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Things That Suck: The Kindle and Hedo Turkoglu

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You know how every once a while, a site breaks out a piece that turns into a regular segment? Well, that's not what this is. In fact, I plan to commit a non sequitur so blatantly unrelated to fantasy basketball that I vow to never write anything like this again, although it does contain some fantasy goodness buried at the bottom, so it's not like I'm not meeting my fantasy quota.

You see, I have two things that I'm dying to write about this evening: how much the Kindle angers me, and how horrifyingly bad Hedo Turkoglu was this evening -- bad enough that it actually caused me to rush to my computer and pen an article on how bad he was. And normally I would forgo the first subject on the grounds that it isn't relevant on any level. But, so long as I can get this thing in just after the midnight gun, I think I'm entitled to a momentary Christmas exception.

So without further ado, here's what I think of the Kindle: it's unbelievably disappointing. It's like if New Coke, Fable and Greg Oden fused together to create some super-undependable, crappy ogre, and then the ogre turned into a digital book reader the moment the sun rose, because, naturally, it was cursed by a wizard that had a particularly nasty affinity for electronics. All joking aside, the Kindle is strictly okay. You can turn pages with ease, it's fairly simple to download books from Amazon, and the battery level is even acceptable.

So why does it suck? Because it lacks the only thing an electronic e-reader needs to have, the only thing that would even compel me to get it because it's an actual upgrade over a regular book: a screen that lights up. I mean, how simple is that?

Seriously, it's not like the Kindle is a ground-breaking improvement on an actual paperback book, which is already portable, which is easier to flip through, and which doesn't require an electronic outlet. Okay, it saves the environment, and it makes reading on the go more convenient. I get it. But if you asked me to envision the largest upgrade a reader such as the Kindle could conceivably have over its papered counterpart, without hesitation, I'd state that having a glowing screen, one that I could actually read at night, in the darkness, with the lights off, would be a monumental improvement over regular books.

The fact that it's omitted isn't just baffling, it's insulting. I don't believe for one second that when the people at Amazon designed this thing, they utterly forgot to mention something as convenient and obvious as a glow-in-the-dark screen. So why isn't it included? Simple: so they can unleash it in the next version, Kindle 2.0, or 2.5, or whatever. It's a page right out of the iPhone style of business, where each new edition is equipped with something that makes it moderately better than the last one. But what Amazon has done by releasing the Kindle without a glowing screen is cheaper than anything Apple has ever done. To continue the comparison, it would be like if the iPhone was released without any apps, just so the next version of it could have them.

It's really infuriating. Yeah, yeah, it's a competent piece of technology, but for the love of all things prudent, DO NOT go out and waste your money on such a clearly inferior, substandard product. Not when you can be damn sure that a better version of it that has a glowing screen is right on the horizon, one that will probably be considerably cheaper too. Don't be hornswoggled by its momentary neatness. A little patience will save you the trouble of upgrading to the latest and greatest version, which -- unless Amazon is run by sadists -- will assuredly be much, much better than this.

And if you think my thoughts on the Kindle were rough, just imagine what I have to say about Hedo Turkoglu after the jump...

Sometimes, a single play is all you need to know about someone. A play so bad, so perplexingly unusual, that it can go on to define whoever was responsible for it. A few years ago, that play came from Stephon Marbury, who in the final minute of a tight playoff game as a member of the Celtics basically decided that he didn't want to take an open shot. He played like a coward, and when the Celtics were eliminated, Marbury had played his last game. Some said it was because of contract issues, or fitness issues, or some combination mixed with his inability to adapt as a role player. But the real reason was that Marbury, when it really mattered, had played scared, and that that stigma prevented him from ever stepping onto the court again.

There was a similar play in the 2011 finals, when LeBron James so clearly wanted no part of the ball that he began a game of hot-potato with Mario Chalmers, who by default was the Heat's leader scorer in their closeout loss to the Mavs in Game 6. LeBron's mysterious lack of aggressiveness was evident throughout the series, but it was that particular play, in which he so clearly had no urge to lead the team, in which he found himself deferring to Mario Chalmers, that stood out the obvious: that LeBron had cracked under pressure. That not only wasn't he Michael Jordan, he wasn't even Michael Finley. It wasn't merely that he failed so much as that he didn't even try, and it was that palpable sense of concern he had when he passed it to Chalmers that wound up summarizing his series.

I bring this up because I feel like I witnessed a similar play today from Hedo Turkoglu, who was in the midst of a rather horrible game (8 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds on 3-10 shooting) against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Coming into the game, I was scouting out Turkoglu to see if he had gotten over whatever mysterious problem had plagued him last year. Upon being traded to Orlando, Turkoglu had been awesome, producing both a triple-double and a 17-assist outing in the span of two weeks. But then something happened, and Turkoglu simply couldn't buy a bucket. He even saw his free-throw shooting dip into the 60's. A once steady player had overnight become an also-ran without any sort of transition, similar to how Chuck Knoblauch suddenly couldn't throw the ball to first base for no real reason.

Turkoglu's shooting woes were so transparent that he isn't even owned in 45% of fantasy leagues. I wanted to see if he had overcome it and if he might be someone I'd be willing to trade for; his assist totals, keep in mind, are awesome for a small forward. But what I saw completely dismayed me. It wasn't just that he again shot the ball badly, or that the Thunder mopped the floor with the Magic. It was that at one point in the middle of the third quarter, Turkoglu was given the ball at the top of the key without a defender within 10 feet of him. And Turkoglu, after a brief moment of hesitation, tried to throw the ball down low to a teammate and the pass resulted in a turnover.

That was a Stephon Marbury moment if ever there was one. After watching that play, and watching the dismayed reaction on his face, and the two shot attempts he took immediately afterward, as though he was trying to prove to himself that he hadn't just been a coward, I want absolutely nothing to do with Turkoglu. He can be someone else's problem. I want my fantasy players to be greedy bastards whose first priority is getting what's theirs. I want my fantasy players to put up horribly-inflated numbers that don't at all reflect how good they actually are, or how well their team is. What I don't want is someone on the decline who's too afraid to even get back on the horse and try again. That was a white flag moment, and those are the last things you want from your players.

When it gets to April, you're going to need players you can go to war with. Quite simply, you're going to lose the battle if Hedo Turkoglu is on your side. Trade him if you can, dump him if you must. Much like the Kindle, better commodities are on the horizon.