Tuesday, July 29, 2014

David Thorpe Does Not Explain Why Byron Scott was a Bad Hire

Issac Baldizon/NBAE
Issac Baldizon/NBAE
In the TrueHoop section of ESPN's NBA website, noted contributor David Thorpe had a podcast with Henry Abbott about the Los Angeles Lakers's terrible hire of Byron Scott.  To sum it up, Thorpe thought Scott was a boring choice.  But he did not give a good reason(s) for why Scott was a bad choice.  He just assumed the Lakers made the safe move and did not bother looking elsewhere.  When Abbott asked Thorpe how does Scott operate, Thorpe admitted he did not know.  How do you criticize a coach if you don't know what is his coaching style?  Scott has had some success rebuilding a franchise, but it took time both with the New Jersey Nets and the then New Orleans Hornets.
Thorpe's advice for the Lakers was to be more innovative with management.  This meant traveling around the world for a year to find the best coaching staff.  He praised the Cleveland Cavaliers for hiring Israeli American coach David Blatt, who had great success for Israel's national team and the Detroit Pistons for hiring Stan Van Gundy, who is in the process of modeling the Pistons after his Orlando Magic team, which had one center and four shooters.
The Los Angeles Lakers looked at Scott, Lionel Hollins, George Karl, Alvin Gentry, Kurt Rambis, and Mike Dunleavy before selecting Scott.  I believe they picked Scott because he was a mentor to Kobe Bryant once, when Bryant was a rookie.  They wanted a coach who had experience working with young players, which he has.  They wanted a coach who can earn Byrant's respect and trust.  Scott might have the most respect and trust from Byrant out of the other candidates. 
While Scott's former teammates showed their support for him and shouted "Showtime is back", Scott realizes that he can't duplicate Showtime.  He knows the Lakers will not be able to be an up tempo team with the roster they have.  He's preaching defense and moving the ball around.  Coach Thorpe, that was Scott's coaching style.

Robert Lin enjoys basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Is That Wonder Woman?

Recently, Zach Snyder, the director of the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie, tweeted this photo of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  While many people complain that Gadot does not have the build to portray Wonder Woman, the biggest gripe here is that it is devoid of color.  It is really bland.  Brown bland.  Most common pictures of Wonder Woman have her in a yellow, red, and blue outfit adorned with white stars.  If the upcoming movie will be shot like Sin City, okay, it might work.  But if everything else in this movie is colorful, she will look out of place.  The color makes her more suited for any other movie about ancient Greece or Rome, but not super heroes.  It also makes her outfit and weapons look old and dull.  The upper attire's design is nice, but her skirt could be longer.  The seat belt covering her chest plate looks unnecessary.  Here's hoping the production team makes some adjustments to Wonder Woman's color scheme before the movie gets released.

Robert Lin is a writer who enjoys basketball and manga.  Follow him on Twitter or Google.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What are the Sacramento Kings Thinking?

Wiki Commons

During the NBA free agency, the Sacramento Kings chose not to resign starting point guard Isaiah Thomas and instead signed former Los Angeles Clippers backup point guard Darren Collison to be their new starter for $16 million over three years.  Meanwhile, Thomas has signed with the Phoenix Suns for $28 million over four years.  It gives the Kings a $7 million trade exception and the team is also saving $2 million a year.  However, by looking at their stats, Thomas is obviously the superior player.  Last season, Thomas averaged 20 points per game, shot 45% from the field, 35% from the three point line, 6 assists, and a 20 PER.  Collison's averages as a starter were 15 points, 48% FG, 42% 3PT, 5 assists, and a 16 PER.  PER stands for player efficiency rating.  Under the PER scale, a 16 is third option on a team, while 20 PER is borderline All-Star.  Why would anyone let go a potential All-Star caliber player for a third option?
The Kings were also pursuing Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith, who currently is making $13.5 million and has four years left.  Smith has regressed considerably since he joined the Pistons last season.  The Kings already have forward Rudy Gay, who is making $17.8 million and has two years left.  Gay was a gunner that both the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors realized was detrimental to the team, yet the Kings traded for him.  Surprisingly Gay did have better number with the Kings than the Raptors and the Kings believe a change of scenery will do wonders for Smith too.
Most teams look for good players with cheap contracts, so the players are more valuable.  The Kings appear to want "good" players despite their bad contracts.  Hey Brooklyn Nets, the Kings are willing to trade for Joe Johnson and his massive $23 million contract because they think he'll be better in Sacramento.
The Kings were looking at Smith because they wanted a defensive presence.  There are two undrafted big men that were great defensively in college, UNLV's Khem Birch and Florida's Patric Young.  They would be better and cheaper options compared to trading for Smith.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Greedy Side of Kickstarter and Early Access


These days, many game developers are eschewing major publishers and trying to get their games launched through Kickstarter, followed by Early Access.  With Kickstarter, the game developer uses a crowdfunding platform to raise money for their game project.  Instead of borrowing money from a major publisher, indie developers turn to the general public for sponsorship.  People that donate might get a pre-order bonus.  Since they are avoiding major or mainstream publishers, they are called indie developers.  The reason being is so they have full control over their project, IP (intellectual property), and including how the money is used. 
For example, Iron Lore made the popular action RPG (role playing game) series Titan Quest for now defunct THQ but the Titan Quest IP belonged to THQ.  Now, many of the staffers from Iron Lore have moved on to Crate Entertainment and are working on the spiritual successor to Titan Quest, which is called Grim Dawn.  Crate Entertainment have already exceeded their Kickstarter goal and the game is currently in Early Access.  Two Acts and four classes are currently available, with multiplayer planned to be added in the future.
Early Access is a sponsorship way of quality assurance control.  Normally, a major publisher would pay QA testers, people with such experience, to try the game and look for bugs and errors.  With Early Access, the public has to pay to play the game in advance and look for bugs, knowing that the game is incomplete.  Some people do look for errors, others just pay just to play the game.  As a result, the finished product might take longer and who knows if the game will be complete since the indie developer is getting free money with no strings attached.  They're making a profit and they don't have to complete the game.
Now, Crate Entertainment is not one of those developers that are "stealing" money from the public.  Anybody can see their progress from their official page or through Steam, which is offering Early Access.  But there are some companies that do or have folded because of money incompetence.  One recent example is Yogadventures.  It raised $567,000 through Kickstarter, but experienced development difficulties and now the game is cancelled.  All the Kickstarter supporters will get shit back.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Should the Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love?

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Disgruntled power forward Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves wants to be traded.  He is tired of losing and missing the playoffs.  The two main suitors for his services are the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Warriors may offer either three-point specialist Klay Thompson or sophomore forward Harrison Barnes in a package deal with former All-Star David Lee.  Meanwhile, the Wolves are demanding this year's top pick, shooting guard Andrew Wiggins, to be included any trade offer from the Cavaliers and next year's first round pick.
            The Cavaliers should take their time pondering over this trade.  What they don't realize is they have more power than the Wolves.  The Wolves know that they might get nothing if they let Love walk away after next season.  First, the Cavs should determine what Wiggins can do and how well he plays alongside Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.  They can still discuss trading for Love near the trade deadline or pursue him in free agency.
            The Cavs can learn from the Miami Heat in 2004 when they were pursuing the Los Angeles Lakers's Shaquille O'Neal.  The Lakers initially wanted sophomore sensation Dwyane Wade in a trade for Shaq, but the Heat refused.  The Heat ended up keeping Wade and trading away Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant for Shaq.  The Cavs prefer to trade Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, and Anderson Varejao for Love.  If the Cavs remain patient, the Wolves might have to accept what the Cavs offer if they hope to get something of value from the loss of Love.

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