Monday, November 10, 2008

Hmmm. Our Traffic is Down.

You know what that means- time to make fun of Bill Simmons. Savor his recent piece about Greg Oden. Although he arrives at what may be a semi-fair conclusion (Oden is at risk of being a bust), the way he gets there is fucking preposterous. His first few paragraphs are so bad, I have to break part of them down phrase by phrase. Even going sentence by sentence would prove too logistically difficult in terms of addressing all the dumb shit he says.

First impressions matter more in basketball than in any other sport,

Anecdotal, untrue, with no conceivable reason why it would or could be true.

and they can be savored only in person.

Possibly true due to his use of "savored" as opposed to "observed" or "processed", but still dumb.

Players can't hide behind pads or helmets,

1. Baseball? Boxing? Tennis? Golf? Most Olympic sports?
2. Who "hides" behind pads? How does a football or hockey player wearing pads conceal any important information about them?

so we can stare at them,

You can stare at anything which exists in three dimensional space, whether or not it's wearing a heltmet.

evaluate every move they make: running, jumping, walking,

When I see a football player (wearing PADS!) run, jump, or walk, I just have no idea what to think about him. What is he doing? How is he doing it? If only he weren't wearing those pesky pads, maybe I could find out! Oh, I wish this was a basketball game. Then I'd really have access to all the information I need.

even ogling the cheerleaders.

Babes! Awesome! Bill and Gregg Easterbrook have more in common than either would like to admit.

We can see every ripple and tattoo.

Things you can learn about athletes from their "ripples": nothing. Things you can learn from their tattoos: almost nothing.

If they're lazy, we can tell.

Lazy football and baseball players, on the other hand, are almost impossible to spot. Sure, Chad Ocho Cinco will stop running his routes if he doesn't get thrown to early in a game. And Gary Sheffield barely breaks into a slight jog when he hits a routine grounder to shortstop. But because they're wearing helmets (and in Ocho Cinco's case, PADS!), we just can't tell whether or not they're lazy.

If they have a lousy attitude, we can tell.

Copy and paste logic from above.

If their teammates dislike them, we can tell.

PADS sure hide that though.

It's the most naked sport,

Yes, among major sports, it is the one in which the players wear the least clothing/equipment. No, that does not matter at all when it comes to evaluating players on a first imporession.

if that makes sense.

It doesn't.

And if we happen to be watching a potential franchise center, we can tell right away.

Not only is this hilariously anecdotal, Bill is about to directly contradict it. This is one of those cool "double wrong" situations I sometimes talk about.

I remember watching young David Robinson stroll out of the tunnel at the Boston Garden as everyone made the same sound: "Whoa." Young Hakeem possessed so much raw athletic ability, he could barely harness it; watching him play hoops was like watching a 15-year-old driving a Formula One race car.

Fair enough.

Young Dikembe altered every shot within 12 feet, and eight blocks per game seemed realistic.

Somewhat of a stretch as a "franchise" center, given the number of teams he has played for and his relatively weak career offensive numbers. But Bill got a warm tingly feeling when he saw Dikembe play, and that's good enough for Bill.

Young Shaq had the highest ceiling of all: I specifically recall leaving the Garden thinking, It's all over; nobody has a chance against that guy.

Cutting-edge observations like this are clearly the reason you're a highly-paid sports columnist.

Yes, you always remember the underwhelming and overwhelming moments of first impressions, especially with franchise bigs. The "merely whelming" moments, though, fade away.

Such as?

I remember seeing the aforementioned four newbies for the first time, but I caught Ewing as a rookie and remember nothing. He whelmed me.

OK. Remember the "double wrong" thing? Patrick Ewing, by any reasonable measure, was ten times the player Mutombo was. At least. He was 90% as good on the defensive end, and infinitely better on the offensive end. Mutombo's HOF probability score on basketball-reference.com is .007. As in, he's definitely not going. Ewing's? .999. As in, he's definitely going. So what was it Bill said he could tell about basketball players on first impressions? Boy, that Patrick Ewing sure was "whelming," wasn't he. Just "whelming" enough to be one of the best centers of all time.

Same for Yao, Sampson and Zo.

Yao- if he can stop getting hurt, will have career numbers that approach Ewing's.
Sampson- stunk.
Zo- b-r.com's HOF probability: .885. As in, about a hundred times more likely than Mutombo to end up in the hall.

On the other hand, young Shawn Bradley left me more than underwhelmed. Actually, I thought, Oh no, Philly is screwed!

You were the only person who saw that one coming, genius. Bill Simmons: professional scout, who can tell everything about a young center just by looking at how he walks. Bill knew that Shaq was going to be good and that Shawn Bradley was going to suck. He also didn't think Patrick Ewing was going to be anything special.

And as always, he's also a fucking embarrassment.

4 comments:

cb said...

Horrible. Just horrible. When a columnist has to write "if that makes sense" to justify what he's saying, it probably doesn't. Suck it, Simmons.

CHart said...

You guys just hate Simmons because he has your dream j-- whoa, sorry, bad habit. What your fancy stats don't show is that Mutumbo's career finger wag percentage is through the roof. He's actually the career leader, which is good enough to get him into the fabled Hall of Very Good.

Anonymous said...

Simmon's is just trying to cope with the Celts not landing one of the 10 best centers ever by belittling a career that would have almost equaled Olajuwon's had Jon Starks not shot 3-19 in game 7.

Has anyone gone to the logic toilet with biased writing more often than this guy?

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

In all fairness to Ralph Sampson, he was pretty good until he started having injury problems.

I guess Simmons' definition of a "franchise center" is one who either led his team to a championship or plays like Bill Russell.