I will say this about the Sports Guy: he knows a hell of a lot more about basketball than he does about football or baseball. Given that fact, you'd think he'd be able to write a semi-coherent Basketball Blog entry. Of course, you'd be wrong.
I spent the weekend lounging around the Sports Guy Mansion, watching college basketball and waiting for the Milwaukee Bucks to contact me about their suddenly vacant GM job. You're not going to believe this, but they never did. And you know what? I can't spend the next few weeks checking my e-mails 300 times a day and jumping every time the phone rings waiting for the Bucks to come to their senses and interview the one guy who'd actually generate some interest in the franchise...
Things that Bill has a point about in regards to his quarter serious/three quarters joking pursuit of an NBA GM job:
1) There are a lot of dumb GMs out there right now. So it's not beyond the realm of possibility that a guy off the street with no formal sports management experience could do just as good a job as some of those idiots.
Things that make Bill sound like an idiot in regards to said pursuit:
1) He's just generally stupid. A copout as my first point, of course, but I'm feeling uncreative tonight.
2) Sad as it may seem, not every GM out there makes decisions based solely on the merit of whether or not that decision makes the team better in either the short or long term. Sometimes they do what the owner tells them to, because the owner thinks the decision in question will help the franchise put butts in seats and generate revenue in the short term. If a washed up guy gets a huge contract, it's not necessarily because the team thinks he's not washed up. It might be because the team considers the contract a good investment. No, it doesn't necessarily make sense. Yes, it is the way sports work.
3) Real GMing is nothing like this: "Why do teams never make trades that make perfect sense for all parties involved? Team A can send Players G and K to Team B. Team B sends their 2010 first round pick (top four protected) to Team A and Player Q to team C. Team C sends Player M to Team A (to make the cap work), three future 2nd round picks (top 45 protected) to Team B, and throws in $500,000 in cash and a Faberge egg. Look at this simplistic and mostly wrong explanation of how it helps all of them! If anyone can come up with any reason as to why this shouldn't happen, I'd love to hear it." *Smugly crosses arms and smirks*
It's really cute how he can come up with imaginary fifteen player/six team trades all the time. But I'm pretty sure those are a tad bit difficult to pull off in real life. Even his two team/handful of player ideas are often poorly justified. The reason so few trades happen is not because the league has become the (acronym joke alert!) "No Balls Association." It's because it's extremely difficult to find trades that truly, actually benefit all parties involved. It's not fantasy sports, where teamwork and chemistry don't matter and where it's easy to see exactly how much a trade helps a team get better in certain categories. Bill's inability to understand this would undoubtedly lead to the tragic early termination of his job. How would it be tragic? I'll leave that to your imagination.
If your team had a creative, enterprising, thinking-out-of-the-box bone in their lottery-ridden body, it would have jumped on my "candidacy" quickly and tried to milk a few weeks of P.R. out of it. Why?
BECAUSE IT'S THE ONLY WAY THEY WOULD EVER GET A CASUAL FAN REMOTELY INTERESTED IN THE DAY-TO-DAY PROCEEDINGS OF THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS!
They could have made me think I had a real chance at the job, put me through the interview process, added me to the final list of candidates, then given the position to someone else in the end. That's a savvy move, right? Throw in the one-in-a-thousand chance that I'd impress the hell out of them and somehow get the job and it's the proverbial no-brainer -- just to get their fans chattering, they should have contacted me and thrown my name in the mix, even if they didn't really mean it. That's why the average Bucks fan should be thinking to themselves right now, "Wow, we're such a mess right now that we couldn't even figure out how to cash in on some easy P.R."Totally awesome. What a bodaciously rad idea. Maybe they could also have a car wash or bake sale to raise some money to build a new arena!
I bet Bill Veeck is rolling over in his grave at the lameness of this idea. Being at the center of a bizarre and not-nearly-as-interesting-as-the-guy-who-conceptualized-it-thinks-it-is publicity stunt: a chance every struggling franchise should jump at! Or not.
Anyway, since the Bucks refuse to acknowledge my candidacy, it looks like I'm going to have to shift to Plan B: Openly and frequently torturing them. Stay tuned.
Openly and frequently torturing them? I'm sitting right here, man. I can hear everything you're saying.
In the meantime, allow me five extended thoughts on the first two rounds of March Madness:
1. There were five astounding things about the first round in Anaheim. First, the arena didn't serve any alcohol for the entire day. That's just un-American and I can't even come up with an adequate reaction of disgust for this decision.
It wasn't a decision made anytime recently, or about just the Anaheim regional of the 2008 tournament. His ignorance as to how NCAA athletics work is really shining through. I guess I can't blame him- he didn't grow up caring about college sports. He had his beloved Sawks. And his dad was a Celtics season ticket holder! Did you know that? I bet you didn't. And, of course, it goes without saying that he spent every fall loyally cheering for his beloved Patriots, who he's been a huge fan of since he was a small child. Wait, did I just say "since he was a small child?" Sorry. Just like with 90% of Boston-area natives, I meant to say he's been a huge fan of them "since the late 90s."
Second, everyone was forced to leave the arena between the first session (the first two games) and the second session (the last two games), which would have been fine if we were in downtown Boston or downtown Chicago, but, um ... we were in Anaheim. Half the arena spilled into the only bar/restaurant within a three-block vicinity, shattering the record for "most customers per waitress" and threatening to become the biggest mob scene in California since the Rodney King riots.
And third, everyone at that same bar had more fun drinking and watching the K-State/USC and Duke/Belmont games on TV than anything we witnessed in our four games. It's absolutely incredible how many people despise Duke and how the entire place galvanized behind Belmont at the end like it was the 1980 Olympic hockey team. If Belmont had pulled off the upset victory, there's a 25 percent chance that we'd still be there drinking and celebrating four days later.
Whoa there, Mr. Emasculated. How would your wife feel about that one? I don't think she'd be too fond of that crazy idea. And remember, you've got kids too! Remember? Your kids, that you always fucking talk about? I do. They're awesome. And they help you come up with little jokes about how smelly diapers are and how terrified you are for your daughter to reach dating age! You know who really tells it like it is? That cartoon strip For Better Or For Worse. Oh man! Raising kids isn't all it's cracked up to be, is it? Sorry. I'm done.
As for the fourth astounding thing, we happened to be sitting near the Cornell section for the Cornell-Stanford blowout and saw fans wearing Cornell jerseys and red paint. You have to love March Madness if only for the thought of someone buying a Cornell jersey five years ago and saying, "Some day, we'll make the NCAAs and I'll get to wear this thing during a 40-point blowout."
How astounding. Fans of a team. Attending a game in which their team is playing. Wearing their team's apparel. Folks, you can't make this stuff up.
But all of those astounding things paled in comparison to the Cornell cheerleaders, a group that apparently was assembled hastily within 48 hours of the tournament. During the first half, they tried to do one of those pseudo-pyramids in which two groups of three girls lifted two other girls in the air, only one of the girls lost her balance and nearly tumbled face-first to her death before the other girls somehow caught her. Unfortunately, they had to finish their routines...
And, we're back!
...poor girl lost control of her bowels on the three girls holding her up. Just kidding. Again, you have to love March Madness.
That story was so bad, I feel like claiming I found ten dollars after just listening to it.
2. The biggest tournament shocker for me: The "powerful" Pac-10 failing to live up to the hype, keeping just three teams alive in the first round and then having two of those teams nearly get toppled in the second round.
They only got three teams into the Sweet 16? Pussies. I hear the WAC got seven. The Big Sky, even in a down year, got twelve. Now, admittedly, the Pac-1o didn't exactly set the world on fire as a whole. But their three best teams took care of business, two of them beating medium-strong Big East teams in the second round. I don't think they fell pathetically short or anything. At least they're not the ACC.
3. Speaking of the draft, did anyone else find it interesting that Texas A&M's DeAndre Jordan was ranked 10-15 spots ahead of Love on every draft board for most of this season, but when they crossed on Saturday night Love dominated on both ends down the stretch while Jordan looked like the illegitimate son of Kwame Brown and Darko Milicic? You're telling me that Love isn't one of the best 10 prospects in this draft? Really? What else needs to happen?
1) Love's supporting cast might be just a little bit more talented than Jordan's, which may under some circumstances possibly affect how good each player looks when they square off head-to-head. Perhaps.
2) NBA draft boards are made based off of estimations as to how good players will be in the NBA. They are not made based off of estimations as to how good players were in college. This is why Trajan Langdon should have never been a Cleveland Cavalier.
3) It's worth noting that Bill is from Boston and Kevin Love is white. Am I directly saying anything? No. Am I implying something? Absolutely. Did I borrow the concept of aggressively playing up Boston's racism from Kissing Suzy Kolber? Maaaayyyyyyyyybe. (Jeff, and any other cool Boston readers we might have, you know I'm not talking about you. Just the kind of people that think Wes Welker is better than Randy Moss, or that Bird was as good as Jordan.)
4. Most common question from the past four days: Does Texas qualify for the Ewing Theory? Of course it does. I may be drinking the Kevin Durant Kool-Aid, but he's never won anything and Texas is doing better without him. These are the facts.
Bill is not just drinking Kevin Durant Kool-Aid. He's fucking swimming in it. He's got an IV of it running directly through his skull and into his brain. Remember all the shit he said about Durant between March and June of last year? It got ridiculous. Bill just fell head over heels for the guy. Why? Because he turned on his TV a couple times earlier in the season, saw Durant lighting it up, and decided he was the future savior of the then-struggling Celtics. That's basically it- I'm not going to link the columns, but if you read Simmons regularly, you shouldn't have any trouble agreeing. That's basically it. Durant hung 30+ on a couple of teams in December and January... Bill saw those games... the Celtics were likely to have a good shot at the top pick in the draft... and that was that. Durant was going to be the guy Bill could cheer for for the next 15 years. OK, fine, fair enough. Durant will probably end up being a great pro. His rookie season is going well. But here's the problem- earlier in this same article, in a section about the stupid Bucks thing I omitted, Bill claims:
If you're expecting the lottery to change things, know that there isn't a prospect in the 2008 draft who could be the best player on a championship contender with the possible exception of Michael Beasley (who has a little too much Glenn Robinson/Derrick Coleman in him for my liking).
Oh, OK. Even though Beasley is a better shooter (52% FGs vs. 47%), better in the post (stronger and quicker), and at least as good of a rebounder (12.4 per game vs. 11.1) as Durant, let's go ahead and slap the ol' "semi-bust" sticker on him right now. Why? Because the Celtics don't need a future savior anymore, and as a result, Bill has no reason to glom onto an obvious future star as he plays out his first and only NCAA season. It has nothing to do with the players in question, or former players they may or may not resemble. Switch the years each of them appeared on the scene, and Bill's drinking the Beasley Kool-Aid while huffing and puffing about how Durant has a little too much Joe Smith in him for his liking. It's sad- this is the #1 sports columnist on the internet. And we are his readers.
Seriously, though- fuck those two pieces of analysis in their ears. Saying the things he's said about Durant, then turning around and saying Beasley will never be the best player on a top 10 NBA team, is fucking ludicrous.
5. All right, I have to come clean on something.
After watching them multiple times this season and seeing them in person last Thursday, I've become a fan of ... (gulp) ... the Lopez brothers. (I know, I know. It's like you don't even know me anymore.) I'd be the first to admit that everything about them cries "bust" -- the twins gimmick,
Yeah, all those over-hyped sets of twins in NBA history all turned out to be busts. All... one of them. I think that's a sufficient sample size with which to conclude that no twins will ever succeed in the league.
the Stanford pedigree,
Hall of Famers Jim Pollard and George Yardley? Bums. Brevin Knight? Never helped a team in his life. Josh Childress? My grandma could average 12 and 6. (I mean, he's not great, but he's not a bust.)
the androgynous first names,
Bill's not exactly known for his "hard" analysis, but that's kind of strange.
the Jose/Ozzie Canseco talent differential between them--
So... if Robin played like a basketball equivalent of Ozzie Canseco, and Brook played like a basketball equivalent of Jose, who would be a fringe HOFer if not for the roids... that would make them... both busts?
and yet, if you watch them closely and ignore all the fringe stuff,
Like whether or not they have names like "Chris" and "Pat,"
you'll realize pretty quickly that these guys are not the next coming of the Collins twins.
Right. Once you get past all that other stuff that doesn't fucking matter.
What's weird is that Brook has been ranked too high (top-three) and Robin has been ranked too low (second round) by the draftniks; Brook might be a better scorer at the college level, but Robin projects well as an energy rebounder/defender in the pros, like a cross between Joakim Noah and Anderson Varejao (right down to his hair).
This might surprise you- here we come to the sentence in this article which actually offends me the most out of any of them. That's right, this is the one that really gets me going. It's pure, unbridled laziness. It's like an even worse derivative of the same phenomenon we see in his comparison of Durant and Beasley. Here's what happened that led to the formation of the second part of this sentence.
1) Bill saw Robin's hair.
2) "Ha ha! That guy has a funny 'doo! What a goofball."
3) "Hmmmmm, kind of looks the hair of two other guys in the NBA- Noah and Varejao."
4) "I kind of want to write about these guys in my next Basketball Blog. Here's what I'll do! Even though his game is not really anything like theirs, mostly because he's bigger and slower than both of them, I'll say that he's going to be like them! Then I'll tie it all back together with the hair thing!"
5) "Should I try to work in name dropping Jimmy Kimmel somewhere in here to make it complete?"
I don't throw the word guarantee around much, but I'm breaking it out here. I gua-ran-fucking-TEE you that this is what happened. I mean, not all the specific words, but the concept. He saw the hair, thought of Varejao and Noah, and then decided that would be sufficient grounds for comparing Lopez's game to theirs. Having lived in the Bay Area (in fact, not more than 15 minutes away from Stanford's campus) all last winter, I have seen Lopez play many times. The comparison of skillsets in question is flat out wrong. It's just factually incorrect. Why does this guy have a job?
Let's get ready for the big finish. This is it, for both Bill and me. I'm not even going to write anything else after I copy and paste this. I think the horrific awkwardness and inexplicable rambling he provides for the ending of his own column will also work out well for me. Ready?
Now, the reason that we're inherently prejudiced against the Lopez twins is simple: They're charter members of the Lindsay Hunter All-Stars for "Athletes with names that make them sound like hot girls." In other words, because their names make them sound like two smoking-hot juniors at an all-girls prep school, it's impossible to take them seriously as NBA prospects. If their names were Dwight Lopez and Isaac Lopez, you'd feel much better about them in the first round. You would. On the flip side, you could argue that O.J. Mayo received so much hype over the past two seasons simply because he had such a fantastic name. Anyway, watch the Lopez twins this week and pretend their names are Dwight and Isaac. You'll feel much better about them.
OK, I lied. Only because I have to rhetorically ask- how the fuck do you end a column like that? You might as well just tell an anecdote about a hilarious phone call you recently shared with your dad/J-Bug/House/Hench.