Sunday, May 25, 2008

How do the Raptors improve?

As the NBA season draws to a close, I am watching these top-tier teams battle it out, and thinking to myself that the Raptors are nowhere close to playing at this level. As much as I love the players on the team we have right now, deep down I know that we need to replace some of these pieces in order to escape from the first round of playoffs next year.

So where are our deficiencies? 
  • Rebounding: Night after night, we got killed on the boards. Chris Bosh can only do so much (8.7 RPG), but after that there's a huge dropoff. 
  • Interior Scoring: Everybody wants to shoot the 3-ball! Nobody wants to take it to the basket, invite contact, post-up, get physical. Either a few players need to mix it up (ahem, Jamario, Andrea), or we need to bring these type of people in.
  • Defense: We're one step too slow on our rotations. Unable to contain the LeBrons and Kobes of the world. We're always allowing other teams to slash and cut. We can score easily enough, we just have a problem with stopping other teams from scoring.
Well, now that our problems are on the table, what are our options for remedying the situation? I think a few key players need to go:
  1. Anthony Parker: I'm a huge Anthony Parker fan, but I feel that he was one step slower in 2007-2008 compared to 2006-2007. That'll probably mean that he'll be another step slower come October. He is no longer a lock-down defender, and superior 2's and 3's ate us up because AP couldn't contain them. His infatuation with shooting 18-foot stop and pops during the first few seconds of a fast break absolutely infuriated me. His shooting in general was inconsistent. I don't believe his game has any room for improvement, and as much as I appreciate his contribution to turning the franchise around, I would much more appreciate his roster spot opened to make room for his upgrade.
  2. Carlos Delfino: So much promise, not enough delivery. He's a great defender, 3-point shooter, ball handler, he finishes well close to the basket -- but only once every 5 or 6 games. The rest of time, he seems to disappear into thin air. We can't have players on our team contributing some of the time. They need to bring it every night.
  3. TJ Ford: His heart, his desire to win, his mental toughness are unquestionable. His motives are what I call into question. TJ seems to be all about proving others wrong, instead of trying to be part of the team. He's been vocal in his desire to start, a rather selfish and silly request. After coming back from his injury after the all-star break, TJ was dribbling deep into the shot clock, and shooting more often than he should, leaving the other 4 players standing around unsure and dumbfounded. You want to start? Fine. But not for the Raptors, we already have a point guard. 
What, no Andrea Bargnani? No. We need to stop with our instant gratification ways, and start looking at the big picture. Bargnani is only 22 years old. He's allowed to be inconsistent, and he's allowed to be soft, as long as he's ready and willing to improve. I continue to hold out hope that he will become the matchup nightmare that Brian Colangelo envisioned he would become. 

I think that after losing to the Nets in '07, Raptor fans were happy with the team, and thought that we could stand pat and make another run. But after watching us get smoked by the Magic in '08, reality has set in. We need to get much better, and to do that, we need to replace some major pieces. Here's hoping for a big offseason of wheeling and dealing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Voice dialing

My Motorola K1 Krzr not only helps the children in Africa, but it also allows me to punk my friends every time I use it!

I'm a big proponent of voice dialing, which allows me to make phone calls in my car without staring at the display/keypad (that shit is dangerous!). I spend a lot of time in my car, and I make a lot of phone calls from my car.

With my last cellphone, I needed to pre-record my voice dialing. This worked fine I guess. But with the Krzr, the voice dialing is phonetic. It tries to match what I say into the microphone with my phonebook entries. Great, now I can voice dial anything in my phonebook without all of the set up work.

Almost.

Thanks to having lots of ethnic friends, my whitewash Krzr can't match what I'm saying with any of my phonebook entries! 

So I decided to improvise, and give my friends names that the voice dialer would recognize:

Chin Ghetto: Named after his love for hip-hop music. Or the fact that he's so cheap with the heat at his condo. I can't remember which one.

Shaun Stupid: It's great, because my full voice command goes, "Call Shaun Stupid." Get it? Call Shaun stupid! 

Chris Quiet: Once nicknamed the silencer, This voice dialing option is severely out-of-date. It should probably be changed to Chris Hero, in recognition of sticking it to the corporate stuffiness of Harry.

Anthony Sellout: A few years ago, I left my phone at Chin's place, and he proceeded to rename all of my entries. This was Anth's. The first time I tried voice dialing the entry, the Krzr picked it up right away. I guess it was meant to be?

Jon Retardo: "Retardo" isn't even a word. But that's what Jon is. He's a fucking tard. He's slow. 

You want a nickname on my phone? You think your current name is unfair? Let me know!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Review: Iron Man

One week late is better than never. And for those that were hating on my Raptor post-game blog posts, here you go -- stop crying you friggin babies.

Iron Man was one of those comic book characters that I never seemed to care about when I was growing up. I was all about Wolverine and the X-Men. So when news of an Iron Man movie started leaking through the interweb, it was met with an indifferent "meh" and a dismissive "shrug".

But then I saw the teaser, and watching the scene of Iron Man flying alongside a pair of fighter jets got me pumped. Teasers, of course, don't guarantee a quality comic book movie. Lest we forget Ang Lee's Hulk, aka the worst piece of shit mothafuckin movie ever made in the history of moviemaking, a movie which also had a terrific trailer.

For those that have been burned by the overhyped trailer in the past, worry not: Iron Man totally rocks. It lives up to the teaser, and it exceeds the comic book. Go watch it now!

Unlike mild-mannered, humble superheroes like Clark Kent and Peter Parker, Tony Stark is type of guy you want to look up to: A brash, arrogant, egotistical, witty, alcohol-abusing playboy -- what a friggin prick! And Robert Downey Jr., sharing the same character traits, was the perfect choice for the role. "You're late", Colonel Rhodes yells out to Stark. His reply, in reference to sleeping with a reporter, "I was doing a piece for Vanity Fair." Hilarious!

Stark/Downey is just the beginning of what makes this movie entertaining. I proudly present Leslie Bibb and Gwenyth Paltrow:


Gatdamn! The exchange between these two characters (Pepper Potts and Christine Everhart) was also great. After a slutty one-night stand, Everhart tries to take a jab at Stark's assisstant:

Everhart: "After all this time, you're still picking up the dry cleaning"
Potts: "I do whatever Mr Stark asks me to do, which sometimes includes taking out the trash"

That's right, bitch! Damn, I'm so juvenile.

Alright, so what else does this movie deliver? CG goodness. Unlike the crapfest that some people call Hulk, my suspension of disbelief was never broken. The technology is now at the point where CG helps directors tell a story, instead of distracting and annoying us (Jar Jar Binks, anyone?).

The writing was great, it was very funny and it wasn't cheesy (fuck you Hulk!). The A-list cast brought the characters to life. The attention to detail when it came to technology was terrific. The pacing was just right. Seriously, I liked this movie.

Bring on the sequels! We want an Avengers movie! Don't listen to Chin, Gwenyth Paltrow is mad sexy! I'm a huge Nick Fury fan! Watch this movie now!