Friday, February 22, 2013

Bill Simmons revisits one of the stupidest things he's ever written, somehow makes it even stupider, part 2

A lot has happened since I posted part one a couple days ago. On Tuesday night the Celtics lost in Denver. That's nothing to be ashamed of, Denver is the one of the best home teams in the NBA, but what's notable about the loss is that the Celtics played very well. Almost well enough to win.  They led at halftime, held the Nuggets under 100 points (which is extremely difficult to do in Denver), and had the ball, down four, with about a minute to go. The real reason they ended up losing, though, was that they had a lot of empty possessions in the second half. They settled for a lot of long jumpers. They went long stretches without attacking the rim and shot 20 fewer free throws than the Nuggets. Hmmm, I wonder who might have been able to help out with those two issues? Bill has already established that they play better without Rondo so the answer is definitely not "Rajon Rondo, the All Star point guard who can get into the paint to shoot or pass on pretty much every possession regardless of what the defense is doing."

Then on Wednesday night the Celtics went into LA and got beaten by the LOL6for24s. Unlike the Denver game, I didn't watch this one, but the Lakers shot eleven more free throws than Boston. Draw your own conclusions. I'm sure most Celtics fans would conclude that THE REFS FACKED US but if this game was anything like the Denver game, it's not the case. Boston probably didn't get to the rack to draw contact. KG looks really soft in the post these days. Other than the fact that he's 45, I wonder why that is? Anyways, Bill was telling us about how the Ewing theory is very real and should be taken very seriously, because the Celtics are definitely better off without their best player.

To their credit, the old farts took a backseat. Pierce even deferred to Rondo at the ends of tight games, something I never expected to see. But things turned goofy early — Rondo became obsessed with keeping a double-figures assist streak alive.

Evidence/support provided for this: zero. This might be an even worse unsubstantiated hit on Rondo's character than "He only makes teammates better ON HIS OWN TERMS" and "he pretends to lead without leading."

And not in a good way. He wasn't making the right decision every time, just the decision most likely to produce an assist.

Holy shit.

And not in a good way. He wasn't making the right decision every time, just the decision most likely to produce an assist.

Other than taking layups when they're available, the decision most likely to produce an assist IS the right decision for a point guard like Rondo who doesn't have a very good jumper, you fucking clod.

Defenses played Rondo for the pass on every drive and fast break, turning the streak into something of an ongoing detriment.

I get that passing up a wide open layup in the interest of another guy's contested layup or jumper is a bad thing, and I admit that I don't watch the Celtics enough to really know whether this is something he's ever done with regularity.  But given that Bill has GODDAMN NEGATIVE ZERO credibility with me, I'm going to guess this claim that Rondo was sabotaging fast breaks to pad his assist totals is just another car-sized pile of elephant shit.

I loathed the streak. It was a bad look for Rondo — you don't want your leader chasing numbers, even something as seemingly benevolent as assists.

Yeah, what good have assists ever done for any team ever?

The streak mercifully ended when Rondo got tossed for fighting Kris Humphries in a loss to the Nets,

Side note, make sure you watch this. If whoever wrote this wrote all the commercials on TV, I'd never use my DVR's fast forward capability.

but questions about Rondo's ultimate destiny as a franchise player lingered.

Debates about a player's "franchise player" status are only slightly less retarded than debates about their "elite" status (see: Flacco, Joe).

You are who you are after seven years in the league. Every night you could put Rondo down for 13 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. And every two weeks or so, he'd slap together four quarters that took your breath away. But Rondo wasn't just going to start averaging 22 points a game; it would have happened by now. For a Celtics team specifically built for him, that's the biggest reason they played a half-season of .500 ball. You're only as good as your best guy.

How dare he only score 13.7 PPG while leading the league in assists!

They couldn't ever beat Miami in a playoff series without Rondo

Don't backpedal too quickly, you'll trip over your own feet.

— the only Celtic who could swing two games in a series by himself.

Right, because he's their best fucking player, which is why they're not better off without him.

But short-term? Maybe our boys would rally without him.

If they got a long homestand against Charlotte, Orlando, etc., then yeah, I bet they would. They just might have been able to pull off that same rally with him in the lineup, too! Meanwhile, now that that homestand is over, they just got beaten by double digits by a mediocre Lakers team (against whom Rondo would have represented an absolute matchup nightmare). But go on.

We knew the schedule worked in their favor: Six of eight home games post-Miami (and Toronto and Charlotte on the road).

Even if it's way too late, at least he's addressing it. Now watch him blow past it like it never happened.

We knew Rondo's departure would inadvertently create a more stable playing rotation — now, Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry would get enough minutes,

Finally! Minutes for an all defense no offense no real position 7th man, a guy on his fourth team in five years, and 35 year old Jason Terry!

and so would the perpetually frustrating Jeff Green. We knew there was a chance — repeat: a chance — that Garnett and Pierce would rally as a subtle Eff You to Rondo,


their annoying little brother who drove them bonkers even if he would always be family, someone who acted like a bit of a diva behind the scenes, someone who wouldn't exactly win a popularity contest with the people around the organization. An intelligent, demanding, thoughtful guy … yes. But frustrating. That's the word you always hear.

That's the narrative you invent in order to try to prop up your idiotic theory.

The bigger point: With Rondo, Boston had the league's 26th most efficient offense. This seems relevant since the NBA has only 30 teams. How much would they REALLY miss him on a daily basis?

We'll know in a few months, after they've started Bradley at PG for 30ish games (6 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists in 35 minutes against LA; 17 points (cool!), 3 rebounds, 0 assists and 3 turnovers (oh.) against Denver). I'm sure it'll work out just fine.

How hard was it to replace 13 points and 11 assists every night? Couldn't you replace 80 percent of those stats?

With one player? While he also plays solid defense and sets up the offense?

It was conceivable, right?


Either way, they had reached a fork in the road — if the season went south, they'd certainly have to trade Pierce (Warriors?) and Garnett (Clippers?) over sentencing them to Lotteryville. That was the right thing to do.

Simmons is such a goddamn drama queen. Seriously, it's pathetic.

At the same time, we needed a few more games. They showed some fight against the Heat. We hadn't seen this team fight more than four times all year.


You know what happened next. They reeled off seven straight Rondo-less victories to the delight (and semi-confusion) of their just-when-I-thought-I-was-out-they-pull-me-back-innnnnnnnnn fans.

Most of whom take their cues from people like Dan Shaugnessy and Bill Simmons, so really, I imagine they get semi-confused by all kinds of things. I bet they struggle with child-proof lids.

Somewhere during that time, we realized two things.

1. We're not ready to say good-bye to no. 5 and no. 34 yet. Can't trade them. Can't trade them. Can't trade them. Celtics for life.

/Larry B hangs head

Seriously, Bill, just listen to yourself. It's embarrassing.

2. Even if it makes no sense whatsoever, our boys are playing better without Rondo.

They are not, at least not more than marginally so. A couple weeks ago, they were playing more shitty opponents than normal and winning close games at home. Now they have stopped doing that. They are much worse off without Rajon Rondo because he is awesome, no matter how much you want to believe that he does things like "only make teammates better on his own terms" and "pretend to lead, but not actually lead." You are a fucking bozo.

Our eyes weren't deceiving us. The Celtics moved the ball dramatically better without Rondo, to the point that Steve Kerr texted me that they suddenly reminded him of Popovich's Spurs.

This is because they had no true point guard on the floor. KG and Pierce can play like point forwards occasionally, but it's not an every possession solution. And as I said, I watched the Denver game on Tuesday--Kerr was going about twenty steps too far with the Spurs comparison. Denver is not exactly known for its stifling defense, and the Celtics offense was... decent. Until the second half, when it switched to awful.

Their playing rotation fell into place — they finally had enough minutes for everyone. Defensively, the Avery Bradley–Courtney Lee combo could be destructive;

I sure as shit hope so, because neither of those guys has anywhere near the offensive ability to justify playing 30+ minutes per game.

throwing in Green and Garnett, suddenly, this Celtics team could get stops. And these guys like playing with each other,

A classic Simmons "I made this up but you can't prove it wrong" staple. Good to see he's still playing his classics.

which wasn't always the case. Everything crested with last Thursday's thrashing of the Lakers, then Sunday's epic triple-overtime toenail-biter-of-a-heart-attack home win over Denver (a.k.a. "The Blizzard Game").

MegaLOLZ @ coming up with a nickname for a regular season game against a non-rival in February.

Heading into the All-Star break, Celtics fans find themselves checking the standings and thinking, "If we can get to the no. 6 seed, 

You won't,

we could beat Indy in Round 1, 

you wouldn't,

and the Knicks in Round 2, 

you might beat them if you face them in the first round, although I'd be surprised,

and then LeBron only needs to tweak a hammy and … "

he won't, and you're not getting out of the first round anyways. GO FUCK YOURSELF, YOU'RE A TERRIBLE WRITER AND A WORSE ANALYST.

More later, maybe.


Gulag said...

"You know what happened next. They reeled off seven straight Rondo-less victories to the delight (and semi-confusion) of their just-when-I-thought-I-was-out-they-pull-me-back-innnnnnnnnn fans."

I'm guessing this is Bill laying the groundwork for the next BS excuse he comes up with when the Celtics tank again and he stops watching. BUT HE'S NOT A BANDWAGON FAN GUYS!

Jack said...

"And not in a good way. He wasn't making the right decision every time, just the decision most likely to produce an assist."

Simmons post was shit overall, but he was on to something with this. Probably because he wasn't the first person to say it. A lot of smart people agree.

Rondo was afraid to get fouled, so rather than go for contact in the lane, he would pass to guys for long-2's (worst shot in basketball).

He has also passed up OPEN layups for long 2's. He is truly an assist whore.

And the best decision for a team at certain points is to pass to a guy at the top of the key, so he can make a swing pass to a guy for a wide open 3. But that wouldn't be the best way for Rondo to get an assist, right?

No way around it: The Celtics offense with Rondo as the focal point has been bottom 10 forever. Whether that's on him or the aging players around him, it's really tough to call yourself an elite OFFENSIVE point guard when you run a bad offense.

Larry B said...

That is fair, Jack. You sound like you know more about it than I do. In my never-ending quest to write insulting things about Simmons I sometimes make incorrect assumptions. Sounds like this was one of them (although he didn't mention the FT shooting problem, which now that I am reminded of it, would have made me a little less skeptical of Bill's claim that Rondo was making poor decisions to get assists).

Jack said...

No worries.

When Simmons does stumble on to a relevant points, it's usually because he ripped it from someone else. He's still a clown.

Wilf P said...

Although it took me a little while to figure it out, TAHHCHAHHHED is some funny shit Lar.

ivn said...

Kevin Garnett: Minnesota's all-time leader in games, minutes, points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goals made, and free throws made. started every single postseason game in Timberwolves history. Celtic 4 Life.

Ice Cream Jonsey said...

I can't fucking stand Simmons. On most forums, when a good, meaty round of Simmons-bashing gets going, the tedious prick moderator of that forum closes the thread. So this is welcome and amazing to see. I can't believe I'd never heard of this site before today. You guys hate all the dipshit sports journalists that I hate. Larry also seems to be the only other human that recognizes the hypocrisy when it comes to Colorado Rockies splits. SUBSCRIBED!

(...I don't actually know how to "subscribe." But I'll be reading.)

Larry B said...

Any hater of that ass wipe Simmons and a Rockies cognoscente is a fit here.

Larry B said...

Hey look, another Larry B!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Larry, Bengoodfellow just stole your Bill Simmons Ewing Theory column and did it without swear words.

Your faithful snitch,
Biggie Rat

Larry B said...

That's some good snitching. Can't believe Ben doesn't swear on his blog. This is the fucking internet.

Anonymous said...

I know this is going to seem weird commenting on this a year and a half later, but I actually remembered this column and it came up today in an argument with one of the many unfortunate Simmons-ites I know. I had not known about your site previously and found it while googling "Rondo Ewing Theory".

The only reason his mind was blown by the Celtics play post-Rondo was because HE PERSONALLY had overrated the ever-living crap out of him, and was only just then realizing all the flaws in his game.

And when he said that Rondo "wasn't about to start averaging 20 a night", the only person who ever argued that was Simmons himself, in his season preview that year when he argued that Rondo would be a top 5 MVP candidate because he'd "up his scoring".

He engaged in the same kind of tardery when he was SHOCKED and DISAPPOINTED that Serge Ibaka, in the 2013 playoffs was only able to average 13-8 after Westbrook got hurt. YOU MEAN HE'S EXACTLY AS GOOD AS HIS CAREER NUMBERS SUGGEST???? MIND ASPLODE.

Anyway, thank you for doing all this great hating work. Keep it up! Simmons is back this week I think and you will be sorely needed in the battle for the fate of humanity.