I was an infant then, and I had no knowledge of it before today. 

However, if you don't care about being spoiled, then watch away, and then read below.

I've never seen a more spoiler-iffic trailer in my life. Earthquake happens! Juliet (don't know the actress' name nor her character's name here, so she's Juliet) freaks out, calls her son, says she'll come get him. Meantime, it's revealed the earthquake is due to a big ol' Independence Day ship hovering over NYC and there are more over every major city on Earth. Scene of Juliet trying to get to her son, says she's an FBI agent, drama! Will she get to her kid! Then the drama is entirely removed as she finds her son no problem ten seconds later. 

See the pattern here?

Aliens appear to be friendly (and hot), but there's this movement among some humans to resist their involvement on Earth. There's a big science vs. faith motif. Juliet's son gets involved with the aliens. Turns out the aliens aren't really hot, they're just wearing hot costumes and are actually slimy and gross. 

End of trailer, and now you know everything about this thing except for how it ends. Does Earth triumph against the alien invaders, or not? 

It's the polar opposite of how Abrams handles thing. There is no mystery box here. 

So yeah. What could have been an interesting show for me is now entirely ruined because whoever is producing/directing this thing has no problems revealing the entire story in a two-minute trailer. And maybe they don't care. Maybe they know they're just remaking a 1983 miniseries and assume most people know what will happen already. 

It just bugs me. 

28 May 2009

Greg Oden Flickr stream

Just check it out. Be sure to Show Info.

15 May 2009

J.J. Abrams owns me

J.J. Abrams owns me. I'm a devoted fan of Lost and Fringe, I liked Cloverfield a lot and Star Trek, which I saw yesterday, blew me away. Okay, so I never watched Alias, but I suspect I wouldn't like it much, anyway. 

Abrams' ability to excel at every aspect of film and television is remarkable. Technical excellence in special effects as well as outstanding performances from (usually) unknown actors and a good story... to achieve all of this consistently indicates 1.) he works his tail off, 2.) he surrounds himself with good people and 3.) he's gifted. 

I think he's working his way to becoming a name that will be known for a long time to come.

I was linked to this Youtube video on a comment for a movie review of Star Trek. I don't think I'd ever seen Abrams speak before... anything from Lost usually comes from Damon Lindelof or Carlton Cruse, the show's producers. 

So here's the presentation. If you're an Abrams fan, I think you'll find it interesting.

13 May 2009

A comeback

An interesting look at why I hate Kobe

ESPN's Tim Keown wrote an article on why Kobe is so darn unlikeable (unless you're a Laker fan). I think he does a good job of articulating exactly what it is about The Black Mamba that I dislike.

The strangest moment of the NBA playoffs took place during Game 3 of the Lakers-Rockets series, when Kobe Bryant hit an 18-foot turnaround jumper from the left elbow with Shane Battier's right hand in his face. Bryant immediately began shaking his head with a look that indicated he smelled something really bad. This -- as you know -- is Kobe's dismissive face, the one he now makes after nearly every basket.

How can a guy with that much talent play with such little joy? Why does he feel he has to put on that phony tough-guy show all the time? Underneath all that pre-fab armor, who is he? Does he even know?

That sums it up. I've played with guys like this before, and no one likes them. You know who I'm talking about... the guy that struts back downcourt after making a 3-pointer, the guy that sneers at his opponents on defense. 

Normal people like players who just play the game. Sure, get exuberant after a made shot, but don't do it too often, and don't make it about your opponent. But other than that, run back on defense without addressing your defender. Let your game speak for itself and let others praise you if you're doing well. 

I guess when you've been a basketball prodigy for pretty much your whole life, being unassuming on the court doesn't come easy.

But if Kobe could figure out how to pull it off, he'd gain a lot of respect around the league.

11 May 2009

Nike, LeBron, Kobe

I like it, but if they'd actually used LeBron and Kobe's voices, I would have liked it a lot more.

08 May 2009


I'll say it again: I don't think this guy loses another game until the NBA Finals.

07 May 2009

Rockets/Lakers Game 2

When you understand that this was a must-win game for the Lakers, it's clear why certain players did what they did last night. Fisher's bull rush into Scola while on defense? Had to set the tone. Kobe's elbow to Ron Artest's throat? Just what you gotta do in playoff basketball.

That said, while Fisher will most likely get suspended, Kobe will not, as yet another display of the NBA's complete inability to equally and fairly apply their own rules.

From the Basketbawful blog:

Again, if the league wants to stay consistent in the way it hands down its rulings, Kobe -- like Dwight Howard, who threw his elbow Samuel Dalembert's way earlier in the playoffs -- will be suspended a game for his shenanigans. Particularly in light of the crap he pulled on Shane Battier in Game 1. (And don't think for one second that the Rockets didn't send a video of that incident to the league offices.)

And yet.... despite Stu Jackson's rock-solid pronouncement that any contact made above the shoulders will result in a suspension... the Black Mamba will skate.

This is not to say the refs cost the Rockets the game. Artest was stupid to go after Kobe like that after the refs screwed him over, and should have rightly been tossed. Houston should have gone into Yao waaay more than they did, and Kobe was unconscious despite Shane Battier playing great defense. Is that last part a positive for the Lakers? I'm not sure...

I've just seen the Triangle in too many games to think that the Lakers were "on the right track." They weren't. Kobe was on the right track, nailing impossible shot after impossible shot as Shane Battier played letter-perfect defense save for one possession (a 1/3 screen and roll that he didn't fight through in his usual, A+-manner). Kobe was hot, but the Lakers weren't really running any offense.

And Kobe Bryant, brilliant though he may be, cannot continue to hit fadeaway 20-footers with a hand directly in both of his eyes while moving to his left at, if history is any clue, more than a 34 percent clip. So to expect anything close to his early shooting mark to sustain, would be ridiculous.

Bottom line, Kobe was on fire last night, and now thinks he can hit those shots every night. I don't think he can, and this will translate into another 11-32 night for the Black Mamba, and a Laker loss in Game 3.

06 May 2009


As you can probably tell, I was not all that interested in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. But now, I'm in. The Nuggets and Rockets look much, much better than I expected, the Lakers look beatable, and Dallas handled San Antonio in the first round.

I've decided I'm rooting for Houston and Denver. While the Rockets have players I dislike (Scola, Artest) and the Nuggets have players I dislike (J.R. Smith, K-Mart), I really, really dislike Dirk and Kobe.

As the Jazz decided to be terrible this year and underachieve like me in my freshman year of college, the best way for me to find fulfillment in this year's playoffs is the Lakers failing to win it all. Again. And to be honest, it doesn't look good for fans of the purple and gold. I don't think they can beat the Rockets, Nuggets AND Cavs (and make no mistake, the Cavs are rolling through the East). It's a tough road for them, and the tougher it gets, the more Kobe decides to take over, and as we all know, Kobe the Chucker = lost games.

What sold me on Denver was this: last night I was watching the Nuggets/Mavs game and realized I had forgotten Carmelo Anthony is on this team. I have been spending a lot of time reading about Chris Anderson, Chauncy Billups, J.R. Smith, Nene and K-Mart, and being impressed with the depth of the team, and then suddenly I remembered they have Melo. You're a good team when a talent like him is almost an afterthought.

And as far as the Rockets go, the tag-team of Artest and Battier with Yao roaming down low with Scola = great defensive team. The Jazz may have actually hurt the Lakers in that first round series, in that L.A. may have become adjusted to playing against a non-existent defense (thanks for the memories, Boozer) and now are not ready for an elite one. So good work, Jazz!

As I mentioned earlier, no one in the East can touch the Cavs. I've toyed with the idea that they may actually sweep every playoff series in the East. The odds of that happening are low, but LeBron is on a mission right now, and the other three teams all have major flaws.

It will be an interesting next couple of weeks.

01 May 2009

Mark Cuban tackles the demise of newspapers

The latest post on Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's blog is about how newspapers can become financially sound again. His answer? Credit cards.

Newspapers want to charge for content, or really, anything and everything they can. In order to do so, you need to get the customers credit card on file. NO ONE , and I MEAN NO ONE is going to go through the hassle of entering a credit or debit card in order to buy their first penny, nickel or dime article. It’s far too much hassle. Even using PayPal is a hassle.

You need to get reader’s credit cards on files and start being the baby Amazon of your local area.

He makes some good points. Here are some ways to become the "baby Amazon" of your local area:

We have negotiated for a special price on the Disney DVD release of The Jonas Brothers DVD. Have it on your doorstep at 5am the morning its released, for the low , low price of $17.95. Our advertiser, Dallas Flowers is offering a mothers day special of a dozen roses for $19.95 if you pre order from DallasNews.com/mothersday and pay with your EZ PAY.

I like it. Local newspapers should use their advantage of being local. They've already let the "information is free" cat out of the bag, and now it's time to move on to other areas of commerce.

It'll be interesting to see what papers, if any, attempt to use this model.