Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bobcats Thoughts, 8/12

Today’s Office Tip will serve you well no matter what profession you choose: Neverunder any circumstances—allow Smokey Robinson’s “Cruisin’” to be the last song you listen to before you leave the house. It implants itself like that bug did to Arnold in Total Recall and leaves its victims helplessly signing/humming it all day until co-workers become suicidal. Now that I think about it, that song is evil in two ways. Besides having a secret ingredient that makes you crave it, it’s also responsible for one of the more underrated “yuck” moments in film history (on the list right below Luke tongue-kissing whom he would later find out was his sister in The Empire Strikes Back): Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow performing that song together as father-and-daughter in Duets. Did they not look at the lyrics beforehand? This is not a tune a father should be singing with his daughter; that's what songs like "Hip to Be Square" are for. Forget about the “this is not a one night stand” line, Smokey/Huey coos for permission to “open up and go inside” and--after his request for access was apparently allowed--then proclaims, “I can just stay there inside you.” Ick. Why didn’t they just follow that up with a karaoke of Lil Wayne’s “Pussy MVP”? Just disgusting.

Anyway, we’ve traded the 38th pick of this year’s draft, G Kyle Weaver, to Oklahoma City for a 2nd round pick in next year’s draft. This transaction signifies either a) nothing of consequence or b) yet another scouting failure; I’m not sure which. Weaver was supposed be a selfless, solid defender—traits that usually transcend a player’s college-to-pro transition. But they didn’t—at least in the Summer League—so we’ve cut Weaver loose. The potential upside of this deal is if OKC continues Seattle’s futility and therefore the eventual pick we get next year will be higher up in the second round than this year's 38 (and the pool of talent is also deeper). I’d rather analyze the trade that way, because the alternative conclusion is that we simply guessed wrong on yet another pick.

One other item on this non-news generating week: in a comment to one of my earlier posts, Nate pointed out that our uniforms are ugly—not just ugly, 1980s Houston Astros ugly. However, unlike just about every other aspect of this team, I’m actually not eager to flog the Bobcats on their uniforms. True, the orange is ghastly. It looks like the old Denver Broncos jersey on crack. And yet, I have to give the look points for uniqueness, especially when those alternate blue jerseys are just so generic; they’re just like the Knicks/Suns/Wizards (that is, when they’re in non-C3PO mode).

But at the same time, I don’t think they’re transcendently ugly. Nate mentions the Astros, but before we leave our sport for comparisons, I’d ask him to look no further than Houston’s basketball team. Those mid-90s Rockets pinstripes were the uniform equivalent of New Coke. Other jerseys that I think are worse than ours (in no particular order):

1. The Philadelphia 76ers. Like the Rockets, their current look is especially unforgivable, because they also had a perfectly decent color scheme that they inexplicably ruined. Throughout the 80s, they had a simple red/blue format with a clean “Sixers” across the chest, and they desecrated it with that Vegas-style font and Viet Cong-black look. Spider-Man did this same switch back in the mid-80s, and the results were so disastrous, the hate mail so abundant (I actually wrote one myself to Marvel Comics at the time and turned it in as a 2nd grade writing assignment—and I got an “A”) that they eventually made the black uniform its own villain, Venom.

2. The Wizards. Need I say more? In fact, they’re the only team to pull off a double-double of sorts by killing both a cool name (Bullets) and a cool color scheme. And come to think of it, Michael Jordan was in the front office for these guys too! At this rate, let’s hope MJ never joins Boston’s front-office, otherwise the Celtics might adopt some sort of teal look.

3. The Bucks. Terrible name, terrible color scheme. I’ve said it before: their emblem is a literal deer-in-the-headlights.

4. The Warriors. I’m one of the few people who doesn’t like those retro outfits with the trolley on them—too “hand-drawn” looking.

5. This deserves special mention here: The 2008 US Men’s Team uniforms. Cluttered imprints, non-matching patterns, white-on-white lettering and background. Really, if you want to desecrate the flag, it’s a lot cheaper to just burn the damned thing. Not since Vanilla Ice’s flag-inspired Zubaz have I seen red-white-and-blue butchered so badly. I can’t believe Mamba blessed off on those digs.

On the flip side, I love just about everything the Nuggets have ever done. Whether it’s the current powder blues, the no-frills orange “Denver” ones, or the incomparably spectacular Alex Englishes with the Atari font and cityscape picture straight out of Missile Command, they simply cannot go wrong in my book.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bobcats Thoughts, 8/7

ESPN’s announcement that “Earl Boykins has joined the growing legion of veteran role players unable to resist the lure of European riches” raises a critically important question: how many people does it take to qualify for a “legion”? Depending on how you slice it, Boykins’ legion totals either 9 (anyone who played in the NBA last year who will play in Europe next year) or 3 (previously exclusive NBA players who will play in Europe next year). No wait—that should be eight and two, because one of those legionnaires is Carlos Arroyo, and he’s going to Tel Aviv, which is—technically--not in Europe. I suppose you could also say that Boykins is part of two legions, one more exclusive than the other.

But back to my original question: how many do you need for a legion? According to dictionary.com, you need to have at least 3,000 people to call yourselves a legion. Plus you have to be armed and Roman. Hmm, well Earl is going to play for Italy, but I don’t know what sort of weapons arrangements he’s negotiated into his contract. Never mind.

Oh wait, now I see this is one of those multi-part definitions. Let’s see…well, the other definitions have no specific ethnic or armament requirements, but they do stipulate that you need a “large” or “great” number of people in order to call yourself a legion. And I’m not sure if eight or nine cuts it. Take the “Legion of Super-Heroes,” for instance (that would probably be the best historical example): I seem to remember hundreds of them, to the point that I think the DC comics artists were just making ones up on a bet (The Dog Catcher, Cell Phone Boy, etc.). On the other hand, a legion like WWE’s "Legion of Doom" only consisted of two wrestlers. Even counting their football pads, that was probably a misnomer, though, and they should have just stuck with “Road Warriors.”

Anyway, bye-bye, Earl. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. He didn’t get here until February, and he only averaged just under 16 minutes of playing time. Never a great assister, his 2.34 A/TO ratio would have placed him 41st in the league if he'd played enough minutes to qualify--or the meat in a munchkin sandwich between Allen Iverson and Kyle Lowry. His defensive level was also Arena Football-caliber—he had just 14 total steals for the year.

Part of me feels like Sam Vincent didn’t allow him enough playing time to ever get comfortable, yet he also never really flashed any potential either. Even Adam Morrison contributed several “Wow” moments during his supposedly disastrous rookie season; Earl’s top games were (take your pick): his 14-point, 4-assist masterpiece in a March loss to Utah; or his 6-point, 8-assist, 1-steal tour-de-force in an April win against Toronto. These were mot exactly the types of games we’re going to be talking about 20 years from now, asking each other where we were when Earl dropped 6 on the Raptors. On the other hand, we paid less than a jumbo mortgage for him; at $350 K, he was a penny stock. So good luck in Europe, Earl: fly high, go hard like geese erection…

In other non(sense)-news, we signed free agent SG Shannon Brown for an undisclosed amount in order to…what? I’m not sure. Is it possible to use players as dummy corporations in order to launder money? That's about the only reason I can fathom for picking up yet another shooting guard. You know how in the movies the cops will say that Such-and-Such Restaurant is merely a “front”? Like the Bada-Bing in The Sopranos? I think that’s what we may have here. Shannon Brown is a “front” for Bob Johnson to hide money, or for stashing MJ’s gambling proceeds or something. That would also explain why the amount of the contract is “undisclosed.”