The NBA Draft Lottery Is Garbage
2:13 PM EST on January 19, 2021
Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s novel, Point B, while you’re at it. Today, we're talking about slippers, cheese, tough time for BIG DEODORANT, and more.
What do you think it would take for the NFL to adopt an NBA Draft Lottery system and, as I think about it, why doesn't it already exist?
Any draft system itself should probably be mothballed, but as long as you have one in place, do it right. And the NBA Draft Lottery sucks. It’s done absolutely nothing to prevent tanking. In fact, tanking is a much bigger problem in basketball than in football. Thanks to the lottery, you don’t even have to tank a LOT to get the No. 1 pick. You can aspire to the realm of general Eastern Conference shittiness and still end up handsomely rewarded for it. That’s all the incentive that half of a perpetually top-heavy NBA requires.
Without a lottery, NFL teams have to pull a Doug Pederson and take open dives to inch up the draft. Those dives are not only hard to execute (asking an NFL player to slow down out on the field is asking them to commit suicide), they’re never worth it. Look at the final four NFL teams playing this weekend. None of them, not even the Bills, has a No. 1 overall pick as their quarterback.
Also, your team NEVER wins the lottery. Ask Knicks fans. They won it one time and their reward was the boringest goddamn player in NBA history. The only advantage to the NBA lottery is you get to watch a half-hour special on ESPN at some random moment in the playoffs where Adam Silver opens a novelty-sized envelope to reveal a Sacramento Kings logo. It’s a complete waste of time.
I recently got a new pair of slippers and they’re probably the best I’ve ever owned. The only downside is my feet sweat a lot and since I’m working from home now I’m in them constantly. I could wear socks with them to keep them from getting sweaty, but that’s not nearly as comfortable. How do I make these things last?
You have to wear socks with them. That’s the only way. If you’re prone to sweaty hands and feet like I am, no amount of baby powder is gonna help. I’ll actually sweat THROUGH baby powder and end up making a rough paste out of it, for making sculptures and what not. There’s no way out of sweaty bare feet.
I used to be a Slippers Guy. My wife is half German and her mom, who is full German, bought me a pair of Haflinger slippers a million Christmases ago to welcome me into the family. These were good slippers. We called them haus schlipfers, even though “schlipfer” is not a real German term (the real German word for slippers is Hausschuhe). I wore my first pair of haus schlipfers until the toes frayed off. But I had to wear socks with them because otherwise I sweated clean through the wool. And then the entire house smelled like used hockey pads.
The wife couldn’t abide that. Eventually, we both agreed that I had to switch to a more breathable form of indoor footwear. So you know what I did? I bought a pair of sneakers and now THOSE are my slippers. I’m wearing them right now. I never wear this pair of sneakers outside. I only wear them when I’m farting around the house and need to keep my trotters warm. I wish I could still wear the Haflingers, or fuzzy slippers like my kids wear. But I’m not anatomically engineered to make those options work. Two seconds inside a pair of bunny slippers and I lose half my weight in sweat. My feet are too fucking hot. It sucks. I’m gonna freeze these feet in liquid nitrogen so that I can get my haus schlipfers back.
On the plus side, I think I’ve had this pair of indoor-only New Balances for like five years now. Can’t wear out sneakers if you don’t do anything in them.
Do you think an athlete would ever leave their team if a president tried to appoint them to a cabinet position? Could the White House snag LeBron?
No. They’d have to let LeBron keep playing basketball, otherwise forget it.
We’re gonna have a new president Wednesday. I think. And when the old man takes office, I’ll be interested to see if working for the president is still treated as a call to duty by people. Like, I used to read stories where some mid-level staffer was like, “Well I owned my own chain of tiki bars in Santa Barbara and made sweet love to my wife every night right out on our sun deck. But when the president calls, you answer!” And I was always like, “Well that guy’s a moron.” Then Trump became president and anyone working for his sorry ass really DID end up being a sucker for it.
In theory, old man Biden is gonna bring some prestige back to the White House. That’s his whole sales pitch. Everyone is gonna magically get back together and roll up their sleeves and bring HONOR and DIGNITY to America again. And while I am optimistic by necessity these days, even I’m rolling my eyes at that shit. The old man is gonna have to not only encourage more Americans into working in public service, but into believing it’s worth it. That’s not gonna be easy. A bunch of Nazi goons just tried to storm Congress. The DoD has to vet National Guard troops for this week because they fear an inside job. AOC already told the New York Times she wasn’t sure she wanted to run for Congress a second time after all the evil bullshit she had to endure during her first term. Every important government agency has been gutted and looted.
We’re only still standing right now, and barely, because a lot of people did their duty: scientists at NIH, CDC officials, election officials (many of whom are quitting), and even Mike Pence at the absolutely last possible second. We need more people to feel that sense of duty, but look at the potential reward that awaits them: millions of demented Americans either ignoring them, or insisting it’s all a hoax. Unless the old man gives everyone a reason to really believe in duty—like say, getting rid of student debt and getting us all vaccinated right goddamn NOW—we’re probably better off moving to Bali like that one lady on Twitter did. I’m sure Bali has enough room for us all. We can make it work!
I've built a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame playlist on Spotify with one song for every artist or band enshrined in the "Performer" category. Who's the most undeserving artist to be elected and why is it Randy Newman? Arguments can also be made for Gene Pitney (cause who the fuck is that) and Ritchie Valens (not a long enough career).
My folks dragged me to a Gene Pitney concert when I was a teenager, so I do indeed know who he is. Also, Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash, so you I’ll let you and only you shoulder the burden of making a case against him due to longevity. Also, there are Randy Newman fanboys out there who will gut you like a pig if you speak ill of the man.
But ultimately, none of that matters because the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is complete horseshit. It exists so that Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner can have a cocktail with Bruce Springsteen at least once a year, and so that the city of Cleveland, which ponied up $70 million for the Hall’s construction, can say it’s known for something. Meanwhile they let fucking Bono induct Bob Marley:
That’s like asking me to give Obama’s eulogy. So it doesn’t matter who’s been elected to that boondoggle and who hasn’t. No Hall of Fame that includes KISS can ever be worth a shit.
How much cheese is too much cheese? Granted, there can never be enough cheese, but how many different cheeses are too much. I bring this up because some French chef just set a record by putting 254 different cheeses on a pizza. First, it seems rather obnoxious (opting not to insert a French joke here) and second, when making mac and cheese, lasagna and other cheesy staples, I have never gone beyond four different cheeses.
I don’t care how many different types of cheese are in a thing as much as I care about the cumulative amount of those cheeses. Depending on the dish, I don’t want too much cheese. I’m not a freak like Spencer Hall, who hates cheese. I just require balance. I don’t order extra cheese on my pizza, for instance. And I need the cheese to be cooked thoroughly. Nothing grosser than a pile of lukewarm melted cheese. That’s real white trash shit, like this:
I wouldn’t feed that pizza to my dog. Only the edges are properly browned. The middle is nothing but infection agents. This is a pizza you get when you’re stuck in Indiana, and I don’t respect it. Show some goddamn manners with your cheese. Too much of it and you’re firmly in Paula Deen territory.
Now, if it’s QUESO, that’s a whole other story. Gimme a bathtub full of queso.
It's now pretty much expected if you attend a sporting event or concert to take your cell phone and record the action or a few songs for posterity. But honestly do people really go back and watch? I can literally think of at least 400 things off the top of my head that I'd rather do than watch some out of focus blurred shaky footage of some people 100 feet away running around a field or some blurry person yelling into a mic on a stage 50 yards away.
I went to a Struts concert with my wife once and I filmed, like, half a song so that my kids could watch it the next morning. They didn’t give a shit. My kids are like me now. I don’t wanna see your fucking video. I know you think the Youtube you just watched is SO FUNNY. But get your phone out of my fucking face. Just send me a link so that I can ignore it. Everyone’s an aunt forcing the whole family to watch a slideshow now.
People don’t take those concert videos because they enjoy them, they take them mainly so that they can say they have them. I was there. I have video. Hey maybe this’ll blow up if I post it online. Etc. The quality of the video itself is beside the point. I know because whenever I search for a live version of a song on Youtube, there are 700 results and only one of them was filmed by an actual professional. The other 699 are people flailing for clout.
Is Homer Simpson THE most quoted person today? You’d think Jebus and Gandhi, but we all know a Homer quote right? If it’s not him, who do you think it is?
Well, you’re thinking mainly in English. I know The Simpsons has been translated into 700 different languages so that Al Jean can buy an extra house in Malibu, but there’s no fucking chance he gets quoted more than Jesus or Gandhi, as you mentioned. Or Mao. Or Muhammad. Or any other dominant figure in the history of global politics and/or religion.
If you wanna stick with just English, I have two other answers for you. The first is Trump, for reasons that are both obvious and not worth revisiting. The second is Shakespeare. I bet 80 percent of the people who use Shakespeare lines in 2021 don’t even know they came from Shakespeare. His influence was so massive that his lines have essentially become a functional part of the English language itself. When you tell your boss, “Buddy, you can take this job and shove it!” you’re actually quoting Macbeth.
I showered the other day, like everyone does. I got out of the shower, dried off, and put on my clothes. You know what I didn't put on? Deodorant! I almost rarely put it on now because I'm not going anywhere, and since I'm not seeing random strangers I don't care what I smell like. Also, I'm basically doing nothing, so I'm not getting all sweaty. That got me thinking that BIG DEODORANT and sister BIG ANTIPERSPIRANT are probably taking an unlikely hit due to COVID. I mean I can see restaurants and gyms and movie theaters struggling, but what other industries/products out there got destroyed by COVID that you wouldn't think would?
For the record, I still wear deodorant every day even though I don’t go anywhere. Matter of pride. But Terry is onto something. This report from last summer says that deodorant sales did indeed fall thanks to the pandemic and the onset of social distancing. Another report from USA Today lists other sectors hurt by the contagion. Some of them are obvious, like cruises and hotels. However, there are a few surprises on there, too. Like shipping! And tech! Both those industries had large demand from stay-at-home dickheads like me, but didn’t have the resources on hand to meet even standard levels of demand.
But this is the Funbag, where serious research is not welcome. You’re here for me to source answers directly from my own ass, so here are a few added industries that are hurting if you adhere strictly to my dead-on-balls accurate guesstimating abilities.
- Condom manufacturing
- Very nice shoes
- Car stereo upgrades
- Movies on demand
I should have watched 200 movies during the pandemic. I’ve watched, like, five. I barely have the energy to fucking shower these days. But I do, and then I still put on my Right Guard.
Once you split your burger to confirm it’s cooked to midrare perfection, you should put the sides face down on the plate. Better distribution of juices to both sides of the bun, AND easier to pick up.
Wait, what? You cut your burger in half? Don’t do that. Or, at the very least, don’t take it a given that everyone else does that. It’s not a club sandwich. The way I tell if my burger is done is by taking a huge fucking bite of it. And then if it’s underdone, I still eat the whole thing anyway. If I make a mess while eating my burger, I don’t give a shit. The mess is the point. Tidy burgers are for sad meal kits and picky actresses.
Just conned my way into my first copywriting job. How do I fake my way through this?
Well you’re in the right industry for faking it. I know that this is Defector and we, as a staff, don’t care for The Brands. But I worked as a copywriter for a decade and it did me a world of good. You learn about economy, tone, editing, and how to be polite to clients while absolutely fucking hating them. All good skills! THREE STARS OUT OF FIVE TO COPYWRITING!
So don’t “fake” your way through your new job. Cynicism at any office job sets in after roughly one month, even if you work remotely. But you’ll do better if you ignore that cynicism and try, with maximum earnestness, to write the best dog food ad you possibly can. I rolled my eyes at assignments all the time, but whenever I sat down to bang out 50 headlines for some goddamn car dealer, I still wanted to write the best headlines I possibly could. (One of which was “Hyappy Hyolidays” for a Hyundai dealer; it was rejected.) That’s what every good professional does.
You’ll run into walls on the job. But creative limits, of which there are MANY in advertising, are useful. They give you direction and they keep you from veering off track. They’re not gonna let you write The Godfather or anything, but you’ll learn to appreciate the work you do on its own terms. And that’ll help you when you ARE hired to write The Godfather, Part IV: Actually Little Anthony Corleone Wants To Kill People Now. All your past work informs all of your future work. It’s all valuable.
Also, study good ads. Read The One Show archives, like every thirsty agency type already does. Watch good commercials, like the Dr. Rick Progressive ads. Ask your colleagues what ads they like, etc. If your agency has director’s reels sitting around (directors, even ones you’ve heard of like Ridley Scott, send these to every agency to get TV ad work), watch them, or find them online. The good ads are ones that draw three-fourths of a circle and let the viewer fill in the rest of it. Like so:
You get to write for a living now, man. It’s a fun time.
My firstborn is due in March. I have decided that everyone gets one weird parenting thing, and mine will be elimination communication. It's entirely possible I give up after a couple of tries, but apparently even if you're the only person doing it (i.e. not forcing the daycare workers to hold your kid over a toilet), it can still get him out of diapers and trained faster, and it’ll also be a bonding experience. Worth it?
Nope. For those of you unfamiliar with the practice, elimination communication means you don’t use diapers with your baby. You just read their signals (?) and then hold them over an abandoned well when they have to blast off. This is definitely better for the environment, and also batshit insane. I’ve seen what a baby’s asshole can do. I’ve witnessed the carnage firsthand. Letting a baby shit freely is like lobbing a tear gas bomb into a fitting room. I’m not about that. Diapers are expensive and will end up destroying our oceans, but they’re still worth it.
I’m not a new parent anymore, so it’s possible that conversations around elimination communication have changed since I was loading up our Diaper Genie. You have a baby and you realize how heated other parents get about vital aspects of infant care: diapers, co-sleeping (we didn’t do this), breastfeeding, even the birth of the baby itself. I guarantee you there’s a New Parent enclave of Twitter where death threats are the norm. I have not, nor will I ever, visit this place.
So I’m not gonna judge you if you attempt to go without diapers for a day or two. But I WILL quietly nod and say mmmhmm to myself when you bail.
Which celebrity death is going to leave you with the most “it’s weird that him/her is no longer alive.” Like when Paul McCartney or Peter Garrett or Patrick Stewart go, I’ll be fucking devastated. But when like Tom Cruise is gone, I’ll just be like, “Oh, he was around for all my life and now he’s not; strange.”
I have no idea. I wish I knew, but celebrity grief is this weird, often performative thing that knows no consistency. The only time I cried when a famous person died was when Anthony Bourdain was found dead by Eric Ripert. I can’t explain why Bourdain was The One who got me and not, like, Prince. I didn’t even cry when Prince died. That still makes no sense to me. I loved his music. I grew up where he grew up. But I never KNEW the man. He wasn’t my dad (OR WAS HE?!). So when someone like that dies, my biggest feeling is usually surprise, followed by a selfish complaint that I won’t get to enjoy new work from them anymore.
I get why people mourn famous people as if they’re family. Especially in the case of John Lewis, or some other cultural giant who tangibly improved lives even from afar. And especially if your real-life support system is lacking and outside influences feel like the only family you really have. It also probably matters a great deal if you’re young. I’m not all that old, but I’ve lived through a LOT of celebrities dying. They die every year. That’s how it works. There’s a montage of them at the Oscars. If fucking Chadwick Boseman can die young, anyone can. I long ago accepted that the people I admire aren’t gonna be with us forever. Maybe that realization is the moment you grieve the most. Maybe that’s why I cried over Bourdain so hard.
Do you have a specific order on how you cut your fingernails? I'm a righty, so I cut my left thumbnail first, and then my right thumbnail, and then I go to my right pinkie and work my way back across my right hand. Then I go to my left index finger and work my way across my left hand.
I go by longest to shortest. I’m a habitual nailbiter, so by necessity I trim my fingernails specifically to eliminate the temptation to gnaw on them. If I see one sticking out too far, I can’t trust myself to leave it alone. I gotta cut it before my teeth get to it first. This is NOT a normal way to cut your nails. I’m sure your way is preferable to the cuticle-ly advantaged. My way basically amounts to pouring all the liquor into the toilet after an intervention.
So, my wife and I have been watching Chopped a lot during These Unprecedented Times (don’t worry, we watched your victory in The Before). I have come to the conclusion that Scott Conant is my favorite judge. Am I wrong?
You won’t believe me but I’ve watched that show a zillion times and never ranked the judges in my head. But now that you’ve brought it up, I think … I think you’re right. Conant is the best of the bunch. He’s the one who roasted me for my shirt when I went on the show, but I more than earned that derision. Also I swear by his tomato sauce recipe. It’s foolproof.
Email of the week!
Every Tuesday, I visit the same bistro to get a coffee. They're clean, good, and follow all relevant COVID restrictions including asking customers to maintain a 6-foot distance by designating one door as Entry Only and the other as Exit Only. Every Tuesday, the same turd of a person comes in the Exit - no matter how many people are there - and cuts in line. I've seen this person maybe 5-6 times and have yet to hear him say as much as a thank you to any of the employees.
Today, he came in the exit, bumped into me, and said nothing as he jumped in line ahead of two others that came in the right door. I had enough and pointed out - calmly and nicely - that the door said exit only. Things escalated quickly and included him using a lot of f-bombs and telling me to "say that to him outside." It ended with him leaving and sending his wife in - through the exit door, of course - to get his order.
Looking back, I'm not sure what I expected his response to be. I guess I was hoping to shame him enough that he will do the right thing next time, but that seems unlikely. It stopped short of getting physical, though I'm sure it could have. Is it worth kicking the ass of an old man? Or getting my ass kicked? Or do I stay silent and stew over it?I think this particular situation is more COVID-specific, but it's something I struggle with all the time.
Don't worry. That guy is leaving office tomorrow.