Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013 NBA Draft Lottery as Chosen by a Chocolatey Prognosticator

Very few things make the Puma jump for joy and almost weep tears of happiness. Some of these things are bacon, leaving work early while others are still there, and catching a showing of “You’ve Got Mail” from the beginning. What? Sue me. Tom Hanks is delightful! And of course the NBA draft which is tonight, so lucky for you loyal readers Uncle Puma has decided to do a little digging, watch a few clips and blindly guess who everyone in the lottery is drafting. You know, sometimes I spoil you all.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C; PF – Kentucky
Honestly the Cavs are kind of boned. With Irving and Waiters looking very good together no point in drafting a guard and all this talk of worrying about Noel’s injury is kind of dumb given all the other big men in the draft have injury histories as. Given his defense I think he’s the best choice.

2. Orlando Magic: Otto Porter, SF – Georgetown

This is of course contingent on the working rumor that the Magic are close to trading for Eric Bledsoe. Nikola Vucevic has been a pretty solid guy, E’Tuwan Moore is pretty decent, so adding the very dependable Otto Porter with his very high basketball IQ could be a great acquisition for a young team.

3. Washington Wizards: Alex Len, C – Maryland

The second best big man in the draft, he’s a solid choice for a team with to good guards and little else. He has a history of foot problems which is scary but given this draft he’s probably the best choice.

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Cody Zeller, PF- Indiana
Top bunk right buddy?
Byron Mullens needs a roommate I’m sure.

5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG- Indiana

I think Oladipo is going to be the best player in this draft. He is great at things that translate to the pro game such as defense and has that insatiable desire to bury whoever he is guarding or is guarding him.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG- Michigan

The best point guard available finds a home for the New Orleans franchise that’s looking to find it’s point guard of the future to join Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis. Incredibly clutch and lives for the big moment he is just what they need since the trade of Chris Paul.

7. Sacramento Kings: Ben McLemore, SG- Kansas
This team is a mess. Tyreke Evans has not progressed, Jimmer has been a bust so far and Boogie Cousins well I find him highly entertaining but he just gets out of his game too often mentally. Start with a fresh slate y getting the second best shooting guard in the draft that’s explosive and shoots the ball very well. If he works on his handles then he could be an elite guard for a long time.
8. Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams, PG- Syracuse
Rumor has it the Pistons want to move Brandon Knoght to the shooting guard position if that’s the case they will need a big guard who can defend larger 2 guards that Knight could not guard and handle point guard duties. Enter the 6’7 guard from Syracuse. Sees the floor well, has a good bit of speed and very quick hands defensively. He’d be a perfect addition to an up and coming team.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG-Georgia

He shoots the ball extremely well, and with defenses collapsing on the driving Ricky Rubio he’ll be able to knock down plenty of shots that way or when the double team rushes toward Kevin Love.

10. Portland Trailblazers: Anthony Bennett, PF- UNLV

Very skilled although he could be a bit undersized for the 4 and is not quick enough to play the 3. That said very good ball handler, has a very good and consistent shot. He has a history of injury but if healthy he could be a very solid contributor.

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C- Pittsburgh

Given that the Andrew Bynum experiment was a massive flop I think that the only way to rectify that situation is to get the next best big man in the draft. He’s a bit raw but he showed massive improvement from the start of the season to the end of it. He’s a very efficient scorer and really good offensive rebounder.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder:C.J. McCollum, G- Lehigh

The elite level score that has been missing since the trade of James Harden to Houston he should be able to step right in and contribute. Good all around player has he averaged over 2 steals a game and uses his long arms to crash the board. Spelling either Westbrook or Sefalosha he makes the most sense for the Thunder at this point.

13. Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Olynk, C- Gonzaga
"For the last time I'm not Rebecca Lobo!!!
Olynk is a skilled 7 footer who has pretty good range and passes the ball well. Not great defensively but he’s not awful either and given some of the centers that have gone through Dallas he could start immediately.

14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin, PG- Miami

A deceptively freakish athlete as he has an incredible vertical, great speed, and incredible vision. Handles the ball well and is a very good shooter. With athletes such as Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and Derrick Favors they could be an extremely exciting team to watch out in the land of Mormons.

Well folks, there you have it, the 2013 NBA draft lottery. I’m sure I may have gotten 1-3 right but this is how these teams should draft. The Puma is never wrong.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

America...My Word.

You know I have getting worked up over the past few days on a variety of topics. So in an effort to not make my brain explode all over my face I will give my brief if not passionate reply to each of these topics.

· The trial of George Zimmerman has begun and already I am so angry I can barely breathe. The defense opens up their case with what? A knock-knock joke. A God Damn knock-knock joke.

 This is serious. This not the time for little jokes, your client chased down and murdered a teenager. Don’t come at me with self defense talk because it’s not self defense if you initiate the conflict then get scared and use deadly force. I would hope the overwhelming evidence would lead to his conviction but hey, this is America. I wouldn’t be shocked if he got off and won a civil trial because, yeah…America.

· Abigail Fisher…I can’t with you right now. Krystie Yandoli over at Jezebel does a much better job than I can right now and there are no expletives!

· So we just gonna strike down parts of the Voting Rights Act huh Supreme Court? We live in a world with no discrimination, no hatred, so we can just strike down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965? This is the definition of taking a step backward. Again I refer you to someone who can explain this much better than I, Caitlin Naidoff.

· Finally, I said I wasn’t gonna really give this too much time but I have read some things recently that you know made the Puma’s blood boil. The Paula Deen fiasco. What confuses me is no one really discussed what the big deal should have been and that’s the discriminatory practices she allegedly participated in. But if you wanna make this about the “N” word fine. People bring up well she born in a different time. Ok. So that means we’re prisoners to the time period we were born into? No room for personal growth? No sorrow or regret for mistakes made? Going on the Today show, faking tears and saying “I is what I is, and I’m not changing” is not the way to go about trying to convince people you’re sorry. Also as an aside, she stated she dropped it only once in her life, about 30 years ago. You know, in 1983. When everyone figured out how shitty that word is a few decades prior.

· Also a little rule of thumb about the “n” word, don’t use it. I know someone is gonna go all “well rappers say it, why can’t we?” If you are one of those people please excuse yourself while the adults talk. These people usually are on the hip hop is trash train except when it means I can say nigger! That’s the amazing thing to me, some white people (not all) just don’t get why they can’t say it. I always pose this question, why do you want to say it?

Well America, I am done being riled up. Gonna give this Killer Mike and el-p album another listen. Shit's tight yo.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Chocolate Puma's Favorite: Kanye West Edition

With the release of “Yeezus” the Chocolate Puma has been thinking as an unabashed Kanye fan who has loved every album, what is my favorite Kanye song? So I began to sit and ponder. And what I have come up with is my completely original top ten list of all songs from the College Dropout to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Enjoy and let me know your list.

10. Hey Mama: Late Registration

As a man who was raised by a single mother this sentimental piece from the Louis Vuitton Don always struck a chord with me. Honest and surprisingly affectionate, Kanye puts his love for his mother on front street and made a hip hop anthem for the mothers.

Favorite line:
“Can't you see, you're like a book of poetry/ Maya Angelou, Nicky Giovanni, turn one page and there's my mommy.”

9. Homecoming: Graduation

The original version with John Legend on the hook may be my favorite variation but I won’t nit pick. If you have a connection with a place this song will particularly resonate with you. Done in the same vein as “I Used to Love H.E.R” by Common Kanye humanizes the city and writes a beautiful ode to the city of wind,

Favorite line:
“And when I grew up, she showed me how to go downtown/ And at nighttime my face lit up, so astoundin' /And I told her in my heart is where she always be”

8. Lost in The World: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Sampling Bon Iver’s “Woods” this track is lush and grand in every way from the tribal drums in the background to the very long sample of my favorite Gil Scot Heron piece “Comment No. 1”this song is just a smorgasbord of all thing the Chocolate Puma loves.

Favorite Line:
“You're my devil, you're my angel/You're my heaven, you're my hell/You're my now, you're my forever
You're my freedom, you're my jail/You're my lies, you're my truth/You're my war, you're my truce
You're my questions, you're my proof/You're my stress and you're my masseuse”

7. Last Call: College Dropout

As someone who loves to say I told you so this is an anthem of sorts. Yeezy goes into painstaking detail of his rise from ghost producing to one of the biggest acts in the world.

Favorite Line(s):

“Some say he arrogant. Can y'all blame him?/ It was straight embarrassing how y'all played him”

“I went to the malls and I balled too hard/ 'Oh my god, is that a Black Card?'/I turned around and replied, why yes but I prefer the term African American Express”

6. Runaway: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

West waxes poetic about failed relationships and his part in causing the break up. He also seemingly comes to term with being as the President referred to him, as a jackass. The repetitive piano riff is a nice touch and a great verse from Pusha T puts it over the top for me.

Favorite Line:
“Let's have a toast for the douchebags/Let's have a toast for the assholes,/ Let's have a toast for the scumbags, / Every one of them that I know /Let's have a toast for the jerkoffs /That'll never take work off/ Baby, I got a plan/ Run away fast as you can”

5. Heartless: 808s and Heartbreak

808s gets a lot of grief because it was a departure from his signature style, I however loved it as it was a risk but I think that this album led to the end of auto tune as this is in my opinion the best auto tune song of all time. That’s right all-time. Telling a tale of heartbreak, this is the soundtrack to a time that I am sure everyone can relate to.

Favorite Line:
In the night I hear 'em talk, the coldest story ever told/ Somewhere far along this road he lost his soul To a woman so heartless.

4. Roses: Late Registration

Telling the tale of the impending death of his grandmother while dealing with newfound fame and an adoring public that does not respect boundaries at all times over a sample of “Rosie” by Bill Withers you can feel the pain.

Favorite Line:
“To get there we run, we fly, we drive/Coz with my family we know where home is/ So instead of sending flowers./ We the roses...”

3. Diamonds from Sierra Leone: Late Registration

With a sample from Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever” West and composer Jon Brion concoct a instrumental strong enough to hang with the very heavy topic of blood diamonds, A refreshing bit of social consciousness from a an admittedly materialistic artist.

Favorite Line:
“Good morning, this ain't Vietnam/still People lose hands, legs, arms for real/ Little was known of Sierra Leone/And how it connect to the diamonds we own”

2. Get Em High: College Dropout

Simple math formula for the Chocolate Puma: Kanye + Talib Kweli+ Common= A happy Puma. High energy beat, dyslexic flow from Common and gems of lines from Kanye that still to this day makes me chuckle is why this is definitely one of my favorite.

Favorite Line:

“You see I'm so Chi that you thought it was bashful/But this bastard's flow will bash a skull”

1. All Falls Down: College Dropout

Starting with the lovely voice of Syleena Johnson he weaves tales of self consciousness and materialism seamlessly from a fictional woman to himself. And bonus this video featured the greatest cameo in a video ever, Stacey Dash! Ask any guy aged 16-21 when that video was released, they’ll agree.
Favorite Line:
“We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us/ We trying to buy back our 40 acres
And for that paper, look how low we’ll stoop/ Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coupe”

Well there you go folks, my top ten. Let me know yours. And if you don’t like this I don’t know what to say to you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Random Ramblings of A Gentleman of Leisure Part 3,267

It’s been too long my loving legion of fans. But don’t you worry the Chocolate Puma is here and he is ready to give you what you need, what you crave, and dare I say what you dream about. My random thoughts on an assortment of topics in which did not ask my opinion on. You’re welcome.

· The NBA finals huh? Wow. Most of America expected the Heat to roll in and steam roll the Spurs but as they have done all season and most of the decade the Spurs keep surprising us. Taking a 2-1 series lead with a beatemdown of Ike Turner proportions I think it’s safe to say we have a series on our hand.

· Man Dwayne Wade has completely fell the hell off the elite level. The once dynamic guard known as Flash because of his dynamic speed has been reduced to Batman (post Bane breaking his back of course.)

· Tim Tebow signed with the Patriots giving Skip Bayless and ESPN what they needed to bring this no talent nice guy back to the forefront of their programming.
"Reunited and it feels soooooo good!"
Not like anything else is going on in the world of sports. (Not counting the NBA Finals, Finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the emergence of Yasiel Puig, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams dominating the French Open, World Cup Qualifying, etc)

· I am so ridiculously excited for the new Kanye West album that I can barely take it. I am an unabashed mark for Yeezy so save your criticisms for they just won’t resonate with me. I feel the only thing he could do to make me dislike him or his music would be to bad mouth sweet potato pie or slap my mother.

· Dear Lebron, Bald is beautiful, I’m living proof. Signed, The Chocolate Puma .
Pretty soon you're gonna need a a bandana buddy.
· “Celebrities read mean tweets” is such a simple concept but it’s so well done. Shows why Jimmy Kimmel is probably the best late night talk show host in the game right now.

· Seriously sometime humans suck so much ass. He’s a damn 10 year old for goodness sake.

· So NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to congress defending the name of the Washington Redskins. Really dude? I mean…gah! What possible justification do you have outside of merchandising that warrants keeping a slur as the name of one of the marquee franchises of your league? Don’t be a jackass and do the right thing. Jimminy Christmas.

· Last but certainly not least I wanna respond to claims that because I am rooting against the Miami Heat I am “a hater.” Well you’re goddamn right. I hate the Miami Heat. I give them props for what they have done but does it mean I have to jump up and down and act like they are the greatest team assembled? No! I am a Chicago Bulls fan, and any team that beats my Bulls I will root against. Don’t like it? Too bad! This is to the newer Heat fans of course. Those who don’t know who Bimbo Coles is or remember the awesome hair styling of Rony Seikaly. If you can’t tell me who Brian Grant is you’re not a Heat fan. You’re a bandwagon jumper and I’ll see you with your Oklahoma City gear in 2 years.
Good night folks!

The Murder of Trayvon Martin by the Coward George Zimmerman

The trial of George Zimmerman has begun and predictably the time honored tradition of blaming the victim has begun. This time however it feels different. I have never seen the kind of character assassination done on an unarmed victim who was murdered in the street. And let’s be clear, it was murder. It was not self defense as Zimmerman has claimed, it was not an example of an everyday hero standing up for the citizens of his neighborhood, it was a guy who saw a black kid where he didn’t belong in his eyes, stalked that kid, began to lose the fight he started, and then he shot and killed him. This is the truth. This is what happened.

The Zimmerman camps’ attempts at characterizing young Trayvon as a thug and delinquent don’t change these simple truths.
Robert Zimmerman has been very outspoken yet delusional.
What do tweets, texts, facebook posts, or school suspensions have to do with what happened on the night of February 26, 2012? That night he walked to a store, bought some candy, was walking home and because of how he looked was gunned down in the street. So tweeting some Lil’ Wayne lyrics or texts about weed don’t justify murder. That’s not media bias, that’s the truth. The young man wasn’t perfect but damn sure did not deserve what happened to him.

This case is just a microcosm of what happens in society to this day. That’s the unfair assumption of guilt just by your very existence. As the Puma can tell you it’s 2013 and I always have and always will keep my head on a swivel. While I don’t live in a Jim Crow society I do live in a society where I am more likely to be assumed a criminal than the professional gentleman of leisure that I am. I have been stopped by cops for just walking in certain neighborhoods, followed by security guards in stores, and accosted by bouncers as “a wannabe thug.” Any one of these instances could have ended in the tragic case of Trayvon Martin.

I would hope all the evidence sends this coward to prison for a very long time for extinguishing the flame of this young man but history and our society doesn’t have me holding my breath. With legal excuses such as the “Stand your Ground” law there is a chance that this coward could be found not guilty and the feeling that the life of a black man is not that valuable in America will only be strengthened,