Monthly Archives: June 2013

“With the fifth pick in the NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns Select….”

Alex Len, the fifth pick in the NBA draft, selected by the Phoenix Suns

Yesterday was Draft Day.  Draft Day is so interesting to me; your team can acquire its franchise player for the next decade or your team can screw itself into oblivion in the blink of an eye.  There are blockbuster trades, money saving trades, future trades, teams drafting for each other.  It’s absolutely great and absolutely terrifying.  Unfortunately for a Phoenix Suns fan, it usually falls under the terrifying part of the spectrum.  I honestly cannot remember that last time I felt good about the Suns after draft night. Naturally, I was nervous all day yesterday.  It stressful and hectic, with lots of ups and downs.  Let me break it down for you.

8:00 AM: “Feeling good about this draft.  I think we’ll end up with Oladipo or McLemore!”

8:15 AM:

“Oh my god! We could end up with Nerlens Noel! This is a dream come true!”

8:43 AM: “There’s no way CLE skips on Nerlens Noel. He’s a perfect fit for their team and he’s exactly the type of player they’ve drafted the past few years.  Oh well. OLADIPO!!!!”

10:36 AM: “But what if the draft ends up being 1. Noel 2. Oladipo 3. Porter 4. McLemore ??? I guess Bennett would be a good pick for us!”

10:57 AM: “Wait. What if we end up taking Alex Len? Please, god, no.”

11:31 AM:

11:33 AM:

12:09 PM:

12:15 PM:

2:54 PM:

“OH MY GOD, THERE’S HOPE! MCDONOUGH, MAKING MOVES!!!”

3:33 PM:

4:02 PM: “I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen tonight.”

4:36 PM: *Cleveland shocks the basketball world by taking Anthony Bennett with the number one pick*

4:46 PM: “DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS? WE COULD END UP WITH NOEL!!!

4:49 PM: *Orlando has selected Oladipo, Washington has selected Porter, and Charlotte has stupidly selected Zeller*

“We’re set!!!!”

4:53 PM: “What if we like totally screwed up and took Len? Haha, even the Suns aren’t that dumb. We got McDonough. We’re set.”

4:54 PM: “Oh my god, what if?!?!?!?!”

4:56 PM:

5:06 PM: *With the fifth pick in the draft, the Phoenix Suns select Alex Len* 

5:08 PM:

5:11 PM:

5:33 PM: *Paul Coro reports the Suns turned down an opportunity to trade for Jrue Holiday* 

5:45 PM: “ANDREW WIGGINS 2014!!!!!!!!”

It was a pretty rough day for me.  I never in a million years thought Noel would drop to us and we take Alex Len over him??!?!! He was the projected number one! He has so much more upside! You can build around that guy! He’s automatically your best defensive player and your anchor for the next five years! He was perfect for the Suns.  At the very least take McLemore!

I just can’t get behind Alex Len.  He’s a got a better post game than Noel AND THAT’S IT.  He’s not as athletic, doesn’t have as high a ceiling, not as good a rebounder, and not nearly the defender Noel is.  Why is everyone suddenly calling Len a rim protector?  He averaged 2.1 blocks (to Noels 4.4 blocks!!!!), which looks good until you realize HE’S 7’1. Shouldn’t a 7’1 sophomore be averaging more in college?!  Also, .2 steals to Noel’s 2.1 steals.  Noel, at 7 foot, averages as many steals as Len does blocks, NOT TO MENTION THE 4.4 BLOCKS.  The analytics will show he is vastly overrated.

Len has a decent offensive game, but honestly, what’s the best case scenario for this guy? I just see Jonas Valanciunas.  I just don’t think he has the talent or athleticism to be a Brook Lopez or Al Horford.  He just looks sluggish coming down the court. I just don’t understand it. I hate the pick so much and it’s such a typical Phoenix Suns pick.  I was really hoping Ryan McDonough would change things for us. And then the decline of the Jrue Holiday trade? Any time you have the chance to take Alex Len over the projected number one AND decline a Jrue Holiday trade that would have redeemed the Suns for the 2009 draft, you have to do it….right? Why, McDonough, why?! You were the chosen one! You were supposed to end the bad drafts, not join them! Bring balance to the Suns, not leave them in darkness! 

I do, however, like the Archie Goodwin pick.  I see a lot of potential there, although I’m not sure why the Suns are insisting on making him a point guard.  This is the only silver lining of the draft for the Suns.

And look, for the record, I hope I’m wrong. McDonough is supposed to be a smart guy and I have to think he knows what he’s doing here. Hopefully, he knows something I don’t.  And I hope Alex Len proves me wrong.  And maybe he will, but I just don’t see him having a better career than Noel.

Oh well.  The Suns have at least set up 2014 for a great tanking year and we can start looking at the 2014 draft.  I’d get excited about the prospect of getting Andrew Wiggins, but I’m sure the Suns will find a way to screw that up to.

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The Bad Luck Phoenix Suns and the 2013 Draft

Which draft prospect will don the new logo next season?

It’s almost that time.  That time of the year where you get a true sense of who the basketball nerds are.  It’s NBA Draft time, baby.

Be warned, we’re focusing on the Phoenix Suns.

QUICK ASIDE ON THE LOGOS: Like the black on the starburst logo, hate the new S logo. Those new jerseys better be awesome. OKAY DRAFT TIME.

The Suns have a top 5 pick for the first time since 1987.  Wait, what???!!!!?!?!?! How is that even possible?  As many dark years as we’ve had and somehow we have less (0) number one picks than Cleveland has had in the last three years (2).  The highest we’ve ever selected was number two, which we’ve done twice.  By my count, we’ve only cracked the top ten 17 times in our 45 years as a franchise.[1]

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[1] Granted, some of this is the Suns’ own fault; PHX is notorious for trading away their picks, but still.

I’m not much of a conspiracy theory guy, but you have to admit the odds have been never in our favor[2].  We will always be the team that comes so, so close[3] to winning it all and we will always be the team that gets screwed by the Draft.

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[2] Points for cleverness?

[3] 1976, 1993 Finals runs, the infamous 2007 Stoudemire/Diaw suspension, 2010…I’d even count 2006.  We got to the Conference Finals without Stoudemire.

I really thought this would be the year the NBA would finally give us a break and throw the number one pick our way.  Are we not owed one? Instead, Cleveland ends up with its third number one pick in 10 years. Cleveland, who undeniably tanked the end of their season[4] and ended up with only the third worst record, is rewarded with a top five pick for the fourth time in three years.  The lottery is such a joke and it rewards tanking teams[5].

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[4] Don’t try to tell me a young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristian Thompson and three months of Anderson Varejao couldn’t string together more wins than the Suns IN THE CENTRAL DIVISION.  Do you know what horrible, unforgivable things I would do to have that team?!

[5] Also, don’t try to tell me the Suns tanked.  They’re really that bad.

Even so, the fifth pick is still something to get excited about.  For the record, I don’t think this is a weak draft.  While there aren’t any standout superstars, I think it’s loaded with solid guys that will no doubt be starters in a few years.  We’ll revisit this draft in a few years, realize it was actually pretty good, and we can all say I said it first.

So, who are the Suns picking? Well, it’s tough to say.  This has got to be the most uncertain draft of all time.  It all depends on the four teams ahead of us and I see a few different scenarios:

Scenario 1 (And probably the most likely scenario):

  1. Cleveland selects Nerlens Noel
  2. Orlando selects Ben McLemore[6]
  3. Washington selects Otto Porter
  4. Charlotte selects Alex Len
  5. Phoenix selects Victor Oladipo

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[6] This is probably the toughest call. Word on the street is ORL is big on Oladipo.

I’m thinking (hoping?) this is how things will turn out. The Orlando and Phoenix picks could flip.  I’d be really happy with McLemore or Oladipo.

Scenario 2 (The Cleveland Cold Feet Scenario):

  1. Cleveland selects Alex Len
  2. Orlando selects Nerlens Noel
  3. Washington selects Otto Porter
  4. Charlotte selects Anthony Bennett/Ben McLemore
  5. Phoenix selects Victor Oladipo/Ben McLemore

Okay, so I kind of cheated on this one.  It’s tough to say with Charlotte, they’ve been quiet on their intentions.  Obviously there are a million different scenarios here, but I think these two are the most likely.  There’s a lot of talk about Cleveland taking Len over Noel, but honestly, I don’t see it happening.  I think Noel has much more upside and it would go against what Cleveland has been doing with their picks over the last few years.  Either way though, it probably doesn’t really change things for the Suns.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough has said that the Suns are targeting about eight different guys that they could be possibly drafting.  I think we can safely assume that Noel, Porter, Len, Bennett, McLemore, and Oladipo are six of those eight, with the others probably being Trey Burke, CJ McCollum, Michael Carter Williams, or, gulp, Cody Zeller.

There’s no way we’re getting Noel or Porter; they’re the only two surely to go by the third pick.  I’d be really, really happy with Oladipo or McLemore.  Dipo is a crazy worker with a great motor.  There’s no way he doesn’t make it in the league.  Worst case scenario he’s a more athletic Avery Bradley.  Best case?  Who knows?  He might end up being the next Dwyane Wade.

I really feel like McLemore could be a Paul George-caliber player.  There’s been a lot of questions about his character, fitness, etc, but I don’t think you can pass on his potential.  Both him and Dipo would be perfect fits for the Suns.

I like Bennett a lot too, but I’m not sure he’d be a great fit in Phoenix.  Love his game, not concerned with his height, and I think he’ll be a star, but I don’t know how we’d use him.  Still, I’d take a chance on him.  He’s kind of like a way more talented Brandon Bass.

If we don’t come away with Oladipo, McLemore, or Bennett, I’ll probably be disappointed.  I’m just not sold on Alex Len.  Everyone says he’s agile, but he looks pretty sluggish running the floor to me.  He reminds me a lot of Jonas Valančiūnas and don’t get me wrong, Valančiūnas is a nice player, but he’s not the type of guy you want to build around.  The injury scares me a bit too.  I can’t shake the feeling that he’s not going to hold up in the NBA.

Unless the game plan is to play Goran Dragić at the two and trade Kendal Marshall, (or maybe even Dragić, but that would just be blasphemous.  I can’t see it happening.) I don’t understand why we would be drafting a point guard.  Burke’s got potential, but he’s too small.  Can’t get behind Carter Williams. I do like McCollum a lot, but I’d much rather have a guy like Dipo or McLemore.  Why would we develop another PG and move Dragić to SG when we could just draft a SG, both of which have great potential?  I’ll be severely disappointed if McDonough’s first move as GM is to draft yet another point guard.

And if we draft Cody Zeller? I quit.  I freakin’ quit as a Suns fan.

The Suns also have the 30th pick.  Hard to say what’s going to happen there.  Hearing Tony Snell here a lot, but I’d prefer to take a chance on a big guy here, especially if we’re drafting Oladipo or McLemore.  I’d love to see the Suns trade up and go for someone like Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert, or Kelly Olynyk.  In recent years, I’d say there’s no way, but maybe McDonough will shake things up.  I hope so.

If I were a betting man, I’d say we leave the draft with Oladipo.  Or McLemore. It’s too hard to say! It all depends on that ORL pick, but I think they have to go with McLemore.  There’s more upside there.

So Oladipo!! Yeah!! What do you think of Oladipo? Would he be your top pick?

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World War Z Review: Zombies and Brad Pitt, What More Do You Want?

7.5

I had no problem voicing my concerns for World War Z after the first trailer came out.  I read Max Brook’s novel[1] a few years ago and absolutely loved it.  It’s a refreshing take on the genre and I highly recommend it.

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[1] Did you even know it was a novel first?

If you read the novel, than you would have been shocked by how absolutely little the film has in common with the book.  Outside of there being a zombie apocalypse, you’d be hard pressed to find a lot of similarities between the two.

So, naturally, I was disappointed when I saw they weren’t being faithful to this great book.  The CGI zombies looked ridiculous and straight out of I Am Legend.  It just looked silly to me.  A PG-13 rating certainly wasn’t helping its case.

I decided to see it anyways.  And I’m glad I did, because I was 100% mistaken. It’s pretty effin’ cool.

World War Z is the perfect summer flick.  Tons of action, tons of Brad Pitt, tons of CGI.  It’s fun.

It’s not your typical zombie film either.  It had a good sized budget and it’s reflected in the huge scale of the movie. There’s a good amount of globetrotting and a lotttttttt of CGI zombies.  I thought that would bother me, but it turns out to be pretty entertaining.  Plus, the final act plays homage to your typical zombie film, with real zombies!  Okay, actors in prosthetics.

It is PG-13, so you’re not going to see people getting ripped apart like in your average zombie flick. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, the violence is pretty minimal. I certainly wouldn’t call it the best zombie movie ever, but it has to be the best zombie blockbuster ever.

Brad Pitt plays a fixer for the U.N. and that’s really all you know or even need to know.  Pitt is front and center the entire movie[2] and he does a fine job.  Although, I have to say, Brad Pitt: not a sexy runner.  You’ll see what I mean.

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[2] Seriously. Find a scene he’s not in. Hell, he’s in most shots.

The movie isn’t without its flaws; there are innumerable logistical errors and I still think it would have been better if they followed Max Brooks’s original story[3].  But, you just have to sit back and enjoy it for what it is.  I enjoyed it more it more than I did Man of Steel, for the record.

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[3] Do I sound bitter about that?

Also, they’ve apparently already greenlit a sequel.  Maybe we’ll see a faithful adaptation of the book afterall!!!!

But in the meantime, go see it![4]  What did you think? Did anyone read the book?

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[4] And then read the book, because it’s better. Okay, I’m done, I swear!

7.5

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The Great Experiment: When a Long Time iPhoner Switches to the Galaxy

If you know me personally, you probably know I’ve always been an iPhone guy.  I’ve had four different iPhones, going all the way back to the first model.  For the longest time, I was the only guy around with an iPhone.

I loved my iPhone like it was my first born.  I always told people to hop on the Apple train and I loved it when everyone suddenly had an iPhone[1].

I defended it like it was my own product.  I was ecstatic when the iPhone 5 was announced last year and thought the prospect of a bigger screen was more than enough to keep me satisfied.  And it was…for a while at least.

I started to get pretty bored with my iPhone in the last few months.  When you think about it, the phone has hardly changed at all since its first iteration.  We’ve had a couple of redesigns, a slightly bigger screen, added 4G LTE support…but really nothing big.  Apple has added the things they’ve needed to add to stay relevant in the world of smart phones, but the new features always feel like they should have been there all along.  In other words, there’s been a general lack of innovation from what was once the most innovative phone out there.

iOS has been equally unimaginative[2] over the years.  It’s had the same old look and lacks the customization that Android offers.  It’s gotten to be pretty boring.

My boredom with the iPhone, combined with several issues (broken lock button, constant crashes) with my 5, made me question the phone I once held so dear.  I started to look towards other phones.  I was enamored with the giant screens and better features of the Galaxy S3/S4 and the HTC One.

So I decided to try a little experiment a few weeks ago.  I bought a Galaxy S3 on eBay.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds.  My plan was simple; try it out for a while and if I liked it, I’d sell both my iPhone 5 and GS3 and get the new GS4. [3]

I instantly fell in love with it.  I loved the bigger, higher resolution screen, widgets[4], the better notification center, control center[5], swype texting….all the things Apple so stubbornly will not add to the iPhone.  Why, Apple, why?!

The customization on Android was exactly what I was yearning for in my phone.  I can have easy access Spotify and Twitter widgets on any of my seven homepages, make ringtones in a blink of an eye[6], and jump right into an app from my lockscreen.  I could make Google Chrome my default browser.  I had true multitasking, with the ability to watch a video while I texted.

I loved the feel of it in my hands too.  A lot of people don’t like that the Galaxy is plastic, but I don’t really mind it. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the aluminum on the iPhone; I feel like I have to have a case on it to protect it. Didn’t feel that way with the Galaxy.

I was very high on the Galaxy that first week.  I felt like I was leaning towards it.  And then the honey moon phase ended.

After just a week!!!! Can you imagine if I had done something crazy like sold my iPhone and gotten the GS4 instead of just playing it safe and just dropping $300 on a second phone?![7]  Crisis averted!

So, in week 2, I started to notice things.  My biggest issue was how slowly it felt like I was doing things on my phone.  I wouldn’t say that Android Jelly Bean is slow…it’s just not as fluid as iOS.  It was constantly a step behind when typing and it’s very frustrating.

The WiFi and LTE didn’t feel as snappy as it did on my iPhone either.  Everything just seemed a step behind.

Other issues:

  • Games SUCK on Android. Seriously. Playing Scramble with Friends on iPhone is 1000x better than on Android.  There are also far fewer games available.
  • The email app is atrocious.  Its sluggish and never stays on the combined view.  Granted, I know there are better apps like Gmail, but I like having all of my emails in one place.  A lot of people hate the iPhone email app but I think it’s perfect.
  • S voice ain’t got nothin’ on Siri. Not that I really use either, but hey, it should at least be acknowledged.
  • I wasn’t able to receive MMS messages from some people and when I did, it took forever for them to download.
  • I had an annoying INPUT KEYBOARD METHOD alert that would not go away.  I found a solution to the problem, but it required switching to a single keyboard, which I didn’t want to do.  Annoying.
  • The camera app is nice, but the camera itself is weak sauce.

Granted, I was using a phone that’s now a year old.  The GS4 is no doubt snappier, better camera, etc…but my main issues were with the OS and those aren’t changing with a newer phone.

I started to miss iOS features, like iMessage, emoji, a decent email app, games…I started to miss my ol’ iPhone.

I got excited when iOS 7 was announced.  Apple is finally adding things like a control center and better multitasking, which are some of the things I enjoyed on Android.  So, I put the iOS 7 beta on my iPhone and switched my sim card back over to Old Bear.

I had some problems with it (it is a beta after all!) so I had to switch back to iOS 6.  I haven’t switched back to the Galaxy since then, however.

You win, Apple. I’m a slave to your phone and your fluid iOS.  I just wish you’d make some changes.

iOS 7 is a good start, but I want more.  I want a bigger screen, better resolution, NFC[8].  I want widgets and a blinking LED for notifications, dammit.

The Galaxy is a fine phone, but it just didn’t work for a long time iPhoner.  And alas, I am back on the iPhone train.  Oh, and if anyone is interested in buying a Galaxy S3, let me know![9]


[1] I’m trying to figure out when this happened…it seems like it was around the 4S that the iPhone became so ubiquitous.  Suddenly, even my mother had an iPhone.

[2] How did it take FOUR YEARS to give us a notification center?!

[3] It’s really hard to justify buying a second phone. I was just bored, okay? I don’t have a better answer. It doesn’t matter how much it cost!!!

[4] Seriously, widgets are the greatest. I don’t understand why Apple won’t give us widgets.

[5] I realize Apple has implemented this in iOS 7. Maybe I should have just waited a week to hear about iOS 7 before I went out and bought a whole new phone.  I DON’T CURR.

[6] Could Apple have made it more of a pain in the ass to make a ringtone? It’s a project every single time.

[7] I wasn’t going to tell you the price, but I did. I am not a smart man.

[8] You know Apple is saying we screwed the pooch by not adding NFC to the 5 when they add AirDrop to iOS 7.

[9] Crickets.

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Quick Thoughts on MAN OF STEEL and THIS IS THE END

Double feature!!!!!! Which should you see this weekend?

Man of Steel

6.4

No doubt you’ve recently heard someone say “The new Superman movie is going to be great! Christopher Nolan is doing it!”

It drives me crazy to hear that.  Nolan is listed as an executive producer for Man of Steel, but people really need to learn to take this title with a huge grain of salt.  In the TV world, the executive producer is typically the show runner and is heavily involved.  In movies?  Anything goes, but it usually means jack shit.  A lot of times, and I suspect it is the case here, it is simply a marketing scheme.  Wouldn’t you be more inclined to see a movie if you thought Stephen Spielberg[1] played some part in the production of it?

Does that mean Nolan had absolutely no part in this movie? Not necessarily, but it feels conspicuously un-Nolan.  David S. Goyer, one of the writers, along with Nolan, of the Dark Knight trilogy, wrote the script.  I’m sure Nolan was consulted here and there, but Man of Steel felt much more like a Goyer work.

So make no mistake, this is Zach Snyder’s movie.  Do not go into it expecting a Nolan film or you will be severely disappointed.

Snyder is sort of hit or miss in Hollywood.  For what it’s worth, I enjoyed 300, Dawn of the Dead, and Sucker Punch for what they were.  I didn’t even hate Watchmen.  Snyder has always been at least decent in my book and I had been thinking/hoping that Man of Steel would be his breakout film.  I regret to say that it is not.

MoS is a mess from a plot standpoint.  The opening act shows Krypton amidst war and destruction in an Attack of the Clones sort of way (yuck!) and it drags on just a little too much.  From here on, the movie moves too fast.  There’s so little character development and we jump from flashback to flashback of hobo Clark Kent’s past for a while, until we get into the actual plot of the story.  There’s certainly no shortage of action in between.  Seeing Superman fight fellow Kryptonians in over-the-top brawls that destroy building after building is pretty cool, but even that gets old after a while.  It felt like watching the same scene over and over again.

Oh, and it ends as abruptly as this paragraph.

The film is light on humor.  I suppose they were going for a darker vibe, but it didn’t feel dark so much as it did….bland.  Perhaps this was the representation. In typical Snyder fashion, there’s a constant filter placed on the screen that makes it look sort of dusky.  I found it to be incredibly annoying.

This is nitpicking, but they manage to go probably two hours before actually saying Superman.  I think it would have been a lot cooler if they didn’t say it at all.

There are some decent performances from Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, and the always-intense Michael Shannon.  Amy Adams[2] does well in spite of a weak character.  I think Henry Cavill makes a pretty good Superman, even if he is a little underwhelming.  He’s jacked beyond belief and looks a good deal like Tom Welling’s Clark Kent from Smallville.  It might be worth it to see Man of Steel just to catch a glimpse of those chiseled jaw bones and pects.

After the movie, I complained that I wasn’t a fan of Superman’s origin story.  After some thinking, I think I’m just not a fan of origin stories in general.  It’s just so tried in the superhero cannon of film and the only one I truly enjoy is Batman Begins.[3]

 So yeah, pretty disappointed with Man of Steel.  It felt like it could have been so much more, but fell flat on the potential.  It’s better than Superman Returns, no doubt.  It’s awesome to see Superman flying with modern CGI; I just wish the movie itself were as awesome.

 I’m holding out hope for a sequel.  I think it has potential to get something going in a second round.  We shall see.

6.4

 

 

This is the End

8.4

It’s Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny Mcbride, James Franco, and Jonah Hill stuck in a house together during the apocalypse. Why would you not see it?!

I’d say it’s not quite as good as Pineapple Express, but it’s still great.  Really entertaining.  It’s completely ridiculous and over the top.  You’ve probably already heard this.  You already know about all the cameos and how great Michael Cera is in his five minutes of screen time. So just go see it, you don’t need a review!

“What is this?! You can’t even write 100 words about it after reaming Man of Steal for 700???!!!!” Sorry! I just don’t think there’s much that needs to be said about This is the End.  Everyone should just go experience it for themselves.  You’ll enjoy it!

8.4

You’ll probably have a better time seeing This is the End than you would seeing Man of Steel.  Thought it would be the opposite.


[1] Spielberg has got to be the pioneer of this executive producer business and record holder of most-producer-credits-without-ever-doing-any-work-on-the-film-whatsoever awards.

[2] Do we qualify Amy Adams as hot? After some discussion with my buddy Tyler, the answer is an unenthusiastic yes…I think.

[3] Are you sick of me raving about the Dark Knight trilogy yet? I don’t care. I’ll defend it to the grave.

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Why You Should Be Watching the 2013 NBA Finals

A lot of people hate San Antonio. A lot of people hate Miami.

It should be no surprise people aren’t watching this NBA Finals like they were last year, right?

Wrong. If you’re not paying close attention to this series, you are not a true basketball fan.

Let’s take a look at San Antonio.  I used to be a SA hater.[1]  I used to think they were the Suns’ arch nemesis, that they played dirty, and were overrated.  I thought they were boring and I relished every early playoff exit, setback, and misfortune they experienced.

But I was wrong.  The Spurs have been the most consistent team over the last decade and there’s absolutely no argument to be had otherwise.  They’ve dominated the league, going to the Finals four times and coming out with the trophy four out of those four times (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007).

Save for 2005 and 2007, most of those teams look pretty different.  1999 had Duncan and Robinson.  2003 was mostly Duncan.  It wasn’t until 2005 and 2007 that the Big Three really took shape.

The San Antonio Spurs of 2013 look radically different from any of those teams.  Guys like Bowen and Kerr and Horry are replaced with the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter.  Respectively, they were the 15th, 46th (!!), and 28th picks in their respective drafts.  RC Buford and his staff really know how to get the most out of their draft picks and trades.  These guys could very well have been completely irrelevant anywhere else in the league[2], but instead, Leonard is doing a swell job guarding LeBron James, Green is knocking down every open three he gets, and Splitter is getting DESTROYED BY LEBRON (But seriously, The Spurs don’t get past Memphis without Splitter).  You have to respect a team that can string together low draft picks and glue guys to play such beautiful basketball.

And it is beautiful.  Anyone who says San Antonio ball is boring is fooling themselves.  Gregg Popovich’s system is meticulous, but so wonderfully calculated.  They take care of the ball (Four TO’s in Game 1).  They take efficient shots.  They swing the ball.

Popovich has gotten every member of the San Antonio Spurs over the last 14 years to play for something greater than their individual selves[3].  They play team ball in a league that has become a star’s league.

And at the center of it all is Tim Duncan, their humble, team-first star, and the greatest player of the generation.[4]

Now let’s look at the Miami Heat.

If we’ve ever talked basketball before, surely you’ve heard my distaste for the Heat.  I stopped liking them sometime after the first championship, when it became Wade’s team.  I despise the player Wade has become (he was all heart in 2006; now he’s just a dirty player).  Then the big “Decision” of 2010 and LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach.

Has there ever been a more distasteful way for a free agent to switch teams before??!!

I digress.  So now, the Heat has its superstar lineup with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.  I hate it when teams do this.  How many times have teams tried to mash a bunch of superstars together and hope they get a ring out of it?[5]  It’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the Spurs did.  Except this time it’s even worse, because the players decided to do it.  Do you think Michael Jordan would have ever teamed up with Clyde Drexler or Reggie Miller?! Hell no!!!!!!

So LeBron and the Heat fell quickly out of my good graces.  I booed them, cheered against them, laughed at them when they couldn’t figure it out that first year.  I’d celebrate LeBron’s shortcomings and ridicule his passiveness.

I proudly wore my “LBJ SUX” shirt last year during the playoffs.  Until Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals at least.  Facing elimination against the Celtics, LeBron hit a new level.  He went off like I’ve never seen a player go off before.  He destroyed the Celtics.  Here’s a refresher:

Game 6: 45 points, 19-26 FGA/M, 15 REB, 5 AST, 1 Broken Hearted Celtics Fan 😦 

 

He’s been a changed player since then.  He’s redefined his game.  He’ll kill you inside or out, and if you double up on him, he’ll find the open man.  It’s impossible not to admire it.  The “LBJ SUX” shirt hasn’t left my closet in a while.  I just can’t justify it anymore.

The Miami Heat have done a really great job at surrounding James with the right players.  Spot up shooters like Mike Miller, Ray Allen, and, occasionally, Shane Battier (He made an absurd 15-26 threes in the Finals last year, but still only shot 38% for the whole playoffs.  What????!!!!! I still try to tell myself that the Heat only win with Battier shooting like that), rats like Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers, and then balls-to-wall nutso guys like Chris Anderson make for a pretty solid supporting cast when you have two superstars and best effing player in the world.

I may not personally like them, but the basketball fan in me has to appreciate the 2013 Miami Heat.  How could you not?  The way they can really, really pour on the defense for periods, run the fast break, hit open shooters…it’s impressive.

So now we have two great teams playing each other in the Finals.  Yet, viewership is down 12% from last year, because we don’t have two superstars going at each other like last year.  I’ve got news for you.  This will be a far more memorable series than last year’s.  In a lot of ways, it already has been.  San Antonio stole Game 1 from Miami.  Miami destroyed San Antonio in Game 2.  Those are both big deals.  Remember, the Finals has a 2-3-2 format, so the next THREE games will be in San Antonio.

There have been plenty of highlights so far too.  Tony Parker’s buzzer-beating bank shot and LeBron’s aforementioned ownage of Splitter stand out.

There are a ridiculous amounts of little side stories surrounding this game.  Will LeBron repeat?  Does small ball work?  Can Popovich hit an even higher level of coaching? Will Tim Duncan get his fifth ring 14 years apart from his first?

Think about that last one for a second.  To my knowledge, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the record for longest gap between his first and last championship (17 years).  But still, Kareem wasn’t impacting the game in his last championship run like Duncan is now.  Duncan’s numbers have hardly even changed over that 14 year span.  Do you still think Kobe is the best player of the generation?

The 2013 NBA Finals have two great teams, each of which fully deserve to be there.  The Spurs are probably playing their last Finals with Timmy.  The Heat are trying to cement themselves as a dynasty.  There are countless Hall of Famers playing.  It’s an old school matchup and truer basketball than what we have seen in a while.  It’s fun.  I originally predicted Miami in 6, but I think this thing has potential to go 7 games.  That’s only happened 17 of the 66 NBA Finals.  Either way, it’ll be a grind out series.  I’m in the process of moving right now, so I don’t even have cable; I’ve been watching the games on my phone.  That’s how exciting this series is.  So why wouldn’t you be watching?


[1] If you’re a Suns fan like me, you’ve probably hated the Spurs at one point or another. But make no mistake, the Los Angeles Lakers are our rivals. The Spurs just happened to be the best team in the league when they ousted us in 2005, 2007, and 2008.  I’ve come to accept this.  I think.

[2] Can you imagine if Phoenix took Leonard over Morris Twin A in the 2011 draft? He’d probably be on his way out of the league by now, the way we develop our rookies…

[3] Exception: Stephen Jackson

[4] It’s not Kobe. It’s just not.  He’s had too many dark years (2004-2007). He doesn’t win the first three wings without Shaq and having Gasol in his prime certainly didn’t hurt for the next two.

[5] Case in point: 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers Experiment

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GB BLOGGITY VLOGGITY: EPISODE NUMBER UNO

Try to contain yourselves.

It’s the year 2015. The GB BLOGGITY is the most popular shizzit on the interwebz and you want to know how it all started. Well, here we go: Episode Number Uno.

Be a doll, lemme know what you think.

Sorry for the crappy quality/audio lag. I could have fixed it but I knew it would drive you crazy. So I didn’t. Checkmate.

It’ll be resolved by EPISODE NUMBER DOS. Maybe.

Whaddya think?

Arrested Development: Season Four Review

The gang is back

7.9

 

Arrested Development.  How ironic that the title of the show fully describes what happened to the show?

 

AD was 10 years before its time and it suffered for it.  With only 3 seasons, it’s development had been arrested for the last seven years.

 

Like most people, I came into the AD scene after the show had been cancelled.  There’s no point in describing how much I love it; anyone who has watched it in the history of ever has felt the same way I do about it.  It’s funny.  It’s ridiculous. It’s sweet.  It’s clever.

 

And now it’s back.  Netflix has given us 15 more episodes of Bluth shenanigans.

 

I suspect that many of you don’t like it.  It’s understandable; season four starts off incredibly slowly.  Michael’s all weird and clingy and utterly helpless.  George Michael feels a lot less like George Michael and more like Michael Cera (and believe it or not, there’s a difference).  George Senior is a shell of his former self.  Lindsey looks like she’s had some facelifts that make her look like a monkey.

 

These characters that we grew to love are both the same and different at the same time.  I think it’s a reflection of the show, rather than the characters.

 

The show has adapted an almost absurdist style for season four.  The characters are more exaggerated than ever.  The situations they find themselves in are equally as ridiculous.

 

It can be hard to get into at first.  But, like the first three seasons, I think it is again ahead of its time.  S4 has one of the most intricate storylines I have ever seen in any medium.  The writers were so incredibly meticulous in intertwining these character’s stories.  What happens in GOB’s story affects Tobias’s story which affects Lindsay’s, Michael’s, etc.

 

Admittedly, seeing the Cinco de Cuatro scene from a different perspective for a 10th time can get a little old, but you have to appreciate the effect it ultimately creates.  Everything comes together pretty nicely in the last two episodes.

 

You have to realize that this isn’t the same show it used to be and I think that’s fine.  It really picks up with the Tobias and GOB episodes.  I might even argue that the GOB episodes are some of the best the show has had.

 

Season Four ends sort of interestingly, without much of a resolution nor a cliffhanger.  It just sort of…ends.  I think this is the writers’ best intention to leave the show with its uncertain future.  It could pave the way for a movie, as Mitchell Hurwitz has always expressed interest in making (there are endless jokes about it throughout the new season), or another season, or it could just be how the show ends.  Only time will tell.

 

In the meantime, I can fully appreciate season four for what it is.  I enjoyed it a lot, with all its quirks and innovations.  I hope to see more AD in the future.  What did you think? Leave a comment, let’s discuss.

7.9

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GOT – “The Rains of Castamere” – That was Messed Up

9.1

FIRST. ARTICLE. EVAR.

Okay, we got that out of the way. Let’s talk about that doozy of a pre finale on Game of Thrones last night. BE WARNED, HERE BE SPOILERS.

ONE MORE TIME, THERE ARE SPOILERS UP AHEAD.

I DON’T MEANT TO BE HARSH BUT IF YOU READ THIS AND YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED IT YOU ARE AN IDIOT AND IT IS NOT MY FAULT IF I RUINED GAME OF THE THRONES FOR YOU.

You’ve been warned.  If you didn’t know, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and the rest of the crew have a consistent format for every season of Game of Thrones.  The first eight or so episodes usually contain a lot of buildup (with plenty of good stuff in between, of course), culminating to something cray cray in episode nine, and concluded by an end-tying resolution 10th ep.[1]

So, if you’ve been playing close enough attention, you should have been expecting a cray cray episode last night. AND SEVEN HELLS WAS THAT A CRAY CRAY EPISODE LAST NIGHT.[2]

Let’s start from the beginning.  The-only-Stark-anyone-still-cares-about was showing Mama Stark how he was going to sneakily take Casterly Rock right from Tywin Lannister.  We all fist pumped at the idea.  But, in order to do so, Robb would need the support of those ugly Freys…

The King in the North makes a visit to old Argus Filch.  He apologizes and offers his uncle in place of him to marry one of Frey girls.  We get a glimpse at those warlocks and it is not unfair to say that the Frey girls have probably had a scuffle or two with an ugly stick (they did not win).

Meanwhile, Daenarys, Daario, and Jorah talked about sacking a city. Jorah seemed a little jelly of pretty boy Daario…

Sam dropped some knowledge on a wildling (is she considered a wildling? Or just Craster’s daughter/granddaughter/half-sister/cousin?) and is labeled a Wizard. What.

Aria is so close to her family she could stick a sword in the Hound’s skull…

Jon Snow and Co. think they can sneak up on a horse breeder (“If we crouch, they won’t see us running across the open field!” – Tormund Giantsbane), but clumsy Jon, you hit your sword on a rock! They chase the horse breeder to the outside of a tower where….

…Bran and Goonies are camping out! They’re soooo close! They try to keep it quiet, but Hodor can’t keep his shit together, so Bran has to get his Warg on and knock Hodor’s ass out.

Whoa! Did Bran just become interesting?!

While all this is going on, Jon is finally outted as a spy.  With some help from a Bran-controlled Direwolf (Summer, I presume?), he is able to kill Orell and get away. No more tongue action for you, Ygritte!

He’s also attacked by Orell’s eagle. Which reminds me, did everyone hear about the avian awareness thing?  It was my understanding that everyone had heard.

Did I get ya?

I digress.  Jojen tells Bran he just did something no Northerner can do by getting into Hodor’s mind.  But obviously Sam is the only Wizard in Game of Thrones.

Across the sea, Jorah, Daario and Barrack Obama snuck into Yunkai and kicked some serious Yunkai ass. Dany has a new city.

Finally: the Edmure and Ugly Frey Girl X wedding. Surprise! Ugly Frey Girl X is actually Cute Frey Girl! Way to go Edmure! You landed Cute Frey Girl!

Filch Walder Frey gave Robb the old you-could-have-had-Cute-Frey-Girl look.

There’s a reception in a big hall. Edmure’s happy. Cute Frey Girl is happy.  Robb and his hot wife are happy.  She tells him that she’s pregnant and that she wants to name the baby Eddard. NED LIVES ON!!!!

Then something weird happens.  After Edmure and Cute Frey Girl are carried away to do the dirty, Catelyn notices the music takes a shift (Readers will know this as “The Rains of Castamere”, also the episode’s title).  The doors shut.  Bolton’s got armor on.  Something’s fishy here.

Catelyn figures it out and tells Robb to GTFO. “Duhhh, what, Ma?” says Robb, as he turns around to see some rando STAB TALISA RIGHT IN THE EFFING BABY 37 TIMES.  Poor Ned.  Kid never had a chance.

Robb then takes about 12 arrows to the back and Catelyn gets a few as well.  Mama Stark tries to take Ugly Frey Wife hostage to save Robb, but Walder don’t give an eff about nothin’.  That double crossing rat Bolton slits Rob’s throat, Catelyn slits Ugly Frey Wife’s throat, and then gets her own throat slit.

While all this was going on, Aria was like 50 feet away. The poor girl was so close. And then they killed Grey Wind. ANOTHER DIREWOLF HAS BEEN KILLED.  I’ve gotten to the point where I’m used to seeing Starks getting killed.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to seeing the giant dogs getting killed.

So yeah, that was pretty messed up. What does this mean for the show? Well, Robb’s army looks to be donezo. But the North Remembers….right? RIGHT?!

There’s lots to discuss about the episode. What did you think of the Red Wedding? Why is George R.R. Martin such a jerk to the Starks?  Leave a comment and we’ll discuss!

9.1


[1] S1.E9 – Ned’s CAPA IS DETATED FROM HIS HEAD, S2.E9 Battle at Blackwater!!!!

[2] If I say “cray cray” one more time in this article, feel free to stop reading.

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And Here We Go

Well, well well. It has begun. WELCOME TO THE GB BLOGGITY.