NBA Lottery

I don’t follow basketball much, but I hear a little bit about it as I listen to the news, traffic, weather, and sports during my commute. Every year, some people have complaints about the NBA lottery pick system. Why their draft can’t be like everyone else’s, I’m not sure.

But people were proposing changes to the lottery draft format. Most proposals are intended to curb the motivation for teams to lose on purpose in order to get a better draft. One proposal that I remember was to give more ping-pong balls to the non-playoff teams with the better records. That would decrease the incentive to lose, but that would be counter to the purpose of the draft – to help bad teams.

That whole sports-talk radio bit got me thinking as to other ways the NBA could run its draft. Here are my proposals, if they are intent on ignoring the simplest process of just basing it on record:

  • Plinko
    It would make as much sense as the current system, but be more entertaining. Make it a giant Plinko board, with the names of all the available draft picks at the bottom. They would have to have all the number combinations as separate ping-pong balls, instead of just 14 balls like they have currently. But then the commissioner just dumps all the balls at once and then it’s a race to the bottom!
  • Silent Auction
    Not as entertaining as Plinko, but perhaps some more drama possible. Instead of a certain number of ping-pong ball combinations, each team would get a certain number of Draft Bucks they could spend. Worse teams would get more Draft Bucks. I think this would work better if it applied to the whole draft, not just the first part. Then teams could overspend for one player if they wanted, at the expense of their second round. On second thought, this might be too much like a salary cap, and fans might want something different.
  • White Elephant-Style
    That’s right – stealing. The draft would occur with the best team going first and the worst team last. A team could draft anyone off the board, or steal a player who was drafted by an earlier team. The NBA would set limits on how many steals are allowed and such. Possibly confusing, but definitely more exciting.

Any other ideas for how to improve (or at least change) the NBA draft?

Saul said, “Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

1 Samuel 14:42

Random Numbers

If you ever need a random-number generator for values between 0-100, don’t bother with any of the standard libraries or websites to provide them.

Just look at the weather forecast for Michigan.

image of weather forecast for Detroit showing changing temperatures

Thus I was: by day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.

Genesis 31:40

New Headphones

cartoon of someone wearing nose-cancelling headphones instead of noise-canceling headphones

Evan thought it was a typo
but it turns out
they really were
nose-cancelling headphones

They have ears, but they cannot hear; They have noses, but they cannot smell;

Psalm 115:6

Family Conversations, Part 20

Gamma: You know what I do to Delta when I tell him “I’ll give you something to cry about?”
Some Guy (suspiciously) : No, what?
Gamma: I tell him that he lost his favorite ball in the summer!

I couldn’t help but smile at that one.

And no, he didn’t get that phrase from me.

The Scene: Delta runs to me, crying
Some Guy: What’s wrong?
Delta: Daddy, Gamma smacked me!
Some Guy: I’m sorry. Where?
Delta: In the living room.

If he weren’t two years old, I would have thought he had been watching old comedy sketches somewhere.

Gamma: I’m practicing air hockey so I can win more than Beta.
Some Guy : That’s right – if you want to be good at something you need to practice, to work at it.
Gamma: Like if I don’t like eating vegetables, I need to practice eating more of them?
Some Guy : Sure.

The Scene: informal Bible lesson
Some Guy: The Roman soldiers used a piece of armor called the breastplate to protect their vital organs.
Beta: Yeah, if they didn’t, then their Little Einsteins would come gooshing out!
Alpha: Not Little Einsteins! Little intestines!
Some Guy: Small intestines, but yes, that could happen.

The Scene: leaving the doctor office after a blood draw
Gamma: Why did they take my blood?
Some Guy : They are going to test it to see what allergies you have.
Gamma: When are they going to put it back?
Some Guy : Oh, they’re not.

Gamma: If your nose is bleeding you use a Kleenex because with a Band-Aid you couldn’t breathe.

The Scene: I’m pretending to eat a pig
Gamma: No, you don’t eat pigs! You need to wait for them to lay bacon.

But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

1 Thessalonians 5:8

Tasty Cookies

I don’t know where my wife bought these cookies, but I’m glad she bought the new version and not the old version.

image of a box of smart cookies

You know it must have been bad for them to (indirectly) admit the old version did not taste great.

The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil.

Numbers 11:8

Printing Copies

At work, our printers are set to default to 2-sided printing. This is supposed to save the company money because we will, in theory, use half as much paper and printing costs will decline.

But no one likes the 2-sided printing.

For example, last week I was printing just a 1-page document for review. A coworker was also to review the document, so he asked me for a copy. I, thinking ahead, selected 2 for the number of copies when I clicked print. My coworker and I walked to the printer and were surprised to see only one paper there.

“I thought you printed 2 copies.”
“I did.”

Then we noticed there was printing on the other side.

That’s right – when I asked for 2 copies the default setting of the printer made it 2-sided printing, so my copy was on one side of the paper and my coworkers copy was on the other side.

We thought about holding it up and looking at the opposite sides concurrently, but I just made another copy instead and handed it to him.

So for that example, the paper costs were the same as before, but the ink/toner costs have increased by 50%. The policy has backfired.

And that has happened other times too, and not just to me. I now find it easier just to increase the number of copies when I print multiple copies, rather than click through 3 or 4 options and settings to turn off the default of 2-sided printing.

An Open Letter to Whoever Sets Company Policies for the Printer

Dear Companies:

Setting the printer default to double-sided accomplishes only frustrating your employees and not much cost savings. It’s not worth it.


Your employees

He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written, in the presence of the sons of Israel.

Joshua 8:32

Orlando Recap, Conclusion

And you thought I was done with the vacation posts. This one is just observations, no photos.

  • We have an ancient Michigan saying: The grass is always greener in Florida. That is especially true in February.
  • Two paths diverged in a Knoxville, and I – I took the one less travelled by. I knew we would be on the freeway a lot, so I chose to take the back roads from Knoxville to Atlanta (129 to 411, jumping on I-75 just north of Atlanta). It was a nice drive, apart from the several miles I was stuck behind someone going 5-10 under the speed limit. That’s the downside of the back roads – one lane each way near the mountains means there are not a lot of opportunities for passing. But, more time to enjoy the scenery. Miles-wise, it was a lot shorter, but time-wise it was about the same. Only, the GPS was not happy with me. It was doing all it could to get me back to I-75 the whole time.
  • Florida must be where bottled water got its start. All the tap water there tastes like swamp. If you ever travel to Florida, be prepared to avoid the local water supply.
  • Even though you might not want to make the trip down and back and down again, take the 2YO to breakfast in his pajamas then bring him back to the room to change into his clothes for the day. Otherwise, he will end up walking around the theme park all day with oatmeal and orange juice on his clothes.
  • If you do go to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and you are expecting Dolphin Tales to be just dolphins performing tricks and stuff, you will be surprised. Dolphin Tales is a musical – people singing and choreography and such. It just happens that some of the actors are dolphins.
  • Atlanta speed limits are confusing. The signs said 55 MPH, but everyone was going 65. Then I saw the sheriff pass everyone going 70.
  • I took 3 books on the trip but didn’t get to read at all. When you are the driver on a road trip, your options are limited to what you can listen to in the van. Other than that, you are sightseeing or sleeping.
  • I figured out how to objectively tell whether a place is fancy or not. I figured this out while surveying our condo. It is fancy if the shower uses real tile that goes all the way up to the ceiling. Average places will use a plastic shower surround thingy. A good place will use ceramic tile but only to the top of the shower. Our condo had tile all the way to the ceiling, and they were 9′ ceilings even. I’m glad we went during the off-season when the rates are lower, because we could not have afforded this place otherwise.
  • I had the chicken flatbread thingy for a meal at a Disney resort. I now know that flatbread is a culinary term that means bad pizza.

You who ride on white donkeys, You who sit on rich carpets, And you who travel on the road—sing!

Judges 5:10