Tuesday, October 6, 2015

This ESPN story on potential DraftKings/FanDuel scandal misses the boat, doesn't explain the issue

One of the top headlines right now on ESPN.com is a story about a possible "insider trading" type of scandal with daily fantasy sports.  Here's the quick summary:

A DraftKings employee finished second and won $350,000 in a FanDuel contest.  It's possible he had inside knowledge of which players weren't being used heavily in DraftKings contests.  If you pick players who most other people don't, and then those players do well, your chances of winning increase dramatically.

The thing is, it was a DraftKings employee who may have had access to DraftKings information, but he won on FanDuel.  He didn't have FanDuel information.  Nowhere in the article does it explain how knowing which players aren't being used on DraftKings might help when playing FanDuel.

My guess is that they both have huge contests which hundreds of thousands of people entered in each, so it's enough of a sample size to assume that the data from one would be similar to the other.  Isn't it worth explaining that in the story though?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Boston Celtics 2015-16 Season Preview (all you need to know in just over 37 seconds)

Boston Celtics
Last Year's Record: 40-42 (7th in East)
Key Losses: Brandon Bass, Luigi Datome, Gerald Wallace, Phil Pressey, Chris Babb
Key Additions: David Lee, Amir Johnson, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey, Perry Jones

1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?

The C's signed free agent Amir Johnson to a two-year, $24-million deal (with a team option for the second).  They traded Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb to the Warriors for David Lee, who has one season remaining on his contract at $15.5 million.  Boston drafted Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey, and acquired Perry Jones from the Thunder in a salary-dump trade that involved the swapping of second-round draft picks.  The Celtics also locked up Jae Crowder for five years at $35 million, and re-signed Jonas Jerebko for two years and $20 million (with a club option for year two as well).

2. What are the team's biggest strengths?

A) Brad Stevens.  No explanation necessary.
B) Financial flexibility.  Notice how most of the significant offseason moves didn't involve commitments beyond this season?  Danny Ainge hasn't been able to draw in a superstar just yet, but he's keeping the door open.
C) Depth.  The difference between Boston's second-best player (Marcus Smart?) and its 10th-best player (Evan Turner?) is virtually non-existent--the reserve unit will likely be just as effective as the starters.  The Celtics should have a huge advantage in most games when opposing team's benches are on the floor.

3. What is the team's biggest weakness?

Also depth.  The C's are a squad full of guys who's NBA talent ranges from mediocre (Tyler Zeller) to pretty good (Isaiah Thomas).  It's a recipe for limited success.  They have 11 established names deserving of minutes, plus James Young and three rookies who will battle for court time too.  Not to mention a 16th player, Jones, who's looking to earn his place as well.  How will Stevens get them all on the floor?

4. What are the goals for this team?

Improve on last years' mark.  Develop the kids (Smart, Young, Rozier, Hunter and Mickey are all 21 years old or younger).  Play hard and try to resemble a franchise that is just one piece away from contending.

5. Optimistic Prediction

45-37 (6th in East).  I'm convinced that if the Celtics had finished eighth in the conference last year instead of seventh, they could've given the Hawks a run for their money in Round 1.  Outside of Cleveland, is there another Eastern Conference team that scares you in 2015-16?  Don't be surprise if the spunky C's find themselves in the second round of the playoffs.

6. Pessimistic Prediction

35-47 (10th in East).  There's no logical explanation for how Boston was able to play .667 ball for the final two-and-half months of last season.  What if the magic is gone?  Without 2014-15 as a frame of reference, doesn't the Celtics roster look like it should be lottery-bound?

For the record, the optimistic prediction is the one I'm officially going with.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Less Than Awesome New TV Commercial of the Week: "Southwest Goes Tropical" (Kokomo)

What does that volleyball "Nice hit" line have to do with anything?
You may have noticed this Southwest Airlines commercial running all the time during Red Sox games lately (or not, if you stopped watching the Sox a long time ago).  Now here's the thing--Kokomo is an awesome song, and it's a no-brainer for an airline company to use it.

This is basically a can't-miss idea for an ad.  But, somehow they did:

Southwest Goes Tropical
We'll get there fast then you can take it slow. We want to take you to your favorite tropical destinations like Aruba, Jamaica, CancĂșn, Costa Rica and more: http://social.southwest.com/AKy
Posted by Southwest Airlines on Sunday, September 27, 2015

I feel like Southwest really half-assed this thing.  They could've either A) made a greater effort for the dialogue to resemble the actual song lyrics and/or rhyme, or B) had the cast sell it a bit more and/or sing a little.  But by only speaking the words and not even bothering to make them sound right, Southwest is just relying on the Kokomo reference to get the job done.  That's not good enough.  Do the work Southwest.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I don't think I want a Halloween hamburger

Some foods are conducive to Halloween themed colors and flavors--Oreo cookies, for example.  Others are not.  In my mind, hamburgers fall squarely under the "not" category.

Sorry Burger King, better luck next time.  How about trying a burger with a fried egg on it instead?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Amazing All-Time Stats for Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Steph Curry, Chris Paul (and more)

I write a column for Hoops Habit called Stat Central.  With no NBA action during the summer, I decided to take a look at how a number of today's superstars stack up statistically against the league's all-time greats.  Here's a compilation of the articles I put together (click on them so I get paid!):

Where Will Top 5 Active Leaders Finish on NBA All-Time Scoring List?

When Will Stephen Curry Become NBA All-Time Three-Point Leader? 

NBA Milestones on the Horizon for Tim Duncan in 2015-16

Chris Paul's Place on NBA All-Time Assist List

2015-16 Will Be a Season of Milestones for Kevin Garnett

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What's going on with this creepy spy van?

I happened to pass by this van parked the near the beach the other day.

The owner was sitting inside reading a book, with his dog on the step next to him.  You can't see any of that because I sort of hid behind the tree so he couldn't tell I was taking a picture.  In the back, there was a bed and a bunch of clothes hanging up.  I'm guessing he painted over the windows so he could sleep without any light getting in.

The thing is, if you're going to live in a van down by the river (or city beach), it might not be the best idea to also make it look as creepy as possible.

Although that seems to be par for the course in this location, where I also saw the Navy Seal camouflage car and the SUV with a padlocked door.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Would Derrick Rose admit his "Basketball is Everything" commercial was a big fat lie?

Two years ago, Derrick Rose made a commercial called Basketball is Everything.  In it, he said the following:

"If you took away the money [the fame, the spotlight, etc.] ...  What would you have left?  Everything."

At the time, I though it was pretty obnoxious of him considering he'd already shown he doesn't care much about basketball by not participating in the 2013 postseason (even though he'd been medically cleared to play two months earlier).

A year after the ad came out, Rose missed some more games and said:

"I'm thinking about after I'm done with basketball. Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to, I don't want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son's graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past."

At the Chicago Bulls' media day this week, an unprompted Rose discussed how he's focused on a big payday in 2017 free agency as a necessary means to provide for his family and his son's future.

Here's a snippet from my Hoops Habit piece Derrick Rose's Comments About Money Hard To Hear:

His commercial two years ago was clearly just a big fat lie.  I really wish someone would ask him about it.

Back to homepage