Thursday, June 27, 2013

My 2013 NBA Draft Big Board

My big board for tonight's NBA draft:


That's 23 picks, so assuming the Jazz stay where they are with picks #14 and #21, we will be able to determine who I think they should have drafted at those positions.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Life untethered

I've been meaning to write about this for a long time, and never got around to it. But the longer I wait, the more interesting it is. Here it comes...

I don't have a cell phone.

How long have I been without? Two years. Two. YEARS.

And I love it.

I'm a computer programmer by trade and I love tech stuff. I'm also pretty introverted and I am happy to shut off contact with everyone but my immediate family whenever I feel like it. I'm online pretty much all the time, so if you need to contact me, it'll work best through email, Facebook or text. Yep, I don't have a phone, but you can text me. I have a Google Voice number that rings my email. If I have a headset handy (which I never do), I can answer it. Otherwise you can leave a voicemail that will be transcribed and emailed to me in text and audio. Text messages are also sent to my email.

We also bought an Obi. It uses our Internet connection to provide us with a VOIP line using our Google Voice number, for free (well, after spending $50 on the Obi).

This no-cell phone way of life is sometimes inconvenient. About once or twice a month, it would be really nice to have a phone. But how much is that worth in dollars? To get over the times when we know we're going to want a phone, we've used Boost Mobile. It's $3/day (with a $10 minimum spend, so we really get three days for $10) for unlimited voice, text and data, and we just use our old Android phones we used with Sprint.

In another boost for our cheap connectivity, I bought a FreedomPop Overdrive — a mobile hotspot that uses 3G and 4G networks. It gives you 500MB of data for free on the 4G networks. Unfortunately, we don't have 4G coverage here, but for $4/month, I can use 500MB of data on the 3G network. That can now basically act as our road phone. If we've got Internet, we've got a phone through Google Voice.

We decided to try having no cell phones after a friend of ours stopped working at Sprint. We had an amazing deal through him — unlimited voice, text, data for $20/month plus taxes per line. When he quit, we were offered a deal that was still great, but was still going to cost us $60/month for both lines plus taxes. We shopped around a lot and decided to just try going without and see what it was like. We could always sign a new contract any time we wanted. What a wonderful decision.

Looking at the financials alone, if we had gone with $30/month for two lines, we've saved $1,440 in our first two years. That doesn't include taxes (which I think are usually around $7-10 per line?). Sure, we spent some extra money on the Obi and the FreedomPop and the occasional Boost Mobile charge, but it's nothing compared to $1,440.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mock draft (not based on player looks)

My previous post was an NBA mock draft based on players' looks. This one is a legit mock and for the first time, I'm introducing a special guest blogger. Jon Shaffer, one of my blog's two readers will be making the even-numbered picks, and I'll be making the selections for teams with odd picks. Our rules were that we had to draft based on the current draft order  no trades. The picks are also made based on what we think the teams should do, not what we think they will do. Here's the list:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (Ben)
Kyrie Irving

Irving has been locked in here for months. Nothing has changed with only hours remaining to the draft and the Cavs will be making the right pick. Irving is the only surefire pick in the entire draft, and while he may  not live up to the success of recent #1s, he's going to contribute for many years, and should be an all-star in a league full of talented young point guards.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves (Jon)
Derrick Williams

Thank goodness David Kahn didn't land the #1 pick, Timberwolves fan's heads may have collectively exploded if they drafted a point guard again.  Unfortunately they don't need a tweener forward either, but Williams is the best prospect on the board outside of Irving.  I think that they should trade the pick as a lot of teams are high on Williams but with all of the rumors of management wanting to move Kevin Love or Michael Beasley, Williams might have a place in Minnesota after all.

3. Utah Jazz (Ben)
Enes Kanter

The Jazz are in a really tough position here. This is perceived (though probably unfairly) as a two-player draft. The top two picks have a lot of trade value, but starting at #3, teams may get equal value down to around #6 or #7. Most mocks have Brandon Knight here, and while that's not a bad pick for the Jazz, I think there will be similar quality in the backcourt when they pick again at #12. So you go with Kanter. Kanter is a real mystery man with virtually no body of work by which to judge him, but scouts and general managers have been impressed, and he has size. Other teams are intrigued by Kanter too, which gives him trade value. This pick clogs the frontcourt for the Jazz, who already have Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors, but Kanter is young and can sit behind those three and step up if one of them is injured or traded.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (Jon)
Kawhi Leonard 

If the Jazz do take Kanter at 3 I think that will throw the first wrench in this draft.  Cleveland needs a big to pair with JJ Hickson and Kanter would have been a great fit.  I think Kawhi has as much upside as everyone else available and is sort of a poor man's Derrick Williams although smaller and his range isn't quite as deep. Leonard I see being a more athletic better rebounding version of Udonis Haslem and could step in and contribute here.  They should probably trade this pick as Kawhi is a slight reach here but I think could help them quite a bit.

5. Toronto Raptors (Ben)
Brandon Knight

Knight and Kemba Walker are options at the point guard position for the Raptors. Most teams have Knight rated higher, but I think it's tough to pick the better pro. Walker won their head-to-head matchup in the Final Four, but I'll give the nod to Knight here for being slightly younger and therefore having more room for improvement. Also, I couldn't bear to see my last name (shared with Kemba) on a Raptors uniform.

6. Washington Wizards (Jon)
Tristan Thompson

The Wizards have John Wall so they'll pass on Kemba Walker here, when you look at their roster on paper they have a lot of nice pieces.  One thing they are really missing is a defensive presence inside and I think Tristan Thompson would be a great pick here.  Great rebounder and would be a nice backup to Andray Blatche.

7. Sacramento Kings (Ben)
Kemba Walker

Sacramento picked up 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans at the #5 pick. Depending on how you view Evans, Walker plays the same position. I still make this pick for the Kings because they can play together with Evans at the shooting guard and Walker running point. Walker could also come off the bench to run Sacramento's second unit. When you factor in a potential year with no basketball due to an impending lockout, you draft the best player available here, knowing you'll probably be picking in the same range next year (when the draft should be a lot stronger).

8. Detroit Pistons (Jon)
Jonas Valanciunas 

As much as Detroit would have loved Kemba Walker here he is a great fit in Sac Town and Detroit needs help on the inside.  A lot of people think Detroit will shy away from Valanciunas because he will probably spend another year in Europe, coupled with the fact that they took Darko instead of Carmelo or Dwyane Wade in 2003. The problem is, this draft doesn't have a Carmelo or a Dwyane Wade so they can feel free to draft a euro project.  I think his upside is significantly better than Bismack Biyombo who a lot of people think they'll take and is just as much of a project.

9. Charlotte Bobcats (Ben)
Marcus Morris

I'm torn between Klay Thompson and Marcus Morris on this pick. Like most lottery teams, Charlotte needs help everywhere. I believe Morris is the safer pick to contribute immediately. He won't star in the league, but should be a legitimate rotation player. As a side note, I do think it would be cool if the Morris twins swapped places on draft night when shaking David Stern's hand, and then again throughout their careers, just for fun.

10. Milwaukee Bucks (Jon)
Klay Thompson

Milwaukee would be ecstatic if Klay falls to them at 10.  He might be the best shooter in the draft next to Jimmer and paired with Brandon Jennings he brings size and volume scoring to a Bucks team that really needs it. Perfect fit.

11. Golden State Warriors (Ben)
Bismack Biyombo

This pick adds some size and defense to offset the high-octane offense of the Warriors' backcourt. I see Biyombo as a potential bust, but he fits a need here, and may end up as a Samuel Dalembert type player for Golden State.

12. Utah Jazz (Jon)
Alec Burks

The Jazz should jump for joy if Burks falls to them at 12.  I know everyone wants the Jazz to draft Jimmer but in my opinion he is not going to be a starting PG in the NBA.  The Jazz still need help on the wing and I know they like Burks and Klay Thompson a lot.  If Burks is on the board it will be hard to not take him.

13. Phoenix Suns (Ben)
Jimmer Fredette

Jon is right about Jimmer not being a starting point. Phoenix happens to have a great player for Jimmer to learn from. Nash is a guy who can score from anywhere, but has packaged that ability with superb decision-making and passing. Fredette can also learn how to continue not playing defense from Nash. There are a lot of claims that Jimmer will fail, or his game won't translate to the big league, but I see him having a successful (and that's about it) 10-14 year career.

14. Houston Rockets (Jon)
Nikola Vucevic

Houston needs size badly now that Yao is pretty much out of commission.  Nikola is a euro project but he is big and his upside is probably similar to that of a Marc Gasol according to Chad Ford.  I think he would be a nice fit here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

NBA Mock Draft 2011

The NBA Draft is less than two weeks away. I always get really excited for the draft. I'll usually Tivo it and watch the entire thing. In preparation, I read up on top prospects at Jonathan Givony's and at

I really don't watch enough college basketball to be a good judge of who will make it in the league, and frankly, after looking back at past drafts, I think NBA general managers really don't know who will make it either. So here's my 2011 NBA mock draft based, not on any measurable skill or grainy footage of players' high school or overseas games, but on how much they look like an NBA player. I'll rank the lottery based on my opinion of how long I expect these guys to last in the league just by checking out a couple of photos. By these standards, DeJuan Blair would have been the #1 pick in the 2009 draft, and Ricky Rubio and Stephen Curry would have gone undrafted (though would each be top prospects in the looks-like-he-could-be-in-a-boy-band draft).

Here it is:

1. Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers)

2. Kemba Walker (Minnesota Timberwolves)

3. Marcus Morris (Utah Jazz)

4. Markieff Morris (Cleveland Cavaliers)

5. Kyrie Irving (Toronto Raptors)

6. Alec Burks (Washington Wizards)
7. Kawhi Leonard (Sacramento Kings)

8. Chris Singleton (Detroit Pistons)

9. Josh Selby (Charlotte Bobcats)

10. Enes Kanter (Milwaukee Bucks)

11. Derrick Williams (Golden State Warriors)

12. Darius Morris (Utah Jazz)

13. Nolan Smith (Phoenix Suns)

14. Shelvin Mack (Houston Rockets)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Facebook's 30-day song challenge

Facebook is filled with silly games. I saw one the other day called the 30-day song challenge. Basically, they give you 30 different rules, and you post a song that fits each rule for you, once a day. You probably don't care about my music (I don't care about yours), but this might be a little fun for me. I decided not to bug my Facebook friends with this every day and post it here for those of you who want to click the link. Again, there's 30 of them, so this will get lengthy.

1. Favorite Song
Always tough to pick this one. There's about ten of them at the top of my list right now, but I'll go with Wreck this Heart from Bob Seger's newest album:

2. Least favorite song
This one is easier. I despise this song so much, I would always approach the DJ at high school dances and ask them NOT to play Love Shack. In fact, it doesn't deserve to be linked to. NEXT!

3. A song that makes you happy
Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow. Here's their live version with the USC marching band:

4. A song that makes you sad
Paul Simon's Slip Sliding Away. Particularly these lyrics:
"I know a father who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons for the things he'd done.
He came a long way just to explain.
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping,
then he turned around and he headed home again."

5. A song that reminds you of someone
I could pick several songs that remind me of my wife. I'm thinking of two in particular. I'll use Bob Seger and Martina McBride's Chances Are here, and save the other for #23. (Note: I have never seen Hope Floats)

6. A song that reminds you of somewhere
This song was always playing in public in Poland from 2003-2005. Jeden Osiem L's Jak Zapomnieć:

7. A song that reminds you of a certain event
The obvious choice for an 'event' in my generation is September 11, 2001. Especially because there were so many songs that were altered to commemorate that terrible day. I'll go with the Eagles' New York Minute:

8. A song to which you know all the words
Plenty of choices here, but I'll go with the one that won me $50 in a karaoke contest. Neil Diamond's I am, I said:

9. A song to which you can dance
I should leave this one blank because dancing is my arch-nemesis, but I have to admit I bob my head and tap my feet when Michael Jacksons' Blame it on the boogie hits the top of my playlist.

10. A song that makes you fall asleep
I listen to plenty of soft music that would put a lot of people to sleep. I'll go with Bread's If. All the YouTube links to this song had no sound (probably a copyright issue?), but here's a live version by David Gates (Bread's lead singer):

11. A song from your favorite band
Again, plenty to choose from because I don't really have a defined favorite band. I guess I'll go with the Eagles again and give you How Long from their newest album. I'll link this one to Yahoo Music because I dig the music video and it's not on YouTube:

12. A song from a band you hate
Plenty of bands to hate, and again, I won't reward them with a video on my blog. Let's just say I can't stand AFI or other screamers, and leave it at that.

13. A song that is a guilty pleasure
My playlist is arranged alphabetically, but I turn it on random, but I always get to hear at least the first of the first song before I click random and click next. Unless I'm in guilty pleasure mode. Then I'll listen to the first TWO! Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt singing I don't know much, but I know I love you and Ace of Base singing The Sign. I'll share the latter here:

14. A song that no one would expect you to love
Susan Boyle was awesome in Britain's Got Talent. After the show, she put out an album, and there's a song I really like a lot. It's called Proud:
15. A song that describes you
We're going classic Disney on this one. In another life, I am Baloo the bear, caring about nothing but the Bare Necessities.

16. A song that you used to love but now hate
I don't hate it, but I heard Hotel California so much, I find myself skipping it fairly often:

17. A song that you hear often on the radio
If any station decides to play Don McLean's American Pie, they're committing to about half an hour of air time. How long is that thing? Anyway, even if it only gets played as much as others, it seems to always be on because it's so long.

18. A song you wish you heard on the radio
Because I mostly listen to music from the 60s and 70s, when one of my favorite bands releases a new album, it's qualifications as an oldie are ambiguous. So I'll go back to the Eagles' new album and share I dreamed there was no war. This one also gets docked for radio play because it's purely instrumental:

19. A song from your favorite album
Because most of the albums I listen to were released before I was born, I don't really see them as groups of albums. They're just piles of mp3s. Let's revisit Bob Seger's Real Mean Bottle (with Kid Rock) from Face the Promise, which is an album to me. 

20. A song you listen to when you're angry
I don't want to revel in anger and promote it, so I'll go with something of a happier song here. Queen's Don't Stop Me Now:

21. A song you listen to when you're happy
Manfred Mann's Mighty Quinn. Just a fun song.

22. A song you listen to when you're sad
Fleetwood Mac's Second Hand News is good for a little pick-me-up.

23. A song you want to play at your wedding
I put this one on my wedding video. Don Henley and Stevie Nicks singing Leather and Lace:

24. A song you want to play at your funeral
Homeward Bound by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

25. A song that makes you laugh
I don't consider myself a fan of country music, but as lyrics go, the country genre is by far the cleverest. Here's Brad Paisley's Me Neither:

26. A song you can play on an instrument
I can drum with most rock music, but as far as playing a melody goes, I'll have to go to the LDS Hymnbook. One of my favorites is Come O Thou King of Kings:

27. A song you wish you could play
Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water:

28. A song that makes you feel guilty
The Eagles' Do Something:

29. A song from your childhood
I love the movie Ghostbusters when I was a kid. Here's the theme by Ray Parker Jr:

30. Your favorite song at this time last year
Jackson Browne's Doctor My Eyes:

I hope you enjoyed some of these. I realize my formatting/punctuation may be inconsistent. You're just going to have to deal with it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm online a lot. There are several websites pinned as bookmarks to my Google Chrome browser. Occasionally, I'll stop using one and remove it (Facebook), and occasionally, a new one will be moved into the rotation.

About a year ago, I discovered It's basically just a forum where users will report a good deal they find online or at a local store and other users will comment and rate the post. Highly rated deals rise to the top and people end up thinking they saved money even though they're probably buying hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise they would never have purchased otherwise.

I watch the Hot Deals forum pretty closely and it's been a great way for us to save money, or make money in quick investments. Over the last year, I've used tips from Slickdeals to get Xboxes, Playstations, toilet paper, baby wipes, headphones, gift cards, Delta SkyMiles, British Airways miles, video games, books, pizza, Capri Sun, clothing, candy, etc.

Right now, deals on their front page include an air compressor, a food processor, an mp3 player, a washing machine, a hose nozzle, motor oil and a TV.

Check it out.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

NBA Playoffs Preview 2011

Although this blog hasn't seen a new post since September, it still gets a steady stream of hits. Nothing exorbitant, but I think a few hits daily is pretty OK for an inactive blog about nothing. virtually all of those hits are a result of one thing: my 2010 NBA Playoffs Preview. Particularly, the reference to Kevin "Durantula". And the hits are coming from all over the world. I'm not sure if it's a result of internationals not knowing how to spell Tarantula and ending up on my page, or if it's truly a worldwide desire to see Kevin Durant as a gigantic arachnid.

Since I measure self-worth in blog hits, I figured I'd better reprise my most popular post ever. Without further ado... (by the way, it bugs me when people write 'without further adieu', because it's wrong. So now, really, without further ado...)

Eastern Conference

1 Chicago Bulls vs 8 Indiana Pacers

Full Disclosure: This post is actually a partial playoff REview because Chicago and Indiana have already tipped off. The score is 20-15 for Indiana in the first quarter. Chicago has been a really fun team to watch this season, partially because they employ 3 recent contributors to my Utah Jazz. Derrick Rose will get the MVP award and he deserves it. Indiana lost 8 more games than they won this year and they don't stand a chance against the 62-win Bulls. Chicago in 4.

4 Orlando Magic vs 5 Atlanta Hawks

The Magic have been a big disappointment this season, and may have their hands full with the Hawks. The Magic were on the verge of the Finals but personnel changes have bumped them back a tier. Dwight is still an elite talent, but the surrounding pieces won't be enough to carry the Magic past any of the top three seeds in the East. I do see them reaching the second round, though. Orlando in 7.

2 Miami Heat vs 7 Philadelphia 76ers

When LeBron and Bosh joined the Heat, I wrote that they will win multiple championships. They had their struggles, but I still believe they'll win more than one chip. Talented veterans have shown their willingness to play with the triumvirate for minimum pay for a shot at a title. Miami is still vulnerable, and I'm not picking them to get out of the East this year, but they should have little trouble with Doug Collins and the Sixers. Miami in 5.

3 Boston Celtics vs 6 New York Knicks

This should be the most exciting series in the East. The Knicks have struggled since they picked up Carmelo Anthony to team with Amar'e Stoudemire, but with just those two guys and Chauncey Billups, they're loaded with talent. Boston has continued to impress me after their most recent championship run in 2008. They picked up a big name in playoff basketball, Shaquille O'Neal, but he (and the other O'Neal) will be a non factor. It's boring to pick no upsets (SPOILER ALERT: I have all the top seeds winning in the West too), but in a 7-game series, that's just how it goes. Boston in 6.

Western Conference

1 San Antonio Spurs vs 8 Memphis Grizzlies

As a Jazz fan, I started the season rooting against San Antonio, hoping Utah could surpass them for playoff seeding. I finished the season wanting Memphis to lose, so the Jazz could sneak into the playoffs. Both teams showed resiliency that was absent in Utah. Manu Ginobili will miss at least a little bit of time, but San Antonio has the experience, the coaching and the talent to eliminate the upstart Grizzlies. I do see the Grizzlies picking up their first-ever playoff wins in franchise history. San Antonio in 6.

4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs 5 Denver Nuggets

Durantula carried the Thunder within 2 points of a game 7 vs the eventual-champion Lakers last year. This year, he has a vastly-improved Russell Westbrook, as well as other talented young pieces (James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and new pickup Kendrick Perkins). The Thunder are growing up together and they are legitimate challengers to the Lakers. Denver has overachieved since dumping the Melodrama, but they can't match the Thunder. Oklahoma City in 5.

2 Los Angeles Lakers vs 7 New Orleans Hornets

The NBA-owned Hornets suffered a blow when David West went down. Carl Landry is a legit stopgap, but not enough to push Chris Paul and spare parts past Kobe Bryant and the perennial contenders. The Lakers have had their share of trouble down the stretch (including a 5-game losing streak), but they are ready to challenge for Phil Jackson's final championship, even if Andrew Bynum has to miss some time. Los Angeles in 5.

3 Dallas Mavericks vs 6 Portland Trailblazers

Every time I've watched the Mavs this year, I've been impressed with their defense and their passing ability. These teamwork elements can earn a team a lot of frequent flyer miles in the postseason. Portland's Brandon Roy has battled injury and hasn't produced as much as he has in recent years. This should be a walkover. Dallas in 5.

2nd Round
Bulls over Magic 4-1
Heat over Celtics 4-3

Thunder over Spurs 4-2
Lakers over Mavericks 4-3

Bulls over Heat 4-3
Thunder over Lakers 4-3

Bulls over Thunder 4-2