Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Bother Knowing Anything When You Can Just Make Stuff Up?

I don't have the energy to fully critique the already-commented-upon Bill Simmons/Chad Ford draft debate piece from ESPN. I can't really spare the time needed to properly address how bonkers it is to declare yourself the winner of an argument about the relative merits of two 19 year old NBA players when one of them hasn't even played a minute in the league. I also just don't think I can squeeze in any analysis about how miserable Bill Simmons is at writing jokes, or being consistent about what qualities he thinks make for a good player. (Chad actually covers that second topic for me pretty well, actually.) No, I won't be doing any of those things. And since the comments section on a Simmons piece usually doesn't really include a ton of discussion about the article at hand, I figure it's not a big deal if I make this post mildly short and sweet. I think I'll just focus on one thing: made up non-facts about teams/players that Bill seems to want us to believe are true.

Re: Derrick Rose

I loved Derrick Rose at first sight. He's a great and selfless teammate; he's a franchise point guard entering a league in which point guards have become inordinately valuable; he's got a great name (never underestimate the value of a great name); he was the best player on an extremely successful college team; and in short, after watching him a few times, I would have bet my life on him making multiple All-Star appearances (barring injury).

One of these things is very unlike the others. I like how's it stuck right there in the middle of all that relevant information. I think I will go ahead and underestimate the power of a great name, thank you very much. (Is "Derrick Rose" even that great, as names go?) Also, keep in mind that Rose was born on October 4th. Never underestimate the power of someone born on October 4th.

Re: What it takes

As the Celtics just proved, you can win a championship with two elite players and 10 role players as long as (a) everyone busts their butts on defense, (b) everyone gets along, and (c) you have at least two guys who can get into the paint and create shots for everyone else.

First of all, Bill, don't forget (as you yourself pointed out numerous times before and throughout the playoffs!) that you need a magical, uberinformed, never bandwagony, always ready to take the team to another level kind of crowd if you want to win it all. Also, assuming Pierce and Garnett were the elite players, are we now relegating Ray Allen to "role player" status? In reality, the Celtics just proved you can win a championship as long as (a) you have three elite or near-elite players, which is obviously really easy to do in today's NBA, (b) a couple other elite defenders/rebounders, (c) everyone busts their butt on defense, (d) you get to spend the first three rounds of the playoffs limping through a pathetically shitty conference, and (e) when the finals roll around you match up perfectly with your opponent who managed to make it out of a vastly superior conference that contained at least three other teams that would have absolutely fed you your shit in the finals (PHX, SAN, UTH, yes, that's right, UTH).

Re: The Oden vs. Durant Debate (Like I said in the intro, I'm not covering the crux of it, because anyone with a brain can see how asinine Bill is being. This is more of a subpoint.)

I thought he (Durant) had a chance to become a truly dominant offensive player; I thought Oden was too nice of a guy; and I thought Oden was headed for a career of health problems.

That's right, Greg Oden, you hear that? You're too nice to win. Sorry. Good luck playing in the NBA with all that niceness you're carrying. Wait... what's that? There are many great nice players, and many awful mean players? Poppycock.

If Kevin Pritchard called Sam Presti right now and said, "Hey, we'll give you Oden for Durant," Presti would either hang up or ask him, "What else are you throwing in the deal?"

Sure, because Oden is rehabbing from a major surgery. On the other hand, if the Blazers had called the Sonics the day after the draft, and said "Hey, we'll give you Oden for Durant," before Presti could say anything, Pritchard would shout "SIKE" and then hang up.

Do you really think Oden -- the guy who's coming off microfracture surgery and wrist surgery in consecutive years, the guy who has one leg that's an inch and a half shorter than the other, the guy who walks like a 50-year-old man -- has more value in the NBA than the 2008 rookie of the year?

Watch out for that old man walk. It's derailed many a career. Like Dan Bobertson. Who? Exactly.

Re: The plight of Kevin Durant, and Bill's amazing ability to know what entire fan bases are thinking

The fact that the Sonics' fans fell in love with him when they were specifically trying NOT to get attached to him tells me everything I need to know.

Yeah, I read all about how Sonics fans were specifically trying to not get attached to Durant. Articles upon articles, with polling information and quotes. Plenty of them. What a big, accurate story that was. You know what else is 100% verifiably true? No one in New York likes Alex Rodriguez. No one. They were all hoping he'd leave after he opted out of his contract.

Re: Michael Beasley

He doesn't seem to have any leadership qualities whatsoever.

This is based on Bill watching the Wildcats' two games during the NCAA tournament last March, seeing him not carry them to the Final Four, and also noting that he doesn't give everyone on the team a high five after every time out.

Re: Beasley vs. Durant

Beasley has a chance to become a dominant offensive player, someone who could notch a 25-10 every game and get drafted in the first rounds of fantasy drafts for eight to 10 years. Durant has a chance to become one of the greatest offensive players in the history of basketball. Huge difference.

Bill can discern this subtle difference based on the relative need of the Celtics to land marquee players during the draft in which the player is going to be selected. If the Celtics have a good chance at landing a very high pick and taking the player, it's a foregone conclusion that the player will forever change the way we think about basketball. If the Celtics are coming off a championship and aren't anywhere near the lottery, the player will forever be a one dimensional team killer who is on his way out of the league by age 30.

Re: Kevin Love

He'll like Minnesota;

(pause) Where the fuck did that come from?

You know what you're getting with Love: intelligence, rebounding, superior passing, smart team defense, 3-point shooting...

He shot 35% from behind the college arc, which is mediocre and probably won't translate to a good NBA 3, and furthermore he only made less than one 3 per game in college. (He was 29 for 82 for the season.) If an NBA team drafted Love and counted on him to provide them with some production from beyond the arc, that would be incredibly stupid. Of course, that imaginary misinformed team probably could have avoided that mistake by hiring a VP of common sense. I hear Bill is available.

Re: Russell Westbrook

In New York, the pressure would be too much -- between Mike D., the Knicks fans and the media, not to mention Stephon Marbury undermining him, everything about that scenario worries me.

1) Clearly Bill knows Russell and therefore knows that he's a guy who just can't handle pressure, especially from the notoriously mean spirited Mike D'Antoni.
2) Since Russell didn't play basketball for a big time college program that attracts a lot of media scrutiny and criticism, we don't have any way to judge how he would handle a similar situation in the NBA.

Re: Blaming it on the rain

There isn't a more jinxed franchise in sports than the L.A. Clippers. There really isn't.

Yeah, I mean, they've sustained a whole one notable injury (Shaun Livingston, whose magical spaghetti knee prompted this comment) in the last twenty years while consistently making horrific personnel and coaching decisions. If that's not jinxed, I don't know what is.

Re: Darrell Arthur

...and if you remember, Arthur made an absolutely mammoth hoop when KU was down five in the final minute of regulation against Memphis. So if you're going glass-half-full, you could argue that he brought something to the table in a do-or-die moment.

Darrell Arthur: the David Eckstein of the Big 12. (Actually, no sarcasm, he probably won't end up being as good at pro basketball as Eckstein is at pro baseball. Which is saying something.)

Re: Did the Shaq trade hurt or help the Suns' playoff chances?

So you're telling me that Shawn Marion -- an enigmatic head case who was legitimately happy to leave Steve Nash and the top team in the Western Conference so he could play with Ricky Davis and Mark Blount on the worst team in the league -- now would have swung the 2008 playoffs?

I'll just steal Chad's response, verbatim: Yeah, I'm saying that. Marion can play. Shaq can't.

Re: Roy Hibbert

He's the most undervalued guy in a draft in which nearly everyone is properly valued.

Hibbert is going to have a very short and useless NBA career, in my opinion. I say this based on watching him play my Big East school several times, and noting that he wasn't anywhere close to an offensive threat in college. But my disagreement with Bill about his viability in the league isn't the real problem:

Also, I can never turn down a guy named "Roy." Have you ever met a Roy who wasn't absolutely fantastic?

Fuck. Not again. And I'd like to add that I used to have a neighbor named Roy growing up who was a mean old guy who never bought any of the stuff I was selling for school fundraisers. I would count him as decidedly unfantastic.

Re: Really simple trades that only don't happen because all NBA GMs are pussies

By the way, tell me who doesn't make this trade: Outlaw, Channing Frye, the rights to Fernandez, the No. 13 and $3 million for Conley, Brian Cardinal and No. 5. Just curious.

You're a lost cause.


Bengoodfella said...

I am the point now I almost don't want to keep repeating myself about this guy. I sadly agreed with him about the whole Luther Wright thing and DeAndre Jordan and he does have a point when he says NBA teams make some stupid moves.

I just wish he would not make blanket statements for why things happened and try to speak for everyone. The reason I wish this is that he just makes shit up. He thinks Garnett is high fiving everyone on the Celtics because they have great team chemistry and he does not see that on other teams. You know what makes it a whole lot easier to high five and have good team chemistry. Winning. When you win it is easy to high five someone and pretend you love them, he acts as if the joy the Celtics felt this year was not a result of winning. He is incredibly pompous and I truly believe his friends hate him.

Anonymous said...

Ummm. Thanks. Happened on this site recently and it's quickly become my favorite site on the interwebs that I can peruse with my family around. Unsufferable sports writing is a plague and I am sure glad to have you folks around to offer some relief. Godspeed.

CitizenX said...

I have to agree with Bill here. Beasley hasn't really shown he's a leader. I mean, when was the last time you saw him block a shot that somebody took after the buzzer sounded? Does he scream and punch his teammates out in practice? Can that no-nothing assaccountant even spell ubundu (or whatever)?

And when has a guy named Michael ever been good at basketball? Can you think of one?

Btw, Eckstein is pretty mediocre at a relatively tough position in baseball. I would love that out of Darrell Arthur at this point.

cs said...

"Have you ever met a Roy who wasn't absolutely fantastic?"

These kinds of sentences tend to remind me that at one point Isiah Thomas wanted to drill BS in the face. Too bad they patched things up. That would have been fun.

larry b said...

Welcome to the new guy! Tell your friends to come visit too. If we can just multiply our readership by a factor of 1,000 or so, I can quit my job and make my living (barely) off this blog. Also, what kind of uptight family do you have that they get offended if you watch porn when they're around? Sheesh, it's not like you're actually IN the videos. Or maybe you are?

X- How about Michael Olowokandi?

CS- I feel like Isiah could still lash out at Simmons should they encounter each other again. Now that he's no longer coach, the spotlight is off of him. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Ben- Ubuntu. Much has been made of it.

blanco said...

tomorrow's reader participation frinday (do you even do that anymore?) should be to invent the best simmonsesque trade scenarios such as: Arod, Damon and 3 donuts for Johan, the rights to Delgado's expiring contract, the #13 pick in the rule 5 draft, a player to be named later and the apple in center field.

I don't understand why these gutless GMs wouldn't do this deal?

John Foley said...

As much as you might want to believe it, there's really no evidence that Utah-Phoenix-San Antonio would have annihilated the Celtics in the Finals. Everyone predicted the Lakers would win in 5. Remember?
To predict that those other teams would have killed the Celtics [just because that's Simmons' team] is to fall prey to the same kind of unsubstantiated predictions that Bill does.

Bengoodfella said...

I agree with John, I think the Celtics would have beaten Phoenix or Utah. I think San Antonio would have been a little tougher for them, but what do I really know? I also thought Charles Rogers was going to be an All-Pro receiver every year and DeShaun Foster was destined for greatness.

Is there anyone who would not do this trade? ESPN sells Bill Simmons to the insurgency in Iraq as a human shield for better access for their employees to the oil in Iraq. This is win-win situation, Reilly can take over the shitty article writing, the insurgency can make an example of an American and the ESPN employees get better gas prices. This makes too much sense to happen.

larry b said...

John, you're right, my claims of Utah, Phoenix, or SA "handing Boston [its] shit" are very overstated. However, I am 100% confident in saying that all three of those teams match up better with Boston than LA did. (The fact that the majority of pundits picked LA was largely a function of Kobe and nothing else. Those pundits failed to consider how LA matched up with Boston down low and on the glass.) Here's how I'd look at it, based solely on the fact that all three of the teams I'm touting have front lines that are superior to LA's, not to mention outstanding point guards who could penetrate and kick out in order to stretch Boston's superior defense-

If the Lakers and Celtics play 10 series, the Celtics win 7.

If the Suns and Cetlics play 10 times, they split 5 and 5.

If the Jazz and Celtics play 10 times, the Jazz win 6.

If the Spurs and Celtics play 10 times, the Spurs win 7.

Just my two cents based on matchups. I will try to tone down the Simmonsesque hyperbole in the future.

CitizenX said...

You have a "posts that end with an angry and critical one-liner" label for a reason.

Use it.

Bengoodfella said...

I just saw a commercial on ESPN for Rick Reilly. Combine that with the commercial for Bill Simmons and I think I have had enough of ESPN now.

Martin said...

As a Laker fan, I think you are over generous in thinking that the Lakers would win 3 series against the Celtics. I'd give them solid 2. One they win, and one they luck into.

The only thing this article has going for it is Chad Ford calling out Bill repeatedly.

cs said...

Argh... the Simmons Deadspin thing was actually entertaining.

I always wondered if the editors at Disney/ESPN were actually dulling and destroying his humor.

Let's just assume no, and move on.

Anonymous said...

"Pritchard would shout 'SIKE' and then hang up"

Or he might yell "PSYCH". Come on, law students need to spell correctly, don't they?

"Yeah, I mean, they've sustained a whole one notable injury (Shaun Livingston, whose magical spaghetti knee prompted this comment)"

Really? One injury? I guess Elton Brand isn't notable. He's just an All-Star.

There is a story about injuries to players after they were traded to the Clippers. You don't have to believe in curses or jinxes, but there is a case to be made. I don't like Simmons, but you might want to do a little homework before running him down in such a cavalier manner.
Here's the link to the story: