Friday, February 22, 2013

The Whole 42 Letters

Everyone get ready because the blog is taking the fuck off. You are all in at the ground floor and should be proud of your exquisite taste. We're going to be writing at least one post a day plus the weekly mailbag from here on out. Enjoy your letters this week.

Is the overall waning interest in All Star games more a reflection on the fans or the players? 

I'd go with Option C here and say the leagues are at fault. They simply haven't created an interesting format that excites fans and incentivizes players to try hard. The MLB All-Star game is probably my favorite All-Star game because there are at least some stakes in the game (although the pitching changes and efforts to play everyone sucks a lot). The NBA All-Star game should probably be on the same night as the Dunk Contest and the 3-point contest. I'd additionally let different pairs of teammates play 2 v. 2 against each other the Saturday before (1 v. 1 is the ideal but there's too much public humiliation that comes from it--aka there's a reason tennis players and golfers are so weird) in a tournament. I'd rather watch Durant/Westbrook v. James/Wade than just about anything in the world. Also, you make the slam dunk contest the same day as the game and all of a sudden the superstars aren't wearing "fashionable" clothes and geeking out for 2 hours; they're in game clothes and getting competitive. 

The fans are ready for an All-Star game to be awesome and the players are some of the most competitive people in the world. The league just needs to get people on board with an entertaining format.

Note: none of this applies to the Pro Bowl. That is, and will always be, fucking awful.

Is law school hard?

I plead the 5th.

Did the Thunder make the right move in trading James Harden?

Honestly, it is too early to tell. The only way we'll know is if this team wins a championship. That's where the bar was set for this team before the trade, and now that Ibaka and Durant have improved so much, it's an even greater expectation.

James Harden's improvement shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone since he has gotten better every year he's been in the league. At the same time, Kevin Martin deserves props himself because he has fit into the Thunder (in the regular season) seamlessly. Regardless, the best way to evaluate the trade is by reviewing the options we know that the Thunder had.

Option A: Keep Harden for this season, hope that they can get him at a lower price (unlikely), and if that doesn't work, amnesty Perkins who is really really bad at this point. Pros: You keep your core together and championship banners fly forever. You could have traded Harden next summer as well. Cons: You have to pay the luxury tax and might lose Harden without getting anything back.

Option B: Amnesty Kendrick Perkins for God's sake and give the $18 million (!!!!) he's owed over the next two years to Harden. It became pretty clear that Perkins doesn't have a role to play against the Heat and you could have gotten 60% of his production for 10% of the price with a guy like Jason Collins coming off your bench.

Option C (what actually happened): Trade Harden for smaller pieces to give yourself some cap flexibility without killing your cap room. Toronto's 1st round pick looks like it will be in the second half of the lottery and Jeremy Lamb can't beat out Reggie Jackson for minutes right now. Kevin Martin is likely gone after this season and it is unclear if Lamb and two picks between 8-18 (Toronto and Houston) will help the Thunder topple the Heat.
Pros: Payroll flexibility, plus the ability to win the title even if it is slightly diminished. The Thunder are hoping the lure of playing with two young superstars and Ibaka will help them in an aging West. Cons: They are, you know, less likely to win the West, and don't really have cap flexibility this year anyways.

Honestly, I'd have preferred to go with Harden and Option A, see if he can win them a championship (I think they'd be the favorites if they had him now), and then hope that he doesn't want to leave a championship team. Why they haven't cut Perkins makes no sense to me. He's basically an overpaid liability at this point and they play much better without him. So that's a long-winded way of saying they weren't right.

What Harry Potter character would you most want to be friends with? The character, not the actor. 

Definitely not Harry, he's a GLORY BOY. Hermoine is a know-it-all fun hater so she's out. Ron is a big crybaby--oh I'm mediocre, but I have a hot girlfriend and my best friend is the most important wizard of all time, why can't it be about me, I'm good at wizard chess!!!

The random Gryffindorians -- Neville, Luna, Dean, and Seamus -- are all, you know, fine. They have their moments but, like, that's the best I can do? Pass.

Hagrid is a doofus so he's out. BE SMARTER!!!! The teachers are all pretty one-dimensional: they have their schtick and they stick to it. Except for, of course, Snape (spoiler alert: he's a huge flip flopper). 

The most sensible answer is Sirius Black. He's like a cool uncle or older brother who can have a good time with but he'll also give you good advice. Not the kind of advice that helps you pass your OWLs, but the kind of advice that makes it so we don't have to read 50 pages about you being too chicken to ask some girl to a dance.

Also, screw you JK Rowling for making the entire Prisoner of Azkaban be about a guy who turns out to totally be fine. That was just a 350-page journey down a rabbit hole that had nothing to do with anything.

Do you think musicians are egotistical because they are hung or because they aren't hung?

Everyone knows that the real reason people play music is that they couldn't get girls otherwise. No judgment. That makes a ton of sense and is the reason I once did a spin class. As for musician dongs, I'd say that every falsetto singer is lacking. Every badass who actually doesn't give a fuck, instead of pretending not to give a fuck but giving lots of fucks (looking at you Mick Jagger), is a regular Oden.

In honor of the Oscars, who would you want to play you in the movie of your life?

The person I'd want would be like Bradley Cooper or Matt Damon or someone awesome and cool like that. You know, a real dignified actor who is good-looking and smart and has a perfect jaw line. 

Now, realistically, if I had to say who would play me, I'd say Jason Biggs is the worst-case scenario and Adrian Grenier with bad hair is the best-case scenario. Steve is a mix of Brad Pitt (looks) and Chris Farley (sense of humor). Jon is a mix of Elijah Wood (height) and Wilmer Valderrama (looks).

What's the best thing about cats?

The best thing about cats is that their fur is soooo soft. Seriously, it is like a living teddy bear. Honorable mention goes to cats having funny textured tongues, when they play with laser pointers, when they drag in a dead rodent or bird, and when they sleep next to you.

Doesn't Roger Mason Jr. sound like he was the President at some point in history?

Definitely. Roger Mason, Jr. was just like chilling behind a lot of the NBA stars during the Dunk Contest. It made zero sense. Like I think he's pretty high up in the Player's Union, but seriously, how did he get there?

Somehow Wolf Blitzer, Wale, Shaq, President Roger Mason, Jr. (back left), and the main owner of the Nationals got together to take a picture. The NBA All-Star game is the best.

Which team do you most want to see make a Harlem Shake video?

None of them. As a resident of Harlem, let me just say stop it. This is America and we're supposed to be the best country. YouTube is for dunks and cat videos and nothing else--not your stupid dances. The only team that has any right to do the Harlem Shake is the Diplomats.

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