It’s fucking miserable here today. Tropical Storm Alberto has covered Central Florida in a two day long orgy of grey skies, constant rain and just a smidegeon of flooding. Awesome. Less than a week into hurricane season and we’re already experiencing our first effects from the tropics. I’ve lived in Florida for most of my natural life and I swear that I’ve experienced more tropical storms/hurricanes in the last two years than in all my previous years combined. I’m not sure if it’s a byproduct of global warming or El Nino (which for those of you who don’t “habla espanol” is Spanish for “The Nino”) or just a mere coincidence, but whatever it is, it’s really starting to annoy me. Normally I truly enjoy the effects of hurricanes (read: free vacation days, binge drinking, days upon days of poker) but that all changed last night when I walked into my bedroom to discover that nearly the entire carpet had been soaked through with water.
Evidently my backyard had flooded during the afternoon, which caused the water to rise up through the foundation of my house and into the carpet that rests above it. As it was nearly 8:30 by the time I discovered this, I decided against doing anything instead preferring to push the problem off until today. This strategy backfired on me this morning as I stepped out of bed and directly into a puddle on my bedroom floor. The strategy looks even worse now, since it’s been raining harder and even more steadily today than it was yesterday. At this point, I’m just hoping that my dog hasn’t drowned in my flooded house by the time I get home tonight.
I would have called work and told them that I had to be out while I wet-vaced (??) my bedroom today but I blew that opportunity when I lied about having to go home yesterday to meet the plumber. When, in actuality, I was going home to watch the US-Czech Republic match from Germany. What a waste of time that was. It was clear that the US had neither the necessary intensity nor chemistry to compete with the Czechs from almost the first minute. Passes weren’t crisp or decisive. Spacing was poor at best. Even the alignment of Bruce Arena was somewhat curious with Beasley playing on the right side (as opposed to his customary left side). About the only player who didn’t seem intimidated by the moment and/or the Czechs was striker Eddie Johnson who didn’t even get on the field until midway through the second half. Just an awful performance (both mentally and physically) all around. At least all I’ll have to do to watch the next match is roll my hungover ass out of bed on Saturday morning.
I’m not much for “popular music”. Yet, every now and again, there is a group or song that fits into the categories that I most frequently listen to while also appealing to the general public’s pop sensibilities. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley is just such a song. It’s been a mainstay on both urban and pop radio stations for several weeks now. I’d like to say that it doesn’t appeal to me but that just not true. I’ve loved Cee-Lo’s voice since the first Goodie Mob album and have been following Danger Mouse since he’s was doing mashups on vinyl (check out his first big vinyl hit, a mashup of Nas & Portishead…utterly brilliant). I think it was Ian of Sexy Results fame who first dubbed Crazy for Hey Ya like fame. When I read Ian’s thoughts, I had yet to hear Crazy. After hearing the first verse of Crazy a day or so later I immediately concurred. Put simply, Crazy is a perfect musical storm in terms of being catchy, quick, unique and just easy enough for white girls to dance to. The fact that this song has become such a mega-hit is not surprise. Hearing it on the local rock radio station yesterday afternoon was a surprise, a major surprise. We’re talking uncharted territory here. Seriously, when was the last time that a hip-hop song crossed over to the point of receiving drive time play on a rock station? I’ve been thinking about this for some time and can’t think of a single one that didn’t involve a rock group or rocker in some form or capacity.
I know, I know. The NBA Finals aren’t even over yet. I’m secretly hoping that my blatant disregard for the Finals in this space will play some role in the resurgence of the Miami Heat (Pat Riley loves my blog...seriously). Not because I give two shits about the Heat (I’m actually secretly hoping that Shaq and Wade start feuding so that Wade will decide to come play with Dwight in Orlando next summer) but rather because the Finals that only a week ago looked like the most intriguing since I was in high school have quickly eroded into a referendum on the decline of Shaq and the unbelievable coaching maturation of one Avery Johnson. At this point, I’d almost be cool with the Heat winning it all if only because it meant that we’d have to see at least a couple of competitive and exciting games within the next four or five. With all that said, I have a few thoughts on some NBA prospects that I’d like to share.
Brandon Roy: This year’s version of the age old question “How long can a guy be underrated before he becomes overrated?” Has anybody shot up draft boards like this guy in the past six months? At one point in December, scouts were calling him a late first round pick, at best. Now we’re hearing reports of the Bulls considering him at #2. Is he the most NBA ready player in this draft? Probably. Can he make an immediate impact for whatever team selects him? Definitely. Is he going to develop into an NBA superstar who will justify his status as the #2 pick? No way. We’re talking about a two guard with an average jumpshot and good but not great athleticism whose biggest assets are his basketball IQ and versatility. How does all of this equal a player worthy of the top 2 or 3 picks in the draft? I don’t know. Somewhere between 5-12 seems a lot more reasonable to me.
In the interest of full disclosure I should probably tell you that I would be ecstatic if the Magic picked up Roy (even if they had to trade up to 5 or 6 to get him). However, this has infinitely more to do with his ability to fill the Magic’s greatest need than any one aspect of Roy’s game that I’m particularly in love with. He would immediately slide into the starting lineup, giving the Magic one of the league’s most impressive young lineups. Of course, I’m sure this is all going to work out a lot like last year when I was pining for Channing Frye to fall to the Magic, only to watch the Knicks snatch him up while the Magic selected Fran Fucking Vasquez. My prediction current prediction: Roy goes to Portland and the Magic end up with Jerryl Sasser, er, um Ronnie Brewer.
Overrated, Underrated...whatever. Just come to Orlando already.
Shannon Brown: Or as I’m currently calling him, Mike Mamula. Take my word for it, this draft saga is going to end badly. He’s become the latest in a long line of guys to be totally overvalued by scouts due to his freakish combination of strength and athleticism. Did anybody really watch him last year at Michigan State and think to themselves, “Now that is a first round draft pick right there?” I know that I never did. Maurice Ager? Sure. Paul Davis? Maybe, since he’s 7 ft. and all. Shannon Brown? Yeah, not so much. Just read this scouting report from Chad Ford. The item that sticks out most to me is the comment about Brown being a weak ballhandler. Call me crazy but I’d like my guards who are 6’2” and under to be outstanding ballhandlers, not guys who struggle handling the ball during drills. I realize that Brown has a lot of things that you cannot teach athletically but he’s also a 6’2” shooting guard with below average ballhandling skills, an average jumpshot and little to no midrange game. Brown will end up going waaay to high on draft night while more skilled players (Quincy Douby) and players who actually fit NBA profiles for postitions (Kyle Lowry) are passed over. You see it happen in the NBA Draft every year with a couple of guys. Shannon Brown is that guy this year. My prediction: Brown to the Knicks.
Seriously, why not? The Knicks could always use another undersized shooting guard and Zeke has never, ever given us adequate reason to think that he'd make a logical decision with regards to personnel and the logical construction of a team.