27 October 2009

Blake Griffin and the Curse of the Clippers

Awesome, awesome dunk. Blake Griffin is a lock for Rookie of the Year, right?

Oh, but wait. See how he landed a tiny bit awkwardly on that play?

Busted kneecap.

The Clippers are cursed.

26 October 2009


While I saw this weekend's beat down of BYU at the hands of the Horned Frogs coming, I didn't anticipate it would be quite so bad. Just a few thoughts:

1. I've been saying it for a long time now: Max Hall is a good quarterback. I'm glad he's our quarterback. I think he's better than Riley Nelson. But Max is not a great quarterback. A lot of people look at his mediocre performance Saturday and blame his offensive line for not giving him enough time to throw. However, I look back at the 2006 TCU game and John Beck was taking three-step drops and firing. He went through his reads very, very quickly and delivered the ball exactly where it needed to go, again and again and again. Max cannot do this. Cover his first option and he panics. Are our receivers this year or last year worse than they were in 2006? I doubt it.

2. Our defense is horrible. Not much to say here. Defensive line can't get a push on anyone, linebackers are slow, secondary gets lost.

3. I do not enjoy this trend of getting blown out in losses.

Moving on to other mediocre pastures: the 2009-2010 Utah Jazz!

Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie blog did a preview for every NBA team, and I found their assessment of the Jazz to be spot on.

I don't think I'm reading too much into things when I point out that injuries to Boozer and a nagging ankle issue that dogged Deron Williams sort of allowed for this mindset to sustain. Wait until 2009-10 comes, when everything will be all right.

Except, Carlos Boozer's still here. Whoops.

Boozer didn't opt out of his contract, and the last memory most of us have of the Jazz is the picture of a team that barely looked the part of a playoff participant late last season. Utah absolutely packed it in. The Jazz weren't dispassionate, they just didn't execute and continually lost track of their opponents while on defense. This was a bad team just waiting for the season to end.

And now, a few months later, and the team is back? Same team? Why am I getting excited about this?


Eric Maynor has looked pretty good in preseason games, and it's nice to not worry about the backup point guard slot, but the glaring, obvious weakness of this team is and has been interior defense. Until Utah gets someone who is interested and capable of routinely blocking and altering shots at the rim, the Jazz will not go anywhere.

You gotta love it, baby!

I'll enjoying watching Deron and Millsap play. Will Koufos develop into a good player? Will Jerry Sloan ever win Coach of the Year? Actually, I found some interesting information on that last point from Basketbawful:

Let's look at some recent CoY recipients:

1. Mike Brown (2008-09): Subsequently outcoached in the Eastern Conference Finals, marking one of the only times in league history a team had both the MVP and the Coach of the Year yet failed to reach the NBA Finals.

2. Sam Mitchell (2006-07): Subsequently fired by the Raptors only 17 games into the 2008-09 season after a 39-point loss to the Denver Nuggets.

3. Avery Johnson (2005-06): Subsequently fired following the 2007-08 season because the Mavs needed a fresh start. I'm sure those three consecutive humiliating playoff losses had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

4. Mike D'Antoni (2004-05): Subsequently "allowed to pursue employment opportunities elsewhere" by the Suns following the 2008-09 season and yet another painful playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

4. Hubie Brown (2003-04): Subsequently retired 12 games into the 2004-05 season because, dear lord, the man is an ancient mummy creature! And why spend your twilight years coaching the Grizzlies, you know?

5. Rick Carlisle (2001-02): Subsequently fired after the 2002-03 season so the Pistons could hire Larry Brown...and win the 2004 NBA title.

6. Doc Rivers (1999-00): Subsequently fired during the 2003-04 season after his Magic squad started the year 1-10. Note that he continued to suck in Boston until Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen arrived to save him.

7. Mike Dunleavy (1998-99): And we come full circle! Subsequently fired after the 2000-01 season. From the actual press release: "Mike Dunleavy was dismissed as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers tonight, taking the fall for an underachieving team that failed to win a playoff game despite an NBA-record $89.7 million payroll."

Did I mention that Jerry Sloan still hasn't won a Coach of the Year award despite a 1137-751 (.602) record and 12 50-win seasons? Oh, and in 21 years of coaching in Utah, the Jazz have have a losing record exactly...once.

So, to sum up, the state of the NBA Coach of the Year award is an absolute joke.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

In better news, all of the Jazz's games will be on FSN, ESPN or TNT this year... no games on KJZZ, which means I can watch them all.

Trying to decide if that's really a bonus.

To sum up, both the BYU football team and the Jazz are good teams who can win (10 games and 50 games, respectively), but are seemingly incapable of breaking into the next level (BCS game, NBA Finals).

I hear the BYU basketball team should win an NCAA tourney game this season, so that's good.

It's all about progression.

23 October 2009


October 2008. BYU flying high. Six straight wins. 59-0 over UCLA. 44-0 over Wyoming. A less-than-impressive win over New Mexico, but that wasn't anything to worry about.

Here's what I blogged before the TCU game:

But on to what's important: big-time game tonight. Win at TCU, and it's another step towards the Cougars getting a BCS berth at the end of the year. Lose, and BYU will find themselves playing a mid-level PAC-10 team in the Vegas Bowl again. Ugh.

I think the Horned Frogs are going to stack the box and force Max Hall to beat them. I'm not sold on Hall's arm (especially his long ball), but he can make good decisions. If he takes what the defense gives him and doesn't force anything, BYU has a great shot to win.

I went to a friend's house to watch the TCU game. Unfortunately it was one of those games where it was over almost as soon as it began. Not even close. It's one thing to lose a close game to a good team, but BYU was outclassed on every front that night. Max Hall fell completely apart, accounting for two interceptions and three fumbles. He was also sacked six times and threw zero touchdown passes. BYU lost 32-7. It was BYU's lowest point total since September 2005.

It was ugly, and I've never felt confident about BYU in big games since.

And you know what? Not much has changed. I still think the key to this game is Max Hall. Our defense isn't good enough to hold TCU to under 20 points. That means the offense needs to move the ball and get into the endzone consistently, and the responsibility for that depends on Max most of all. BYU's receivers and tight ends can catch. If Hall can find them early, that will take pressure off the running game, and Harvey won't be facing a stacked box all night like he was last year, when he averaged three yards per carry.

I'll be there, and I'll be cheering my guts out. But I don't see the Cougars getting a win at this point.

Of course the last time I was convinced BYU would lose, they beat Oklahoma. So take my prediction for what it's worth.

BYU 24, TCU 31.

22 October 2009

Six days until NBA

Woohoo! The NBA season starts on Tuesday with a TNT doubleheader featuring Boston vs. Cleveland and the Clippers vs. the Lakers.

Here's a video that follows the careers of Kobe, KG and LeBron as they each came out of high school and became stars in the NBA.

It got me pretty excited for the season to start.

Jazz season preview tomorrow.

19 October 2009

The NBA is on its way

Unlike my early opinions of Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, I'm pretty high on Griffin. I can see him being the man on a championship team someday. After that Chicago/Boston series last spring, I think Rose may pull it off, too, though it's harder to be the man as a point guard.

18 October 2009

Smartphone decision made

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on my smartphone post.

If you were curious, here's how the suggestions broke down:

iPhone: 3 votes

Google phone: 2 votes

Blackberry Curve: 2 votes

No one seemed to like the Pre, so that one was out. After long deliberation, I decided to go with the Blackberry Curve 8900 for T-Mobile.

  1. On T-Mobile. No need to switch carriers.
  2. Physical keyboard
  3. Price: $89 at wirefly.com.
  4. Plays and records video, plays music and podcasts.
  5. Wireless capabilities.
  6. Expandable storage (bought a 16GB microSD card soon after my purchase) and replaceable battery.
  1. I miss the iPod Touch OS and, well, the touch capabilities. The 8900's trackball works fine, but the intuitiveness of the flicking and tapping from Apple grew on me, apparently.
  2. The wireless download speed isn't that hot, for some reason. Podcasts that took almost no time to download on my Touch take at least three or four minutes on the 8900.
  3. Youtube videos are pixely and not nearly as clear as they are on the Touch.
Overall I am happy with my selection, but as often happens, I somewhat regret my decision in light of some new information.

You may have seen the commercials for the new Droid smartphone for Verizon, by Motorola. The ads go right at Apple, as apparently the Droid is trying to be the latest iPhone killer.

As the phone is not yet for sale, all I can find are some vague reviews and specs for the thing. But here's the rundown as far as I can gather:

  1. Kick-butt processor.
  2. Runs Android 2.0.
  3. Expandable memory using microSD.
  4. Bluetooth, Wifi, 3.5mm headphone jack.
  5. Slide-out physical keyboard and touch capabilities.
  6. Runs on Verizon, which has 3G ability in Idaho (I think). The company I work for has a discounted rate with Verizon for its employees.
Ugh. At its face, the Droid is everything I want in a smartphone. If I'd known this thing was coming down the pipeline, I may have just waited for it instead of going with the Blackberry. But we'll see what it's like when consumers actually use it. I like to buy the second generation version of technology products, anyway.

15 October 2009

Fringe is The X-Files

I came to a realization tonight while watching the newest episode of Fringe.

This is The X-Files. Follow along:

FBI agents. Check.

Large, over-arcing plot that deals with supernatural themes. The whole thing is fuzzy enough that it keeps you interested, but never so concrete that it makes complete sense. Check.

A character with dubious motives (the smoking man) that helps the FBI agents at times. The observer. Check.

"Freak of the week" episodes that have absolutely nothing to do with the show's over-arcing theme. Little to no plot or character development in these episodes. Check.

Slight sexual/romantic tension between the male and female leads is hinted at from time to time. It never really goes anywhere. Check.

And that's it. All the ingredients are there. It's a rip-off of a show that's not even a decade old.

I'm a little disappointed in Abrams and company. I know everything is derivative of something else, but this is a little too close to be okay, in my book.

Not to mention the fact that Fringe is sloppy. The writers are either dumb or they write dumb FBI agents from time to time, and that bugs me.

In addition, the science in the show is bad. Now, I know it's fringe science, but I'd like them to at least attempt explanations for everything and then remain internally consistent. But instead, they do whatever they want without explaining it over half the time, and then don't bother to be consistent within their own universe.

It's lazy writing. I'd be done with this show except for Walter and the aforementioned over-arcing show theme.

We'll see.

13 October 2009

07 October 2009

Rainn Wilson + Dwight Howard = Awesome

NBA season just weeks away? Color me excited.

In other news, the Jazz played the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls in London yesterday. I caught most of the game. Here's how it went.

1. The Jazz hang tough early.

2. The Bulls take a lead into halftime.

3. The lead is around 10-15 points in the third quarter.

4. The Jazz mount a furious rally to actually take the lead near the end and

5. Ultimately fall short.

I've seen that show before. Boozer and Okur still do stuff that make me shake my head in sadness. If this team doesn't make a major change or two soon, I may be done with this team. Deron Williams and Paul Millsap are my only reasons for watching the Jazz for now.

Here is an interesting trade idea from one of my favorite NBA posters on cougarboard.com:

Utah trades Carlos Boozer, $2 M

Sacramento trades Kevin Martin

Why Sacramento makes the trade

For some reason, they're ready to turn the offense over to Tyreke Evans, so Martin's importance to them went way down when Evans was drafted. A 20/10 forward is a far better pairing with Evans than a 20 ppg SG. They've mentioned actually playing Jason Thompson at C, and he makes an almost perfect compliment to Boozer at PF. He's a good fit there, so they likely try to re-sign Boozer. If he walks, they're okay with that because it'd put them way under the cap in a huge free agency year. They won't make the playoffs again, so they will also be adding another lottery pick to the team. The $2M is to make up for the difference between the salaries, which still fall within acceptable trade allowances.

Why Utah makes the trade

Martin is a piece the Jazz have missed, well, forever. He's increased his ppg every year he's been in the league. His 3pt% has gone up each year he's been in the league. Two years in a row he's hit 40% of his 3's, he hits 85% of his FT's, and maybe most important he gets to the line a lot. He doesn't cure all the ills of the team, but he fills two hugely important holes: more outside shooting and a guy that can create opportunities to get to the line outside of the offense. Put Martin in the Jazz scheme with Williams at PG, and I think, even if his production doesn't go up, his offensive efficiency will. Having Okur, Martin, and Williams on the court at the same time also adds significant value to Brewer, Millsap, and AK, allowing what they do well to become more available. The $2 M spent would have gone to Boozer anyway, but they end up saving $2 M in luxury tax because of Martin's lower cap figure.

Get rid of Booz, add a high scoring SG, the fanbase gets energized, the advertisers get motivated, and hopefully the team creates more post season revenue. The team lets Korver and Price's contract expire. Then say the Knicks pick is top #7, and the Jazz potentially land someone like Greg Monroe out of Georgetown or Ed Davis out of Carolina. The future would look like this:

C - Okur, Koufos, Tomic
PF - Millsap, Monroe
SF - Brewer, AK
SG - Martin, Miles
PG - Williams, Maynor

Not bad. As he mentioned, the trade doesn't do much to address our interior defensive woes, but it'd get me watching. Kevin Martin would fill a need the Jazz have had since Jeff Hornacek retired.

But I get the feeling the Jazz will end up doing nothing and then lose Boozer at the end of the season without getting anything in return for him.

Prove me wrong, guys.