Monthly Archives: May 2008

Mayor plays carrot and stick with new gang initiative.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa introduced a new set of plans for gang crime reduction this week, but a close look reveals little to get excited about:

1. The Stick: The two proposals that the Mayor can actually accomplish himself are simply punitive measures whose harmful effects are not limited to gang members, but can hurt innocent family as well. Car seizures and evictions do not just affect the gang member being targeted, they affect parents and siblings as well.

2. The Carrot: The proposal with the best potential are all out of the Mayor’s hands. Further closing the loopholes in the gun laws is a good thing, but I really like the bullet ID proposal, which has been floated around for quite a while but has gained less traction than one would hope. This idea is to micro stamp bullets so that they can be matched to the gun they were fired from and their original purchaser. While this is a fantastic idea with a lot of potential, its up to the federal government to make it a reality.

So in terms of things we will actually see happen, we can’t count on the Mayor’s best ideas, we can only brace for more punitive measures that harm the gang members themselves (mostly a good thing) but also their families (mostly a bad thing). Its pretty nice to see the micro-stamp idea being brought up again, and I really hope that can become law, but until then, lets not confuse it with reality and lets not confused the Mayor’s new idea as anything but unbalanced punishment that provides no positive incentivesfor gang members to choose not to commit crimes.

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Kanye West – Flashing Lights (Unreleased)

He loves to show off, but I never thought that he would take it this far:

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Immortal Technique – The 3rd World

Immortal Technique – The 3rd World

Immortal Technique is back with the title track from his upcoming release, The 3rd World.

He’s playing the UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival on Sunday, May 25th.

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Bulls get lucky again.

NBA Fate comes in two ways: you can get lucky in the draft, or you can fleece other teams. The Bulls have had NBA Fate smile upon them in both ways, multiple times. So you’d think, with cap space, incredible draft picks, the fortune of trading away Eddy Curry, and the opportunity to sensibly parlay their young players into a great mix of talent, they could have turned themselves into long term contenders with a sensible cap structure to boot.

Thats not the way things turned out. They drafted players who didn’t fit together, resigned players who hadn’t quite proven themselves, and then went out of their way to acquire players on the tail ends of their careers (thats Ben Wallace). Faced with a disastrous season, the team made a mediocre trade and failed to improve their team in the present or future.

So anyways, it seems pretty obvious by any standard of comparison that the Bulls have wasted a tremendous amount of good fortune. They had the potential to be an Eastern Conference contender for a long time to come, but have turned that potential into Larry Hughes and a lot of mismatched parts. Their coach ran out of goodwill and was fired, only to see his successor suffer nearly the same fate. And when granted the opportunity to sign the league’s most attractive coach (Mike D’Antoni) they somehow became gun shy and refused to pay a competitive salary to one of the game’s best minds. This in the face of the players’ overwhelming support for D’Antoni and the fact that the team can afford to splurge on a coach since it has sold out its tickets for numerous consecutive seasons. Its almost as if they’re trying to under-perform.

Its a bitter feeling then, as a closet fan of long suffering teams (like the Bobcats), to see a team that wasted so much good fortune find the 1st overall pick in this years draft fall into its lap. If only our teams could be so lucky.

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Post-Lottery NBA Mock Draft and Draft Board

It’s time for an update!

This time, the “If I Were the GM” Mock Draft gets the substantive comments and for the first time, I’ll consider trades that as I see fit (though it’s still too early to project them in the prediction mock). Just to clarify, the first list is what I would do in a perfect world, the second is what I expect to happen.

1. Chicago BullsDerrick Rose, PG, Memphis. This blog (specifically me) will discuss this excessively over the next two months, but Rose is the best pick because he is a far better prospect and a perfect fit for the fast-paced system they damn well better be implementing even without D’Antoni. In an up and down game, the core of Rose/Deng/Tyrus/Noah gains nastiness, and Hinrich and Gordon can either be used as assets in trades or kept and used in different roles. Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT HIRE AVERY IF YOU DRAFT ROSE. Athletic PG + Avery’s system = Bust-o-rama

2. Oklahoma City Fightin’ TBA’s (via Miami Heat)– Brook Lopez, C/PF, Stanford. Lots of zany options here. One of the weirdest possible scenarios my brain has cooked up in the past few hours is the Heat trading down from this pick a few times (picking up assets), then moving that pick to Chicago for Hinrich. Would be bizarre to see the teams with the top two picks make a swap not involving either selection. That said, I really don’t see the Heat’s use for Beasley, as both Marion and Haslem are better fits as 4’s depending on what system they run, and neither is a 5. Where they run into a problem is that the best non-Rose fit is Brook Lopez, but it’s hard to trade down from here and get him since he’s probably the #3 player on most team’s boards. As such, the Sonics give up some pieces (Chris Wilcox, Earl Watson, whatever- I’ll work out the trade in the next week or so) and the Heat get a good fit soon enough.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves– Michael Beasley, PF/SF, Kansas State. He would make sense next to Al Jefferson up in Minnesota, though I worry about the “content to be a good player on a bad team” issue, which could loom large on what will likely be a bad team for most if not all of Beasley’s rookie contract. Still the BPA here.

4. Miami Heat (via OKC)– OJ Mayo, SG/PG, U$C. As much as I dislike Mayo, he’d be an amazing fit in Miami as a scorer and defender of PG’s next to Mr. Wade. The Juice Deuce could be a very nice off- the-ball scorer and also alleviate the need to overpay a true PG, which is somewhat unnecessary next to Wade anyway (not that any are available besides Calderon who isn’t really available).

5. Memphis Grizzlies– Kevin Love, PF/C, UCLA. He would be a nasty, nasty player in their up-tempo system, often acting as a second distributor on the floor who could hit their speedy guys (like Conley, who is an underrated finisher) and rebound until they get a good C like the Pau they donated to the Lakers or Blake Griffin. Continue reading

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Rick Ross and…Larry Hughes?

Larry Hughes makes a cameo in Rick Ross’ latest video, “Here I Am.” And yeah, I caught this while watching the video on The Smoking Section. The best part is that these two are the perfect analogy: Larry Hughes  gets outplayed as much Rick Ross is played out.

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Idle Warship – Fall Back

Even Talib Kweli knows the game is up:

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