Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August Clothing Pickups

Why not?



Hugo Boss Crewneck Sweater $120+tax


I picked this up at Boys Co. in Canada. Not going to lie, I only bought it because it said "BOSS"... hahah. I think I actually got this in July but whatever. I think the original price was something like $160 but I got it on sale. The material is actually pretty nice, but gets dirty easily (I wore it once and already had to get it dry cleaned). All in the name of having BOSS on my chest. Oh well.

Adidas x Diesel "Thanaz-AD" Jeans $110+tax


These were a pretty bad impulse buy I think. They are a pair of decent quality raw jeans. Original price was $220 and they had them for 50% off. Anyway, it's a collaboration between Diesel (expensive jeans) and Adidas (sportswear).. Weird combination of brands really. Clearly got together to match up against the Evisu x Puma collaboration. Has nice detailing but nothing over the top.


French Connection Transformers Tee $38+tax


It's freaking Optimus Prime on a nice t-shirt. I'm sold. There's Japanese writing. HELP.


Nike Sportswear x Loopwheeler AW77 Full Zip Hoodie $265

Ever wonder what a $265 sweater would look like? Like something you can buy from Walmart but with two tags on it, hehe. As you can see from my previous post, I've been fiending for one of these for some time so I picked one up. Workmanship is amazing. It's super soft, and feels really durable. It's pretty awesome. Also extremely overpriced and not worth it. I don't care. I happy.



Total Damage = $TOO MUCH$
There went my bonus check.. doh.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Loopwheeler, or my newest fashion fetish

I like to think that I'm a pretty fashionable guy. I appreciate stuff that fits well, and have spent some hard earned cash on things that might not make sense to a lot of people. My latest obsession is with a japanese brand called Loopwheeler.



There are several things that make Loopwheeler so appealing to me.

Background

In the end, most clothing brands sell just that--their brands. They sell their cuts, their logos, or their looks and designs. Loopwheeler has its own unique story. A brand that works exclusively in cotton, their namesake is a rustic piece of technology called a loopwheel.

According to their blog, these loopwheels were the machine of choice for knitting fabric in the 40's and 50's. The results of which are known for exceptional softness and durability, stemming from a slow process that involves putting less tension on the material. The downside of course, is that it is only capable of making 22-23 meters of fabric a day. That equates to 8-9 sweatshirts.

Due to this gross inefficiency, few places in the world still use loopwheels, and of course, Loopwheeler is one of those few.




Quality
Loopwheeler is one of those rare cases where their selling point is essentially their quality. Their clothing ends up being extremely soft through years of washes. Sweatshirts that can basically be worn for the rest of your life while only getting more wearable over time.

They use a 4-needle sewing machine to make their clothing (as opposed to 2- or 3-needle machines that are the norm), which essentially means that it does not need a sewing margin. Sewing margins would require extra layers of fabric, which is what you will notice for any sweaters you have lying around. The perks of the 4-needle machine is that makes the seams noticeably softer without sacrificing durability.



Exclusivity
While Loopwheeler is distributed in a handful of places outside their main stores in Japan, supplies are extremely limited, and "handful" is few and far between indeed. Selfridges in England, the famous Colette in France, and the two Loopwheeler locations in Japan are the only spots to pick up their product. When they're in stock.

This has changed a bit recently, as Nike has released their high-end Sportswear line. They have collaborated with Loopwheeler for tees and sweats for the first time on American soil. However, Nike Sportswear is for the moment limited to only New York and Los Angeles. And even then? The prices are prohibitive, with sweaters at $200-$240, and shirts in the $50 range.



Pictures and info shamelessly stolen from Loopwheeler's website and blog :)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

ROUND 2.........FIGHT

New Orleans vs San Antonio
This is going to be a hell of a series, a huge test for the Hornets. Popovich brings a lot of defensive schemes that will try to keep Paul as one-dimensional as possible. I see the Hornets living and dying by David West's offensive game. If he can continue knocking down his sweet mid range jumper, then the Hornets will coast. If not, they're looking at some lopsided losses. West needs to keep Duncan busy on the defensive end, while a combination of Chandler and West keeps him from going off offensively. Paul will do his thing, and I like how he matches up with Parker, who doesn't have the size or post game to abuse CP3's defensive shortcomings.
Hornets in 6

Detroit vs Orlando

I am a huge fan of the Magic and how their team is set up. I really feel they are a good point guard away from becoming a dominant team in the East. That said, they will have Jameer Nelson (who admittedly played well against Toronto) matching up against Mr. Big Shot. Billups will absolutely abuse Nelson on the post, and it'll be up to the Magic to keep it from getting out of hand. They haven't been looking for Howard much on the offensive end but he still finds ways to score.. It's likely his points will be down since Detroit has the muscle to stave off those putback dunks, but his defensive impact should be enough to dampen an already mercurial Pistons offense. Live by the 3 and die by the 3 for the Magic.. Who happen to have two guys nearly 7 ft tall who shoot 40% from the distance. Magic in 6 or 7.
Magic in 6

Updated with the other two matchups..

Los Angeles vs Utah

I feel this is going to be THE series to watch in this year's playoffs. The matchups are just fun and the stars more than any other series are able to control the outcomes of the games. Gasol's finesse against Boozer's strength. Kirilenko trying to control Kobe. Deron Williams with the opportunity to raise his game if he can dominate Fisher and the other Laker point guards. The consistently inconsistent presences of Lamar Odom and Mehmet Okur. If Utah can buck up and hold their home court after going into a 2-game hole in LA, this is going to be a seven game classic. Kobe is the best offensive player on the planet, and I feel he will pull it out for LA.
Lakers in 7


Boston vs Cleveland

I originally had Boston beating Cleveland in six games, and with Doc Rivers' coaching flaws fully exposed in the first round, it is very tempting to change that pick. However, I very much feel that the Cavaliers are an 8-seed cloaked in Lebron James' brilliance. My brain tells me that having no secondary scoring option means the best defensive team in the league will lock down the king. My heart tells me that if Joe Johnson and Josh Smith can take turns punishing the Celtics, then Lebron can do it in his sleep. I'm sticking with my original prediction, though I would love to see an upset.
Celtics in 6

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NBA Playoff Predictions

I've got stones. These were made before the playoffs but I neglected to post them here..

Lakers v Nuggets
The Lakers are a very balanced and solid team all-around, while also possessing the best SG in the league. The Nuggets have a big time offense but are horrible on the other end (Camby is painfully overrated in that regard). They also have no designated defensive stopper to slow down Kobe.. And don't have anyone who will make Gasol work on the defensive end. With a healthy Nene, Denver could have made this a series.. As it stands though, I can see the Nuggets winning one before getting closed out.
Lakers in 5

Jazz v Rockets
Houston got nailed by the basketball gods and not only go into the playoffs without Yao, but without Rafer Alston as well. While they have a great complement of role players around T-mac, he is about 4 years and a back injury removed from being able to carry a team to wins that way. Utah should close out in either 4 or 5.
Jazz in 5

Suns v Spurs
I'm not in love with the results of the Shaq trade so far, but I do think the Spurs will be showing their age, and that it will be Amare and not Nash that holds the key to finally beating San Antonio.
Suns in 6

Hornets v Mavericks
I'm a Hornets fanboy so this is an easy call for me. I am really tempted to say it'll be a sweep, but I'll give the Mavs enough respect that they are only a year removed from winning 67 games in the regular season. I basically feel that Paul is too dominant a force at the point for Dallas to handle, and that acquiring Kidd to help against the big guards that have tormented them in the past (Wade, Davis) backfired since he isn't quick enough to keep up with Paul--or good enough offensively to make him pay on the other end.
Hornets in 6

Celtics v Hawks

Boston is too experienced, too deep, too good both offensively and defensively for the young Hawks. Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce is a wash at best, and I don't see where else Atlanta's points are going to come from.
Boston in 4

Cavs v Wizards
This is an interesting pick for me because I feel Washington has the better team and is also the hotter team towards the end of the season. The Cavs have been banged up and never really got to gel after their big trade, while the Wizards have had lots of success playing without Arenas. However, Lebron James is an absolute monster. He's the NBA's most dominant force and can singlehandedly rip apart just about any team in his path. My brain says Washington, but my gut says never bet against the guy averaging better stats than Michael Jordan.
Cavs in 7

Magic v Raptors

I am a huge fan of Orlando this year. They have had a lot of ups and downs and generally lost their media darling label from earlier in the year, but they have solid plays and are probably the most difficult team in the league to match up against. Their one weakness is that they have the worst distributing starting PG in the league in Jameer Nelson--and Toronto happens to have one of the best in Jose Calderon. The Raptors have no one to stop Dwight Howard, which basically means a lot of putbacks and open shooters for the Magic. I foresee some close games mostly thanks to Toronto's solid point guard play. (Also off topic note: If Calderon were traded for Jameer Nelson right now, I'd pick the Magic to win the East)
Magic in 6

Pistons v Sixers

Pistons are too big and too experienced to get knocked out by Philly. Their team defense will prevent Iguodala from any kind of Kobe-like offensive explosions. Obligatory Sixers win for when the Pistons become lackadaisical/bored.
Pistons in 5

These are my other predictions, but I'll hold off on rationale til the 2nd round is set for real.

Lakers def Utah 4-3
Hornets def Suns 4-3
Celtics def Cavs 4-2
Magic def Pistons 4-2

Celtics def Magic 4-1
Hornets def Lakers 4-3

Hornets def Celtics 4-2

HORNETS

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Perfect NBA

For the people who find this topic familiar, this my original post from way back when:
http://sportstwo.com/forums/Perfect-NBA-t57843.html

The original topic was actually replied-to a long time after it was originally posted so some of the later replies have different context, just to let you know. Given all that, I'm updating my list for 2008.

1. Abolish conferences and divisions, and have each team play the other twice.

This goes against my original post which called for playing 4 times. The reason is simply that the season as it is is extremely long. Because of that, players and teams are more likely to take games off (whether intentionally or not). This is a situation where less is more: the importance of an individual game in the regular season would be magnified, as teams would vie for home court advantage in the playoffs. How ridiculous is it that this year we have 4 western conference teams struggling for the last couple spots in the west when they would be comfortably placed in the East? Also considering that they are playing against tougher competition more often?

The reason a lot of people cite for divisions existing is rivalries. I contend that rivalries based on team performance are much better than rivalries based on geography. Why add additional games to the season just to develop rivalries that may never come about?

The practicality of this does get called into question though, as I'm uncertain how arena revenues would be affected. The season would have roughly 15 home games rather than 41. This should keep the arena contract costs lower, but would definitely make getting arenas built for games quite a bit more difficult. Then again, if the NFL can do it then it should be possible.


2. New Playoff Format

Like my old post, I would want teams seeded according to their overall ranking, regardless of location. This gives us a true playoff in which teams are ranked according to their regular season performance.

All series would be best of 3. This is taking my old idea of abolishing the 7-game series entirely to the extreme. This makes homecourt advantage HUGE, and ups the ante of every single game. This would also give the Finals more of a Superbowl vibe, rather than be the 5th most exciting matchup of the postseason, as it often tends to be. The best team may be a bit less likely to win, but the greater level of excitement is more than worth it.

3. TV Referee

I touched on this idea in the old post, citing that the NBA needs instant replay. People responded by saying that it would bog the game down unnecessarily, and upon further review, I agree. Instead, I'd love to see a referee that sits at the scorers table and views the game from the TV screen. It gives additional angles for better refereeing on individual calls and can serve as a proactive review area for officials as the game goes on. It also gives refs more accountability--those questionable calls that are so obvious to us on ESPN are going to be EXACTLY what the ref sees. So if they screw up, they're going to look pretty bad, and don't really have any excuses.

The NBA supposedly critiques every referee call after every game anyway, so they are still reviewing calls using (I'm assuming) the same game footage that we see on TV. Why not give the referees on the floor that perspective as well? At worst it would expose the shortcomings of the all-too-human referees, and at best it gives us more accurate officiating.

4. Abolish suspensions and ejections, especially in the Playoffs

Punishment for egregious behavior is necessary, especially on the global stage of the NBA. Suspensions and ejections however, aren't the solution. Who is getting punished when Tim Duncan gets ejected for yelling at a referee? Amare and Diaw leaving the bench to come to Nash's aid after an Horry shove? Players getting into a shoving match over a hard foul?

It's the team and the fans that pay. National TV ratings pay dearly anytime a superstar gets suspended prior to a big ESPN or TNT game. Fans that pay big money to see their favorite player are suddenly left hanging. The game in which it occurs becomes called into question. Subsequent games lose meaning and/or interest.

My solution? Ramp up the fines big time. If a player gets fined 5% of his annual salary for each ejection, I have a feeling he will control his temper. The league can review individual cases for more serious occurrences and levy a fine accordingly. What happens if rather than a season-long suspension, Ron Artest had to pay his entire salary minus per diem in fines? The point is to penalize the player himself. Not his team, not his fans, not the TV companies, not the league.. just the player.

5. All-star weekend

Dunk Contest - This year we have fan-voting, which is interesting in that it gives a LOT of power to the commentators (Kenny Smith anyone?), and raises the inevitable issue of it turning into a popularity contest if certain players enter the field. God forbid Yi Jianlian enters the contest and wins on a two handed reverse jam.. However, make the field BIGGER! This event is a huge fan draw and limiting contestants to relatively unknown young players really keeps it from becoming a big deal again.

3-Point Contest - Not much to improve upon. As with the Dunk contest, I'd want a bigger field. Perhaps set aside a couple of spots for fans to vote on who they want to invite to the contest.

Skills Challenge - I don't like it at all in it's current incarnation. For whatever reason it has drawn some very good players to play in it, but it doesn't strike me as particularly exciting or indicative of skill. I'd love to see this replaced by a 1-on-1 tournament of 8 players. Monta Ellis vs. Kevin Martin? Deron Williams vs Chris Paul? How about Steve Nash against Dwight Howard? Now THAT's a skills challenge.

That stupid event with WNBA/NBA/retired players - Why does this even exist? Does anyone honestly care about this at all? Other than being a way to get more players involved in all-star weekend, it's pretty bad. I would rather see a shootaround or something. I'd scrap it for a longer dunk contest.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Damnit PJ, We've been over this before

Remember that Sonics-Lakers game from not too long ago?

To quote myself:

Wally Sczerbiak "tries" to inbound the ball. I realize this isn't really Wally's fault.. After all, Coach Carlesimo should know that if you're going to choose a person to inbound the ball, it should be someone who has actually passed it on more than a couple occasions.. Timeout sonics.


So when the Sonics are down 99-100 to the Phoenix Suns, with the ball under their own basket and Wally inbounding the ball.. Why doesn't it surprise me that he pulls a Chris Webber? Ugh.

View it if you dare.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=280208021

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hornets @ Suns on 2/6/08

Quite possibly the most entertaining game I've seen this year.

You can take one look at the box score for it, but I really suggest watching it if you get the chance.. Give google a shot and see if you can find it.

An absolute travesty that this game wasn't on national television.. Actually it was on NBA TV, that separate entity that you don't even get with League Pass (ugh).

Incredible game.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rumor: Shaq for Marion & Banks

So here goes trying to get into the mind of Steve Kerr:

If the Suns do it, it means they are probably in panic mode about losing Marion for nothing at the end of the season (Matrix has a $17M player option next year).. And they probably feel that offers will only get worse towards the trading deadline since other teams will realize how desperate they are to deal.

Shaq's contract is basically $20M per year all the way until 2009-10. Marion has the aforementioned player option at the end of the year for $17.1M, and Banks is being paid around $4M per year to sit on the bench... all the way through 2010-11.

So if they somehow appeased Shawn "I want to be traded" Marion, they'd be looking at another long term deal to keep him on (which they've said they don't want to do); a questionable move since he would be getting older and obviously chafes at having less star power than Amare.

Since they are trying to ride Nash's creaky back (team option in 2009-10) while they can, this gamble isn't necessarily mortgaging their future either.

So I guess Kerr is hoping Shaq/Amare/Nash can keep them competitive and/or get them a ring in the next couple years.. and if not, they unload Nash and Shaq's combined $35M in 2010 and can rebuild around Amare, Barbosa, and possibly Diaw--a pretty solid core by anyone's estimation.

And if we assume that Shaq never gets healthy or never fits in..

Two years ago Amare was out and Nash took a team of Marion, Diaw, Bell, Tim Thomas, Kurt Thomas, and Barbosa to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to Dallas in six games.

Comparing lineups:
05-06 Suns
Nash
Bell
T. Thomas
Marion
Diaw
Barbosa

07-08 Suns (assuming the trade happens and Shaq never plays)
Nash
Bell
Hill
Diaw
Stoudamire
Barbosa

Granted, the Diaw of today isn't as good as he used to be.. But Hill is an upgrade over Thomas and Barbosa has only gotten better. For all the concerns over Nash, he is statistically on par with recent years.

While the competition this year is tougher than back then, one can argue that losing Marion won't exactly put the Suns in lottery status, and certainly leaves
enough left to make some serious noise in the playoffs.

If (a big fat IF) Shaq happens to get some semblance of his old form back, even if it's only for the postseason.. Then this move is going to look like a stroke of genius.

Old Man Shaq averaged 19 pts and 9 rebs the last 2 years in the playoffs, which of course includes the year they beat the Mavs for the championship. If the Suns can manage a 4-man running game while going to O'neal when the game gets bogged down, then who knows?

I would definitely love to see a defensive scheme to stop a Shaq-Amare-Hill-Bell-Nash lineup.

It's cute to say the least.

One question for Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace though..
You traded Pau Gasol for this:
- Kwame Brown's expiring contract ($9 Million)
- Javaris Crittenton (A good PG but not better than Conley or Lowry, so he'll never play)
- Marc Gasol (Pau's brother, who was a 2nd round pick and may never be an impact player)
- 2 (most likely late) first round picks in '08 and '10

Or you could have made a deal centered around Gasol for Marion and gotten $16 Million in cap relief?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Damnit, I think I need a new blog name

I just came up with this one, too :'(

On a team where the priority is evaluating players this season, Damien Wilkins said he's not happy with his diminished role.

With the Feb. 21 trade deadline a month a way, a change of venue might be a way for Wilkins to gain more playing time. Wilkins, 28, makes $2.9 million this season, and a total of $6.4 million the next two seasons.

"I still want to be here if they want me to be here," Wilkins said. "I just want to play, to be honest with you. I just want to get on the court and help my teammates win games, be it here or somewhere else. That's all I want to do." -- Tacoma News Tribune

I'm pretty sure I love the Hornets

Congratulations to my pet team for the best record in the West at 32-12!

This comes on a night where Chris Paul goes for 23 pts, 17 ast, 9 reb, 3 stl, 1 blk, 3 TO in a complete annihilation of the Melo-less Nuggets.

For the record, when we lose the Sonics, I am more than happy with getting the Hornets in return.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

So the Sonics lost to the Lakers in OT

Because:

  • When the game was tied with 20 seconds left and the Lakers with the ball, they elected not to contest the inbounds pass.
  • They had Jeff Green trying to cover Kobe, who ran one screen and caught the ball without any problem.
  • Kobe takes and makes a jump shot with about 4 seconds to go.
  • Sonics run Durant off of two screens and get him the ball at the top of the key, where he is immediately fouled by Kobe since the Lakers had a foul to give.
  • Wally Sczerbiak "tries" to inbound the ball. I realize this isn't really Wally's fault.. After all, Coach Carlesimo should know that if you're going to choose a person to inbound the ball, it should be someone who has actually passed it on more than a couple occasions.. Timeout sonics.
  • Wally again "tries" to inbound the ball. Durant is moving around calling for it. Wally instead fires a pass to Kurt Thomas near the 3 point line, who swings it to Nick Collison for a hastily launched 20 ft jump shot. Game Over.
At least they didn't run the play for Damien?:[

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sonics vs Cavs 1/8/08

Some bulleted notes about the game as I see it..

  • Kurt Thomas makes a couple of mid-range jumpers in a row to put the Sonics up 8-4. As much as I love his ability to make that shot, the fact that they run a play for him to shoot it boggles my mind. Durant was standing at an average distance of about 25 ft from the rim, (with the ball nowhere near him) on both of those possessions.
  • Larry Hughes gets a steal takes a wide open jump shot on a 2 v 1 fast break, and predictably bricks it. Cavs fans boo.
  • Earl Watson brings the ball up and runs a screen and roll.. Minus the roll. He passes the ball to a Cavalier. On the ensuing possession, he dribbles around the free throw line area for half the shot clock before missing a contested 20 ft shot. On the one after that, he penetrates and jumps in the air only to find no passing lanes, and lands on his feet for a double-dribble call. I firmly believe that 90% of coaches in the league would have sat him down after that, but nope he's still in there. Let me mention that he never got the ball to Durant at any point.
  • This team is really depressing to watch. The Cavs are playing horribly and yet the Sonics make them look like the god damn 72-10 Bulls.