Not really, but hey, we can dream right? Here's a few of the questions that got the most questionable responses league-wide.
Every NBA superfan thinks they have a little GM in them. Now, NBA2k16's MyGM mode kind of killed the buzz for me (I mean, how many times can a player complain about practice? Or how many times will my scout team ask what kind of players I want?), but I can still offer up my two cents in this no-risk, no-reward GM Poll.
If you care to compare, here are my takes:
1) MVP: James Harden—Although it may just be a change in nomenclature for the Beard, the preseason results are staggering. Just listen to the commentators glow about Harden's exquisite passing sense out of the pick-and-roll. With a whole slew of shooters added to the roster, Mike D'Antoni reviving Seven Seconds or Less in Houston, and Daryl Morey creaming his pants more times than Pete Carroll in Superbowl XLVIII, Harden has a real shot at leading the league in points and assists. The numbers should be astronomical, enough, even, to lay to rest all the questions about his defense. Caveat: if Russell Westbrook can lead this Thunder team to the playoffs, a better record than the Rockets, and hit Oscar level numbers, he can take home this particular hardware.
2) Best Point Guard: Chris Paul—Just peep my author biography. And look, maybe Chris Paul isn't the GOAT, I can accept that. But he's indubitably the best point guard in the NBA right now by any metric (see: eye test). An elite two way player with a sterling assist-to-turnover ratio and one of the nastiest midrange jumpers out of the pick and roll this side of Beno Udrih, Paul affects every facet of the game. Steph might be the greatest shooter of all time, but he's not even the best passer on his team (Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala), much less the best point guard in the league. Also, Chris Paul's the GOAT.
3) Best Center: DeMarcus Cousins—Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer recently posted an article about how we haven't seen the best of DeMarcus Cousins and it's hard to disagree. Trapped in a dysfunctional front office that always seems to be planning for a future after Cousins and head coaches that don't value him nearly enough (read: George Karl), DeMarcus hasn't even sniffed his ceiling. This guy can do everything on the offensive side of the ball: he's a dominant force in the paint playing bully ball, consistently stretches the defense out to 20 feet—not to mention a burgeoning three point shot—and has elite passing chops. Maybe if he'd been surrounded by players to fit him, the Kings wouldn't be saying goodbye to their franchise big man. Maybe we wouldn't be talking about playing 4-on-5 basketball. And maybe DeMarcus wouldn't be so damn surly all the time.
4) Most Improved Team: Utah Jazz—With the league and the world solidly on board the Timberwolves hype train, it's my cue to hop off. Already an elite level defense, new roster acquisitions and individual improvements will see this team take the next step on the offensive side of the ball. Last year, the Jazz trotted out a revolving door of Raul Neto, Shelvin Mack, and Trey Burke (for a few years, holder of the dubious honor: Worst Starting Point Guard in the NBA) at the point. This year they've brought on long-time helmsman George Hill and returning from a knee injury that cost him the entire last season, Dante Exum actually gives this team depth at the point guard position. All this isn't even to mention the addition of veteran swingman Joe Johnson and the emergence of Trey Lyles. Rodney Hood broke out last season as a sweet-shooting lefty that can occupy either wing position. This team is deep and versatile. They're going to be damn fun to watch.
5) Rookie Steal: Skal Labissiere (28th)—Look, if the Kings insist on moving on from DeMarcus before they actually move on from DeMarcus, Skal's a huge steal at 28th overall. Besides, who needs to see the Spurs win this category again? Coming out of high school, Skal was touted as one of the best recruits of his class. After a disappointing college campaign (read: he f*cking sucked), Skal dropped on most, if not all draft boards. But I think Skal just wasn't fit for the college game. He broke out during Summer League showing a deft touch from the outside as well as great length and instincts on the defensive end. He needs to pack on some weight and adjust to the speed and physicality of the NBA game, but what team couldn't use a guy who can stretch the floor in pick-and-pop situations and protect the rim. Don't sleep on Skal.
6) Best Defensive Team: Utah Jazz—Despite a reputation for stingy defense as well as the two-time, back-to-back reigning Defensive Player of the Year, the loss of Tim Duncan anchoring the block is going to hurt this teams defensive potential. A starting front court of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol certainly leaves much to be desired in terms of switching ability. On the other hand, the Jazz have unlimited versatility on the defensive end. Dante Exum and Trey Lyles both boast the ability to guard multiple positions (Exum 1-3, Lyles 3-5) and can thus switch over practically anything. Throw in a top-tier rim protector in Rudy Gobert a.k.a. The Stifle Tower, and you have the makings of a perfect defensive identity. They already posted elite defensive numbers last year after the All-Star break. They might be the only team in the NBA that can even faze the Warriors. I can't wait.
7) Head Coach with Best In-Game Adjustments: Brad Stevens—I almost want Donald Trump to win. It gives Popp four years to realize that the United States of America needs him more than the Spurs. And when he is forced to vacate as head coach, it won't be anyone from his family tree stepping into the title of Greatest Coach Alive. It'll be the exception to the Rick Pitino, NCAA-to-NBA rule (read: college coaches blow mind at the whole NBA thing): McLovin's older, more (less?) successful brother. Just peep his playbook to find out why. Not only does Stevens boast an incomparable basketball sense, but he leads an shape-shifting team that can go from offensive gunslingers to defensive pitbulls at the drop of a time-out.
8) Rule Change: None of the Above—If anyone other than myself read my article Five NBA Teams That Could Make You Some Money, then you know what needs to change: league-wide redraft every decade and a half. The way I see it, 15 years is enough to build a contender/franchise/dynasty. I know, I know Philly, #TrusttheProcess. But when the process takes too long, #F*cktheProcess, let's expedite it. So players might not like it, going to sleep in the Big Apple and waking up in SacTown—f*ck 'em, who needs 'em? Who's with me?! No one? Am I the only one thinking of the ratings? Fine, change the draft lottery system, whatever. See if I care.
The Trump-Twitter Industrial Complex continues to fester and mutate.
This week, President Donald J. Trump tweeted a false statement about mail-in ballots.
He wrote that secretaries of state were sending mail-in ballots to every person, when actually states are only sending out ballot applications. For the first time, Twitter jumped in to fact-check Trump's statement, adding a link to a webpage full of information about mail-in ballots.
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Was the Jimmy Fallon Blackface Skit Intentionally Released as a Distraction from the Murder of George Floyd?
Racist police violence is a modern epidemic. So why are we talking about an SNL skit from 2000?
At this point, celebrity apologies are incredibly common. In 2020, it seems like some formerly beloved actor or TV personality is being put through the wringer of public opinion a few times a week.
Most recently, Twitter canceled Jimmy Fallon after an unquestionably racist skit from the 2000 season of SNL resurfaced online. The skit features Fallon impersonating Chris Rock, complete with black face and an offensive imitation of Rock's speech patterns.
Jimmy Fallon Blackface youtu.be
This quickly led to the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trending on Twitter. While fans seemed split on whether Fallon should be forgiven for the 20-year-old misstep, most everyone agreed that Fallon should apologize regardless. This morning, he did just that in the form of a tweet.
As far as celebrity apologies go, Fallon's is a pretty good one. He doesn't try to sidestep the blame, he doesn't bring up the fact that there were undoubtedly many, many other individuals involved in the creation of the skit, and he doesn't even mention the fact that in 2000, many people still thought it was possible for black face to be done in the spirit of fun, because the deeply racist nature of the act was largely ignored in mainstream (white) media. Of course, we know better now, and it's easy to see that a white person doing an exaggerated imitation of a black person—darkened skin included—can only be a racist, belittling act with a long, dark history of racial oppression. With that in mind, Fallon's only option was to apologize without caveat or reservation. Indeed, it's refreshing to see a celebrity apology that doesn't try to justify or minimize their own misstep. While we can all agree Fallon made a terrible, racist choice 20 years ago, we have to believe that, like all of us, he's grown since then. If cancel culture is to have any efficacy in making the world a better place, it has to leave room for forgiveness and growth. Hopefully, the whole affair will leave Fallon (and those who witnessed it) more racially sensitive.
All of that being said, one has to ask why the clip was brought up now, given that it's been circulated around the Internet before, and the specific YouTube clip that was shared was posted on the site over a year ago. It's also worth noting that the version of the clip that was going around Twitter has a text overlay that reads: "NBC FIRED MEGAN KELLY FOR MENTIONING BLACKFACE. JIMMY FALLON PERFORMED ON NBC IN BLACKFACE."
Megan Kelly, an outspoken conservative, was indeed fired from her job at NBC because she defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, saying on her talk show, "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween," she said. "When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character." While Fallon's instance of racial insensitivity was in 2000, Kelly defended blackface in 2019, long after society at large had begun to acknowledge the hurt that blackface and other forms of racial impersonation could cause. This fundamental difference aside, Kelly also has a long history of racial insensitivity that Fallon does not, even once saying, "What is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?" in a conversation about the epidemic of racist police officers in America.
Given the text overlay, it's pretty clear that whoever began the #jimmyfallonisoverparty was not necessarily seeking justice for the black community, but was instead trying to imply hypocrisy in the cancellation of Megan Kelly, given that Fallon (who has been outspoken about the flaws of the Trump administration and political pundits like Kelly) is still on the air. One even has to wonder if, given that it's obvious that the #jimmyfallonisoverparty trend was begun by a conservative individual or group, if the trend was meant to be a distraction from the widespread racist police violence that has been emphasized in recent weeks by incidents like the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer on Monday. It seems oddly coincidental that the clip of Fallon should flood the Internet with controversy the day after Floyd's murder, unfortunately serving to help steer conversation away from Floyd's unjust death.
Indeed, under the unquestionably racist Donald Trump administration, more and more black people are being harassed, attacked, and murdered at the hands of racist white civilians and police officers. But Trump and his supporters don't want you to focus on that–so much so that it doesn't feel impossible that the Fallon skit was intentionally weaponized as a distraction.
In the last few weeks alone we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered senselessly by a white man while simply out for a jog, and we all witnessed the harassment of Christian Cooper, a black man who was threatened by a white woman in Central Park who didn't want to put her dog on a leash. It's clear that racism in America cannot be reduced to insensitive skits from 20 years ago but is instead a current and deadly problem. What Jimmy Fallon did in 2000 was racist, yes; but don't let that distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in 2020, don't let celebrity apologies make you take your eyes of our lawmakers, who aren't doing enough to protect people of color in this country. Don't let the latest "#_____isoverparty" trend distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in our laws, culture, and criminal justice system.
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