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504749 Posts in 17068 Topics by 3074 Members - Latest Member: columnatedruins March 30, 2015, 12:04:42 AM
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51  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: Books and more on: January 11, 2015, 06:48:34 AM
I just read that novelist Robert Stone, best known for "Dog Soldiers," has died. I've got "A Hall of Mirrors" over there on the shelf staring me down. I might give it another read.
52  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 11, 2015, 05:26:30 AM
The Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, and Marco Belinelli. They still lept out to and then nursed a roughly 15-point lead the whole game long. Austin Daye--largely "guarded" by Thad Young--had a season-high 23 or so points, and those small, quick guards of theirs (Parker, Patty Mills, Cory Joseph) had their way wit Mo Williams and Zach LaVine.

What was really obvious about the Wolves was how bad their help defense is. Daye had a move where he got past his guy just behind the 3-pt line anfd made a straight-line drive to the rim. Two defenders were somewhat nearby, one on each side of the lane near the low block, and neither even took a step toward him to stop him, or even put up a hand. That is the biggest challenge: just terrible defense. I am guessing the issue isn't lack of effort so much as it is uncertainty over assignments. Help defense (and help for helper) is schemed. If both guys think the other guy is getting it...

Anyway, it was a good game from Wiggins and Dieng, and a decent offensive game from LaVine. And Martin is apparently FINALLY getting closer, which gives us a 20 ppg guy who is dangerous from 3. We need it so badly...

As for the Gophers, I don't know if it's the losses of personnel, bad chemistry, or just overrated talent. But it hasn't been pretty. They've been in games, more or less, but just can't win.
53  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Kanye fans don't know who Paul McCartney is? on: January 10, 2015, 09:02:22 PM
I never heard of Kayne until it was reported that his fans didn't know who McCartney is. I still don't know what he looks like. Kayne is a guy, right? I could google it I suppose, but I kinda like not knowing who or what Kayne is.

A rapper, songwriter, and producer who, in the past decade (and according to Wikipedia, anyway), had six of his seven studio albums peak at #1 on the charts. (The seventh, at #2. That's the pop charts. All seven reached #1 on the R&B chart. Five of them reached #1 on the rap chart.) You not knowing him is about as important as his fans not knowing McCartney, I'd say, which is to say not remotely.
54  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 10, 2015, 05:01:25 PM
OK, it's the NBA, so we can't wallow in last night's loss: another game tonight.

And it's San Antonio. Damnit. Oh well, miracles happen. Fingers crossed. Maybe they'll sit everyone.
55  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Kanye fans don't know who Paul McCartney is? on: January 10, 2015, 05:00:36 PM
In 25 years how many young music fans will know Kanye West?

Some will--the guy has been hugely successful on both a critical and commercial level, after all--and some won't. The ones who remember him will loudly and self-righteously despair (to their elders who were "there at the time") at the abhorrent state of the world that some of their peers don't. The world will be going to hell! Oh, the horror. "Kids today," they'll say...

Yeah, but they'll be wrong about it.

And it won't matter then any more than its equivalent does now (which is zero, which I hear runners dial).
56  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 10, 2015, 02:38:50 PM
Quick non-NBA whining: the Gophers are 0-4 in the Big Ten, and this in a year when many media outlets were saying they may rise to be a second-tier conference program (i.e., upper third of the league, NCAA Tourney team). But we've seen one (redshirted) player booted from the program for some unreported conduct, a key rotation wing player suspended indefinitely after being arrested for beating up his girlfriend, and a promising freshman transfer out after only a handful of games. Making matters worse, our assumed scoring leader, senior guard Andre Hollins, has been terrible in conference play, shooting somewhere around 30% or less.

It's not a good year to be a Minnesota sports fan. The Gopher football team improved, but other than that, man, it hurts.
57  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Kanye fans don't know who Paul McCartney is? on: January 10, 2015, 09:01:07 AM
In 25 years how many young music fans will know Kanye West?

Some will--the guy has been hugely successful on both a critical and commercial level, after all--and some won't. The ones who remember him will loudly and self-righteously despair (to their elders who were "there at the time") at the abhorrent state of the world that some of their peers don't. The world will be going to hell! Oh, the horror. "Kids today," they'll say...
58  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Thread for various insignificant questions that don't deserve their own thread! on: January 10, 2015, 08:58:11 AM
IS NOTHING SACRED?!

Nothing is sacred.
59  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 09, 2015, 05:00:31 PM

And, these guys have been surrounded by people who have done nothing but tell them how great they are, probably since they've been about 14 years old. Good luck getting through to somebody like that.

True. But it isn't even all bad. Again, that confidence works as a benefit to get you to where you are if you're that player. It isn't just the hangers-on trying to get something from you once you're rich. It's the thing that helps put you over the top to get you that good. You learn to trust yourself, your confidence. Not easy to turn off.

I remember many years ago, an analyst made a comment that really was spot on; he said that even the last guy off of the bench on an NBA team was the best player on his high school team. The league is all guys who at some point in their lives were more than likely the best player on their team. It's gotta be hard to come down from that high, and realize your weaknesses.

Very, very true. Simple math. The NBA has 390-450 players at any given time. Let's just say 450 for convenience of discussion. It is very safe to say they aren't the BEST 450 players in the world: there is always wiggle room on that based on players deciding to be a leading man overseas rather than a 15th man in the NBA; players from overseas preferring to stay where they are comfortable and maybe even making more money rather than coming over; guys making it over others on teams based on relationships with coaches or front office; and even just the numbers game of who needs what when and where. But let's be generous say there are 650 guys at any given time who are good enough to be NBA players.

There are 350 or so D1 college basketball programs, each of which can have 12 scholarship players. That's 4,200 players who were given college basketball scholarships competing for one of those precious spots, not including the thousands of players overseas also competing for those same spots.

But even those, say, 10,000 guys either playing D1 or pro ball overseas already "made the cut" by getting out of their high school or junior programs to earn that spot. It's an infinitesimal percentage of players who actually makes the NBA (or even that top 650 number that says you're in the mix for an NBA spot). What that means is, those guys were almost always not just the best player on their teams, but on the court at any given time. Better than anyone on either team every time out. In high school, they were the best players in their conferences. In their states.

Look at the McDonalds All America rosters over time. That's the best 20-24 players each year. Sure, the best NBA players were pretty much all in that game ... but the converse is not true. Players in those games pretty regularly do NOT make it to the NBA. Many aren't even college stars. Statistically speaking, nobody makes it. Nobody.
60  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 09, 2015, 03:59:33 PM
Great point. And in a weird one, a natural belief from the players. Part of becoming good enough to make the pros (or college, for that matter) is confidence in your ability. It matters A LOT that you are confident in your game. I won't pretend to make accurate scientific stats, but I would guess that a player who is a 6 out of 10 can play at an 8 out of 10 level based on confidence, and vice versa. Think about the dramatic fall of former NBA swingman Nick Anderson, who had a really nice career. He missed some key free throws in a playoff game and literally was never the same player. It wasn't injuries, it was mindset. Darko Milicic, I still believe, was an NBA All-Star hampered by the psyche of an adolescent. (Marko Jaric was along the same lines, but not quite so physically gifted as Milicic.) Confidence matters A LOT.

The result of this confidence is an unnatural belief in oneself. You would never believe the percentages of college--AND HIGH SCHOOL--players who honestly believe they'll be NBA players. I have known high school kids who didn't start for their mediocre high school programs but honestly believed they would end up in the NBA. You're a 6'1" power forward who averages 4.5 ppg...you're not making the NBA. But the reality is, kids think it. And if they think it, what do you think the kids who actually DO have the talent think?

Usually, they are absurdly confident in themselves. And that leads to delusion.
61  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Championship Game: Ohio State versus Oregon on: January 09, 2015, 03:54:50 PM
Now, if only the Buckeye basketball team could act like they want to be playing, at all.

Grrrrr. Sore spot, considering their win over the Gophers at Williams Arena this week. D'Angelo Russell, wow.
62  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 09, 2015, 09:50:41 AM
Definitely. The guys who are out now will have a huge impact. The team wouldn't have been a playoff contender regardless, but I do believe it could have been something approaching .500 on the season with great health and good luck. Maybe, say, a 35 win team (instead of being on pace for 15 or whatever).

That said, I want to be clear that I don't think we seem to have selfish guys on the team, or anything like that. Their inability to "play the right way" is mostly just inexperience and/or lack of talent.

The biggest exception in my mind, from my perspective, is Thaddeus Young. Again, seems like a great person by all accounts, but his game is befuddling at this point. He is extremely athletic, he has great size and length, and he has all the individual skills and traits (shooting, ball handling, passing, etc). But for some reason, he's maddeningly inconsistent in both style and results. He might be aggressive, he might be passive. He might crash the boards, but more often not. He can dribble, but takes that to mean he should grab defensive boards and lead the break, ending up with a terrible pass to someone badly spaced for a turnover. He could in theory be a great defender, but he's far, far worse than Kevin Love was in that regard.

I really can't explain it. Maybe he should have gone to school longer. Maybe the constant changes in systems and coaches in Philly hurt. Maybe--and I am not saying this is true, just one of many theoretical possibilities--he isn't capable of absorbing and acting on the information he's given via coaches. Whatever the reason or reasons, this prototypical NBA player seems to produce decent-to-good stats without playing good basketball. It's remarkable. I never really noticed it before this year, as I'd only seen him intermittently, a game here and a game there. Watching him daily drives me nuts. I hope he opts out of his deal after this year, as he can, and we try to figure out a new solution.

Unfortunately, that actually reminds me of the second-most frustrating guy, Anthony Bennett, our other PF! He is younger so hopefully it still can sink in. But his issue is, he loves the jumpshot, especially from 15-19 feet. And he's a good shooter, or at least a streaky one. The thing is, he uses that shot as his first, second, third option, very rarely even driving. He sets a pick and it's pick and pop, rarely roll. He almost never seems to post up. And worse, when his jumper isn't falling, his whole game suffers: rebounding, defense, everything. It's not uncommon for younger guys' offense to dictate their effort and defense, but you have to get over that.

Anyway, Rubio, Martin, and Pekovic would help a TON.
63  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Championship Game: Ohio State versus Oregon on: January 09, 2015, 07:25:58 AM
I'll have to be cheering Ohio St. on, being a Big Ten guy (MN). But not being specifically loyal to either team, I'm mostly just hoping for a great game.
64  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 08, 2015, 06:00:54 PM
Wolves, after a week or two of speculation on the subject, signed Serbian center Miroslav Raduljica. He had been with Milwaukee and I think LAC in previous seasons, but I got to see him with his national team at the Worlds last summer.

Not a major signing, obviously, but it helps. He's like a 2nd rate Pekovic, big (7 foot) and strong with a really good post game. Just knows how to play post basketball on both ends. We had been using 6-9 Jeff Adrien, whom we waived to make room, at backup center. Adrien was energetic, but undersized and not that skilled.
65  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 08, 2015, 05:35:16 PM
Knicks starters: Pablo Prigioni, Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jason Smith, and Cole Aldrich. First two off the bench, Quincy Acy and Travis Wear.

Um.....ahahaha ha!!!!!!
66  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 08, 2015, 04:42:23 PM
Besides the fact that Pistons beat writers occasionally mentioned his 'dour locker room presence', I guess we have no 'real' evidence.

At any rate, it doesn't matter. The guy is mucking up Houston now. As for the motor-city madmen, they had a stretch of 3 tough games-San Antonio, Dallas, and Atlanta. The SA game was a buzzer beater; last night, they beat Dallas quite 'comfortably', I suppose you could say. Monroe had 27 pts, 18 boards, 6 assists.

On topic, this afternoon I had an NBA podcast on--ESPN's NBA Lockdown--and they discussed Josh Smith. One of the reporters (I forget her name) said she knows Smith and that he's actually a really nice guy, but that he also plays up or down to his situation. The better the team, the better he plays, and vice versa. The more you expect, the more you get. Thought I'd pass that along as it relates to our conversation.

That said, a couple people (I think Jeff Goodman was one) also called him a low-IQ player. And whatever the one who likes him said, fact is he was something of a chucker in Atlanta, too, even in the good years. That doesn't refute the "good guy" assertion, but it definitely does refute the "plays up to or down to the situation" one.

Oddly, I am almost interested in tonight's TNT game, Houston v NY. I get to see Smith in that situation for myself (as well as some Rockets I enjoy watching, like the Greek rookie, Patrick Beverly, Donatas Motiejunas, and my dearly departed Corey Brewer!) and I get to see the train wreck that is the Knicks. On that team, it's all about watching Minnesota native Cole Aldrich, who has been playing pretty well lately.
67  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: *Merged* Brian Wilson current album thread on: January 08, 2015, 04:00:36 PM

Amazon UK saying November 4th 2014 for import copies. Dang, missed it. Is it any good ?

Amazon US doesn't list it at all.

Rolling Stone included it in a spring releases round up. This is January. This is winter, not spring.

  I think right now it's Indian Spring

The blizzard outside--even accompanied by a pleasant upswing of temperatures to 10 degrees F--tells me it's full-on winter.

Seriously speaking, there have been discussions in this thread about the possibility of a surprise album drop. It does happen these days, with the most famous recent example being D'Angelo's very good album Black Messiah a few weeks ago. So it could happen. But will it? Eh, I don't know. I think they'll go a more traditional route and promote some future release date.

An advance single, though, that sure would be nice to tide me over while I wait...
68  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Question re Having Unavailable Content (for Insiders) on: January 07, 2015, 06:12:51 PM
On the flipside of all this, I've been fortunate to play actual Beach Boys unreleased music that they've never heard before -- and in a couple of cases, pieces that certain members have SWORN they're not on -- when in fact said piece either was co-written by them and/or they're prominently featured.

One of the coolest moments was the day that Stebbins and I sat Blondie down during the DW doc shoot and blasted a pristine mix of "Carry Me Home" for him -- a tune he hadn't heard since the day he recorded the vocal.

Him looking at Jon and I screaming: "Me?! Is that ME?!"

Major moment.

I love it. Thanks, Howie.
69  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 07, 2015, 06:09:33 PM
It is head scratching, for sure. I think it is proof, though, that Josh Smith wasn't just a problem on the basketball court.
You could say the exact opposite. You could say that in pure basketball terms, Smith was a problem. He shot in the 30s from the floor as a 6-9 or 6-10 combo forward and he was one of the most prolific shooters on the team. That is a purely on-court problem, and it was a real one. Often, I think chemistry problems are more on-court than off-court, and we just want to make the problems somehow translate into bad people.

That said, pure speculation. I have no idea. He may be the biggest asshole there is. But really, off the court, what evidence of that do we have? The issues seem like they can be contained to the court, if you ask me.
70  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Question re Having Unavailable Content (for Insiders) on: January 07, 2015, 05:43:14 AM
Thanks, that's exactly the sort of story I'm interested in.
71  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 07, 2015, 05:38:15 AM
I'm jealous. But that is awesome for you. It's so fun to watch a competitive team, and some wins? That's better yet. The turnaround is startling.
72  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike and Bruce Tour 2015 on: January 06, 2015, 07:20:19 AM
Scott, please run the idea of doing "all I wanna do" live past Mike, he seems pretty oblivious to the fact it's one of his, if not his great composition.

Such a beautiful song.


Great idea Shady!  I will...

Scott

Seeing/hearing that would be amazing. It's one of my favorites among songs I haven't yet seen live. Please please please.
73  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Question re Having Unavailable Content (for Insiders) on: January 06, 2015, 06:10:13 AM
I'm appreciating the on-topic responses. Can any of you now share past examples more specifically? For example, something then-unreleased that you were dying to talk about with so-and-so (but couldn't)? Some debate you could've resolved or weighed in on, but were prevented? A new impression others couldn't share based on the music you, but not they, had access to?

Seems this line of story isn't interesting to anyone but me, but I do appreciate whatever tales there may be that can now be told.
74  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 06, 2015, 05:53:15 AM
Something else occurred to me from the NY angle: not long ago, there were rumors of the Knicks and Melo parting. The rumors were squashed. But IN THEORY, such a trade would almost be a Melo-for-many deal, as there aren't many guys around that $ and most aren't available.

Could this be less a future cap space + tank move and more setting the stage for a trade like the opposite of the one that got him there (Mozgov, Gallinari, Felton, Chandler). Might we see him shipped for a handful of younger, less talented but potential-laden guys?
75  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: January 05, 2015, 05:48:41 PM
SJS, watch out: the Knicks look to be chasing that #1 pick with gusto! Reports have them moving JR Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cle as part of a 3-way that lands them Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas, all of whom have nonguaranteed deals and will be waived. To make room to complete the deal they will waive Samuel Dalembert.

That's 3 proven (though admittedly imperfect...) players moved for literally nothing.
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